To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Costa Rica Sketch Journal ~ July 8, 2008

And now it's July 8 (in my mind)
(reliving this vacation is so much fun!).

Yesterday I had admired the creatures José makes with a palm frond and a knife ~ several were sitting out on a table. This morning José approached with a big knife (don't panic!) and a single blade from a palm frond and invited me to watch him make one.

With great skill he slit the palm leaf its entire length then began to weave the long strips in and out until a cicada appeared in his hands. It was fascinating. Then he GAVE it to me! I was truly delighted, and knew I'd have to try to sketch it.

It was VERY difficult to draw it with the pen, because I had to make sure no lines from behind passed over where lines from the front should go. I had to fake a little bit of it to make it work, and mine is a bit shorter than José's. His took a lot less time, too, only about five minutes. I'd love to learn how to do that!

There was a real cicada hanging out on the stoneseed fruit that droops into the center of the path to La Caramba (our cabina). We had to duck the seed, which is the size of a mid-sized cantaloupe, every time we went up the path. But I was delighted it's there because a real cicada lives on the upper half of the sphere. I expect it's one of the nightly choir, and it perched there, hidden beneath the leaves, for the entire time we were there, despite the fact that I peeked in on it regularly.

Today I was a bit under the weather, sticking close to the hammock and access to the loo. But even sitting on the terraza there was plenty to see. As I painted the seashells and seeds I'd sketched in my journal on the previous day, I watched a nearby hibiscus closely ~ not because it was so lovely, which it was, but because a praying mantis was perched on it waiting for lunch. I'm guess I was painting when it left, so I don't know if it took a fresh meal with it or not.
Slightly miffed, I sketched the empty hibiscus. I did get a photo, though. Here the mantis is eyeing one of the furry black wasps that chews on the heliconia blossom.

Today I also checked my email ~ what a horrid jolt to have to return from paradise to check in on reality, but I needed to reassure people who had ordered books that I'd be sending them as soon as I returned to the office and warehouse next week. No one was in a big hurry, fortunately, so it all worked out.


Here, now, today, in the present (July 26), I'm working on the cover for The Southern Swamp Explorer, using the watercolor pencils on a very detailed ink drawing. I KNOW I keep saying I'm working on the painting, and I have been (very slowly), but it has been very daunting for some reason ~ maybe because it's so important that it look good since a book cover is what attracts purchasers. When I get a bit more done, I'll scan in a progress report of it.
And now I must go paint, because it's a lovely day, only in the 80s, and I also should also go down to do some weeding/pruning/alder seedling transplanting at Plant Oregon, Dan's nursery.

1 comment:

Making A Mark said...

Irene - I think you need to look at your feed settyings - my feedreader (Bloglines) is not picking up your latest posts.

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