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, August 2, 2008

Costa Rica Sketch Journal ~ July 12 & 13, 2008

Ya stay close to home when you have the trots, so I'm combining journal entries July 12 and 13 to make a decent showing. Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.

We spent most of the day at our cabina, out on the terraza (sometimes "elsewhere"), Daniel reading in the hammock or gazing out over our lovely view, I coloring yesterday's currasow and other drawings and sketching the flower of the jicaro tree ~ that's the stonefruit tree in the path with the cantaloup-sized green fruit upon whose topside perches the big brown cicada.

Then I sketched a big cockroach I had previously found belly-up on the path. The ants hadn't even discovered it yet, so it was quite freshly dead when I found it. I had kept it under a water glass on my bedside table for a couple of days to deter ants (probably to the horror of the maids), waiting for time to draw it. Now, finished with the sketch, I laid the cockroach down on the grass over the edge of the terraza to see what would happen (to find out, read the bottom of the first journal page).

Feeling a bit better, I got out my camera to photograph nearby wonders: the tent bats (in the palm by the path) which chew halfway through palm frond blades so that they drop down to form a little alcove the bats can hang in (look at their badger-like, stripey faces in the closeup!); a colorful little grasshopper that entertained Dan and me for awhile, a bigger green one that also kept us guessing ~ whenever a breeze rattled the big leaf it was perched on, it made chattering sounds with its leg and abdomen that sounded exactly like an angry bird. Took us awhile to figure it out.

To be honest, the surroundings are so lovely and so many fascinating things happen all the time, it wasn't a terrible tragedy to just sit still and watch from the terraza!

Early the next morning we were feeling a little better, so to get a little exercise we walked up the driveway to the road, spotting (and smelling) two collared peccaries in the dim green light. Still, we kept pretty close to home for obvious reasons ~ we weren't cured quite yet.

Finally, I found time to draw and paint the three-toed sloth skull. It's an odd skull, very heavy and without the seams (sutures) found on most skulls, for some reason. It was also very irregular in shape, with one side not exactly the same as the other. Skulls are usually pretty symmetrical, but not this one. Check out the brown, hollowed, peg-like teeth in the photo. Cool, huh?

Late that afternoon I taught a watercolor pencil session to Adri, who wanted more advice on the painting part. As she painted, I did a little protrait of her, but it's pretty bad ~ she's MUCH prettier than that.

Oh well, that's one thing about journaling. It's a real-time record of where you are and what you're doing, with all its warts. Poor Adri!

I only filled half of that journal page, and being "all sketched out," I made a page divider which looked like a long twig to separate July 14 from the next day. I like that twig a lot. I think maybe I'll try designing a whole bunch of page dividers to use as inspiration when I need them.

++And Now, TA~DA! ++

They don't make fonts BIG enough to express my great elation at having finished and sent off The Southern Swamp Explorer to the printer!

It's like bearing a child, raising it in intimate detail for five or six years (I'm afraid to figure out how long this book has really been in process) then delivering that child to the kindergarten door and waving goodbye.

You come home and look around and say "NOW what am I supposed to do?" I'm sure I'll get over it ~ it isn't as though I don't have things to attend to. But my overriding goal for years has been to get that book off to press, and now it IS off to press and....umm......well........ONWARD ~ I guess


Margaret Ann said...

Congrats on the book! I love exploring things through your eyes...The colorful grasshopper was simply stunning. Thanks for giving the more squeamish of us-me- the opportunity to see the beauty of nature from the comfort of home.
You are amazing! :)

Renie said...

Thanks for the congrats! It is so exciting to be finished with the book, because now lots of other hoizons can open up. A lot of it is psychological, an "I can't start a new project because this unfinished book hangs over me," kind of thing.
So now I can go exploring LOTS of new things!

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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