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, May 21, 2011

Back from Kauai!

Last time I went on a trip I was roundly scolded by a couple of concerned friends for blogging the information about when I was leaving and returning on my trip to the Amazon. Fortunately, a gaggle of thieves didn't show up at my house to squabble over the contents whilst I was gone a-tripping. Whew!

But those scolders did have a point, so this time I didn't blog a word about the fact that I was going anywhere ~ and I just got back from eleven days on the lovely Garden Isle of Kauai, the northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain.

It was a business trip, of course, because I took my sketch journal and every day I was busy on one beach or another, diligently beachcombing to gather up interesting sketching subjects, then sitting in the shade of the casuarinas (prehistoric-looking sorts of trees with droopy long-jointed needles and sorta-pinecones) and beach almond trees at the top edge of the beach, drawing and painting the shells and washed-ashore seeds I had collected and the scenery around me. It was quite a journey, and I got some really good drawing done.

Daniel went with me this time, and spent
nearly all of his time either lying supine on the sand, watching the waves, snorkeling along the reef, or just wafting up and down in the ocean's swells a few yards out from the edge of the surf. Since it's spring, the surf was kindly, not huge and threatening as it is in winter when all the surfers pop out of the dunes to slice through the curls of killer waves. He finally got rested from his long days of labor at his native plant nursery, Plant Oregon, and achieved a marvelous tan in the process.

I'm not much of a swimmer, having been raised in rural Idaho where we swam in the irrigation ditch with stern reminders to "keep your face out of
the water!" I just can't get into the spirit of it, and actually had my first ever, full-blown panic attack when I tried to snorkel the reef. What an experience!!! The occasion was mitigated, however, by the appearance of sea turtles who arrived to munch away at seaweed in the surf mere feet away from where I stood hyperventilating in shock from my failed snorkeling experience.

Other than that, it was a wonderful trip, and I will be putting together another tutorial, telling about all the interesting things we did and saw (and didn't see). We experienced a Hawaiian celebration on Hanalei Bay with little worktables where I made a lovely aromatic lei (which I wore all day); made a fish-rubbing and watched children beating mulberry bark for tapa cloth; listened to Hawaiian drums and music; and ate poi dipped in condensed milk (a local delicacy ~ we loved it!).

We visited the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge where we watched
Red-footed Boobies, White-tailed Tropicbirds and Frigatebirds, and watched Wedge-tailed Shearwaters billing and cooing in the open mouth of their den a mere four feet from the path.

we visited the Limahuli Botanical Gardens and walked around the stone walls of the taro paddies with taro poking up through the water (poi is made from taro corms/roots), and learned which of the plants were natives and which were introduced. We also identified plants we'd been wondering about ~ such as the house-plant Monstera, which grows wild here and twines up trees in a gorgeous solid cape.

visited Manini-holo Dry Cave, where we walked back inside several hundred feet and looked out on the ocean, then bought a woven hat and decorated tapa-cloth lengths from a Hawaiian man sitting weaving hats inside the mouth of the cave. That's Daniel in his new hat at right.

listened to house geckos smacking their lips over moth snacks during the nights, and were awakened each morning by a bird with a loud melodious cry of "I figured out ~ Weight Watchers, Weight Watchers EAT!" (shrieking "EAT" an octave higher than the rest).

And the Jungle Fowl!
Kauai's unofficial signature bird ~ the distant crowing of the wild roosters in the mornings presented an unbroken wall of sound, rather like a crowd cheering a soccer game. Every beach parking area had its jungle fowl contingent, and it was quite entertaining to watch mother hens gather their chickies under them whenever a shower passed by. Did you ever see a hen with sixteen legs?

you probably can tell by now that there wasn't a dull moment, and I was sketching and journaling a great deal of the time. So if you're interested in visiting Kauai with me, you can read all about it in the journal when I get the tutorial made, telling the story behind each page and how/why it was created that way.

An update on my store front, which I blogged last time: I've actually sold a few things, and met some great people in the process of setting it up and maintaining it. While it doesn't quite pay its own rent yet, I'm happy with its being there.

Alas, no original illustrations have sold yet (which is why I REALLY wanted it there) but I have been selling autographed books. I pre-sign them with "Happy Reading!" or, for the Explorer books, "Happy Exploring!" so they're good for any recipient. I've also been selling a few prints, so I'm pleased enough to continue with it.

If you haven't signed up for notices when I blog, there's a place to do it in the right column. That way you'll be notified when the Kauai journal becomes available for download.

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

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