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, November 11, 2017

Back In The Groove

After a long pause, I've made my way back to my blog with hopes that I'll find some of the people who used to visit way back in 2014. I've lost contact with so many good people -- I'd love you to join me again on my adventures.

This being 2017, a lot has gone past which may never get recorded, but a lot of cool things have happened, such as moving to Belize, building and moving into my earthbag house, painting murals of ancient Mayan art and a life-size jaguar on its walls, and dipping deeply into the lives of my Belizean neighbors here in western Belize, a few miles from the Guatemalan border and ten miles on a rocky, rocky road south of Benque Viejo del Carmen in an intentional neighborhood called Better In Belize.

my house in Oregon, now sold to other artists
In my old life, in southern Oregon, I was a wildlife illustrator, writing and illustrating nature books for kids (you can get a glimpse of them here), making art for interpretive signs on forest trails and for nature centers, teaching drawing and painting workshops, and other stuff. 

I also did a lot of sketch/journaling not only the amazing natural habitat around my house in a douglas fir/madrone/ponderosa pine forest, but for several years I also traveled to a different tropical place to experience the wonders of nature there, too.  Then I scanned in my sketches and notes to create downloadable how-to sketchbooks for people wanting to create their own.
Casa de la Tierra -- my house

Actually, you can find out about a lot of that stuff by reading the older posts. Enjoy! I myself can really get lost in them -- they're so old, it's almost like reading about someone else.
That's me, sitting on my veranda
So here I am, living in the rainforest in Belize in an earthbag house.  The weather here in the Maya Mountain foothills is very gentle as a rule, with daytime temperatures ranging from 65° to 85° and night-time temperatures never getting below about 55°. The weather is divided into rainy and dry seasons, which means it is a great place to experience a multitude of fascinating creatures all year round.  

Mayan ball player
It's taken me a couple of years to get everything sorted out, what with building then furnishing the house on a budget, painting those murals, and most recently, creating a little Belize-style hideaway for an even more intense experience in the jungle, with more subjects to sketch and journal about.

I have been trying to make myself a part of the Belizean community by learning Spanish well enough to talk to neighbors who don't have English, then by becoming a go-to resource by creating a Wi-fi hot spot for neighborhood folks who have cellphones but no signal, and for kids needing a place to study with access to the internet and also occasional printouts of items from the web. It's been a real change for me, this hermit who used to live in the woods and see another human maybe once a week.....and I'm loving it.
Jaguar painting on my house wall
As well, I deliver cokes and chips to the Belizean construction crew building houses here six days/week. I've made some good friends among them
But I am not surrounded by a...well, a support group of people who enjoy investigating nature through art and writing, desire to be artists, or even have any particular interest in what I am doing. 
  Giant Red-winged Grasshopper
As a result I've pretty much stopped working on my sketch/journaling, much to my dismay.  It's a brick wall I can't seem to get over or around, so I'm thinking that rejoining my blog again will help me find a community of people who love nature and art as I do, or at least will appreciate or be interested in what I'm working on and will let me know. This grasshopper was the last sketch I produced, around the time I stopped blogging in 2014.

Why should you come back to visit this blog?

Micasa, my Belizean-style hideaway in the woods
I'm planning: 
  • a step-by-step tutorial on how I painted the murals on my house walls
  • an overview of details of  building and furnishing an earthbag house
  • to share my sketch/journaling 
  • to show how my Belizean hideaway in the jungle was built
  • to share the joy as I bring solar lights to my neighbors' houses and 
  • to answer any questions you might have about the flying leap I took to transport myself from 20 wooded acres and a lovely little house in Oregon, USA to .9 acres and an off-the-grid earthbag house in an ecovillage in Belize. 
I hope to see you soon. Please come and leave a message?  Introduce yourself and let's have a conversation!



Carol said...

Very glad to see you posting again, I would love to see any new work of yours! I have a little bit of a similar situation in that I've had to return to working after a few years of working on my art career, and since the new job I've gradually drawn less and less to the point I barely sketch anymore. Some of the reason is time constraints, but also the lack of interest/enthusiasm from my co-workers or the people that I'm around now. It has caused a kind of weltschmerz in me.

I hope you can get back into the groove and start making art regularly!

FRANKYE said...

So glad you are back. I have missed your uplifting and creative posts. Glad you are well and continuing your adventure. My time for adventure is limited by money and ability, but following you gives me the chance to have an adventure with you.

Irene Brady said...

Dear Carol and Frankye,
Thank you, and I mean this deeply, thank you SO much for your comments. As you will have read in the next post, I think I may be back on track for sketch/journaling. The first sketch has me hopeful, as it's a decent effort, that I can continue on as I used to, with interest and joy, with what was once the consuming interest in my life. Thanks again for being the wind beneath my wings.

Unknown said...

Cousin! So glad to see you are winding your way back to your art. Creativity has many ways of expressing itself and as far as I can see from my roost you have taken your creative spirit in another direction for the past few years. No reason you can’t make a u-turn and move back to your old path. I for one and so thrilled to see you at it again and will share this widely, with your permission of course😘

Diana Rasmussen said...

Yes. Yes. Yes welcoming your wit and wisdom on a regular basis...horray kalu kalay!

Renie said...

Yo Shelly, YES! Share with one and all. The more people who gather round, the more I shall be inspired to share! Thanks for the inspiration!

Renie said...

And yet another frabjous day, Diana! I'm working on the wall mural tutorial, too. What fun!

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