I first met Ingrid Yañez at Playa San Miguel Costa Rica when she was in charge of the sea turtle project for Pretoma, an organization dedicated to protecting sharks and sea turtles. After few years later, work took her elsewhere, but we have stayed in touch. I sometimes lob updates to her about my sea turtle encounters, and she shares news about her efforts (with her husband Alex Gaos) in saving the rapidly-declining populations of sea turtles. They are presently working diligently in conservation for the highly-endangered hawksbill turtles. (ICAPO)
Their enthusiasm is infectious about recent discoveries: “Prior to 2007 hawksbills were thought to be essentially extinct in the eastern Pacific…they have been documented using cryptic nesting sites, often located inside estuaries, where they come ashore behind stands of mangroves to deposit their eggs. They also use these in-land mangrove waterways to forage. “
Eureka! Mangroves?!!! Could that have been one of the last few hundred hawksbill turtles in front of the house yesterday? Continue reading »
So this morning before going downstairs to resume work on the compass, I took my paints to the balcony to splash more colors of the sunset on the wall. Never in my five years (on this river) have I seen this giant of the sea swimming in front of the house, but there it was – bobbing as if to ask, “What took you so long to see me?!” Continue reading »
Without underestimating the value of talent, it’s not the most important attribute you need to become a successful artist. It’s not even second. More important than talent is desire. (Harley Brown)
Drawing or painting in the outdoors challenges us to shift gears, absorb what’s in front of us and try to decide what to include and what to omit. One can find many excuses to procrastinate – the weather’s too hot, too cold or too windy. Perhaps there’s no good place to sit, or you’re an insect magnet!
If you don’t make an effort to start, you’ve forfeited the potential for growth as an artist! There’s a slight chance that your efforts are going to look horrid, and if so, call them exercises and toss them in the trash! There’s a great chance that you’ll be very pleased with the results, and you’ll wonder what took you so long to sharpen that pencil!
A few weeks ago I taped my watercolor paper to a board, gathered my supplies and journeyed into the garden. Continue reading »
An Insect's View, details in nature, Large beautiful moth in costa rica, Large beautiful moth in Ecuador, Painting butterflies and moths in watercolor, Painting Flowers in Watercolor, silkmoth, Timeout for Art
“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” - Henry David Thoreau
One of September’s Timeout for Art posts (Find the Pot of Gold) tapped into the above quote, and hopefully many of you were able to “slow down and inspect what’s lurking nearby.”
This past week presented many opportunities to take an insect’s view of nature, and I never regret time spent at eye level and absorbing those details. Continue reading »
Can anyone have too many butterflies or beautiful flowers? When I am not painting, I sometimes work on the surplus of images and wonder what to do with them! When in a serious painting focus, I either tap into the sounds of nature that surround me, or I use a very select playlist.
One of my favorite artists is Dirk Maassen – (Thanks always, Argentina Carlos!) – and this video features one of his songs paired with butterfly images from the Mindo (Ecuador) area.
“Nature has been mastering itself for some time now, and it is an honor to be able to capture its beauty. (Justin eckett)”
In addition to sharing the progress on Trocitos, I thought that a bit of color might jazz up your day! Here are two attempts of capturing the beauty of nature. Continue reading »
”Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day.” — Winston Churchill.
Although “Trocitos” has not progressed as much as I had hoped, it has a bit more depth this week. Set up on 2nd floor porch, I encountered a unique problem that forced me to move the table inside. Continue reading »
Ecuador – Sept. 21, 2013 – Not only is the sun straight overhead at high noon on the equinox, but today is also World Peace Day. Even if you didn’t mark the sun’s placement in your part of the world, and even if you didn’t make an outward (wear white) statement for world peace, please take a moment to reflect on where we are as a collective whole. Continue reading »
“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain” Thoreau
Mindo Ecuador – My friends and I walked part of their property this past week, and we noted a clematis-like vine that sprawled along a damp ditch and climbed across anything in its path. Stopping to inspect a butterfly with delicate glass-like wings, we discovered a treasure of insects we might have otherwise missed. Continue reading »
The world’s spotlight continues to shine on Ecuador, that lovely jewel of a country that so captures the hearts of first-time visitors and continues to burn long after that first imprint on the soul. Often listed as one of the most attractive relocation areas for retirement, it has many jewels in its crown.
but there’s trouble in paradise… Continue reading »
I devour nature ceaselessly. I exaggerate, sometimes I make changes in the subject; but still I don’t invent the whole picture. On the contrary, I find it already there. It’s a question of picking out what one wants from nature. -Vincent van Gogh
Working from nature marks our drawings and paintings with an original freshness; instead of drawing the forest or the tree, draw a leaf; admire the details in a cluster of bamboo or the delicate tendrils of a vine. Instead of drawing the entire scene, focus on a small area and edit the parts that seem too cluttered or too boring…
Don’t get discouraged; YOU CAN DO THIS!
After 48-hours of travel, I was happy to reach my friends’ home, sleep until 9 (!) and awaken to enjoy an unhurried visit with them. As we walked part of their property, several woodland scenes held my attention; these trees would make great subjects for pencil studies!
A plan incubated! Continue reading »
(Ecuador) – My friend Stephen Hopkins is forever playing pranks, so I laughed when I saw this image. “Clever use of perspective! You did a great job making a simple earthworm look like a monster worm!”
But wait; I examined the photos and pondered, “This isn’t a joke, is it? You truly found a worm that big? Tell me more!” Here’s Stephen’s story: Continue reading »
(Ecuador) Life on the river often times distracts me from my daily goals. It’s hard to leave scenes like this and focus on my work! - But wait! Part of my work is observing nature! Sigh; it’s a hard job, but someone has to be part of nature’s buddy system!
I enjoy living a tiny slice back from the ocean where the tranquil river mirrors the landscape – or would that be a waterscape?! At high tide, many birds perch in the mangroves and others guard the boulders near the house. At low tide, the pelicans flop flop their wings in the water while the ibis, egrets and herons forage in the shallows.
Several hours down the coast is the petite community of San Clemente. My friends John and Mary emailed two nights ago with breaking news, “They’re hatching!!!!” The Buddy System is alive and well in that community where the locals gave a rare nest of baby turtles a magical bon voyage party!
See their post HERE: Tortuga Birth Announcement
and Dave’s report HERE:Turtles in Town
There were more global nature sightings this week! See Cindy’s great photo story HERE: Baby Hummer Crashes into Window.
The true purpose of this post is to call attention to a friend’s family in southern Mississippi and activate the Buddy System. Please read Joylene’s post and spread the word; I’m hoping there are some groups out there that might help through fundraisers.
Read Joylene’s story about her daughter-in-law HERE: Help Heaven Get Her Life Back and help if possible!
Good luck, Joylene. If I were there we’d auction a painting or get those Steel Magnolias to gather ’round and find new options. Z
Living on a shrimp farm presents many photo opportunities. My friends who own the ponds are not too fond of the egrets, herons, ibis, storks, pelicans, sea gulls, frigates and cormorants that feast on the shrimp. Watching the birds is a feast for my eyes! This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Fresh, and the shrimp harvest produces lots of fresh shrimp!
The birds flock to the ponds for an all-they-can-eat buffet when the ponds are harvested. Let’s go watch a harvest in progress! Continue reading »
Jama Ecuador (Manabi Province) often projects a mellow feeling of yesteryear, and I am pleased to present another post about nostalgia in honor of the Weekly Photo Challenge on WordPress.
My friend Cynthia invited mutual friends Bobby and Jody for dinner last week. (Thanks again, Cynthia! The wahoo was wonderful, as was that decadent cup of coffee with a dollop of ice cream!) Bobby mentioned that he had an abundance of ripening coffee on a finca near Jama, and Cynthia and I quickly volunteered to help!
(Miguel Rendon of ESCoffee and I are reworking the itinerary for a new coffee tour, so I looked forward to playing the role of tourist on a trek to a coffee farm!) This past Sunday we met at Restaurant Exclusivo near the center of town and traveled fifteen or twenty minutes east by mototaxi.
We stepped out of the mototaxi, and Bobby led us “arriba” – up an almost-dry stream. Just a few yards off the gravel road, we left the modern world behind and stepped back in time. Continue reading »
Companions come in many forms, and some people often misunderstand my choice not to have a domesticated animal as a pet. A free spirit, I travel too often, and it seems insensitive to delegate the care of an animal to someone else when I am absent. I have the option of distant friendships with companions of the wild. Enjoy many of the creatures that have watched over me during my time in Central and South America! Continue reading »
My friends James and Terri posted some images of weddings and mentioned the amazing amount some people spend on flowers. One Jekyll Island wedding cost $100,000 – just on flowers! (See: There Goes The Bride 2) I commented and ‘wondered’ if those flowers came from Ecuador, which prompted the question, “Does Ecuador export a lot of flowers?”
While sipping coffee, eating patacones con queso and drinking a fresh fruit juice at the Hostal Charito in Mindo Ecuador, I did a search and discovered some interesting data. Continue reading »
“The aspect of Nature is devout. Like the figure of Jesus, she stands with bended head, and hands folded. The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.” (Emerson)
Today’s Timeout for Art addresses nature, and my artist’s statement from a show in the year 2000 stated, “I am at my best when alone with nature.” Continue reading »
The trip to the Amazon has been postponed, so today finds me taking a two-day time out in Mindo Ecuador. This morning I visited the Butterfly Garden, located three kilometers from town. What a delightful childlike immersion in nature I spent while trying to capture the elusive blue morpho with my camera! Continue reading »
Quito, Ecuador – Every equinox and solstice remind me to stop and ponder where I am on the planet, where I am in my life’s journey, and to consider how all of us play our roles on this beautiful planet in this beautiful solar system. Someone mentioned this past week that the sun is straight overhead (at the equator) during the summer solstice. I didn’t challenge their statement, but made a note to mark the sun’s position at high noon. Not being at home, this was much easier to record than the end-of-day images!
While critiquing the sunflower painting, I noted the strong mid-morning light and shadow when a surprise visitor ambled into the scene! After a fun photo session, I focused on painting!
A sense of high noon awakened me from my painting trance, and I hurriedly checked the computer to see the time: 11:59! Continue reading »
(Ecuador) The past two weeks have caught me hopscotching back and forth across the line of the equator! From tour groups to post-painting competitions to restaurant makeovers in the Jama (sea level) area, I traveled last week to Quito’s high altitude of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters) before retreating to Mindo’s cloud forest at 5,006 feet (1525 meters).
Rather than confuse you with who, what, when, where and why, I present this eclectic assortment of images from the past week. Continue reading »
Frizztext’s alphabet challenge has reached V, and I”m tardy with U! Today’s internet was too slow to make progress on the web. Alas, I need my sleep, so now that it’s working fast enough to load pages, I hurriedly introduce you to the raucous, gregarious urracas that color the landscape in Costa Rica.
Urracas often raid the tables at open-air restaurants! This acrylic, Sunday Picnic, was painted on site in my backyard, though I relied on photos to capture the essence of these beautiful birds. The urracas love bananas, and those particular plants provided enough for the urracas and me!
Urraca also means chatterbox!
That’s it – short and sweet for this week’s Spanish post!
Now for that sleep session…
Once upon a time in 2008, magnificent mangroves cocooned the Casa Blanca (aka ‘Riverhouse’ and sometimes ‘Casa Loca”) on the last bend of Rio Jama… The few old photos of that house are not very good, but they show the essence of the area in 2008. Note the trees on the both sides of the house.
Some of you are aware of last year’s loss of those mangroves that stood proud and tall downriver from the house. An excavator arrived and began shoving the mangroves into the river. Dump trucks stockpiled huge boulders to replace the trees and strong arm the river into submission, which distressed one artist, and to her dismay, no one else!
How delighted I was when nature bit back and said, ‘That’s enough!” Continue reading »
Leaving the house before sunrise often rewards me with an amazing show of color! Rarely am I disappointed; instead all of my senses awaken as I rejoice in total immersion in nature.
Do you agree that Playa San Miguel is surely one of the loveliest beaches in Costa Rica? I escaped from my slumber and trekked down the beach in anticipation of dawn.
Sharpening my Ebony pencil, I present the first of a series of drawings paired with quotes pertaining to the importance of drawing and art. This will discipline me to take a timeout each week for the joy of drawing and share those drawings with you! Here’s the first quote of the series: Continue reading »
Ailsa’s theme for this week is beaches, and I am blessed to have spent a large part of the past dozen years along the beaches of Central and South America. This post reflects the rewards of visiting the beach in the magical hours at the beginning and end of each day.
The ocean often tosses more than driftwood on the beaches.
During one rainy season at Playa San Miguel Costa Rica, the resident marine biologist flagged me down about an hour before sunset, “Lisa! There’s a turtle nesting!” Continue reading »
This whispering-quiet full moon cast its bewitching spell over me early this morning when I peered outside to see if the clouds had cleared. Although I had no opportunity to watch the Lyrid meteors, the moon provided a nice consolation prize! The view filled me with comfort, of hope for what this day would bring to our world, to the ones that I love and the ones I may never meet.
There is so much that is wrong in this world, but there is a lot that is right as well. We have to have hope, which this moon seems to represent. I wish I could project this image in a format as grand as in real life so that you too could bask beneath its beauty. I love my injections of the city, but I cherish my life in the country where I am immersed in nature and views like this. Continue reading »
The more educated our species becomes, the more we seem to distance ourselves from Mother Nature. We poke and prod her as we extract oil and gases from her bowels, and we grind away mountains in search of precious metals or coal or even rocks and boulders. We harvest her majestic timbers and desecrate vast acreages for crops and pastures. Pesticides taint the air that we breathe, the food that we eat and trickle into the ecosystem. Plastics pollute our waters and are belched back onto the no-longer pristine shoreline. Sand Mining destroys marine life and accelerates beach erosion.
Most of us are aware of the problems, but how many of us are speaking up or trying to find a way to make a positive difference? Living near the Pacific Ocean, I witness the destructive forces of the high tides, which seem to be gobbling more and more shoreline. I’ve witnessed illegal shrimp trawling and correctly predicted that dead sea turtles would soon wash ashore. I don’t blame Madre Tierra for trying to buck us off her back!
Take time out to stop and really look at our beautiful Earth. Savor the delicate beauty of a short-lived flower; admire the silhouette of a towering tree against the sky; inspect the precision of a brigade of ants or marvel at the aerial ballet of bird in flight.
The following images and quotes represent my love for this planet and my concern for its future as we approach Earth Day 2013. Z Continue reading »
A belt of clouds often shrouds our planet’s equator, though I am always delighted to look up at night and see a Carl Sagan sky! This weekend, remember to LOOK UP for the annual Lyrid Meteors! The peak time for seeing the shower will be on April 21/22 – Sunday night/Monday morning.
For more info, see details at Sky and Telescope.
Although a gentle rain is falling now, I hope to glimpse a few early arrival meteors later tonight. Sometimes it pays to look up!
See more posts about looking up HERE.
That’s all folks! Let me know if you catch any meteors!