45. – “The painter should be solitary, and take note of what he sees and
reason with himself, making a choice of the more excellent details of
the character of any object he sees; he should be like unto the mirror,
which takes the colours of the objects it reflects. And this proceeding will seem to him to be a second nature.” – Leonardi da Vinci Thoughts on Art and Life – Translator/Maurice Baring via Gutenberg.org
Manabi Province- Ecuador – The past few weeks have been physically demanding as I’ve worked on renewing my passport and getting it ‘in hand’ (10 more years – yes!) and also finished the move from Casa Loca. Since the Dengue/chikungunya illness, my body needs more attentive time for recovering from these trips – as well as unpacking and resuming projects. Of course it could also be that I am not as young as I once was, and it’s part of the cycle of growing older!
My new home offers an amazing immersion in nature – with wrap-around windows with tree-top views like this:
Look who raids the feeder!
First to feed at dawn and the last to feed at dusk… Whooping Motmot
The Slaty Becards are listed as Endangered, but they are the little starlets at Casa Poza Honda. (female)
Male Slaty Becard – “Howdy!”
Staining frames, painting ‘mats’ – there are always tasks to fill each day.
There are always tasks at hand, so every day or so I take a timeout and walk the very-short distance to a little roadside pond. Sitting there, I quickly merge with nature and leave all thoughts behind… I do not think of the past or of tasks in the future. The surroundings bestow me with an acute attention to what’s in front of me – and behind me – and overhead!
The Chachalacas often lure me away from the house with their raucous calls that sometimes last for hours! There at the pond I often illustrate Leonardo’s approach (see above quote) for observing nature. I sit on one of two rocks and observe the subtle changes from day to day. Not only is my body recharging its batteries, but I am also engaging in a task that Leonardo describes as essential to the seriousness of an artist’s work. It’s also essential to the health of my soul!
What WAS that flash of red – and blue – and yellow?
The lovely Ecuadorian Trogon, attired in bold colors as well as a fashionable circle of red eyeliner!
Do you see two birds?
The Ecuadorian Trogon and the Whooping Motmot provide eye-candy rewards for my quiet disconnect at the pond. They are two of a revolving cast of unique birds that visit this pond.
Detail of Motmot’s tail feathers – Photo taken from a more-convenient ‘perch’ from the house….
One can work from photos and capture a strong likeness to the birds, but when one studies the birds in their natural surroundings, it’s easier to capture the true essence. This is true for any slice of nature… only through hours of observation will one grasp the nuances of each subject.
There are nuggets of discovery everywhere, even underfoot.
Recently, through the gift of the online Gutenberg.org site, I downloaded and enjoyed reading Leonardo da Vinci’s “Thoughts on Art and Life” — it was as if I had been channeling his advice during my visits to the nearby pond! Here are more of Leonardo’s words paired with images from the little ‘healing pond’ at Casa Poza Honda. Continue reading