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“After I’d drawn the grasses, I started seeing them. Whereas if you’d just photographed them, you wouldn’t be looking as intently as you do when you are drawing, so it wouldn’t affect you that much.” ― Martin Gayford, A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney

Poza Honda/Manabi/Ecuador — Lluvia! Rain!   The statement, You’d better watch what you wish for, comes to mind when I share that almost daily – or nightly – the rains continue to fall!  Yesterday the nearby stream built enough confidence to roar – a comforting sound to one who lives slightly uphill from it!     A between-rains inspection revealed several fast-growing trees that had sloughed downhill, and a small part of the gravel road showed new erosion.  My camera chip and computer are not on speaking terms, so your imagination is required for the above scene! (Could the most-recent update have caused this new conflict?)

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Birds are happy, trees and flowers are happy – and the aroma of the orange blossoms reminded me of a springtime aroma from Mississippi.  What – could – that- be? I wondered, and then grinned.  “Mock Orange.”   Of course that’s why it has that name!

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Between rains, I usually take my art bag and spend time near the Common Tody Flycatchers’ nest.  Let’s go down to the water and see what’s happening!


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Shhhh – artista at work!

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I sometimes work on several studies in the same area. While I watched the Tody Flycatchers work on their nest,  two species of  lizards prowled over under and through the debris at ground level!

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To protect my work, two blank pages close like a window. A plastic piece layers over the middle.  Most remains covered while I work on precise areas.

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While I focused on bamboo growing several feet from where I was sitting, this lizard sneaked in and out of view.

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This blue-tailed beauty will be a joy to place in a future study! Perhaps the entire drawing will be pencil, and the tail in watercolor?

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“Mr. Chunky” later sneaked into that hole in the bamboo! Now I know its hiding place!

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Because of a temporary loss of vision years ago, I now treasure the gift of all of my senses! To hear the subtle rustle of the lizards or feel the increase of the wind or inhale that amazing aroma of citrus in bloom – ah, I count my blessings daily! Without the aid of a camera, I would have to climb that massive tree and creep out on its limb to better inspect the flycatcher’s nest! Even with a camera it’s difficult to decipher what materials those petite birds use for their nest. Working at night inside, and by day when weather permits, I watched the painting grow as often as the nest did!

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One afternoon while totally focused on painting details, I realized that the weather had changed. The winds were quite strong and getting stronger. Uh-oh; did I have a five-minute warning – or more — or less? I reached a stopping point, watched the wind toss the little birds’ creation, then gathered my items and hurried home!
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That night, using reference material of dried bamboo, dried leaves and grasses for reference, I worked the entire night! Many layers of watercolor went into the nest, then strips of color were lifted to reveal the grass-like details. Whew! I slept many hours that day – and another 11 that night!

Today I am at the Museum to coordinate a plan for removing the paintings in case the weather presents a problem for transporting them home.   Carlos greeted me with an always-warm smile and said, “Lisa!  The directora would like to know if the show can continue until the 28th of this month;  it’s such a great show, and we’d like for it to stay up a bit longer.”

So for anyone interested, the show will go on until the end of the month! –   (and a reminder that the paintings are half price to anyone who lost a home in the earthquake.)

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Between San Vicente and Canoa – I still marvel how this particular area shifted – yet many trees remained in place.


You might remember previous posts about my friend Chris Cardman.

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Chris Cardman  – County Line Road – 2013

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A gift from his mother…

Some have asked how he’s doing, and this week he sent an update. His failing eyesight now has a diagnosis:  Serpiginous Choroidopathy.  Treatment costs are not covered by his insurance.   The one-month old Go Fund Me page has been a tremendous help to  meet the cost of treatment. For his update go here: SaveChris’Sight   (Thanks to those who have already contributed!)

With the continued rains, I will be on line ‘by chance’ when weather and roads permit – but suffice to know that all is well as I continue painting “One Bird at a Time.”