Archive for February, 2012

Too Hot for Wax….?!

February 20, 2012

As I mentioned I did not bring my waxes to Costa Rica, so I’m not sure how painting in encaustic is going to work out here in the tropics.

But I can tell you what happened to a paraffin candle we placed in a bottle on the counter… 

Short power blackouts are common here and we stocked up on cheap candles and matches to be able to find our way around the house in case it got dark all of a sudden. Peter placed a candle in an empty wine bottle, which is a very common way back home, although we were warned against it by Hans of restaurant Ylang Ylang. Soon we found out why people here use tealights instead!

When we leave the house to go on a short trip we close all windows and operate the fans on low; coming back the place was always boiling hot, which made the candle leaning over more and more each time, until it could go no more:

Now we have this whole stack of useless candles…;-)

Two more drawings from Playa Pinuela: the first a row of small islands/rocks at the horizon. The formation on the right is called Las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) and to the left is part of Piedra Ballenas. It sports a small, lonely palm tree on the bare rocks.

The second one is the view from under the palm trees to the right of Playa Pinuela, looking north. At high tide the whole beach disappears and only a narrow band of round stones separates the jungle from the waves.

This is one of a series of beaches inside a national park. To enter the beach a very nice, English speaking (!) uniformed man collects $6.00 per person and you can drive your car into one of the many spaces under the palm trees. People bring everything and the kitchen sink and spend the day lazing under the trees, cooking, eating and talking. If you like you can visit any of the other beaches in the park, using the same ticket for the day.

This particular beach had washrooms and showers.

Every morning for the past weeks we have been bird-watching from our patio, getting up before 6 AM. We brought a pair of binoculars,  got ourselves two bird guides of the area and try hard to identify the different birds we see.

Regulars are Fiery-billed Aracari (a kind of small toucan), flycatchers, Kiscadees, parrots, vultures, woodpeckers and the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (a big bird with an enormous beak and yellow front.

I made a drawing of the last one, using Zentangles this time:




A Change of Pace

February 15, 2012

For the past four weeks we have made a small house in the jungle of Costa Rica our home. Two years ago we bought some land nearby and we wanted to experience how it felt to live in the tropics for a longer period.

I had not brought any encaustic waxes on this trip, but a nice5.5 x 8 “mixed media visual journal, a set of micro pens, graphite pencils, a small container with watercolour cakes and a set of highly pigmented water colour crayons.
My drawings became a combination of Zentangles work and water colour sketches, starting with pencil, then defining with the micropens and sometimes adding colour.
The pages of the journal were sturdy and took the watermedia very well.

The drawing below was inspired by some nice pattern on the back of a dining room chair in San Jose.

The change of pace has been very rewarding. Here we do not have internet, so days start with coffee and a big plate of fruits (the pineapples are amazing, both in size and taste!), sitting on our patio overlooking the forest. Almost immediately the show starts and we spot all kinds of exotic birds through our binoculars in the opposite trees: tucans, aracari, flycatchers, parrots, parakeets and even some Capuciner monkeys.
Peter was able to take some great shots, and I tried to draw the birds in my sketchbook.

Often we only heard their calls, and for lack of a visual, I created some bird species of my own!
Below is an annoying fellow, who started screeching around 4:30 AM, making all further sleep impossible (he competed there with the Howler Monkeys, which were so loud you could swear they were under the bedroom window!)
This one I called the Emerald-bearded 4:30 Nuisance.

And here is the Bouncing-Teakettle Bird, who’s call sounds just like its name; this guy must have amazing lungs!

Of course there was lots of scenery to enjoy too. We found this perfect little beach, not too far from the paved road, with tall trees lining the sand, where you could park your car, unload the folding chairs and just gaze over the ocean for hours (until the flood waters chased you away.

Before I left I’d done a short workshop with Kindrie Grove, were we talked a bit about perspective. As I spotted an old concrete railing I thought it would make a good challenge. What do you think??

We’ll be back in Canada soon, leaving this paradise behind, but I hope we can bring a bit of that Pura Vida with us to the great white north!