Monday, July 4, 2011

Layers of color and form

I love using the Koi water brush!  It is quite easy to control the amount of water, and you use much less water because it is so easy to clean the brush.  The brushes come in three sizes: small (#2 round), medium (#6 round) and large (#8 round).  There is also a choice of two barrel sizes: 4 ml and 9 ml.  I have been using the medium brush with a 9 ml barrel.  In many of the paintings I used several light washes to build depth, shadows and highlights without over wetting the paper.

This was especially useful when painting leaves and forest trees, such as this example of a Howler monkey we saw on a hike at El Silencio Mirador, a vast, 555-acre nature reserve located between La Fortuna and the Arenal Observatory Lodge.  We actually heard these monkey much more often then we saw them.

Arenal Volcano is one of the worlds most active volcanos, spitting rocks, hot gases and lava on its slopes. All these eruptions cause clouds to form around the top of the volcano.  We were very lucky that on the first day of our visit we were able to see all the way to the top of the volcano.  The remaining days of our visit the clouds clung the sides of the volcano, completely obscuring the top.

Most of the buildings at the Arenal Observatory Lodge had large windows through which you could view the lushly planted grounds and distant volcano.  The restaurant (pictured here) had a comfortable lounge and wrap around deck for enhanced viewing pleasure.  Between the garden, birds and the volcano, I had a lot of subjects to choose from.  I spent several hours one rainy day finishing up journal entries while comfortably sitting in the lounge.  Sketching and painting in a public area was a new experience for me.  Children are quite comfortable coming up to look at what you are doing and ask questions.  The are sincerely interested and listen closely to your answers.  Adults are more shy, stealing glances at the work in progress, and only engaging in conversation when it will not interrupt active sketching or painting.  I found it to be a very positive activity.

I sketched the below painting while sitting in the restaurant at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.  I liked the way the window beams of the building restated the triangular form of the volcano.  Now I realize that I never finished painting the inside of the roof!  The squirrel on the opposite page was done while sitting on the deck outside our room. 

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