Art Adventures

Before yoga and breakfast this morning, I stumbled upon this photographic moment.

Lychees! Yeah, we don’t grow these in Oregon.

On to yoga. I had an amazing experience with singing bowl yoga at Vida Asana.

Jenny, our yoga instructor, uses sound vibrations from different size bowls to help heal our bodies and minds. It seems very strange, but you can actually feel the vibrations move through your body. Gave me chills!!

Loved it! After yesterday’s sweat lodge, I felt a little funky. Once I cried it all out today, I was ok. πŸ˜‚ Very healing.

After lunch, we headed into the bustling town of Jaco. It’s such a cool little town full of busy energy, great little modern tourist and souvenir shops right beside more traditional juice and coffee places. At night, the place feels modern with both a family and party atmosphere.

Came back and worked on lessons at Vida Asana for the rest of the day.

This bamboo stand right outside my room.

And in the Shala, studying leaves. Two dog friends joined me.

This ended up being a very relaxing day. Tomorrow I will fly out early in the morning. I’ll be sad to leave, but happy I can return home to one of my favorite places, the Pacific Northwest.

The trip has been incredibly rewarding to me, in that I was able to stay at Vida Asana and decide how to organize my workshop, and meet the wonderful family of people who run the yoga retreat. They run it with sincere love, passion, friendship, and peace.

Also, surprisingly, I learned more about myself, which was an outcome I hadn’t anticipated. The yoga, sweat lodge, conversations and space to contemplate helped me to discover and reflect on my life, my relationships, and my dreams.

Happy painting, travels, and peace to you all.

Join me for one of my workshopsArt Adventures.

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This morning at 6:00 am, a local biologist came by Vida Asana. She took me on a walk to discover new birds.

We visited as we walked, looking at the birds through her scope and her binoculars. She is from Spain and lives now in Jaco, where she conducts eco tours and creates drawings of Costa Rica.

We saw many birds on the 2-hour hike; the blue green grassquit, a roadside hawk(actual name), several ahni, kiskadees, Rufus naped wrens, grackles, and scarlet macaws. We heard a toucan as well but he hid himself in the upper tree canopy. Three huge floating blue butterflies flashed their iridescent wings near a small river. Stunning. Termites created highways up trees and across roads. We looked for, but did not find, basilisk lizards, of which there are usually many, but not this day.

Here, a ficus tree, which is parasitic to any tree, grew on a palm. It will eventually strangle and kill the host plant.

A fantastic way to spend the morning. When we returned, it was time for a breakfast of eggs, rice, beans, fruit, and a kale smoothie.

Yoga at 10:00, then lunch by the pool. Such a life. I decided it was going to be hard to go home!

Today was the first sunny, hot day here. The poolside felt refreshing and peaceful.

After lunch, we had a few minutes to get ready for an excursion to a tribal sweat lodge.

When we arrived, the tribal elder’s home had a beautiful view.

He stoked a long-burning fire.

And placed the hot coals inside this small hut.

We took a cold shower and proceeded to all go inside the hut, where the curtain was dropped, water was thrown onto the stones and we breathed and detoxified our bodies with herbs and steam. We would then go out for another shower, a cool bath and repeat. This went on for 4 hours. Whew.

We were encouraged to drink the shower water to stay hydrated. I worried about getting a bacteria from the source. Ugh.

Upon our final shower, the skies were beginning to color. We ran to the beach for sunset glory! Look at these skies!

We headed back to Vida asana and got ready to head into Jaco for dinner.

My first beer in 5 days! So good!

Until tomorrow my friends.

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Rain all night long created a laid-back day of painting, yoga, and a beach visit that turned into a bird-watching excursion.

First, a light breakfast of fruit with almonds and a dragonfruit smoothie.

Since it was an early breakfast, I had time to work on painting lessons before yoga.

Oh I’m so excited about this first lesson! Look at the trees and foliage here!

In between painting and yoga, we had a quick tour of the gardens, mostly filled with herbs such as lemon grass, turmeric, mint, basil, verbena, cilantro, peppers, and beans.

Then onto an incredible yoga session.

Jenny Cribbs of Jaco taught yoga today. Her voice and knowledge brought us all to center.

After another beautiful vegan lunch of potatoes, beans, rice, salad, and fruit, I hopped on Turquoise Bessie and made a beeline for the beach. My hope was to concentrate on a beach painting lesson. The weather threatened to rain, and actually sprinkled on me most of the time.

It’s tough to paint at times because of the humidity. Paintings don’t dry well and in fact, seem to get more wet as they sit out! I am adjusting to damp solutions. Also, Sharpies don’t work on wet paper. So I have to draw my black lines an hour or so later at times.

Clouds were stunning today.

On my way back to Vida Asana, I rode poor old Bessie on a pot-hole filled road next to surfers driving to the next wave. I had to stop every few minutes and pull out my zoom camera to take a picture of a new bird!! I cannot share the pics because I did not bring my computer, but suffice to say I must have added 12 birds to my life list today. And I managed to NOT get run over. Which is nice.

Until tomorrow my friends.

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I just had to do it. I had to schedule a research trip for my upcoming Paint Costa Rica Art Adventure in February. Such a sacrifice. πŸ˜‰

To arrive in paradise and spend five days meeting new friends, living Pura Vida (pure life), planning painting lessons, dining on beautiful local food, and practicing yoga? Yep. That’s the goal.

But in all seriousness, this time is well spent planning and finalizing my retreat for February. Not only am I figuring out our schedule, but I’m beginning to understand more about Costa Rica; what to expect, how to navigate, what the culture and wildlife is like, but also, what, where, and when to paint.

Since I arrived last night late, today was my first chance to see the area in detail.

I love the fact that we are staying at a yoga school. Yoga and painting are very symbiotic. How much more centered could one get, doing both each day?!

I can see why Vida Asana has been given glowing reviews. Sean and his staff are fabulous hosts. Breakfast was fresh and delicious: a super smoothie, rice and beans, eggs and guacamole. So so good.

After breakfast, I toured the property.

Then we did an hour and a half of yoga in the Shala.

The birds were singing, insects were humming, and a moist, perfumed breeze softened my Central Oregon skin. So peaceful.

We headed out for a hike before lunch. Although it was a short hike, it was fairly steep, very close to our lodging and packed a visual punch. When we got to the top, there was an old uncompleted hotel where we could look out onto Jaco and the ocean below.

We saw dolphins jumping out of the surf!

After an AMAZING lunch of fresh vegan kale salad with avocado, tomatoes and lemon dressing, mystery vegan soup (mystery only because I cannot remember what Adriana said she put into it, lol), and a mango smoothie (seriously, all simply done and to die for), I took Turquoise Bessie out for a ride to paint and explore the beach (my name for her, not theirs; but it seemed to fit).

Riding the bike on the road was a little dicey, as the road was fairly narrow with drop offs on each side as well as traffic coming and going, but it wasn’t far. And I felt like a kid. And it was fun, so…

When I arrived at the beach? Yep, Playa Hermosa, translated: Beautiful Beach. And it is so beautiful. Mostly empty, except for a few surfers and a guy on horseback, it was the perfect place to paint. Perfecto.

Now, I gotta tell you, since I mostly paint the Pacific Northwest, I really had to concentrate on exactly what the foliage was doing. It’s structure, color, and branching weren’t automatic for me. The ocean and beach are different colors than our Pacific NW coastline. Crazy. I’m going to go back tomorrow and work on it again.

I’m told that I should always be on my way back to Vida Asana before 5:45pm, as it gets totally black and is hard to see once the sun sets. So I didn’t watch the sunset today, and besides, the clouds were getting heavy and thunder began to rumble.

On my way back, however, I had to stop and take photos of birds with my zoom lens camera. I have a policy that I won’t paint a bird unless I’ve seen it in person. Plus, my bird app won’t download, and I need to figure out what they are when I get my hands on an actual paper Costa Rica bird book. Taking photos will help identification.

As I write this, it is 6:19 pm and completely dark. Although thunder boomed off and on today, it only just now began to rain. Hard. Love it!!

Until tomorrow, my friends. Namaste.

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Fantastic day in Florence, our last day of Paint Tuscany. Heading back to the US tomorrow morning.

Above, the Church of Santa Croce, in Florence.

We met with a Silversmith this morning, Giuliano, of Ditta Carlo Cecchi. He has worked at this silversmith laboratory since he was 15. Fifty-six years later, he is still working and very passionate about his craft.

He creates intricate patterns and cuts them into the plate.

He then runs the block and the metal through a 150 year old press.

Magic.

He also creates jewelry and other items using wax molds.

Fantastic!

Our group, above and below.

Uffizi in the afternoon, rounding out the tours with medieval and renaissance art. Love!!

In the evening, we all got together one last time for appetizers, wine, and stories about the trip. I did a pop quiz, and everyone won a painting of mine.

We had such an amazing and wonderful time. I’m so proud of the growth and learning each person experienced in watercolor art. I pushed them hard and they learned so much. It’s difficult to say goodbye. We’ve enjoyed friendship, art, tours, beautiful country, Italian customs, Italian families, shopping, and exploring together.

If you are interested in joining us for Paint Tuscany 2019, please let me know. We are compiling our list of interested folks.

Arrivederci!

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We left the country villa today. So sad! I want to live there and paint my days away!

But we had our wonderful Casanuova Di Ama experience to look forward to again this year!

At Casanuova Di Ama, the wonderful Daniela instructed us on how to make authentic bruschetta.

Yum. Made with her incredibly delicious olive oil, salt, and tomatoes with basil, it was such a treat! She also served us a dessert wine, with her yummy chocolate cake and cantucci. So good.

She is known for her fabulous cooking and famous olive oil.

The bottom photo is a vat of her olive oil. 😊

She has beautiful wisteria blooming right now, as well as various potted plants and a colorful clothesline clip collection.

Another group shot. πŸ˜€

Alas, we had to leave for Florence eventually.

In Florence, Gina had set up a special lesson on how to make authentic gelato with the famous gelato maker of Gelateria Perche No!

His ingredients are very simple: fruit, sugar, water.

Gina and I worked our magic as he directed the process.

Incredibly good gelato. The best. And so simple! I loved the banana with no dairy. It tasted like it had cream!!

More adventures await tomorrow! Until then, my friends.

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Buongiorno from Tuscany!

Today I taught two painting lessons, since we did not paint yesterday. In this glorious morning at the farmhouse, we began by painting a Tuscan archway, with a view into lands beyond.

Here is my example.

Not everyone painted the same scene, but we painted it all step by step, starting with the drawing, a one-point perspective, then painting the arch on the inside, the facing wall, the bricks, the ground, and the landscape beyond.

Here are the final works.

We then took a break for lunch and a short drive into the country.

Returning in the afternoon to paint our final painting (sad… 😞) of the trip.

Given a choice of plein air or step by step landscape, all voted step by step. Although we did the same scene together, everyone had their own style. We marveled at how different each person’s work was from one another.

After wine and crackers in the late afternoon sun, we cleaned up, and collected ourselves for our final dinner at this amazing bed & breakfast farmhouse.

After dinner we took pictures with the family who owns this place and said our thank you’s. What a wonderful family at the fabulous Agriturismo di San Giorgio.

We presented Tina with a thank you gift, one of my flower paintings she loved. ❀️

We now love this family and feel as though they are part of ours.

More adventure awaits. So until tomorrow, my friends!

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