Saturday, August 1, 2015

Casa Construction


I love this photo. The sun is crawling up the Mountain side, the sky is frosted with a blush of colors and the silhouettes add some interesting magic as well.



Sunrise in Costa Rica is a soul replenishing experience.



But the beauty of sunrise in Dominical is not just visual.  If you were watching this awakening glow in person you'd feel the caress of the moist morning air and hear a chorus of birds among the rustle of jungle leaves.  



Hmmm.. The human sense of hearing is so questionable. It can be so pleasurable sometimes. I enjoy the ruffle of wings as a bird nestles in a near by tree. The rumbling, earthy growl of the howler monkey greeting the day.  The song of the birds is the only alarm clock I'll ever need on vacation. 

 The visual beauty of this Casa is undeniable.  In fact, this breath taking vista might be the best we've ever experienced.  So why did we leave disgruntled and a week early? I think the title of this post says it all. It was my well earned nickname for this lovely rental. 

But I will say this, we kept coming back up the mountain anyway. Casa Construction was a hop, skip and a frog jump from Jolly Rodgers Pirate Bar. You couldn't keep us away from the best burgers in Dominical! And good pizza too. Plus, big strong drinks to keep you jolly. Except through construction noise at 6 am.


My meager mystery bird photo this week. I hope I've earned a simple silhouette!

At sunset the construction ended.  I aimed my camera towards the setting sun and breathed a sigh of relief.

But at 6:00 am the workers staying on the lot next door expelled a big yawn, stretched, stepped out of their shack and climbed into a bulldozer!  And the construction was happening all over the hillside.  So motorcycles and trucks full of gravel were lined up like a parade at dawn  The explosion of sound fell in the negative sound spectrum.  In other words.  It sucked!   



Sunset didn't suck.



Sunset soothed.



Sunset glowed.



Sunset amazed.


Growth Chart


I selected an illustration from my book Maya Monkey for the www.illustrationfriday.com theme grow. This one's pretty obvious, as she's being measured for growth by her friend the sloth. 

Just another day in paradise!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Nature at its Finest!


My favorite detail of this piece is the red eyed tree frog. I've posted him before on my blog. He really represents some of my finest detail work. It could be that I was inspired by my love of animals, reptiles, birds and bugs. Well, scratch the bugs. But they do feed my beloved birds and frogs. So I guess they're O.K. As long as they are on the tongue of a frog instead of on me! But it is mostly because of the insane beauty of the tree frog. What a great subject!  I've never seen a red eyed tree frog in the wild. I have seen a blue jean's frog though.


Blue Jean's Frog.  Although,that's probably not his official name!

These images were taken on a night hike in Puerto Veijo, Costa Rica. Shortly after I photographed these little frogs, it started pouring dogs and cats!


Flora and fauna


Dominical, Costa Rica

And since I painted that jungle piece so many years ago, we've actually stayed in jungle cabanas with similar amazing views! This one was breath taking. And you heard all of the jungle noises you'd expect to hear from a location such as this. But, I did nickname this place Casa Construction. It lived up to it's name. Let me tell you. Maybe, I'll fill you in on that next week.



Sunrise and sunset were visually stirring here. Dominical, Costa Rica will always feel like home.




Nature is the theme for www.illustrationfriday.com this week.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Goathouse


What's this little bird up to?

Fly Catcher?
She's getting closer to her destination.  I love the pattern in the background.


Now we see where she is and what she's doing.  I love that in Costa Rica an indoor nest is just another day in paradise. Illuminating!

At the front door.


Peeking out. 

These photos were taken at a great restaurant in between Dominical and the French/Costa Rican town of Ojochal.  When we first visited the Dominical area it was called Going Bananas.  Then it turned into Roadhouse. Now it's called Goathouse.  Well, they were all good.  But after tasting the killer Ginger Sesame Mahi at Goathouse, I really hope that the Goats are here to stay. 

BHAAAAAA!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Corkscrew Creatures

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary


Since I posted a green heron from our 2014 excursion in Corkscrew Swamp last week, I thought it would be timely to post some of the critters we saw this year. In 2015. We didn't see one green heron this year though!

 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is the most peaceful of Florida boardwalks. But you won't have it to your self. (Unfortunately there's other tourists) You'll share it with all kinds of critters big and small. Seen and unseen. Heard and unheard. Look up and you'll see a pileated headed wood peckers doing some damage in the tree tops.


And spider webs reflecting the morning light.



Ibis will be high up above. And below.



An old wood stork might look down from above.



Delicate swamp petals will delight.



Fringed and feathered white egrets will patrol the swamp.



Alligators will bellow from below. This one really did!


Great blue herons will sneak up on a snack.



A wood stork might do the old bait and switch.



Is this an anhinga? I barely recognize him when he isn't drying his wings. You'll see him.



A handsome yellow crowned night heron could possibly, sluggishly troll through the muck.



A little blue heron might pick and peck around.



Another white egret might pose for your camera. 



And a second blue heron will wait beautifully in a tree.



And there's black snakes. For Heaven's sakes alive!


Plucked from the Garden


I don't usually paint flowers, so this purple powered piece is an exception. Along with a few straggler buds here and there. But that being said, the older I get, the more I notice and appreciate the beauty of flowers and plants, in nature and all around me.

 I have bountiful frilly white puffs of hydrangeas in my garden right now. I also have bright green potato vines creeping over their window boxes, purple loosestrife pointing towards the sky, day lilies absorbing the hot July sun, scalding jalapenos ready to pop and thick thorny raspberry bushes bursting with fruit. What do you have?

Garden is the theme over at www.illustrationfriday.com

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Going Green


"No, I'm not a crane.  I just have a long neck.  Idiot."



"Another tourist, another day.  Yawn.  Do my orange legs make me look fat?"


"O.K., I'll give the ugly wingless creature a beauty shot.  They will just keep looking at me until I do.  Weirdos." 

 There are a lot of Green Herons at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.  But I never get tired of seeing them.  But I always wonder if they are tired of looking at us! 

Now here are 5 random (But not for Random 5 Friday anymore) and hopefully funny animal tidbits to share...

1)  My husband looked out the window around 7 am this Spring and stated,"Our bunny is taking the walk of shame back into our yard"  Ha!  Good one.  She lives in our back yard all year and always has a batch or 2 of babies under the deck.

2) Stop the presses! 5 buck clucks are now 6 bucks!  And if you don't know what a 6 buck cluck is, it's a rotisserie chicken at Lunds on Fridays. 

3)  People have been putting a lot of cute animal videos on facebook lately.  Have you seen the one with the chipmunk who adores the soft bed sheets?  He just keeps stretching and yawning. Cute. 

4)  I was putting on hand lotion the other day and a smidgen fell onto the floor.  Akua ran over to lick it up. (my cats think everything on the floor is food)  He tasted it and looked up at me like I was trying to kill him.  Then he ran off and hid in the basement.  Good grief.

5)  On the other hand, my cat Hana loves the taste of soap.  We had to start using soft soap in dispensers to discourage her from licking the bars.  But when I do drag out a bar and lather up, she stops whatever she is doing and runs into the bathroom to lick my face or hands.  Weird!


The Claw

Calico Jill

Calico Jill doesn't have to sharpen her claws, because she has a killer tail! Or at least a utility tail. It might be handy for hooking fish. She also seems to have a pretty sassy catitude. I guess it's just a calico thing.  Did you know that all calicos are feisty? Well, they are.  Even if they aren't pirates. 

Sharp is the theme for www.illustrationfriday.com



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Biking the Red Cedar Trail


With the help of my new electric bike, I was finally able to do 26 miles on the Red Cedar Trail in Menomonie, Wisconsin. We started our trek while the sun was low in the sky, gently dappling the fauna along the trail with rays of light. Beautiful. This was the first of many bridge crossings on this old railway line.



The architecture made for great angular photos.



We stopped to admire a turn in the river.  And can you guess what else we spotted by accident?



Snakes!  I think this is a common water snake. He really blended into the log.



And there were two, yes two, Eastern Massasauga (great river mouth) Rattle Snakes soaking up the sun.  Or at least that is what I think they were after a google search.



They were big fat snakes.  We were thrilled to see them. And when we came through this part of the woods on the return trip, a common water snake slithered across the trail. Good grief!  We walked out on the rocks to get those water photos.  And there seems to be a threatening amount of snakes here. Watch your step!



But some things were small and precious.  Like 100's of butterflies flitting about. They would sit in delicate groups on the gravel floor, just waiting to be flushed out, then they would swirl and flutter every which way. There were so many blooming wildflowers for the butterflies to inspect along the way.  The jungle of flowers would brush against your legs as you peddled by. Hopefully there wasn't any poison ivy!







And there were large predators lurking in the trees.



This entrance marks the Downsville Sandstone Quarry. The rail line transported sandstone between 1880-1950. And near this there was a trickling little waterfall with seats for weary peddlers.  What a trail.



The highlight of our journey was at the 13.6 mile mark on this wide curve of the river. The bridge was a great place for photos and a scenic picnic.  Ah, Summer and all of its joys.



I caught this fellow watching something...



I caught this fellow just as he was reaching for something...



I love the towering angles.



Well, equipped with my new electric bike, my wimpy legs can take on the world.  Or, at least Wisconsin.


Happy 4th everyone!