Mi Papá and I loved birds.
We cared for a little baby bird for a little while, spending hours gently tossing it back and forth to teach it to fly. Twitty would be let out when I left for school and kept inside at night. Twitty would soar and land on my hand when I’d call him when I got home from school. It was sudden when Twitty stopped answering my calls.
Scarlet Rumpled Tanager zoomed in upon from the rental house patio.
Papa told me that Twitty found its parents and told him goodbye from the big oak tree in our yard. I only have Papás story. Soon after, Papa seemed to forget what he told me…and that part of the Twitty´s story was lost to Alzheimer’s.
When Twitty disappeared, mi Papa and I decided to feed the birds daily. Maybe the bird would return as an adult? I was young enough that I have no sense of time between Twitty´s disappearance and the appearance of Pinta Roja…but a red winged blackbird began visiting our yard.
We named this bird Pinta Roja, simply because of the red splash on his wings. Pinta Roja was the only bird who would land within a few feet of us. He would land on the power wire that was right outside our kitchen and Florida room. Pinta Roja would sing until we showed up with bread, just for him. Mi Mama was even trained by Pinta Roja! Mama would laugh when Pinta Roja appeared and feed him when Papa or I weren’t home. She was exasperated that we were trained by a bird, but enjoyed it, too. He was the only red winged blackbird that ever visited.
Again, I have no sense of time, Pinta Roja stopped visiting after a while. We kept feeding the birds until our habit dwindled and Alzheimer’s got worse.
When I hear red winged blackbirds calling…I’m eight years old again, running out to greet my best friend Pinta Roja with bread in hand, and enjoying each other’s company for a few minutes.
Costa Rica has no red winged blackbirds, but there are scarlet rumped tanager sargentos. Their calls and markings are different, but I get the same spark of joy when I see red feathers against black feathers. It’s like Papa sent messengers to tell me he’s ok, and life is good.
Hummingbird at feeder that’s at the edge of back patio of rental house.
After many years of dreaming and working very hard a day job…Andy and I live in Costa Rica.
We’ve been here 10 months.
We’ve enjoyed Pura Vida and Pura F!cking Vida.
I’m living a daydream of teaching.
I’m living my bigger daydream of being an artist, full time.
Yes. Me. A full time Artist. Teaching.
I’ve always been a helper, a learner, a teacher, a dreamer, an Artist.
I love showing someone how to do something they thought they couldn’t, wouldn’t, or can’t.
I love the spark and smile that shows up on your face when “AHA! I GET IT! WOW! Look at me! I did That!”
I gave my first painting class to a group recently.
I learned a lot.
We had a lot of fun.
A lot of paint was on our hands, but thankfully not on our clothing, lol.
Every single sloth painting is so happily silly and friendly that these students will always be in my heart along with their sloths.
Special thank you to Los Gatos Locos Bar and Restaurant for hosting these Paint Your Own Classes. Everyone enjoyed your margaritas, too!
To see more photos from this class, please visit my website angelinemarie.net
Do you want to spend a few hours of fun painting, without worrying about supplies, etc?
Do you want to join me in a Paint Your Own Class?
I’d love to help you create your own painting with a Costa Rican theme!
For more information, including how to reserve your canvas and seat, please visit my website by clicking here or this sentence.
When your watercolor pills turn runny wet
In a few posts before this one, I showed how my watercolor paints melted, some solutions (no puns intended!), and maybe what I’ve found. In the meantime, my sketchbooks are full of just line drawings and little color.
I could wait until our new home is built. When we will have air conditioning on low in my studio. A week indoors with air conditioning and then a few hours daily outside with me and all will be ok.
I asked other artists in my Make Big Art Community and Kathy Whitehorn offered that I try Golden’s Qor Watercolor paints. I bought some in February and been using them since.
What I like about Qor paint is that the binder seems to be synthetic. I don’t have to keep my paint in a Ziploc bag because it has no honey to attract ants. I tossed this paint kit in my purse and it’s been ok: no mess. I have to get used to the paint…it’s different colors, consistency, saturation, and feelings than my other kits. Yes, watercolors and any paints have a feeling, the way they apply to the paper…lol, to me.
Next up is rainy season. Humidity ramps up about 10%...and every fabric from chair cushion to hung up clean tank top will feel damp no matter if inside or outside of the house. This will be the biggest test of my Qor watercolor paints. I filled up all the pans since I took this photo.
I think the paint will be just fine. I’ll check in with an update later this year, probably with a sketchbook page, lol! My sketchbook gets color, again!
Last post, I showed how my watercolor paints melted.
Here’s what I’ve learned to get my watercolor paints dry:
I’m not one to really give up on adding color to my sketchbooks.
I’ve added color pencils. Dissatisfying between the sharpening and how much color it really adds compared to effort, but at least it’s color.
I guess I have little choice than to wait until our new home is built. When we will have air conditioning on low in my studio. A week indoors with air conditioning and then a few hours daily will be ok.
I’ve asked other artists in my Make Big Art Community if they’ve had this problem. Artist Kathy Whitehorn offered that I try a particular paint brand. I’ll be trying it…but for now it’s dry season…and rainy season will be the real test.
Being in dry season didn’t help the watercolor paint that’s already melted…as I just keep laughing!
When your watercolor pills turn into sticky caramel taffy, the watercolor paint stays home. I keep this kit and a few others inside a very well sealed Ziploc bag, flat, on a shelf. With this kit, I’m lucky it’s taffy caramel like…because my other kit’s paint turns into thick water and runs into the other pans.
Andy and I used to live in humid in Miami, Florida. The average humidity in Miami is between 50ish% - 70ish% year-round, like in Ojochal, Costa Rica where are living. The HUGE difference is that Miami has air conditioning everywhere. In Costa Rica, air conditioning is rarely found or used, no matter how hot or rainy. Air conditioning acts as a dehumidifier as it allows the air to dry out. Since there’s no air conditioning…the air stays humid…and…
Andy and I are renting a house that has NO glass in the windows. The windows have a decorative and practical ironwork and screens. We have lots of fans to keep the air circulating in our home. The fans keep things dryer and us cooler: double win.
The bad is that we also have a lot of humidity, no matter how many fans move the air around…so we use a lot of Ziploc bags to keep things as dry as possible. Sadly, many things stay damp…and there isn’t a way to dry them (no oven, no iron). One of these things are the watercolors that I loved to use with my sketchbooks.
I learned that watercolors melt. The binder (glue), that holds the pigment (color) melts when the paint is kept in humid conditions. It takes just a couple of days for most of the colors to turn runny.
I’m writing this not to complain but more to laugh. Laugh because no one ever mentions melting watercolor paints. I did Google this…and found only One artist writing about it.
In the meantime, my sketchbooks will only have blue or brown line drawings and little if any color. My next post will be how I can maybe fix my watercolor kits…maybe….
Drawing, painting both analog and digital, and other artsy things while living in Costa Rica.
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