Tag Archives: travel sketch

Red Eye

Bella Vista coffee lives up to its name. Great coffee, a wondrous view of the surrounding volcanic countryside, and delightful and friendly staff.

We are met in Guatemala City by our trusty driver Pablo and are whisked away from the big city to Antigua where Posada San Sebastian awaits us as our home away from home. We stash our things and wander for a cup of coffee (first of many) as our lodging isn’t quite ready for our weary heads. We wander the quiet town as it awakens to an average work day-  shops opening, my favorite coffee place too, Bella Vista, and we some how make it until our room is ready and we can nap .

Arco by morning light

The Posada is bustling but calm and we sleep soundly until well after lunch hour. This is the price we pay for an overnight flight. With more awake minds and bodies we spend some time with our sketchbooks .  I’m well over due for it and feeling rusty but I manage.

Posada San Sebastian has loads of cool objects to sketch. I love these folk art motifs on a box in the courtyard.

A page from the traveling journal

After a while we are famished for a late lunch/early dinner so we head out to town for some local fare. 

It’s delicious and there is even a strolling minstrel who sings to the diners.  It is a magical meal. One of many to be sure .

We wander a bit more, acclimating, looking into the shops, greeting the greeters outside of all of the establishments .

Upon our return, the sun is setting with much fanfare.

We are delighted by this, and even Fuego  itself gives us a small (non-catostrophic) belching light show of lava in the distance .

Though We are weary, we eagerly await the arrival of our fellow travelers with whom we will share the coming days .

More soon, provided we have continued connectivity.

Con Amor, de Antigua Guatemala


All in a day

I’ve technically been here in Antigua Guatemala for a day. Just shy of 24 hours. And in that time I’ve seen a city of history alive and laughing. I’ve heard many tongues being spoken upon the breeze. One conversation between a lovely, crackling fireworks display to end a raucous saturday evening in town and the volcano in the distance which answered with its own beautiful breath of fire and light in the distance.

Life happens amongst the rooftops and streets here. Creature comforts being the first order of business for this weary traveler, we had a snack before bed late last night up the street and coffee and a hearty breakfast on a local rooftop this morning. The volcano was still whispering its thoughts on the breeze.  After breakfast we followed rumors of a procesión happening a number of blocks away. A celebration of the Lenten season.

Temporary carpets were being delicately installed along the streets where the procession would return them to dust.

It was hot, diligent work. The carpets (alfombras) were crafted of tinted saw dust, raffia, flowers and vegetables.

Some had a way of looking at us.

Soon we reached the center of all the activity, Santa Ana Church.

Here, hundreds (thousands?) of faithful folk gathered to watch the spectacle. I am told this happens every Sunday leading up to Easter Holy Week when things are happening every day by then. But all in all, we were lucky to witness what we did.

After the crush of humanity it was great to get lunch and head back to our hotel, Posada San Sebastián which is a wonderland really. And a feast for the senses for anyone with a whimsical bent.

This special place contains many collected items set around in groupings. Such as chairs.

Enameled porcelain.


And my personal favorite, a cabinet chock full of baby Jesus.

Yes it’s true.

One might think that with barely a day here, all of this activity might have had us so busy as to forget our art making. But I did manage a page in between times.  And after some rest, tomorrow will bring more. Sometimes it’s important just to fully soak up what’s in front of you in the moment .

Good night watercolor set. Goodnight baby Jesus. Goodnight chatty neighbor.

Ya esta por ahora.   Antigua, I love you already.

The Structuring of Magic

“Creativity is really the structuring of Magic.” ~ anne kent rush

Much of my extended family had the opportunity to spend some time together down on the Gulf Coast of Florida this past week.  In spite of some brisk weather, at least for Florida, we spent time beach combing, playing games and drawing….

My new sketchbook is now broken in with drawings I was able to spend time creating, a welcome change from the to-do lists, grocery lists, and general notes-to-self that tend to usurp my drawings.  Handy for maintaining sanity in my wild day-to-day life, but not as good for the soul as a few hours with my watercolor set and some mummified sea life.

On one of the colder days down there we visited the Suncoast Seabird Santuary where we saw all sorts of birds recuperating from various injuries.  Amazing to get close enough to study and draw these birds which normally fly away before I get a chance to nail down an image of them worth finishing in watercolor later.  It was a great opportunity!  Pelicans are so very dinosaur-like in my opinion.

Most mornings we ate at a little diner in Pass-a-Grille called the Seahorse.  I enjoyed doodling over coffee.

Much of my kids’ childhood has been spent reading, listening to or watching the books and movies of the Harry Potter series.  We read aloud most of them (multiple times) and we have collectively awaited the arrival of each new book or movie as the story has developed.  Rowling’s stories have provided a modern mythology for kids and adults alike, introducing us to a world where beauty and magic, friendship and adventure, are a natural part of everyday life.  So many times we have turned the last page of a book in the series, or left one of the movies, remarking to each other how amazing it would be to actually be a part of the world of Harry Potter.

A highlight of our trip to Florida was the day we spent at the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Normally being the type of person that avoids things like theme parks, I was a little skeptical that the Universal Studios park would live up to all the hype, much less to what we were able to conjure in our imaginations.  But this is what my daughter wanted for Christmas more than anything else…. so we went for it.  We were not disappointed.  The sheer artfulness and respect for the story’s gorgeous little details, combined with park workers who were cheerful in spite of the crushing crowds made for a magical day.  We sipped butterbeers (I have begun to research the various available recipes out there for this stuff.  Deelish!!!), bought stamps at the owl post and followed Harry out on the Quidditch pitch for a flight on a broomstick (I’m still a little nauseous just thinking about it!)

I even sketched a bit when the crowds in the candy store became a bit much for me.  Speaking of which, our favorite wizarding candies are the Fizzing Whizbees.

While at the park, it was inspirational for me to think that here is this entire beautiful world, created by one person’s fabulous imagination.  In the case of JK Rowling, creativity really is, the structuring of magic.

In the end, the magic was not all at Harry Potter world.  On New Year’s Eve day the weather was finally warm, the sun shining, and a perfect time to be out on the water in kayaks.  My little brother and I went out in the Gulf past the waves where we were treated to the sight of dolphins swimming along side our boats.  My kind of magic!

As this new year begins, it is my hope to do a better job taking the time to properly observe and be grateful for magical moments, big and small.  Things like time spent with my sketchbook, working on a new tune or going for a good long run are my chosen tools to make this happen.  What are yours?

Blessings to you in 2011.