Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snorkeling at Isla de Ixtapa

Enough whining about the cold.  Nothing ever changes due to whining alone, and besides the weather is much warmer and I like winter now.

This is a sketch I did to remember our times snorkeling at Isla de Ixtapa.  We took the little bus to the marina.  The bus was lots of fun, blaring salsa music, windows (and sometimes doors) wide open, stick shift grinding through the gears.  At the marina, we got onto a little shuttle boat to go over to the island.  Sometimes we got on several boats, changing  from one to the other in open water, for no discernible reason.  There were two beaches on the shore side of the island.  The water was warm and calm and lovely, but due to traffic, there were very few fish.  Walking a short distance across the island led to Playa Coral and this beach was snorkel heaven.  Tons of fish, a small coral reef that was wickedly sharp if the waves nudged you too close.  There were white snappers that liked the shallows and brushed around your shins, little sergeant-majors, yellow and blue tangs, angel fish, and may more that I have not identified.

We claimed a table on the beach under the umbrella and ordered cerveza nestled in an ice filled bucket, accompanied by a dish of limes.  After snorkeling several times, we had lunch.  The first day we had grilled shrimps and rice, the second time we had mahi-mahi, and the third day chips and salsa.  It was very crowded that day so we didn't stay as long.  All three days were wonderful and I'm grateful to have those memories on a cold, snowy day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

EDM 303- Frozen

Draw something frozen.  Well that would be me.  This past week has been brutally cold here.  Windchills have been down around -35 Celcius which is approaching dangerous level.s  Exposed skin can freeze within a minute.
Time t get out the serious winter gear and not take any chances.  Double layers of everything.  When I bought those shearling lined boots, I thought they were expensive, and it's not often cold enough to wear them more than about 10 times a year.  But this year, they justified themselves.

I wanted to draw in my journal the steps I take to keep warm when outside.  It really is an issue when it's this cold and becomes sort of all-consuming.  Doing anything outside when it's this cold requires time and forethought, even taking out the garbage or walking pets.  And it's way too cold to do fun things outside like skating or tobogganing.  So here are the eights steps required to go outside. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ixtapa sketches 2

On Dec 11, we borrowed bicycles and a guide.  Ixtapa has a very nice bike path, known as the ciclopista, that is about 8.5 kilometers long.  It starts in downtown Ixtapa and dips down into the forest reserve, and ends up at the pier at Playa Linda.
Along the way, we stopped to help that turtle cross the road, and watched a roseate spoonbill feeding in the swamp while another one took flight.  Near the marina, we stopped at the Zona de Cocodrillas.  It's a natural crocodile habitat that has simply been fenced off so the crocs don't wander out into traffic and frighten children and tourists.  They are small, as crocs go, only about five feet long from snout to tail and they looked pretty indolent and sleepy.  But those teeth are long and the eyes are prehistoric and predatory.  We also saw lots of those white egrets and iguanas.  The ride was long and hot but lots of fun.  Round trip was nearly 20 kilometers, including the sidetrips.
When we got back to the hotel, we saw that during the morning they had planted pointsettias amongst all the palm ferns and pothos in the lobby and grounds.  It looked lovely.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ixtapa sketches

This is the sketch  of my memories of our bus tour through the towns of Ixtapa, Zihuatenejo, and the surrounding countryside.  We visited a coconut plantation and learned about how all the parts of the coconuts are used for something - from fuel, to food, to skin creams.  The yellow coconuts are not quite ready for harvesting. There are many plantations in this area, and the trees are all planted in neat, perfectly straight rows.  For those of us used to seeing haphazard palms leaning over the beach, it was a revelation to see them so cultivated.
Then we went on to a brick making...well, place, I guess.  I want to say "factory" but both the shaping and the baking areas were outside.  No buildings at all.  The hand-shaped tiles or bricks dry in the sun, and then are fired in an outside kiln that is heated by burning coconut husks.  That quintessentially Mexican sun and moon piece was bought there.  It will hang on my garden fence in the summer.
We drove on to the coast where we boarded a small boat and toured a huge mangrove swamp.  There were many species of birds and tons of fish.  The birds feasted well.  I think that is a cormorant that I saw sliding a pretty sizable fish straight down its gullet.  We humans feasted on freshly caught and grilled Spanish Mackeral on the beach, along with salsa, beans, and icy cold Coronas.
Back at our hotel, just as the sun sank in the ocean, we guests and the hotel lifeguard released the baby turtles (a.k.a tortuguitas") that had hatched that morning in the protected area of the grounds.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New year everyone and welcome to my blog.  I wish you all much health, happiness and creativity in the coming year.
In December, I spent two weeks in Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo, Mexico.  It was absolutely beautiful there, and we had a fabulous vacation.
One of my intentions for this new year is to draw more in public.  I want to record the things that make up my life, the things that ignite my passion and curiosity, and the things that reflect the beauty of the world we live in.  What better place to start that than on vacation in a place where everything is new and beautiful and wondrous.
We sailed and snorkeled and zip lined and walked and I tried to record the things I saw - everything from sunsets over the ocean, to crocodiles.  I had to draw some of it from my memory, as some things, such as sailboats and bicycles are not conducive to drawing!
So here is the first sketch, drawn while reclining by the pool with a margarita close at hand.  The perspective on the chairs is way off, but it did serve to get me over the nervousness of drawing in public.
Thank you for visiting my blog.  The artistic communities I've discovered on the Internet are the most creative and supportive groups I've had the privilege to belong to.  You are all wonderful!