One of the things I do when in Brazil is get out the colored pencils and draw. I set up a table and chair on the balcony and start drawing lines and shapes with a black ink pen. Eventually it turns into something complete which is when I begin the colored pencils. Years ago I used colored pencils for realistic drawings. There was something delightful about a medium that can create sharp lines, blend colors or be highly saturated. Plus they were easy to take care of.

Much of my art testing and learning came from my workshops with Chuck Stasek when he was an educator at the Point Reyes Education Center. Amazing classes. Amazing teacher. Groups of us would spend a weekend outdoors drawing and illustrating. These people were serious. They brought lamps to be able to work at night, lens to see detail and tons of paper. My kind of people!

Back to Brazil. I’m five floors up so I have a great view of the unfolding street scene below. I know what time it is by what I’m hearing. Men crying their product, horns, murmur from the beach one block away, cars, shovels scraping the sidewalks, taxi beeps and birds.

There are many things to draw here. I can draw the beach.

I can draw the people.

I can draw the Portuguese influenced architecture as seen in this pousada Manga Rosa.

Or maybe the sunset.

Now that I have a sketchbook full of illustrations, it seems that I always return to birds. Their sounds are constant here. I wake up to birdsong, hear them mingle with whistle sounds from the beach, hear the pigeons coo as they nest in the air conditioning units. I’ve not seen the birds I’ve sketched, but in Brazil everything is possible.

Bird behind tree.

Bird on a limb.

The bird who lives in the air conditioner.

They’re all welcome.