Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Sketching in the tropics
Often when traveling I bring along a sketchbook to record certain scenes. It seems that you get a much better feel for a new locale by careful observation and drawing rather than by viewing everything through a camera viewfinder. Also it's a fun thing to do and you meet some interesting locals as well. In 1966 my wife Jeanne and I took a belated honeymoon trip to Grenada and Surinam. Grenada is a beautiful island in the Caribbean and Surinam is a country situated on the top of South America between Guyana and French Guiana. The above photo was taken just after a wonderful breakfast at our hotel.
A sketch of beautiful Grand Anse Beach was made from the balcony adjoining our room at the Grenada Beach Hotel. I frequently use a mechanical pen with waterproof ink to do my basic sketches on watercolor paper, then the tones are added using a Pentel Sign Pen. To complete the sketch I add washes of clear water over the Pentel tones.
Overlooking the harbor at St George's, Grenada. This sketch was done from a vantage point just below Fort George. The school boys had come up the hill to watch the tourists being shuttled in from the S.S. Oceanic by motor launch. Grenada is a very lovely destination which we enjoyed a great deal.
Our next stop was Paramaribo, Surinam, an interesting town with a Dutch flair. Here is a sketch of the harbor.
We wanted to visit French Guiana and traveled from Paramaribo to Albina which is just across the Maroni river from St. Laurent, French Guiana. Here is the interior of our hotel, the Tjon Siem Kie, an interesting place, which in spite of being nearly on the equator, still had cool breezes flowing though it. We dined here on a lovely meal of Indonesian food. The lady that ran the hotel was not only very gracious, but a wonderful cook as well.
A sketch of some old buildings in Albina. I left off the TV antennas and some of the group that was watching me complained as they were proud that they had television.
One of the beautiful old buildings in St. Laurent-du-Maroni. Years ago, this place and nearby Devil's Island was the infamous penal colony where many French convicts were sent.
We traveled down the Maroni river to the Bush Negro village of Onekai, located in Surinam. This is a sketch of the Captain of the village and the local drum maker. These people are the descendants of slaves that escaped into the Surinam jungles. The residents were all very curious about my interest in sketching in their village.
Our boatmen, or more correctly, our boatboys, seemed to enjoy watching me sketch in Bigistone, an Amerindian village.
One of the residents climbed a palm tree and brought us coconuts so that we could refresh ourselves. The boy with the machette cut them open for us.
This a typical hut in the village of Bigistone with it's characteristic open sides.