Friday, May 27, 2022

Imaginary Macaws

Hi everyone. Happy almost weekend. This upcoming weekend is the long Memorial Day weekend here in the US. Not only is it a weekend to remember those who serviced their country and lost their lives, but it is the unofficial start of the summer "season".

The other day I shared some tropical toucans that I saw in Costa Rica, and today I will share another bird I saw while on that trip many years ago, the Scarlet Macaw. OK my bird today isn't exactly a scarlet macaw, just inspired by them, as this bird is more of a species I created for my page using a stencil that looks like a macaw's body.

Macaws are one type of parrot. The little info blurb I included is about a species in the parrot family found in Australia, where macaws are NOT found, but I liked having the info on my page as it makes my imaginary parrot look like a more official species. Smile.

My background is a mix of different watercolor paints as well as some stamped images. The macaw is stenciled and then colored with watercolor markers, a black marker and a white pen. I drew in the branch and then used many Art by Marlene punch out leaves on the branch. I also  added some mini flowers as this tropical tree that have many types of leaves is flowering. I also added some details to those leaves.

Does my parrot work for Nicole's Face Off challenge? He does have quite a face!

A couple of you asked about my school trip to Costa Rica (which was back in 2013) after reading my toucan post. This trip was a cultural immersion trip to a very small town in in the wilds of the Osa Peninsula, which is in the rain forest. This trip was just for teachers, although the school ran a similar trip for students during the school year. (We went in the summer.) We spent much of our week working in local schools and other than the first couple and last nights where we stayed in a private hostel, we lived with locals for the rest of the time. I stayed with a lovely family who I still keep in touch with through  Facebook. 

 I could also earn graduate credits for like $100 (that was a deal for sure), and besides getting to see some of Costa Rica, I was able to bounce up my credits and reach the next credit level for pay raise too when I returned to school in the fall.  It was win-win situation, but even if I didn't have the grad school opportunity, just visiting Costa Rica was amazing.

We did get to do a few other things when we weren't working in the schools.  We took a rain forest hike; I rode my first horse; we visited a sustainable chocolate farm (the best coco ever as we made it from scratch-starting with roasting the coco beans), and we also took a boat trip to an eco friendly resort. We didn't get to stay at the resort, but we learned about being eco-friendly in Costa Rica and also had an amazing boat trip seeing dolphins and humpback whales.  Since the whole area we stayed in was rainforest, we saw lots of wildlife and local plants. And we had noisy howler monkeys wake us at  like 3 AM. This was my first and only (so far) trip to a Central American tropical rainforest. It was eye-opening, both literally and figuratively.   It was a great experience, and I'm very glad I decided to do it when I had the opportunity. 

Here's a few photos I posted back in August and September of 2013. There's more in various posts I put up at the time.  I'll start with a sign from the eco-resort.

Here's some beautiful tropical flowers,

and some leaf cutter ants carrying their prices along an ant trail.

I'm not sure what type of hummingbird this was.

This is one of the classrooms we worked in.

A view of the Gulfo (the bay) from the town we stayed in.

A new fruit I tried that was delicious once you pealed away the spiny looking skin called maman-chino. It is so called rambutan.

Grinding our roasted coco beans for hot coco.

Another view of the shore from town.

And at another school.

One night we visited a Costa Rican bullfight, which was more like a rodeo with bull roping.

And here's a banana flower, and then more tropical blooms.

And finally, I was pretty fascinated by those leaf cutter ants that seemed to be almost everywhere.

I'm glad I had the chance to go on this trip. It was quite the adventure. 

Thanks for visiting.



CJ Kennedy said...

Fun page. Since I hadn't found your blog in 2013, I enjoyed your trip to Costa Rica. Sounds like you had a fabulous opportunity. Enjoy today before it rains.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I have visited Costa Rica three times, and would return in a heartbeat. It's one of my favourite destinations on Earth. And I didn't even get grad school credits! Hugs, David

Laurie said...

Beautiful work and an utterly amazing adventure! 👍❤️

DVArtist said...

Love the parrot and it does work for FFO. I will link you in. Wonderful trip to Costa Rica. Have a lovely day.

Valerie-Jael said...

Hi Erika, I love your handsome Macaw, and it really has a face! The photos of your trip to Costa Rica are fantastic, you were really lucky to be able to go there and see and learn so much. Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Valerie

Christine said...

Beautiful macaw

kathyinozarks said...

awesome post Erika and I love your parrot page too.
what a great opportunity you had to visit Costa Rica and earn credits too. Years ago after my father had passed, my Mom and her girlfriend planned a major trip each year for many years one trip was to Cosa Rica and she loved it so that brought back memories of her telling me about her trip Happy Friday and holiday weekend hugs Kathy

Divers and Sundry said...

What a wonderful opportunity! Breathtaking scenery.

R's Rue said...

What a beautiful and uplifting post. Thank you. Hugs.

Serena Lewis said...

Great page, Erika! I like the variety in the leaves which are a nice compliment to your Macaw.

How lovely that you still keep in touch with the family you stayed with in Costa Rica. It sounds like it's an amazing and memorable place to visit.

Have a nice weekend!

Serena x

nwilliams6 said...

Some great pictures, Erika, and I love your bird! Super pretty colors and great background. The trip looks like it was a great adventure. Hugz

Iris Flavia said...

He sure has a face, a cute one :-)
Your time in Costa Rica sounds... WOW! And yay to "terrible" FB! This sounds so wonderful!

The monkeys, ohhhh! "So far" sounds good - more to come, once we are free to travel again?
Wow, the pupils sure look neat.
I still don´t know what to think about school uniforms, pro or contra? We have none.

Wonderful food and drink (to be)!

Awww, the lake and the kids look so happy!
And the flowers! And ants. weeee... bad memories ;-)

More stories, please! Hugs and yay to adventures!

Rain said...

Your "Scarlet Macaw Inspired Bird" ☺☺ is gorgeous!! What an amazing trip Erika. I think my favourite part would have been seeing the dolphins and whales. I went whale watching back in 2001, it will forever be etched in my memory as one of the best experiences of my life! I love that you went to the chocolate farm too! ♥

LA Paylor said...

great post... oh those kids are so full of life's energy aren't they? cutter ants... eek the odd fruit... the pics are so well composed and I like the macaw

Jeanie said...

I love your scarlet macaw! And it's fun to see the Costa Rica photos. I've never particularly wanted to visit places in Central or South America. But when I see the natural beauty, I reconsider! It looks like a wonderful visit.

Aimeslee Winans said...

Fabulous macaw and page, Erika! Love it, the leave arrange too, it's very cool! Several peeps in my life love CR, my sis-in-law just sold her property there. They've all said it's heaven on earth and once had ex-pat retirement dreams. But I don't think that's a thing anymore, the central countries have changed so much with drugs/crime/etc. Very fortunate you went when you did and could 'on the cheap' like that. Hershey needs a lesson if they don't let tourists do something similar, that cocoa experience looked awesome! Good week's end to you, xoxo

Meggymay said...

A super colourful bird and a fabulous page. I liked seeing all the photos as well, you must have so many memories from those trips.
Yvonne xx

craftytrog said...

Great photos and I love your parrot!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Beautiful artwork and lovely assortment of photos.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I apologize for being so late visiting. By now you know my computer died after being hit by a lightening strike. I am finally back online. I love your Macaw. I also am in awe of the background and leaves you added. A very fun page and great for Matilde's theme at AJJ.

So glad you explained your trip to Costa Rico. Sally went one year with a group from her church. She spent time on farms and coffee plantations, but not in the rain forest. Sounds like you had a much better trip than she had.