New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Krausman's Woodcarving Studio 2016 Costa Rica "Pura Vida" Birdcarving Extravaganza!!

              .........Continues,  Day 3, Part 2, Saturday, Oct 01, 2016,  arrivals, an exciting day!-

         Saturday morning started out the same but this morning without Pam and Jen. They stayed up to meet Holly and Nils, and Bob and Deb who arrived late in the evening. Jim and I, Sam and Judy, Dave and Karen went walking, birding and photographing than met back for breakfast. There we met up with Pam and Jen and the others. It was nice to see our seminar slowly come together. Everyone else would be arriving later in the morning before lunch. The restaurant was ready for all of us......tables for fifty-four please!:^)

      By late morning, the buses pulled into the Hotel, everyone was arriving. It was exciting to see everybody getting off the buses .....many friends and people I know, and many new ones that I would have the honor to meet.-

                                                    Pam and Jim greeting everyone

                                       My long-time and dear friends June and Jeff-

                First bus arrived, the second one is on its way. It was nice to see everyone wearing their special red Krausman's Costa Rica hats! :^)

                                        Getting acquainted with the restaurant and Hotel grounds

                                               Marino getting to know everyone..........

                       After lunch, there was time for a little hiking, birding, and getting familiar with the Hotel grounds and the area, or time for some much needed relaxation after a long day........

            By dinner time, everyone had arrived and had a chance to relax. We all met up for dinner and a little get-acquainted time. It was such a pleasure and and honor to meet everyone, especially since we all traveled to this mountain paradise in Costa Rica to do it. Did I mention the excellent food?

     After dinner many of us met in the lounge to relax and get more acquainted with each other. Tomorrow was going to be a big day.....the seminar starts, and I am anxiously waiting for it!

       Day 4, Sunday, Oct 2, 2016, the Seminar/Workshop begins- This is an exciting day, I have been waiting for this great opportunity for a long time! Today, the outside deck will be ready for us to begin just after breakfast, and I am really anxious to get started. This morning just at dawn, I was going to take whomever was interested on a local birding walk before breakfast just to help everyone become familiar with the area around the Hotel. The area contained many trails that weaved along the Rio Savegre, and the streams that fed into the river from high in the cloudforests. There were also trails in the cloudforest, through a few small fields, up the hills on either side of the Hotel and even along the Savegre road which is an isolated remote road with little to no local traffic (meaning a few cars from the few handful of homes in the area). And to my surprise, I was pleasantly greeted by three dozen energetic and anxious hikers and birders!

      We walked down the hill of the entrance road to the Hotel to get our walk started. Originally, it was one of my hopes that everyone would get a chance to see Collared Trogons around the Hotel. Since this was the subject bird for our seminar, it would be a highlight to enjoy one during our class. On Friday, Jen and I saw a single female Trogon coming to the fruiting trees behind the cabins with the Quetzals. It was a quick look, and I wasn't able to photograph it.

     As we crossed the small bridge over the Rio Savegre, I was pointing out a Tropical Kingbird and a Boat-billed Flycatcher that were perched in a tree near the river. Jim and a few others walked up to me and said that they just spotted and photographed a female Trogon that was perched just a few yards away. I laughed a bit to myself that I missed it (being the birding guide), but was really happy that others had seen it. Good way to start the day! We walked the area around the Hotel and found a small list of birds for everybody to see. Unfortunately however, the Quetzals were not feeding this morning in the trees behind cabin #141, but there were plenty of other interesting birds to experience:

       One of my favorite mountain species: the Torrant Tyrannulet, a small Flycatcher species that lives along the river

                                             The beautiful Spangle-cheeked Tanager

                                                 Another favorite, Collared Redstart


                     The smallest Hummingbird species: the Scintillant Hummingbird (female)

                                                                       Green Violetear

                                                           Black-capped Flycatcher

                                                                    Silver-throated Tanager

        ..........and a very quick look at a small covey of Spotted Wood-Quail that ran across the road in front of us. This one is a male which is showing its golden crown feathering. After the walk it was time to meet for breakfast, and the seminar will begin right after breakfast.

     This seminar was special in so many ways, especially the itinerary of each day. Each morning I had planned to lead a bird walk just as I did today, but Marino who had originally planned on being here later in the week, decided to come earlier because of the excitement of the seminar at Savegre. I suggested to him that he make himself available to everyone for short birding tours each day for a few hours before breakfast, after breakfast and after lunch. Marino agreed to do this for us. As I mentioned earlier in this report, Marino is the foremost guide, naturalist, and bird expert of the Quetzal and all the other bird species in the area. Because there were so many different habitats in the Savegre Valley, and he had first hand knowledge where all the Quetzals were, as well as their private bird observation platforms, there was no better person to share what he knows with everyone. I am so happy that Marino agreed to do this for everyone!

    As well as the group tours with Marino, Pam, Jim, Jen and I set up great day-long travel tours that anyone/everyone could experience for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. These tours included, coffee plantations, waterfalls, aviaries and butterfly gardens, zip-lining, mangrove crocodile and bird boat tours, volcano tours, and orchid gardens. These tours were available to the spouses. and even the carvers if they chose to go on them.......I would catch them up when they returned to class. Our intention was an easy-paced, enjoyable class that "everyone" would enjoy and find something that was interesting to do or see! What could be better than that!?

     I always teach oil painting in my classes, but made a 100 degree turn for this seminar. Savegre is an Eco-Lodge specializing in a natural, clean and healthy living style, so I wanted to respect and support that by using acrylic paints. For this seminar we used Old Holland iridescent acrylic green and blue paint, and Traditions acrylic paints. My first choice would have been to use Holbein Acryla gouache paint, but they are very expensive and are difficult to use properly if you were not familiar with them. Traditions acrylics are familiar with many carvers who use acrylic paints, so my decision was easy. Felipe was happy with my conscientious decision regarding the paint.

     After Breakfast......the seminar begins! Each morning after breakfast, we would all meet on the outdoor deck and start the class. Since this seminar/workshop was set up as a complete birdcarving/tropical art and nature event, I wanted everyone to experience their complete surroundings of the mountain cloudforest including the bright daylight, fading daylight, warm sun, cool afternoons, rainy days with the sounds of the rolling river and the birds passing through the trees near the deck! I wanted everyone's senses open and acute to everything that the cloudforest had to offer! This was part of the theme of this workshop!

     My teaching method is also to teach art, not bird painting. I want everyone to incorporate what they experience, see, and what are inspired by in this beautiful tropical setting. It is my hope that everyone can walk away from this experience as artists complimented by a full palette of colors in their minds and on their birds! Yes, I could have shown every student how to paint their birds green and red using three or four colors, but that is disingenuous. All everyone has to do is look around the cloudforest.....there is an extensive array of colors on it's natural and multi-colored palette. To compliment those colors is the interaction with the sun and shadows highlighting, altering, changing, and renewing those magnificent colors.....there is so much information to open the creative mind.
For this painting seminar, I want to introduce many to the world of color, color management, and the natural interaction of light and shadow, and color alterations induced by the light/shadow interaction.

    Everyone is ready.....let's begin!-

     Pam welcomes everyone, and offers a few instructions-

       With the paints dispensed, lets start painting the Trogons........but not until we select the correct brushes........

                        ................have a little color theory!-

            With the theory and instruction completed, let's start painting!

        The first coats of paint applied are the green and blue iridescent colors. I wanted to build up a good layer of the iridescent colors which will end up being an under-layer foundation for the many thin coats of greens, blues, violets, yellow/greens and blue/green applied over the top. The iridescent green plumage of the Quetzal and male Trogon naturally shimmer from bright green to violet blue depending on the suns/light angle and the shadow mass on the plumage. For our carved Trogons, I will show everyone how to paint the bird in both the light and shadow using the correct colors to facilitate the natural highlights and shadows of the plumage. In essence, these birds will be painted as if they were displayed under natural light conditions from bright greens on one side, and the corresponding natural blue/green in the transitional zones of the plumage, and then the blue/violet in the shadowed areas. Its a challenge, but I think everyone is up to it!-

       Marino pays us a visit, I know he was really curious about how everyone was doing. He was so excited that we were having this workshop!-

       With the class underway, and everyone applying their initial coats of iridescent paint, I thought I would hang my decoys for fun, a little ambiance and maybe to initiate some bird reactions.


                                                         Male Resplendent Quetzal-

                                                                     Mottled Owl-

                                             Mottled Owl and Barred Forest-Falcon-

                                        Barred Forest-Falcon with Acorn Woodpecker prey-


                                                         Costa Rican Pygmy Owl-

                                                Pair of Long-tailed Silky Flycatchers-

                                                                  Emerald Toucanet-

                                                              male Collared Trogon-

                                                                Royal Flycatcher-

                                                     The view from inside the restaurant-

                  The mantra of the week! An amazingly profound statement that spells out why we are here in Costa Rica! Fantastic! Thank You Judy! :^)

       During the day, we were honored with a special visit from Marino's Father Senior Efrein Chacon, the founder of the Hotel. I met Senior Chacon sixteen years ago, and he greets us every time Jen and I come to the Hotel. He was interested in our class, and he was so honored we chose Savegre. And he was also interested and curious about the new carvings I brought with me. He showed his friends my decoys hanging in the trees.

      Senior Chacon and his Brother wondered into this magnificent valley in the late 50's on a search for food for his family. They realized that they had found their new homes, so they brought their families up the mountain and settled in the valley. They built the Savegre Lodge which is now the Savegre Hotel, Natural Reserve and Spa. Its a fascinating story! Next time you are there, ask Marino to tell it to you.


        The painting was progressing beautifully, with the "green" and "blue" iridescent layers being successfully painted on the Trogons. This bi-color foundation started to develop the realistic light interplay that develops from iridescent color compliments. It was time to start building the red color variations of the breast and lower tail coverts.


     The painting went smoothly today, and I was very happy with everyone's progress.....especially everyone's willingness to incorporate and paint light-play with an open palette of color on their birds, made me quite proud!. The Trogons were coming out beautifully! At the end of the day around 5:00 pm, it was time to call it a day....clean up the brushes and head for dinner!

     What a great day!!

     Tomorrow is a full day with the first all day tour happening. This tour is to travel back to the mountains above San Jose to the province of Heredia to the Caribbean side of the Continental divide near the Poas Volcano. The trip will start with a tour at a coffee plantation, and then to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. There will be a complete tour of the nine waterfalls and the aviaries and butterfly gardens. Lunch will be served at the Waterfall Gardens and then more time to complete the tour at the Gardens before heading back to Savegre.....quite a day!

     For those who plan on coming to class, I will be there teaching! If anyone from the class chooses to go on the tour, I will catch you up later! Enjoy!

           Savegre Hotel (blue arrow), San Jose airport (red arrow) and Doka/Poas Coffee Plantation and LaPaz Waterfall Gardens (orange arrow)

         Day 5, Monday, Oct, 03, 2016, Poas/Doka Coffee Plantation and LaPaz Waterfall Gardens on "older Posts" below right>