I’m enjoying the balmy, palmy tropical island of Barro Colorado, Panama, once again and trying to get back my “BCI Happy Legs” as Mike the Ant Man likes to call it. BCI is up-and-down-up-and-down and anywhere you want to walk seems like all uphill from wherever you are. And of course I’m schlepping massive amounts of gear wherever I’m going, trying to make works of art in situ and stand-tu as well.
Ant Man has plunged into his science projects for the summer while I am doing the same and dodging rainstorms while I’m at it, although it has been unusually dry for this time of year. The heavy downpours expected every afternoon haven’t been happening as much as everyone would like. Research is being set back by the lack of water. Derby Day, an annual event, may be cancelled for lack of toads.
Besides the big drawings I’m carrying around a little Moleskine 3″x5″ sketchbook and using it for impromptu compositions, ideas and birds on the fly. With my camera and the little book in one pocket, I’m hiking out and taking note of good spots to set up, hopefully not too far from home (home being Smith House, our little bungalow on the hill, where Ant Man and I are very comfortable and even have a balcony looking out over a ravine with creek at the bottom. Very birdy place, too). Random hikes while lugging gear seems to be counterproductive when time is short. Better to use the time drawing than schlepping, so I’m finding some really nice subjects pretty close in. The orchid drawing above was done not more than two minutes away, under an overhang near the research greenhouses, during a light rain. Today I did one of some beautiful fan palms directly next to the old dining hall, one of BCI’s original buildings still standing. While I drew, a clattering collection of Greater Anis swung their tails and made jalopy-starter noises at me. One of the joys of being on the island, among other delights and pleasures.
I’ll have to close now as Ant Man Mike wishes me to join him for a second night of Blacklighting for Alates (not to be confused with Dialing for Dollars). It’s a fun game where a UV light is placed over a white sheet and we see what flies in. Alates are the winged reproductives of ants and if we’re in luck some big queens will zoom in to be snatched up and studied. It’s a creepy crawly totally ooky and fun exercise in dodging big beetles, moths and katydids, and getting flying things attached to your face and in your hair. More fun than a barrel of howler monkeys.