Category: South America


Posted by April 2, 2010

The wonderful hostel La Bolsa in Bariloche have very kindly sent me a photo of Morocha, the poodle I got obsessed by a couple of posts ago, with her litter of puppies/kittens.  I think she looks a little fraught.

Café culture V jungle law

Posted by April 1, 2010

On the left are sketches from a café in Neuquen; the right is of a print I really liked in a café in San Telmo (BA).  It described itself as a café for artists and literary types and this was a poster advertising a poets’ reading in 1983.  It was the perfect café: beaten-up wooden tables, a wood-beamed bar running along the edge and posters all over the walls.  Slightly at odds with all this were the fairly moody waiters, but then again it was a Monday.

Then on to the Iguazu Falls, vast stretch of waterfalls that descend through subtropical jungle at the Argentine border with Brazil.  Rich pointed out that you often find great waterfalls on the borders between countries.  Getting the sketchbook out there was fraught with danger due to water getting everywhere, so in the end my sketches came from the mostly good, occasionally hellish hostel we stayed in.   I love INXS but please, not again.

Some photos from the falls themselves.  This is the Devil’s Throat, a great cavity where water thunders down on all sides (that´s Brazil on the other side).  Standing above it and getting whammed by 82 metres´worth of upwards spray is really quite incredible.

There are butterflies everywhere and occasionally you’d come across a swarm of them feeding on an apparently unremarkable piece of mud.  Actually they’re behaving like flies but you still gaze on adoringly.

The air was steaming with vapour from nearby waterfalls in this part of the jungle; it made the lilies you can just about see tremor and fill the air with scent.  Lovely.

All creatures very great and very small

Posted by March 20, 2010

The gorgeous grey Morocha, a poodle at the hostel La Bolsa in Bariloche.  She was once a street dog and had puppies after the owners took her in.  They had some kittens at the time whose mother wasn’t interested (I forget why) so they gave them to Morocha and she nursed them too.  She had the loveliest temperament.. all I want now is a poodle.

After Bariloche, we went to Neuquen, a lively and prosperous town which isn’t focused on tourism – v refreshing.  We were there to see some of the dinosaurs found nearby, including a reconstruction of the largest dinosaur ever found, the Argentinosaurus.  To the right you can see a T-Rex, to give you some idea..

Absolutely extraordinary.  And it was a veggie.  In Neuquen itself we went to the Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes (lovely turn of phrase, like fruits de mer) – below is a copy of a Pueyrredón, a celebrated 19C Argentinian artist.  To the right is the crazy lady who staffed the cloak room.  She was tiny, sported an enormous red curly wig, huge white 70s specs with accessories all over the place and sort of weirdest of all, was really unfriendly.  When we went back to the MNBA two days later, Rich remarked that the woman running the cloak room was ‘very David Lynch’.  I checked and indeed it was the same one, this time with long black hair, skulking in the corner frantically making a friendship bracelet.

This is from a dream I had a while ago about an Anubis-like blue dog with orange eyes.  I always meant to get him down on paper.

And finally, a grasshopper that somehow found its way to the centre of Buenos Aires and our windowsill today.

El Chalten (again)

Posted by March 14, 2010

Some more of the mountains around El Chalten – I was so attached to them, I kept drawing them.  This painting I did on a hike; the spike is Cerro Torre, renowned for the near impossibility of climbing it and the controversy over who first achieved this.  The very top is covered in a cap of ice, which is not only extremely difficult to get a hold in but pieces of it might at any moment drop onto your head.  Also the mountain is nearly sheer.  I thought it was much more exciting than Fitz Roy.

Secondly here are the mountains to the left of Torre and Fitz Roy.  I was sat in a much comfier cafe for this one.

Kitchen in a cabana

Posted by March 5, 2010

We’ve been staying in a little – well actually quite big – cabana (cabin) in El Chalten (see last post).  We’ve only got a couple more days in it before we’re cast back into backpacking world.. here is Rich working on his blog at the kitchen table.


Posted by March 1, 2010

Well it’s taken me ages but have finally uploaded some sketches from my travels on here.  I didn’t really have my drawing mojo on for weeks, but we’ve stopped in a Patagonian town called El Chalten for a while and with a bit of a relax, it’s come back.   Obviously I’m not travelling with a scanner, so what follows are rather poor attempts to photograph the pics with my boyfriend holding the sketchbook in direct sunlight.  Nor do I have Photoshop out here, so can only adjust the brightness a bit with the fairly basic editing page on Picasa! 

In chronological order… the balcony of our first hostel in Buenos Aires.  This was the first time I’d used my new Artist’s Grade watercolours so it was all a bit haphazard.

The beach at Puerto Madryn on the east coast.  Was being blown by a very strong wind and a lot of sand.

Random bits and bobs, including one of the long-distance buses everyone uses to get around here, and various people as they came and went on the Puerto Madryn prom.

My boy Rich with a rather long face, and the Andean mountain range overlooking El Chalten..

Striated mountains seen from the Los Condores viewpoint in El Chalten, if you look in the opposite direction to Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.  I loved these mountains.

Experiments with my new dip pen.

A tree characteristic of the lower levels of the Andes around here.  They seem half dead, though still lovely.  When hiking you come across whole fields of their blanched spidery skeletons.. I must find out why.

Handmade Sketchbook

Posted by January 22, 2010

I’m travelling in South America and am hoping to post drawings and paintings from my travels to this page – starting with these photos of my sketchbook, which I made before coming away (I’ve made another for my mother which I’ll post on my return).  This one was photographed on the roof of our hostel in Buenos Aires.  

The paper is Fabriano 5 Liscia (hot-pressed) 210gsm 50% cotton paper – good for watercolours. [now it’s April and I can confirm the paper is excellent for watercolours – absolutely no colour coming through the other side and the paper warps very little.]