12 Days in Costa Rica

Kate/ June 12, 2015/ blog

12 days in Costa Rica helped me prepare for this late spring heat wave. 12 days in Costa Rica taught me a lot about cloud forests, rainforests, and tropical birds. 12 days in Costa Rica cleared my mind of past ghosts and made room for new thoughts and experiences. 12 days in Costa Rica made me realize how bad I can smell, and that it’s ok because everybody does. Except Brian. He is suspiciously sans body odor, even in the hottest and most humid conditions. Either I married up, or I married an alien.

12 days in Costa Rica yielded scores of little sketches and studies, but not much in the way of finished art. Drawing wild birds in a wild place makes for wild strokes. My favorite drawings from the trip are the least finished. They resemble life drawings from my days in college, where you had 10 seconds to get the gesture of the nude model on paper before they changed poses. Birds give you one second, if that. They don’t stop moving. Even when roosting for the night they fidget and preen until they can’t stay awake any longer. And then it is dark.

I’ve been lugging a lot around in my head since we got back from our honeymoon last Sunday. I’ve been mentally writing this blog post over and over. It’s not coming out the way I had planned. It almost feels somber. Not at all as deep and colorful as the trip. Why?

Maybe it’s best to just post the pictures. The gestures of birds. Scribbled notes and brain maps. A verbal summary feels impossible. My photos appear too dull and small. I felt so much more than can be squeezed into a viewfinder or expressed in adjectives.

I have some scanning to do. I’ll be back.

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About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at http://KateGarchinsky.com (aka PenguinArt.com).