Thursday, October 21, 2010


So, I've been in Panama for 17 days now. As usual, there is so much to do, learn, absorb that days move way to fast.

I just wanted to share some of the progress that is being made in my three projects with Juan Mate. He oversees the management plan of Coiba National Park and I'm creating three booklets for him and the park. I'll start with some of the paintings that I've done so far for a popular version of the management plan.

WHITE-TIPPED SHARK - gouache, graphite

SCARLET MACAW - gouache, graphite

Coiba is one of the last places that you can see these birds in the wild. Pretty amazing.

GREEN SEA TURTLE - gouache, graphite

AMBERJACKS - gouache, graphite

These paintings are going to be used on the cover page and throughout the Management Book Popular Version. The purpose of this booklet is to explain the history of the island, attractions and activities geared towards the general public. Juan wanted a booklet that would appeal to this demographic and be easy to read and understand. Below is the cover and table of contents in progress. The second macaw and the Coiba howler monkey (endemic to the island) still need to painted. I also attached the concept layout below to show how the painted animals really make a more dynamic piece when compared to the concept that is comprised of a collage of photos. It makes me smile. I love how in paintings, you can make things better than real life. The seascape in the background is a manipulated collection of photos that will stay a photograph. I like the way that looks. :) I added the school of fish and the divers into one of Juan's photos.


The red box will have a detailed map of the island. Juan has a map guy who will be making that. I would really love to learn how to use a map making program. I love maps. One day...

Another book is for fishing at the island. This book will describe how to obtain a permit and which fishes can be caught, how many, etc.

This is the general feel and look I am going for. The book is actually going to be printed on thick plastic pages and spiral bound. It's very cool. It's much better than laminated pages which was the original plan. Now the book will definitely be able to withstand all the water from fishing not to mention the wetness in general of Panama/the tropics.

The final book is a diving and snorkeling manual. I haven't worked out the design of this, but meanwhile I've recreated the line work for maps associated with different dive/snorkeling sites. It's missing a boat on the surface of the water. :) Also Juan will come up with a different key. I just placed these stamps as place holders. I don't know why, but I really love these type of illustrations. They're so simple, but actually incredibly informative. I think the simplification creates clarity of information.

So this is the work I've done thus far! But what about life in Panama outside of the Smithsonian you ask?'s been admittedly slow. I'm just starting to make friends. Yay! I even have plans this Friday! First one since I've been here. Then on Saturday, I'm going to Ross's farm with him and his girlfriend. It's about 3 hours away from the city, but I don't remember the name of the area. It's surrounded by a lot of forest with walking trails. I'm really looking forward to being outside and I especially can't wait to see what sort of animals I come across. I'll put up photos in another post!

I'm also taking Spanish classes that meet twice a week. They are private lessons so it's really intensive. We speak only in Spanish for an hour and a half. I really love my teacher. She's super funny and makes me feel really comfortable. Plus we have simlar names--Juanita es se llama.

I love latin food. There is a restaurant next to the lab called Ranchito and they have really delicious Panamanian dishes. I go there from time to time. You can get lunch specials that come with soup, the main dish, a drink and dessert for about $7. Pretty ridiculous. Yum!

I can't believe that October is almost over! I'm very much looking forward to working with Alexandra Hiller next and I'm sure the month is going to fly just as quickly as this one.

More to come!!!

1 comment:

  1. These look awesome! I'm impressed that you are making friends so quickly- you've only been there for two and a half weeks! Good work all around. :)