2017 was a year that began in disarray. Personal upheavals seemed to parallel the political ones. I had scheduled four Intensives for the first four months of the year – and suddenly, plans were changing nearly as fast as the US political rhetoric. Five people suddenly canceled while two more just as suddenly signed up. Disarray. But those who participated in the first four months of 2017 will remain in my heart forever! I told them all – you are best ever! And I meant it.

January –  Two Painters and a Writer

I met them in the rain on the top of the Cerro del Muerte, ‘The mountain of death’ where we agreed to meet for our first meal together. And our time began over lunch at the Chespiritos cafeteria style restaurant with all kinds of great Tico food that included ensalada rusa, arranche, arroz con pollo, and so many other wonderful dishes I’ve come to love.

Three people, all from the Pacific Northwest. Two were experienced watercolor painters – Rick and Jeanne. Carla, married to Rick was in the process of writing a book. And all three exuded creativity and enthusiasm.

Anita preparing food in the kitchen

For the next five days we established a routine that included time for me to read what Carla was writing, doing a painting demo for Jeanne and Rick on a selected subject, lots of painting time for us all in the outdoor studio and time for Carla to respond on her laptop to the writing thoughts I had after reading her in process book – a wonderful fantasy adventure about a 12 year old boy discovering his powers and sense of belonging. I even found some moments to rest a bit in the midst of the active schedule. Meals were cooperative and Anita came up several times to provide home made Tico dishes that we all enjoyed.

February – Two Painters and a Dog!

Que has participated in an Intensive or a Workshop here in Costa Rica for the past seven years and was ready to gear up for lots of painting time in the studio. Julia, a fellow ExPat who had arrived from Colorado and her sweet dog, Chloe stepped in to take an available spot after two cancelled. It was a win win for all. Que, along with her painting experience has also been a dog trainer and helped Frida to accept (mas o menos) another dog in the outdoor studio. (Frida is pretty protective of her space after spending a few years on the streets).

And this group painted start to finish at least five paintings each! Including me! We even took on the formidable ‘sleeping angel clouds’!

Frida said goodby from her place above the road and valley.

March –  Two Intrepid Canadians!

I was so very pleased to welcome two Canadians to my place and studio and I am pretty sure Frank enjoyed their presence, too. Both Jayne and Helene set up their goals which mostly centered around understanding and using color more effectively. And Jayne added another goal – to FINISH a painting!


In the process we painted, critiqued, attended a talk in town given by a local writer, Carol Vaughn who is about to publish her book, Crazy Monkey Love that I am looking forward to reading!

gallo pinto, fried platanos and fresh fruit

Meanwhile, Jayne did finish at least two paintings and Helene, a consummate designer carried her love of color and Costa Rica cooking tastes home with her. And she sent me this featuring seared tuna, gallo pinto, fried platanos and fresh fruit.

Best of all – the Intensives in 2017 were intense and exuberant! Thank you all!

And oh do Canadians know how to enjoy the sun!