travel

Final Kolkata Adventures

We spent some time in the South Park Street Cemetary, a historic walled cemetery that housed many British citizens from the colonial era. It was extremely sobering to see the ages listed on many of the large monuments. It was rare to see an age over 40. According to a booklet we got at the office, British citizens who traveled to India lasted about two monsoon seasons before succumbing to tropical diseases.

This was the largest obelisk in the cemetery and it is even bigger in real life. I had to squish it a bit to fit it on the page!

This was the largest obelisk in the cemetery and it is even bigger in real life. I had to squish it a bit to fit it on the page!

There were many monuments in this style and homeless people lived in them years ago before the cemetery was restored.

There were many monuments in this style and homeless people lived in them years ago before the cemetery was restored.

This is the Marble Palace, an enormous house of a very wealthy family that still lives in one wing. It is a museum now. We had to pay a bribe to get in because you’re supposed to fill out paperwork with the government to get in, but our Indian friends told us that that process is so impossible that it is better to just give the guard money. We did and were lead on a tour through rooms filled with classical sculpture, huge Chinese vases, and more. The floors were elaborate inlaid marble and oil paintings papered the walls. The lights were turned on as we entered a room and turned off as we left. There was a sense of decaying grandeur in the air.

This is the Marble Palace, an enormous house of a very wealthy family that still lives in one wing. It is a museum now. We had to pay a bribe to get in because you’re supposed to fill out paperwork with the government to get in, but our Indian friends told us that that process is so impossible that it is better to just give the guard money. We did and were lead on a tour through rooms filled with classical sculpture, huge Chinese vases, and more. The floors were elaborate inlaid marble and oil paintings papered the walls. The lights were turned on as we entered a room and turned off as we left. There was a sense of decaying grandeur in the air.

I was constantly agog at the beautiful outfits of the women out and about on the streets.

I was constantly agog at the beautiful outfits of the women out and about on the streets.

The pollution resulted in pink, hazy sunsets, most obvious out in the countryside.

The pollution resulted in pink, hazy sunsets, most obvious out in the countryside.

A leftover from the first post! This is my husband doing sudoku in the Telegraph newspaper.

A leftover from the first post! This is my husband doing sudoku in the Telegraph newspaper.

Many of the stores in Kolkata were tiny, sometimes just alcoves with the proprietor sitting on a shelf. This store was just down the block from our friend’s house and we got our water from them. They didn’t speak much English, but whenever they saw us coming, they’d get out the water! Doing this sketch in the neighborhood attracted around forty people in the hour and a half it took me to do it. I had a group of older gentlemen move their bench so they could sit directly behind me and watch my every move!

Many of the stores in Kolkata were tiny, sometimes just alcoves with the proprietor sitting on a shelf. This store was just down the block from our friend’s house and we got our water from them. They didn’t speak much English, but whenever they saw us coming, they’d get out the water! Doing this sketch in the neighborhood attracted around forty people in the hour and a half it took me to do it. I had a group of older gentlemen move their bench so they could sit directly behind me and watch my every move!

I spotted this pink and blue house on a walk around our friend’s neighborhood. Buildings are so much more colorful in India than in the US.

I spotted this pink and blue house on a walk around our friend’s neighborhood. Buildings are so much more colorful in India than in the US.

There was a frame shop by our friend’s house and they had a collection of Jamini Roy prints in their frames.

There was a frame shop by our friend’s house and they had a collection of Jamini Roy prints in their frames.

Our trip to India was remarkable-a land of many contrasts and incredible energy, but I have to admit that it is good to be home!

Final UK Sketching adventures

As promised, here is the last of my sketching adventures in the UK, mostly of things I brought back and a little bit of sketching on the way home.

This guy is currently hanging on my mini-Christmas tree in my living room and making me so happy! I love the crazy bangs on the cow and the fact that he is playing the bagpipe. ADORABLE.

This guy is currently hanging on my mini-Christmas tree in my living room and making me so happy! I love the crazy bangs on the cow and the fact that he is playing the bagpipe. ADORABLE.

I confess, I haven’t actually eaten this. I stashed it in my luggage in case I needed a snack at some point in our journey and then forgot to eat it or throw it away so it came all the way across the pond with me. I cam down with a cold as I was flying home so I didn’t want a candy bar for a couple weeks afterward as I recovered and now it is old. What does one do with an old, strange foreign candy bar?

I confess, I haven’t actually eaten this. I stashed it in my luggage in case I needed a snack at some point in our journey and then forgot to eat it or throw it away so it came all the way across the pond with me. I cam down with a cold as I was flying home so I didn’t want a candy bar for a couple weeks afterward as I recovered and now it is old. What does one do with an old, strange foreign candy bar?

My beloved blue luggage, sketched while waiting in Seatac for my flight home to Spokane to distract myself from the way my sinuses were pounding.

My beloved blue luggage, sketched while waiting in Seatac for my flight home to Spokane to distract myself from the way my sinuses were pounding.

I drew various bills during the trip and drew the coins when I got home (coins and a couple of fivers were what was left at the end of the trip, no worries, I’m sure I’ll be back in the UK eventually!), adding paint all at the end. Money in the UK is interesting and shows how we’re a bit of an odd duck with our purely paper, one size, all green money. This stuff is plastic-y (goes the wash great, but apparently can get stuck together which is no good when paying bills!), has clear sections, is different sizes at different denominations and comes in all sorts of colors. I enjoyed seeing the difference between bank notes issued by the Bank of England and those by the Bank of Scotland. A theme among everyone though? So many drawings of Queen Elizabeth!

I drew various bills during the trip and drew the coins when I got home (coins and a couple of fivers were what was left at the end of the trip, no worries, I’m sure I’ll be back in the UK eventually!), adding paint all at the end. Money in the UK is interesting and shows how we’re a bit of an odd duck with our purely paper, one size, all green money. This stuff is plastic-y (goes the wash great, but apparently can get stuck together which is no good when paying bills!), has clear sections, is different sizes at different denominations and comes in all sorts of colors. I enjoyed seeing the difference between bank notes issued by the Bank of England and those by the Bank of Scotland. A theme among everyone though? So many drawings of Queen Elizabeth!

Artist's Eye in Edinburgh

Here is the second to last blog post about my sketching adventures in the U.K. this past August! If you’re getting this on my email newsletter, feel free to click through to the blog to see my previous sketches in Ireland! Updates about my Artist’s Eye on Spokane Book Kickstarter and the shows I’ll be at this holiday season.

Now: SCOTLAND!

We continued on from Dublin to York (didn’t manage to do much sketching there)and then up to Scotland. This is the York Train Station which when it was built in the late 19th century, was the largest train station in the world. I got this scene sketched in pen before Dad came careening around the corner to tell us that our train was here and we needed to MOVE. Mom and I grabbed our stuff and booked it down the very long platforms and caught out train to Edinburgh. I painted it later based on some quick photos and memories.

We continued on from Dublin to York (didn’t manage to do much sketching there)and then up to Scotland. This is the York Train Station which when it was built in the late 19th century, was the largest train station in the world. I got this scene sketched in pen before Dad came careening around the corner to tell us that our train was here and we needed to MOVE. Mom and I grabbed our stuff and booked it down the very long platforms and caught out train to Edinburgh. I painted it later based on some quick photos and memories.

Fancy British train snacks. They really love their trolley carts here.

Fancy British train snacks. They really love their trolley carts here.

The moody view from our hotel at one of the various volcanic mounds surrounding the town of Edinburgh. It rained and was in the low 60’s which was very confusing coming from Spokane August weather.

The moody view from our hotel at one of the various volcanic mounds surrounding the town of Edinburgh. It rained and was in the low 60’s which was very confusing coming from Spokane August weather.

We had dinner in the castle before the Edinburgh Tattoo (an event that has been on Dad’s bucket list since he studied abroad in York in college). I got a seat at the end of the table which I loved because the view was AMAZING! We had haggis (surprisingly good!) and I was delighted that they piped it into the room and back out again.

We had dinner in the castle before the Edinburgh Tattoo (an event that has been on Dad’s bucket list since he studied abroad in York in college). I got a seat at the end of the table which I loved because the view was AMAZING! We had haggis (surprisingly good!) and I was delighted that they piped it into the room and back out again.

I wore all the clothes that I packed for the night show of the Edinburgh Tattoo. It was 50 degrees and rained at the beginning of the show enough that my pen wouldn’t write on my paper and I had to switch to pencil. Luckily, the rain cleared up and we were wowed by a Lebanese performance group riding horses and drumming, a Swiss troop that lit their drumsticks on fire, and SO MANY bagpipes.

I wore all the clothes that I packed for the night show of the Edinburgh Tattoo. It was 50 degrees and rained at the beginning of the show enough that my pen wouldn’t write on my paper and I had to switch to pencil. Luckily, the rain cleared up and we were wowed by a Lebanese performance group riding horses and drumming, a Swiss troop that lit their drumsticks on fire, and SO MANY bagpipes.

Sketched while waiting for fish and chips at the Doric in Edinburgh. The Walter Scott monument peeked out from above this wall. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world. Edinburgh is a very literary city.   Next up: Adventures in trying to get home and what I brought back.

Sketched while waiting for fish and chips at the Doric in Edinburgh. The Walter Scott monument peeked out from above this wall. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world. Edinburgh is a very literary city.

Next up: Adventures in trying to get home and what I brought back.

Ireland is Gorgeous!

We spent several days roaming about Ireland. I know that the UK experienced a severe drought this summer, but it rained several times while we were there and, as a Spokanite, I hadn’t seen rain in months. It was excellent but confusing.

This is a college that was a short walk from our hotel. The rest of the family decided to go to bed early (It was 8pm but we weren’t adjusted to the time zone yet!), but I decided to walk back despite the stormy skies and try to get in a quick sketch. I sat just inside the wrought iron gates in case they closed at a certain hour and I’d have to Indian Jones my way through before they locked me in (High stone walls are everywhere in Ireland!).

This is a college that was a short walk from our hotel. The rest of the family decided to go to bed early (It was 8pm but we weren’t adjusted to the time zone yet!), but I decided to walk back despite the stormy skies and try to get in a quick sketch. I sat just inside the wrought iron gates in case they closed at a certain hour and I’d have to Indian Jones my way through before they locked me in (High stone walls are everywhere in Ireland!).

This drawing got made because we made a miscalculation about when our train back to Dublin left and I got a spare hour to sketch this Gothic beauty that was across the street from the station.

This drawing got made because we made a miscalculation about when our train back to Dublin left and I got a spare hour to sketch this Gothic beauty that was across the street from the station.

Painted later.

Painted later.

O’Neil’s is a sprawling pub in Dublin that had multiple bars on multiple floors. We sat near the Whiskey Bar, but there was also the Lounge Bar, the Wine bar, and more (SO many staircases!)! Food was downstairs and some of it was a deli/cafeteria style but it was also a to-order restaurant. In conclusion, we were so confused and ended up spending a ton of time there trying to figure out what we needed to do to get some food!. We were there so late, we decided to hang on just a little longer when we learned there was going to be live music. We were rewarded for our patience. I drew a million whiskey bottles.

O’Neil’s is a sprawling pub in Dublin that had multiple bars on multiple floors. We sat near the Whiskey Bar, but there was also the Lounge Bar, the Wine bar, and more (SO many staircases!)! Food was downstairs and some of it was a deli/cafeteria style but it was also a to-order restaurant. In conclusion, we were so confused and ended up spending a ton of time there trying to figure out what we needed to do to get some food!. We were there so late, we decided to hang on just a little longer when we learned there was going to be live music. We were rewarded for our patience. I drew a million whiskey bottles.

Surprise live music at the bar! It was fabulous and there were two Irish dancers who performed mere feet from our table. One of those magical moments of travel where you luck into something amazing.

Surprise live music at the bar! It was fabulous and there were two Irish dancers who performed mere feet from our table. One of those magical moments of travel where you luck into something amazing.

We took a little prop plane from Ireland over to England. I was going to give my brother my window seat just to be nice, but then I saw this view and told him, “Offer revoked!”

We took a little prop plane from Ireland over to England. I was going to give my brother my window seat just to be nice, but then I saw this view and told him, “Offer revoked!”

Megan Sketches in the U.K.

It is the summer of international travel for me! I jaunted off to the UK with my family-Ireland, the UK and Scotland this time!

Ireland seems to be filled with musical people and listening to this performance reminded me how much Irish music has spread all over the world.

Ireland seems to be filled with musical people and listening to this performance reminded me how much Irish music has spread all over the world.

Adorable dsesserts and amazing dancers!

Adorable dsesserts and amazing dancers!

A quick sketch before an ENORMOUS bowl of mussels for dinner in Dublin.

A quick sketch before an ENORMOUS bowl of mussels for dinner in Dublin.

Small sketches of views from the train during which there was singing by passengers. In the US, if people sang on public transit people would kick you off the train!

Small sketches of views from the train during which there was singing by passengers. In the US, if people sang on public transit people would kick you off the train!

Ireland seemed to have a lot of buildings with a strong divide between upper residential floors and commercial ground floor. I loved the bright green of this building and the amusing name of the bakery.

Ireland seemed to have a lot of buildings with a strong divide between upper residential floors and commercial ground floor. I loved the bright green of this building and the amusing name of the bakery.

Japan Adventures

So to add to the excitement of finishing my 52 week painting project, at the end of May I took off for Japan with my parents and brother for a little family adventure. We went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Takayama, and Osaka. I had a great time and I'd love to go back to Japan just for a painting excursion, though I'm feeling very lucky that we just missed the earthquake in Osaka.

Kando Myojin, a shinto shrine in Tokyo. We watched a BMW get blessed by a Shinto priest in traidtional garb.

Kando Myojin, a shinto shrine in Tokyo. We watched a BMW get blessed by a Shinto priest in traidtional garb.

At most shrines there is a stand or two for people to tie on their wishes and prayers, often on small wooden boards. This one was absolutely packed!

At most shrines there is a stand or two for people to tie on their wishes and prayers, often on small wooden boards. This one was absolutely packed!

Collaged paper with kanji and hiragana on it (left), calligraphy done as a religious prayer/act by temple staff in exchange for a donation to the temple (right).

Collaged paper with kanji and hiragana on it (left), calligraphy done as a religious prayer/act by temple staff in exchange for a donation to the temple (right).

We were in a tour group for the first part of the trip as we shuttled around to all the different cities.

We were in a tour group for the first part of the trip as we shuttled around to all the different cities.

On the bullet train, my brother looking out the window.

On the bullet train, my brother looking out the window.

We left Tokyo and headed up into the mountains and some smaller towns. More to come!

We left Tokyo and headed up into the mountains and some smaller towns. More to come!

Costa Rican Rainforest Adventures

Well, it may not seem to make much sense, starting off a blog called "Artist's Eye on Spokane" with a post about a trip to Costa Rica, but I'm doing it anyway. A test run to make sure that everything is working (Is this on? Can anybody hear me?) and it is the most exciting thing to have happened to me recently. Plus, who doesn't like pictures of exotic places?

So! To start off, I'm Megan Perkins, artist and explorer extraordinaire (Hey, I'm writing this, that means I get to style myself however I like!). Last October I was on my way back to a trip to Hawaii when I did a quick painting of an Alaska Airlines airplane while waiting for my flight to board.

AlaskaAirlinesPlanesketch

 

Long story short, when I got home, I put this picture up on social media and Alaska Airlines found it. They shared it on their Instagram account where it became one of the top nine most liked images for 2016. An Alaska Airlines representative emailed me to ask for my address because they'd like to send me something. "Sure," I told them, thinking "Alaska Airlines totebag!"

Guys, it was two round trip tickets to anywhere Alaska flies!!! OH MY GOSH, I was SO excited. Costa Rica stood out for obvious reasons (WARM, TROPICAL, and I've never been there!). I immediately began planning and we left mid-April for 10 days in the (nearly) equatorial country, exploring volcanic national parks, rain forests, rivers, and cloud forests.

Guys, I know this may come as a surprise, but it is WET and misty in a cloud forest!

Guys, I know this may come as a surprise, but it is WET and misty in a cloud forest!

There are a lot of exotic looking plants. Some were familiar, house plants where we live. Others, I had no idea what there were!

 

tropicalflower
Strangler fig wrapping this tree

Strangler fig wrapping this tree

coffeeplant
I had some time to sketch the view into the rain forest canopy. So much green!

I had some time to sketch the view into the rain forest canopy. So much green!

I drew some of the plants we saw often with notes about what I learned about them.

I drew some of the plants we saw often with notes about what I learned about them.

Orchids were also common and super impressive!

Orchids were also common and super impressive!

Let's end with a picture of the beautiful Quetzal. Worshiped as a god by the Aztecs, they are colorful birds with stunningly long tail feathers and slightly mournful call. As a child, I had an A to Z Animal Pop Up Book and, you guessed it, Q was for Quetzal. I never thought I would actually see this magnificent bird in person, but now I can say that I have and what an experience it was.

 

quetzal