After a night in Yakima, we headed south to the Columbia Gorge.
Driving south with my daughter, we were struck by ways the landscape varied every hour: scenic lakes and soft hills giving way to arid, rolling dry grasslands, then a meandering river.
Driving south from Osoyoos BC to Yakima WA – these quick watercolour sketches capture the changes in landscape with line and colour.
At the end of my travels, I sit drawing, in a peaceful garden in Pinamar unwinding with a pencil, thinking about Salta and all I have seen. Next day, with paints I sit under this pine, listening to parrots chattering and squawking. These small green birds are wild. In summer, they party in a cherry tree once lower branches are picked and fruit has begun to ferment. The result: rowdy drunken parrots falling onto the lawn; their large messy nests must be filled with hung-over birds.
“Bajo la luz y se llevo todo.” The light dimmed and everything was swept away … when a storm washed out the road to Tilcara. The intense reds and ochre are complimented by the greens, make the land sing. Yet as I celebrate these colours, I am told this is a harsh, challenging place to live.
We climbed up from Purmamarca: Purma atop – marca is settlement. Mesas here are eroded into gothic cathedral-like shapes. They are bare of animals, we are told. Ines is sitting quietly in the back. At the summit, I ask how she is doing. OK, she smiles but she has a touch of siroche. Selfishly I feel fine.
Our next stop was in Volcan – not a volcano but the name of a storm that brings sand and stones down from the mountains, altering landscapes by burying roads and houses. (Glad we were there on a calm, sunny day). No wonder pueblos are built high: closer to God and wind damage in Purmamarca Canyon.
As I settled into the Salta journey, no day felt complete without a sketch. Words also had to be included, such as Sandwicheria: a mesh of Anglo Spanish.
Sugar cane in Salta is used for sugar. In Tucuman it is also used for alcohol and paper as it is of poorer quality. Or so I was told in Salta!
We drove along the fertile valley of the Rio Grande and I drew the little houses with their water tanks jauntily on high.