Watercolor of the Amazon Rainforest
A Dream that Opened New Paths for Me
Since childhood, I have intensely longed to visit the Colombian Amazon region. It was like entering a fantasy world when I finally had the opportunity as an adult. Venturing into the jungle, exploring the rivers, walking along the trails, and sleeping in the canopy of the tallest trees brought me strange sensations. Everything was new: the sounds, the aroma, the plants, and the animals. Many of them seemed so odd that they appeared out of science fiction.
The Desire to Paint it
After exploring the rainforest with my camera, I imagined capturing it in a painting. But that dream was so grand that it couldn’t fit on any of the sheets of paper I use to paint birds because I wanted those who saw the finished painting to immerse themselves in that magical world that already lived in my mind and, especially, in my heart.
Finding the Moment and the Place
My nomadic life had yet to allow me to find where and how to turn that fantasy into reality. However, the stars aligned when I paused my journey, and I found the perfect place. Thanks to the kindness of those who believe in me, they lent me space by the seashore, with the intense summer light, the song of shorebirds, and the necessary peace to dedicate all my time to recreate what I had kept for so many years.
I already had the first sketch clear in my mind. Despite the infinite number of creatures that inhabit the Amazon, I wanted to draw some that had particularly amazed me. The most important one was the strangest bird on our planet, a bird called Hoatzin.
This beautiful and strange bird lives in the tropical wetlands of South America. It has a small head, its blue face lacks feathers, and it has a broad reddish crest on its head.
But it has stunning plumage and a very peculiar history. Since the eighteenth century, when it was first described, no other bird belonging to its genus has been found, and it has no close relatives. Its ancestors disappeared from the Earth thousands of years ago.
Building Hoatzin’s Habitat
Around the Hoatzin, I began constructing its habitat: the river, the trees with their great woody vines that move by supporting and strangling the trees and palms they encounter on their way towards the light. The giant cup-shaped fungus, the blue macaws flying freely over the jungles and rivers, the squirrel monkeys with their sweet gaze and hands covered in yellow fur. The collared aracari and the black-fronted nun birds with elaborate long woven nests.
I have never worked so intensely on a project as I have on this one, with passion, painting during the day and dreaming at night, stealing hours from sleep and recalling the lives of those who, like me, fell into that creative fever that leaves no room for anything else. Now, as the end approaches, I begin to postpone it.
This project has become a part of me, and I don’t want to lose it. New ideas arise daily, and I must restrain myself because my paper can no longer receive more dreams. The army ants, the lizard, the morpho butterfly, the parrots, the white-eared jacamar, and the black-fronted nunbird. If I want them to live comfortably in their habitat, I must return them to their own forest.