Natural beauty and sloth love to brighten cold February days

I think that the gorgeous art of Vivan Víquez is perfect for February, whether you’re in the tropics or you’ve got icicles on your eyebrows.

Here in Costa Rica, the sun is out and kids are rushing back to school; traffic increases and the pace of life, so spare and light in January, starts to intensify. City-dwellers who escaped to the country during the holidays risk losing touch once more with the natural wonders we saw. This makes February the perfect time to find reminders of nature, flora and fauna to keep our mind on the outside world, even if we’re spending more time at our desks.

In the places where I grew up, of course, February is very different, and very cold. Part of me will always think of February as a bit of a slog. Winter is getting a bit old, night comes quickly and summer seems a long way off. At times like that, a bright spot of tropical color and Valentine’s Day red is always welcome.

So wherever you are, you should follow Vivian, a 25-year-old artist from San Carlos in northern Costa Rica. She told me that it was in San Carlos that “my enjoyment over nature started; most of my life has been spent in green spaces. I love animals. If I hadn’t studied art, I would probably be a biologist or veterinarian.”

That passion shows the artwork she showcases through her project Corteza Ilustración CR. The projected started when she challenged herself to paint 100 Costa Rican birds. By now she’s painted more than 200 birds, sometimes more than four watercolors per day, and she hopes to illustrate at least some members of every one of Costa Rica’s wildlife families.

Why? “I want Corteza to help make species more visible and educate the public,” she said.

I plan to acquire some of Víquez’s work in the near future, but until then, her posts nearly always bring  a smile to my face or an “ooh” to my lips. Check her out on Instagram. You’ll be charmed and comforted, guaranteed.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter). 

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