Day 26 – Natural Wonders #WorldWatercolorMonth

So July ended and I am 5 drawings short for #WorldWatercolorMonth.

My excuse is that we had a long weekend coming up here in Iceland and I went on a road trip around the East Fjords of Iceland. It was marvellous but I am also glad to be back home and not to sleep in a tent any more in 10 degrees Celsius.

Prompt for day 26 – Natural Wonders. For a long time I wanted to draw these two Instagram models that I took a photo of at the Grand Cenote near Tulum, Mexico last year. They spend about an hour taking selfies without ever looking at any of the natural wonders around them.  Then they left, with their makeup and hair still perfectly intact. They were quite a source of amusement for the people that were actually having fun swimming in the cold clear waters.

190726 Natural Wonders _WorldWatercolorMonth_Melanie Franz

On the beach in Tulum, Mexico II

I had to draw “bike girl”. That’s how I call her. She was part of a group of spring breakers.

I’m also trying to work on my style. What do you think?

1803 Tulum beach bike girl by Melanie Franz

On the beach in Tulum, Mexico

I feel like I should mention the beach at least once. Although I was too busy just lying there, doing absolutely nothing and loving it.

There were two big palm trees on the public beach that provided a good amount of shade. So a lot of people gathered under them.

1803 Tulum beach 2

It was also the time of spring break when I arrived there, towards the end of March. I had no idea. Luckily this public beach was relatively empty as it is rather “far off” from the resort area.

At the beach in Tulum, Mexico

This was my bike during the 2 weeks I stayed there. I usually parked it next to these palm trees while at the beach. It was rather rusty because of all the salt and sand but it served me well.

1803 Tulum bike


On the streets of Tulum, Mexico XIII

This is the last one from my bike tour around Tulum. These guys are selling tepache de piña, a fermented pineapple drink. Unfortunately I did not get to try it yet.

1803 Tulum Tricycle by Mel

Otherwise you can find a lot of really cool street art around Tulum.

And then there was this place who probably got rid of the guy who did the spelling… No, the name of the place is not Restaun. I checked.

1803 Restaurant Tulum


On the streets of Tulum, Mexico XI

What can I say, I took a lot of photos of dogs. This one just stood there for a while not sure what to do next. Then he started to wander off.

1803 Tulum dog 2 by Mel Franz


On the streets of Tulum, Mexico X

This building definitely left its impression on me as it was so blinding bright… It was hard not to notice it, especially in the bright afternoon sun. It seems to be an apartment hotel. Would you like to stay there?

1803 Tulum pink house by Mel


On the streets of Tulum, Mexico VIII

There were not as many street dogs around as I would have had expected, but a lot of people actually have dogs. I really miss having a dog. This one was snoozing in front of a paint supply shop.

Observation: It´s too hot to move during the afternoon heat.

1803 Tulum siesta

On the streets of Tulum, Mexico VII

I haven’t seen this many VW beetles since… I can´t remember. They got rather rare in Germany and if you see them, then you never see them in anything else than perfect condition. Here, they just are. I saw several of them and they are just lovely. What do you think about them?

I´m still trying to figure out where and how much white space to leave when colouring with these watercolours…

Observation: Lots of beetles around here.

1803 Tulum beetle

On the streets of Tulum, Mexico VI

Plenty of colourful houses around here. What colour is your house or you would like it to be?

Observation: The brighter the better.

1803 Tulum Blue house

Finally finished this one.

1803 Tulum shop 3

On the streets of Tulum, Mexico V

Based on a really bad snapshot I took during my bike tour through the town of Tulum.

Observation: Cables, cables everywhere!

1803 Tulum shop

And the before in my sketch book. The other one is still unfinished…

I did like their slogan… Mas por menos.

1803 Tulum shop 3

On the streets of Tulum, Mexico IV

Another truck. I enjoyed watching them while they were throwing boxes and bottles up and down.

Observation: There is so much green around here.

1803 Tulum by Mel

On the streets of Tulum, Mexico III

These big delivery trucks where pretty much everywhere.

1803 Tulum street truck

The first draft looked like this. I really start to have fun with the water paintbrush that I bought. I think it gives you a completely different watercolour experience than with a normal paintbrush. Also it is less messy.

1803 draft Tulum red truck

On the streets of Tulum, Mexico II

Encountered these two on my bike tour around town. It seemed to me that it was the big brother who had to pick up the little one, but big brother was not too excited about walking down the street with little brother.

1803 Tulum streets





On the streets of Tulum, Mexico

What struck me most, the first time I visited Mexico, was the diversity of culture, landscapes, nature, people and especially the extreme poverty and wealth, and everything in between, that can be seen at every corner.

On the first windy and cloudy day since arrival, I seized the opportunity and went for a cycle around the town of Tulum. I don´t want this to become a travel blog but rather put down some random impressions that I got along the way. Like this girl who ran after her pug to catch him,  after he had escaped from the house.

1803 On the streets of Tulum

When you look up Tulum, you get all those beautiful beach photos, the ruins and the expensive beach resorts that will cost you 200$ plus per night.

What most people wont see are the slums in the middle of the forest, where people most likely live of 200$ per month, situated right between those fancy resorts and the town centre.

1803 Tulum town

I usually don´t take a lot of photos, but Tulum had a lot of beautiful street art, even in the poorer parts, that I tried to capture because of  the colours.

1803 Tulum street art

Tulum, Mexico

So I have been in Mexico for roughly 2 weeks now and  I am loving it. I have been here last in 2014 for ca 3 months travelling around the southern parts of the country. I also spent a good amount of time on the beach back then because I had never been to a Caribbean like beach before and it was simply incredible.

So I wanted to start my trip by getting my much needed vitamin D on the beach in Tulum, Quintana Roo, after spending yet another winter in Iceland. I went back to the same hostel my boyfriend and I stayed in 3 years ago because it is a 5 minute bike ride from the beach and it has this beautiful hangout area with a small pool, hammocks and lots of plants.

1803 Lobo inn, Tulum, Q Roo, Mexico by Mel

So here it was that I made my first attempt of sketching with the watercolours and pens I brought with me. I have to admit it partially felt like a struggle as it took me some time, but in pleasant 25 degrees with my morning coffee next to me it was also quite enjoyable.

1803 Lobo inn