Sunday, April 23, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI d – Paris


We went on many excursions within the city, including Notre Dame, the Louvre the picture on the left shows Rachel and me with the Winged Victory and some of the other thousands of people who were there that day and the Paris ‘beach’ on the Seine, built for people who couldn’t get to the real French beaches on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

One evening we were invited to a garden party at the home of one of our guides in a suburb on the outskirts of Paris. The food was marvelous and the entertainment incredible. First, all the kids were taught how to paint ‘just like Monet,’ then a magician mystified us all.  We were told he was just for the kids, but he was really good and I don’t think anyone figured out any of his illusions. Rachel and I certainly didn’t. 


On the right, below, is Rachel’s ‘Lily pond, après Monet.’



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI c – Paris

Our day in Monet’s garden at Giverny was perfect in every way except I may have taken a few too many pictures of Rachel (check the expression in the one on the right, below). I even had a chance to start these two sketches, unlike the first time I visited Giverny, when I was so awed by the output of the dozens of other painters who appeared to have been there since dawn, that I didn’t even get my paints out. Even our lunch at Giverny was a big hit with both age groups les salades au homard for us and fish & chips for the kids.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI b – Paris

Statue of Liberty
Watercolour and marker
©2016 Charlene Brown


There really is a replica of the Statue of Liberty on the tip of the Île aux Cygnes in the River Seine, and it’s visible from the lunch level of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve exaggerated the apparent randomness of the tower’s ironwork, but I didn’t make up the statue, which you can see in about the exact middle of the top half of the painting.



















By the way, when one of our group’s guides asked us if we knew how to say Eiffel Tower in French, about half of us did, but Rachel was the only one who pronounced it correctly! (So much for the ‘Calgary’ accent some of her cousins, who attended a francophone school in British Columbia, have teased her about.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI a – Paris

Montmartre from Eiffel Tower level 2
Watercolour sketch
©2013 Charlene Brown

In 2013 I took my youngest grandchild, Rachel, who is Phil and Dan’s little sister on a Road Scholar trip to Paris. This sketch and the Painting I’ll post in a few days were done from pictures I took the day we went up the Eiffel Tower.

On our first day, we explored Montmartre, touching the hand of the original ‘Passe-muraille’ -- the Man Who Walked through Walls, climbing all the way up to Basilica du Sacré-Coeur and lunching in the square where artists have congregated for more than a hundred years. In fact dozens of them were painting or sketching en plein air while we were there.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids V e – Honduras


Just before our return to Canada we spent two nights on Utila, one of the islands in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This reef, the longest in the Western Hemisphere, extends from the northern tip of the Yucatan peninsula along the Mayan Riviera, past Belize and Guatemala to the Bay Islands of Honduras. Utila is the smallest of these islands.

The first painting I started on Utila focused entirely on what I could see of the coral beds looking down into the shallow water close to the shore (augmented by what I could remember of the underwater view I’d had during an inept couple of minutes of snorkeling.)


It wasn’t until the second morning we were on the island that I discovered this stunning view looking back toward the Nombre de Dios mountains on the mainland of Honduras. They’d had a fair bit of rain on the mainland, (we knew that) so none of this was visible when we first arrived. Pico Bonito, on the right, is the tallest peak in this part of the range.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Another Canadian landscape not in Alberta or British Columbia

Toronto from 20 km west
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2017 Charlene Brown

This was the view from the apartment in Mississauga just west of the Rattray Marsh, where we lived in the 1980s.
When I was thinking of a name for the painting, I determined the distance to Toronto using Google Maps, and will admit I had thought it was much further, as it took a full hour on the GO Train to get there.

I only ever saw this combination of black thunderclouds and luminous pale green lake a couple of times during the four years we lived there, but it’s what I remember the best.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids V d – Honduras


In the next couple of days, we experienced some extremes of tropical weather – blazing near-vertical noon-day sun at a museum near ­Copan, followed by drenching rain in San Pedro Sula.
At the museum we saw a full-scale replica of a Mayan temple, inside of which was a strobe-flashing presentation of some of the legends represented on the carved and painted exterior walls. After the show, the kids were invited to draw their versions of the stories. Here is Adam’s interpretation of the legend explaining the Equinox (I think).


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Can you guess where this is?

Tombstone Territorial Park
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

If you are thinking perhaps this is in the same part of Canada we were in the last time I asked you to guess, Yukon,  you are exactly right.


Grizzly Lake, shown here, is accessible from the Dempster Highway, Canada’s first all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle. 

The highway is named after Inspector Jack Dempster, who joined the Royal Northwest Mounted Police in 1897 and went on to render outstanding service in Yukon for a total of 37 years.