Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Virtual Return to Palm Springs

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

When we were in Palm Springs for Christmas in 2016 and we went up the tramway – a truly spectacular trip along the Chino Canyon – I made a couple of very small watercolour sketches. After returning home, I produced a larger painting of one of them, the view from the top.  Now that we’re not going to the States so much, I found myself getting a little nostalgic and decided to do something with that other sketch. This view back up the mountain, when it was starting to get dark includes palm trees at the base, silvery-white ghost trees in the ravines, and finally the huge Christmas tree at the top.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A surprising place to find great pictures

Bow Lake
Watercolour and oil pastel
Charlene Brown

I have a few Pinterest pages so I get a lot of suggestion from those people with pictures of mountains, especially the Canadian Rockies.  Sometimes it seems like 40% of them are Moraine Lake, which is fine (it’s quite spectacular) but usually what I’m looking for is a place I haven’t already painted. When I started looking for pictures of Bow Lake, I was surprised they were few and far between until I thought of looking on Google Streetview. The ‘street’ that the Google camera was viewing in this case is the Icefields Parkway (one of my favourite streets) and here is a link to my favourite Streetview on the Parkway.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Blue ocean haiku

Lake Minnewanka
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

This of course isn’t the ocean at all – it’s a very deep blue lake in Alberta. It’s in the front range of the Rockies and it’s not glacier-fed so, unlike most of the lakes and rivers in the area it doesn’t have the famous turquoise colouring.

The phrase in the third line, blue ocean thinking, results in ‘blue ocean’ innovation – non-disruptive innovation that doesn’t take anyone else’s market share or make them obsolete. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

They replaced the bridge despite my orders

The Songhees Bridge
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

In a 2009 blog post entitled, ‘Don’t replace our bridge!’  I mentioned how fond we were of the 85-year-old bottleneck between us and downtown Victoria. In fact, I was simply following some blogging advice about ways to get people’s attention when I decided on that title for the post. Unlike many Victorians, I wasn’t that upset that the old bridge was going to be replaced. 

And I think the new one – the largest single-leaf bascule bridge in Canada and one of the largest in the world – is beautiful.  BTW, it doesn’t have a name yet Songhees is just my preference among the many names that have been suggested so far.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Libyco-Punic Mausoleum and other newer ruins
watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Dougga, located in northwestern Tunisia, is considered to be the best preserved example of an Africo-Roman town in North Africa. 

I have rearranged and condensed the city in this painting in order to fit the Libyco-Punic Mausoleum the only monument of this type known in the ancient world into the composition.  It is the tall structure in the upper right hand corner of the painting.  Originally built in the second century BCE when the area was a Phoenician colony, the mausoleum had an important bilingual Numidian and Punic-Libyan inscription that enabled archaeologists to decipher the original alphabet.

Dougga was annexed into the Roman province of Africa in 46 BCE and flourished under Roman rule with many important structures built during the second and third centuries CE.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tidal power haiku

Pangnirtung Fjord

The northern end of this fjord is in Auyuittuq National Park, the most accessible of the ­National Parks in Nunavut – which is to say, it’s hardly accessible at all.

It lies within an area said to have the second highest tides in the world which, combined with its remoteness, makes it a good candidate for tidal power. On-site power generation would provide electricity to charge electric cars, trucks and ATVs, reducing the need for expensive fuel shipments.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Traditional Berber designs
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Ghadames is an oasis in Libya, about 450 km southwest of Tripoli, near the Tunisian and Algerian borders. The old part of town, which I visited in 2006 as part of a University of Victoria travel study program, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings inside the walled part of the city are remarkably cool, because their thick, nearly-windowless walls are painted bright white. 

The intricate red decorations that I have added are actually inside the houses and are, as far as I know, unique to Ghadames. The Berber designs used include elongated triangles, diamonds, the sun, the moon, palm trees and the Tuareg cross.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Traffic congestion haiku

Rush Hour in Squamish

This is a spectacular place to be stuck in traffic, half-way between Vancouver and Whistler, with an Emily Carr-inspired ­forest and Mt. Garibaldi catching the last rays of the setting sun – contemplating what all the idling vehicles are doing to the atmosphere.

A Google search of the term in the second line, disruptive discovery, produces one million results! There’s even a free weekly Disruptive Discoveries Journal that is focused on uncovering and interpreting both the opportunities and challenges in the natural resources, biotech, and technology sectors resulting from the convergence.