Saturday, December 15, 2018

Juan d Fuca Marine Trail

The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is a rugged 47-kilometre trail along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. 

The upper picture is a panoramic view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. The lower picture shows Seal Grotto, a prime seal habitat.

These paintings may be used as illustrations in Chapter 6 of the multi-generational auto-fiction novel I am writing  the ‘purely speculative’ chapter I referred to in my December 5 blog post. They show a very real adventure that took place ‘way back in 2018’ and is referred to in a conversation that takes place in 2042 in the novel.

Pay attention; there may be a test.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Boundless Human Energy Haiku

Mt. Robson, BC

Haiga is a style of painting that incorporates the clean, minimalist, yet often profound, aesthetic of haiku.  Both haiku and haiga translate nature through an artistic language with spiritual immediacy and selfless skill. This is achieved through Zen-like training in contemplation and technique.

About twenty-five years ago I attended a watercolour workshop in the Canadian Rockies given by well-known American artist, Barbara Nechis. We were in the Bow Valley surrounded by spectacular peaks, and Barbara reminded us that some of them had been painted hundreds, if not thousands, of times. She went on to suggest that, under the circumstances, we consider carefully whether or not each of the paintings we were about to produce really ‘needed’ to be done.

I’ve tried to heed Barbara’s advice – working on something approaching her wonderfully loose, semi-abstract style. Hence the ‘abstracting’ of Mount Robson into clean  and simple haiga to go with the clean and simple haiku.

Having cleared that up, we will now attempt to make sense of the first line of the haiku.  It refers to a possible outcome of research on modified microbes. Genetically engineered bacteria and yeast can produce hydrocarbon-based fuels from organic waste. In addition to being renewable, the microbes are ‘carbon-neutral’ using about the same amount of carbon to produce the oil as will be emitted when it burns.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Mid-21st Century Northern Lights

Northern Lights at Takhini Hot Springs, near Whitehorse and Talus Lake in Tombstone Territorial Park 
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2018 Charlene Brown

This painting may be used to illustrate Chapter 6 of the multi-generational  auto-fiction novel I am writing. Chapter 6 begins in 2042 and is set in Yukon.

Chapter 1 of the novel begins fairly accurately with my  grandmother’s adventures at the turn of the twentieth century, but the young women in succeeding chapters, including myself in Chapter 3, become less individually recognizable and more likely to be ‘composites’ representing more than one person. Chapter 6, about ‘Alexandra’ who is born in 2027 is, of course, purely speculative.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Another National Park Geothermal Haiku

Paint Pots, BC

For centuries, the Ktunaxa, Stoney and Blackfoot First Nations used the ochre beds surrounding the ‘paint pots’ in Kootenay National Park as a source of pigments for ceremonial purposes. 

The ore was even mined for a time in the early 20th century, before it was decided that this was incompatible with the objectives of the National Park system.

What this haiku might have to do with National Park environmental objectives gets a little circuitous... Existing infrastructure may point to the less energy-intensive upgrading of existing buildings compared to tearing down and starting over with all new materials, and charging as they go could refer to any form of transportation that generates electricity while in motion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mid-century Northern Lights

Northern Lights in Banff
Watercolour and crayon 
©2018 Charlene Brown

I had no record of the very occasional Northern Lights we would see in Banff when I was growing up there. So I’ve used internet photos that resemble what I remember and placed them in the NE to SE sky over Banff in the positions they appeared most frequently. And now I have a record of the very occasional etc…

The main colours used in these paintings were Indanthrene Blue and Ultramarine Violet. Or maybe Carbazole Violet I have big wadges of both on my palette and I’m not sure which is which.  I also used a Neon green crayon I bought 25 years ago as part of a set, and have had almost no use for well, I mean look at it where do you ever see that colour in nature?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Low Carbon Transit Haiku

Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Pond Inlet is one of the most picturesque communities in Canada’s Arctic. However, because of its isolation the cost of food and other materials such as construction supplies can be much higher than that of southern Canada. Milk is close to $4 a litre and carbonated drinks can be as much as $4.50 a can. There are environmental costs as well, because supplies must be brought in by ship during the short ice-free summer season or even more expensively and energy-intensively by air for the rest of the year.

Hence the possible appeal of low carbon airship transit. Hard to say how kinetic energy storage devices, such as flywheels, fit into any of this, but it is known that they have better lifetime cycles and higher power and capacity than static energy storage devices such as batteries or capacitors have.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Painting Waterfalls

Here are two of the waterfalls in Johnston Canyon, about 20 kilometres west of Banff. There are a few higher falls in this canyon,but I think these ones are the prettiest.

There wasn't a huge amount of water coming down the canyon in late September when I was there, and I have tried to get that effect by painting quite intensely over a thin white oil pastel resist.

I have previously written blog posts about water paintings using this technique (with varying degrees of similarity to the actual appearance) in locations such as Maquinna Provincial Park, Ireland, Kakabeka Falls, Niagara Falls, Esquimalt, Balboa Park, Japan, Croatia, Korea and even Johnston Canyon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Lake Water Storage Haiku


This may seem like an odd choice of a haiga to illustrate the term ‘lake water storage cooling,’ as the only Canadian city where this has been tried is Toronto. Québec is not situated on a lake – it’s on a narrow stretch of the St Lawrence River. (In fact, the name given to the original French settlement by Samuel de Champlain was based on an ­Algonquin word Kébec, meaning ‘where the river narrows.’)

Artificial sun experiments aim to improve the production processes for solar fuels, the next generation of renewable energy technologies, by using extreme temperatures to manufacture the fuels.