Saturday, July 23, 2016

Re-living the Dream with better lighting

Opabin Plateau
Watercolour and crayon
©2016 Charlene Brown

When my daughters and I climbed to the Opabin Plateau in 2009, I sketched the surrounding mountains and plotted the locations on an interactive Google map of the area, These sketches reflected the weather that day (a little) more accurately than today’s painting.

I thought I should mention that because I’ve put this painting, which has sunlight and shadows I found in other photos of the Opabin plateau, on my Pinterest board, Living the Dream, together with a photo of me starting the sketch. In that photo there is mysteriously little sunlight and shadow... (It had just stopped raining and everything, including my hair, is soaking wet.) I haven't actually explained that on the Pinterest board – which contains location paintings and photos of the artists painting (or at least starting) them on location – but I thought I should mention it here on my blog.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I need more Pinterest Followers!

West of Mount Washington
Watercolour and crayon
©2016 Charlene Brown

If you read my post last week about Creative Content Camp, the on-line art blogging course I’m taking, you’ll know I have a started a new Pinterest board called ‘Living the Dream’ about plein air painting.  I only have 2 followers – some people have hundreds!  I sure would appreciate it if you’d click here and then click the ‘Follow’ button which should show up in the upper right of my Pinterest board. I’m hoping to get up to at least 3 followers by the end of today.
This is the view of Strathcona Provincial Park from above the Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Mountains that can seen include the iconic Comox Galcier on the far left and Mount Albert Edward, named after Queen Victoria’s eldest son, the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII.  Mount Washington itself, unlike just about every other ‘Washington’ in North America, was not named after George Washington, but after Rear Admiral John Washington, official Hydrographer, British Royal Navy, while charting the west coast of the Colony of British Columbia, before it became part of  Canada. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Camp IV

Living the Dream in Durnstein, Austria
Pinterest pin (watercolour sketch + photo)
Charlene Brown

The Challenge at Creative Content Camp this week is to make 15 active connections on social media.  Easy for some, but my social media repertoire consists of:

·       a Facebook account where I follow a few friends as quietly as possible, commenting occasionally, but just about never initiating anything.
·       two Pinterest boards where I’ve been pinning only what’s sent to me (by some random interest-generator that has confused me with someone keen on DIY) and never creating pins.
·       a fear of LinkedIn
·       a dumb phone and no plans to upgrade, which rules out texting, Twitter and, I’m guessing, Instagram
·       an iPad I use only for reading magazines when I’m traveling
·       a Youtube Channel that I last updated about seven years ago with A Year in a Victorian Garden after which I decided computer-painted videos were way too much work.
.... so basically, tremendous potential for improvement!

Here is the beginning of one of my 15 ‘connection’ efforts – a new ‘proactive’ Pinterest board called 'Living the Dream.'   

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Camp III

Angkor Wat
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

After returning from Whistler last week, we headed up-island for the Canada Day weekend and I was AFK for the second live Q&A session of Creative Content Camp, but did get a start on CCC Challenge 2 (Brainstorming image ideas for the next six months, based on planned events, travel etc. – keeping in mind how they will fit into the categories defined in Challenge 1) and downloaded Lesson 3 only one day behind schedule.

One of the categories I defined in Challenge 1 was ‘Real and imaginary travel painting adventures’ and one of the image ideas I thought of in Challenge 2 was the locations I will find in the Virtual Paintout each month.  Full disclosure: this is not a ‘new’ idea – I have participated in almost 100 of these paintouts. The idea of writing a book in which the virtual adventures are combined with real ones is new. Trust me, finding a virtual location to paint on Google Streetview is sometimes quite an adventure. The Virtual Paintout is in Cambodia this month.  Here is a link to the Google Streetview I painted(This one was actually pretty easy to find.)

CCC Challenge 3 is to develop 10 ideas for stories about our studios, and publish one of them.  My story is about my one-colour studio...
I do not in fact have a painting studio at home. I can prepare paper and draw and mask pictures, but almost all my painting is done at a seniors centre where there is a huge studio with a tile floor and big windows opening onto a patio, flower garden and forest. A family of fallow deer are frequent visitors, but this is a bad thing.  In fact here in Victoria, grazing deer are considered to be a threat to civilization as we know it, but I digress...
At home, the only surfaces in rooms suitable for painting are the kitchen table and the counter in the guest bathroom. Both these have just enough room for my painting board and one small saucer, and I like to work with a palette that is almost as big as a half-sheet painting.  I do have a couple of tiny little palettes with carefully rationed portions of maybe eight colours, but these are saved for painting hikes and other transportation challenges.  So I’m stuck with one saucer with one colour squeezed out on it. 
Oddly enough, this is not a bad thing.  I find that one colour is exactly what many paintings (Angkor Wat, for example) need when I get them home and look at them with ‘fresh eyes.’  And the one colour is usually purple.   

Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer Camp II

Audain Art Museum in Whistler
Watercolour and crayon
©2016 Charlene Brown

When Whistler Village was built, wide swaths of timber were cut to provide parking near the pedestrian-only lodge and lift base areas.  In contrast, the recently-opened Audain Art Museum is so well suited to its densely-forested setting that only one tree requiring a removal permit was cut to make way for the beautifully-designed building.
I returned to Victoria from the Vancouver/Whistler trip just in time to get a start on Creative Content Camp Challenge 1 (Mind-mapping content categories), and download Lesson 2. The Activities involved in Lesson 2 all relate to gathering pictures of yourself and your art and related locations and activities.  It was suggested that you take at least 10 pictures every day… Well, I’ve certainly got a head start on that!  Some days I take 10 pictures every 10 minutes.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Camp I

Conducting research at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre  
The be-jewelled cape in this photo is a symbolic replacement for the mountain goat’s hair, used in traditional Coast Salish weaving.* 

I signed up for an on-line art blogging workshop called Creative Content Camp with ArtBiz coach Alyson B. Stanfield at the last minute and hit the ground running (in confused little circles) on June 17, just in time to download Lesson 1.

Upon studying the schedule I realized that I was going to miss the Lesson 1 Q&A session as I’d be AFK from 7am June 21 to 7pm June 23 on an Art Gallery of Greater Victoria expedition to a Picasso show at the Vancouver Art Gallery and a tour of the new Audain Art Museum and the Squamish/Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.

Fortunately this interruption tied in nicely with Activity 2 of Lesson 1, which was to ‘research what’s going on in your local art scene - if you are within driving distance of a major metropolitan area or know you’ll be visiting one in the near future, research the museums in that city‘ in preparation for Challenge 1: Mind-mapping content categories. 

*The mountain goat hair used by the Coast Salish weavers was gathered from trees the animals rubbed against to help shed their winter coats, should you be wondering how they obtained it – I know I certainly was.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mid-Year Review

Drifting… an hour later
Watercolour and crayon
©2016 Charlene Brown

A new project, an offshoot of the fine Art of Physics book I completed in April of 2015, is a compilation of things I have written about visualizing information.  In February, I illustrated some computer-generated ‘Clean Energy Haiku’ with haiga-like computer-posterized versions of watercolour sketches of Japan, beginning with Shirakawa, and in May I began a series of blog posts on ‘found’ haiku, using posterized Canadian landscapes.  

In May I completed a five-day NYU/Scientific American on-line course, The Psychology of Creativity, including six blog posts on Enhancing Creativity, and recently I have embarked on another of these on-line courses, Mysteries of the Universe. 

So far this year, all my travel journaling has been virtual, as I’ve participated in each of the six Virtual Paintouts: Inverness and Edinburgh in Scotland, Majorca, Sydney and Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales, Sri Lanka, Acadia National Park in Mayne and Napa Valley in California. Charlene Brown

Monday, June 20, 2016

Drifting down the east coast

... as the sun was rising
Watercolour and crayon
2016 Charlene Brown

Along the east coast of Newfoundland, it’s not unusual to wake up in the morning to find that an iceberg has meandered into the neighbourhood. This painting is based on a Maclean’s Magazine photo by Darren Calabrese, showing an iceberg about six kilometres off the coast near the Bonavista Peninsula.  The 10,000-year-old ice masses appeared early this year due to an El Niño weather system. The tips of these icebergs reach up to 24 m high, with as much as another 100 m beneath the surface.