Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Virtual Paintout in Montenegro

Islands in the Boka Kotorska
Charlene Brown

I painted and wrote about several locations in the Balkans a couple of years ago, including three in Montenegro. Two of these, Stari Bar and Kotor, I’ve just discovered can be located in Google Streetview – click here for Stari Bar and click here for Kotor.      

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Travels with Our Grandkids II (a) Hawaii

My next trip, with our second grandson Dan, was the only one that didn’t involve an organized intergenerational tour in the summer during the school holidays. Dan wanted to go to a warm place before the end of winter in Calgary, so we selected a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands in March of 2005.

After our flight to Oahu and evening cruise departure from Honolulu, we woke to find ourselves in the beautiful port of Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai. This northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is very rugged with deep valleys and sharp mountain spires draped in lush tropical rainforests. Much of it is only accessible be sea or air.

It is also the least developed or ‘touristy’ of the major islands but we managed to find a shop with the mother lode of t-shirts depicting the spectacular Na Pali coast – the cliffs and waterfalls of which are among the sights best viewed from the sea. So we bought the t-shirts before we’d actually ‘been there, done that’ … Later that day, when we set sail for our next destination, The Big Island, we finally had the ‘best view’ of the Na Pali Coast.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Travels with Our Grandkids I (f) – Costa Rica

Mother and daughters
Decorative Mayan-themed sculpture
©2016 Charlene Brown

This painting is based on a photograph I took in the bromeliad garden of our hotel in San José

The Mayan civilization, which flourished in MesoAmerica until the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century, extended to this area, but there is only one major Mayan archaeological site in Costa Rica, the Guayabo National Monument.  Some artifacts have been found and Mayan decorative themes are popular.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Travels with Our Grandkids I (e) – Costa Rica (with a preview of Peru)

The picture of Phil on the left marks the beginning of my fascination with the Spanish spelling of Extinguisher, a fascination not shared by the various kids I photographed over the years. I’ve included a picture of Phil’s cousin Nick, taken five years later in Peru, to show I did manage to get other shots before people started working together to prevent me from noticing Extintor signs in various Latin American countries.

I have one more painting of Costa Rica that I’ll post in a few days before moving on to my second trip with Phil’s brother Dan, the following year.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Travels with our Grandkids I(d) - Costa Rica

The roads in Costa Rica are lined with these lovely living fences, which surround most of the farms. The reason for using trees, strung with three or four lines of wire, to fence the land is very simple – the ubiquitous termites don’t eat live wood. The established fences, lobbed off many times so the wire stays close to the ground, are mainly gumba limbo, but the younger in-fill trees are sometimes more flamboyant plants, such as hibiscus or poinciana – though not usually in full flower as shown here. Don’t you agree the whole concept is wonderfully paintable, along with the chain of volcanoes that forms the backbone of the country? 
I first saw these fences on the 2004, but didn’t have my camera ready ­­– being preoccupied with the warning from our driver that we could either get up the hills or have air conditioning.  I painted this picture several years later following a 2010 Panama cruise, when I knew where to have my camera ready as we climbed toward the mountains. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Travels with our Grandkids I(c) – Costa Rica

Eco-system in a Tree
Watercolour pencil and ink sketch
©2004 Charlene Brown

Everything you see and hear becomes a lesson on a Road Scholar trip, and our hike in the cloud forest was no exception. We were getting used to the idea that plants we would consider houseplants back home can be as big as a house in the tropics, and in the case of this ficus, can support a whole ecosystem! There were many plants in addition to the ones shown here, to say nothing of the animals – mammals, birds, reptiles, insects… everything but fish, I think.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Virtual Paintout is in Tijuana, Mexico this month

Jesus Pérez, Rosarito
Oil pastel and watercolour
@2016 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Tijuana this month  When I first sketched this Google Streetview in the suburb of Rosarito, the whole thing looked surprisingly off-balance... what to do? 

If you click on this link, you will notice a blue building on the far left.  It looks like this if you move down the street to view it from the front. I’ve moved it to the right side of the picture, to get around the balance problem.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Travels with our Grandkids I b – Costa Rica

Here’s Phil with a traditionally-decorated Costa Rican ox-cart.  I don’t have any drawings or paintings that include any of these extraordinary little vehicles, as I wouldn’t dream of undertaking something so complicated.  Phil would (and still will) and I think he drew and painted a picture of this one – but I didn’t have the presence of mind to grab his picture for my ‘collection.’