Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas greetings from an OCR poet

3. a r,ilgiggq
Watercolour and Photoshop™
©2010 Charlene Brown

Four years ago I ‘abstracted’ a painting of Butchart Gardens using Photoshop.   Then I made it into a 1-minute video showing what this magical place looks like year-round

This picture, which appears at the end of my video, shows the sunken garden with the Christmas lights featuring the Twelve Days of Christmas, including the five gold rings floating on one of the ponds. 

I’ve run it through the CamScanner app on my iPad that generates OCR poetry… and works about as well as most OCR readers. The cheery greeting it found in this Christmas picture is shown above – 3. a r,ilgiggq

Monday, December 1, 2014

Virtual Paintout in Rome

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But I’m still in Luxembourg
©2014 Charlene Brown

I painted the City Hall in Wiltz  a couple of weeks ago, when the Virtual Paintout was in Luxembourg.  When I posted it on the Virtual Paintout site, I discovered that at least two people had painted this lovely scene and decided to try it myself.  What with one thing and another, I didn't finish the second Luxembourg painting until today – too late to post it to the Virtual Paintout, which has moved on to Rome. 
I also took a few minutes to motor around Rome on Google Streetview, to see what I’m going to paint next. Not surprisingly it didn't take long to find several great locations. I hope I can paint one or two of them before December runs out…  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Return to Kananaskis Country

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Sunrise at The Fortress
Watercolour, crayon and CP
©2014 Charlene Brown

I’m not implying that I’ve spent a lot of time in Kananaskis Country by using the word ‘return’ in the title. I've written blog posts here and here about a couple of paintings I did at Rawson Lake, and another about the view of Kananaskis Country from just outside its eastern boundary and I’ve flown over it lots of times. But – I’ve actually gone into the park only about five times – odd, considering I grew up in Banff National Park, which is right next to it! Of course Kananaskis Country is very new – created in 1976 – compared to Banff, at almost 130 years, one of the oldest national parks in the world. I don’t think there was what you’d call a drivable road into Kananaskis when I lived in Banff.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild Christmas Show

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This is Victoria (It is so!)
Watercolour, marker and Photoshop™

We enjoyed the Christmas Show put on by Victoria floral designers last weekend, well ahead of the holidays so we’d have time to organize supplies and put to good use some of what we learned about decorating with combinations of evergreens, flowers and – would you believe – strips of arbutus bark. I probably won’t even try, but painting some of what we saw appealed to me.

Attempting to copy exactly all the details and nuances of any one of the truly splendid designs on display didn’t seem right (or even possible) but I decided that an incorporation of some of my favourites into a ‘landscape’ painting of Victoria could be an appropriate way to interpret this wonderful show. The picture includes the Provincial Legislature (which is in fact completely outlined with hundreds of lights) on the left, the city gardens for which Victoria is famous, a couple of boats on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and, in the distance, the base of the mountains on the Olympic peninsula. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Virtual Paintout in Luxembourg

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L'hôtel de ville, Wiltz
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2014 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Luxembourg this month. As you may have noticed, I often go in search of mountains for my Virtual Paintout pictures...

This didn’t seem promising in Luxembourg, so I sought out nice-looking castles instead – specifically, the Château de Wiltz. After quite a bit of cruising about trying to find a good Streetview of it, I came across this architectural gem, the Wiltz City Hall. Here is a link to the Google Streetview of it.  In the background, a corner of the Château can be seen.  I think this is about as close as the Google camera got to it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Artistic license to operate a cable car

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Peak2Peak at Whistler
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2014 Charlene Brown

The artistic license mentioned in the title refers to the fact that, although the P2P gondola spans the distance between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains, you can’t actually see the towers, let alone the cable, from the spot this picture was taken on the other side of the valley.

I’ve included the Olympic Sliding Centre, just to the left of the centre of the painting. Not surprisingly, it can’t really be seen from that distance either.

I wrote about the Peak2Peak gondola back in 2009 (the title of the post was ‘72 days to go!’ referring to the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics held at Whistler). Here’s the picture I painted at the time – I used to paint more carefully then.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Why should oil painters have all the fun?

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Banff Springs Hotel
Watercolour, and crayon 
©2014 Charlene Brown

My first impression of red underpaintings was that they were something of a make-work project for artists working with oils or acrylics. But then I noticed that there are wonderful effects to be achieved by leaving just the right flashes of an underpainting exposed, and of course, I wanted to try one.

As this technique is not really open to watercolour painters, I decided to try something that might simulate the result… Starting by drawing the picture in a complementary-coloured wax (paint-resisting) crayon. Given the colours I planned to use to complete the painting, orange seemed like a better choice than red for the fake underpainting, and Banff Springs Hotel is the result.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Virtual Paintout in County Kerry, Ireland

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East of the Leahill Bog
Watercolour and crayon
©2014 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in CountyKerry  this month. I found this lovely scene, looking east toward Bantry, very quickly after a short drive along a promising-looking stretch of coastline. Here is a link to it inGoogle Streetview

After adding a few people and dogs to the small group that was already there, I decided to put in some heather as well.  There wasn't really any heather that close to the water – it came from the Leahill Bog, which is inland a ways.