Sunday, November 17, 2019

Missing from 2001

Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

Our Christmas letter in 2001 contained this sentence – In mid-September we went on a long-planned cruise which turned out to be a timely retreat from reality to the wilderness of Alaska to try to regain perspective on a changed world… referring of course to the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

At the Skagway stop we left our ship at the foot of the main street and took the White Pass & Yukon Railway Summit excursion to the Canadian border, where the half-staff flags reminded us of the terrible events in the ‘Lower 48.’

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Missing from 2000

Petit St Bernard Pass
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

When my husband retired from Emirates Airline in 2000, we picked up a new car in Sweden and drove around Europe for two months.  Half-way through this Grand Tour, we crossed from Italy into France. The following is excerpted from email we sent at the time.

As we made our way west, then north from Turin, it was like driving up out of a mauve sea of murk. The air got suddenly clearer, the highway got better and better, and the traffic got thinner and thinner. It was just amazing!

Then we discovered when we wheeled off our private autostrada for lunch at Morgex that we were probably the only people in Europe who didn’t know the Mont Blanc Tunnel was still closed because of the March 1999 fire.  The closest alternate route involved heading up a narrow road to the Petit St. Bernard Pass, said to be open at the time, though not guaranteed to stay that way.  As we approached the Italian/French border at the top of the pass, stretches of the road were carved out of three-metre snow banks, but the gentians and violas in the snow-free areas were brilliant, the glaciers dazzling, and there were (unsurprisingly) NO TRUCKS! Also no guardrails.

PS  We’re still driving that Volvo. And we still refer to it as our new car.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Missing from 1993

Caracal Lynx
Acrylic, gouache and latex
©1993 Charlene Brown

I produced this painting and several others at a workshop on mixed media overlay techniques presented at the British Council in Dubai by American painter, Douglas Walton.

A few of these paintings actually found their way into my 1993 Christmas letter (in the photo shown below) but I’m going to add the Caracal Lynx anyway.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Missing from 1991

Three Sisters
Watercolour and Photoshop™
©2013 Charlene Brown

This computer montage started out as two paintings (shown below) that I painted in 1991 at a workshop at Kananaskis just east of Banff National Park, led by California artist, Barbara Nechis.  

Until now it existed only on my computer but soon it will appear in my compilation of annual letters.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Read the last sentence of this post

Cover of my new book
Adobe InDesign document
©2019 Charlene Brown

The haiku book I’ve been working on, and blogging about since 2015, has just been published.  

Inventing the Future is available on Amazon. This link will remain available in the right hand column of my blog above my other Amazon links.

According to Seth Godin, “The most common way to deal with the future is to try to predict it. To be in the right place at the right time with the right skills or investments.  A far more successful and reliable approach is to invent the future. Not all of it, just a little part. But enough to make a difference.”

I don’t believe that the future is nearly as dire as the UN Climate Panel has predicted. The main reason for my optimism is that I believe we are finally becoming aware that we must change our behavior. We know that we must transition away from our heavy dependence on fossil fuels for transportation and energy production, and we must accomplish a significant portion of this transition soon.

The objective of this book of haiku is to invent (or at least point the way to) a better future. We are already locked in to decades of self-perpetuating climate change – but it won’t become irreversibly catastrophic if we act now.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Missing from 1990

Watercolour and Photoshop
©1990 Charlene Brown

This was painted following a visit to our daughter at her school in Switzerland.  I’ve since decided the original was kind of pale, so I’ve bumped up the colours in Photoshop and, while I was at it, changed the proportions compared to photos of the coffee shop on the Neuchatel lakefront, for example, the painting had everything stretched vertically.

The school in Switzerland was mentioned in my 1990 Christmas letter, but I didn’t think of including this painting until I started my current project to consolidate all the annual letters beginning that year.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The other missing 1998 paintings

Most of the Christmas letters I wrote had lots of photos, but hardly any had paintings. When I get all the ‘missing’ images lined up, I will add them to the letters that mention the adventures they illustrate, and then compile all the letters since I started writing them in 1990.
Here are a couple of the paintings I mentioned in my last blog post.  They will be added, along with the painting of Kathmandu, to the Christmas letter I wrote in 1998.  The bilingual Pepsi truck was drawn by our grandson, and the painting of Rawson Lake in Kananaskis Country is one of mine.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Missing from 1998

Watercolour and Photoshop™
Charlene Brown

A couple of paintings by our grandson, who was six when they visited us in Dubai in February 1998, and a painting I did in Alberta that summer will eventually make their way into that year’s Christmas letter. 

However, I couldn’t find any of the paintings I did on a trip to Nepal in March 1998.  So I painted this watercolour sketch. As you may have guessed, it has been photoshopped within an inch of its life, mainly using a process called posterization. This involves converting the original continuous gradation of colour to eight distinct tones, with abrupt changes from one to another. This served to give some solidity to the original overly-loose painting, but lost the effect of the multi-coloured prayer flags, as well as local and Tibetan textiles and costumes and of course the very colourful tourists, many of whom were decked out in florescent finery suitable for the ascent of Everest.