Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Canada Day!

Canada Day in Victoria
watercolour, crayon and Photoshop
©2007 Charlene Brown

We're enjoying another bright sunny Canada Day here in Victoria, and tonight we'll have the problem I humble-bragged about (that's bragging disguised as complaining) the first Canada Day after I started blogging -- with a video of  this painting, 'Canada Day in Victoria' that I had made for the Victoria Film Festival 1-Minute Video Competition in 2007. To see the whole video, click here 

Hope you're all having a great Canada Day too!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A weekend on the mainland

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Skill-testing signs
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown
The trip to the mainland is at least as spectacular as any cruise you’ve ever been on, but it has its bewildering aspects, at least the first few times you try it. 
First, there may be an electronic sign telling you the ferry you thought you’d be on is full... and what, you might ask, is entailed in a ‘1 sailing wait’? Well, it turns out a 1 sailing wait can be pretty terrific, with a nice restaurant and a craft market! A 2 or 3 sailing wait, not so much. 
Then somewhere in the eight-tollbooth jousting for position in the parking lot, or the eventual 2-lane race up the ramp to dive onto Deck 4, you might notice the enigmatic instruction to avoid using your GPS... though anyone who has ever tried to follow GPS instructions to board a ferry (Recalculating route. Make a U-turn as soon as it is safe to do so) will understand that one. 
The green destination sign, on the other hand, is a huge relief – it lets you know, in English and a Coast Salish language, that you are still on the right road. This reassuring sign is on the Sea-to-Sky Highway a few kilometers past West Vancouver, just around a sharp bend immediately after the TransCanada Highway you have been driving on has darted off to the right down a cliff.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Virtual Paintout still in Estonia

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Old Town of Tallinn
Watercolour and crayon sketch
Charlene Brown

I was in Tallinn once, on a Baltic cruise, and I remember walking up to the beautiful Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. I was thinking of painting that (despite promising myself not to try anything so elaborate after sketching the cathedral of the same name in Sofia last year) but discovered that the Google camera hadn’t really been able to get any great shots of it. At that point, I remembered something else about our day in Tallinn... the streets are so narrow that you hardly see anything of the Alexander Nevsky cathedral until you’re practically on the front steps!  Attempts to view the cathedral from open areas around town such as this square in the Old Town weren’t any more successful, but I did like the view of the square itself. Here's the link to this Google Streetview

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Virtual Paintout in Estonia

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Viljandi Castle
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Estonia this month. At first I tried to line up a nice shot of the skyline of Tallinn, the capital, and when that didn’t work, headed south and found this castle ruin overlooking a lake near the centre of Estonia.

Viljandi Castle was built by the Crusaders of the Order of Teutonic Knights in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. It fell into ruin following the Polish-Swedish wars of the early 17th century, and was ‘quarried’ for stones for construction in Viljandi throughout the 18th century.

Currently the ruins form a popular resort area just outside of town. An open-air stage with several rows of comfy seating (I think not) is located in the former central courtyard. Here is the link to the Google Streetview on which the painting is based.

Friday, May 29, 2015

In a hanging valley high above Lake Louise

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Lake Agnes – much higher than it was the last time I climbed up there in 1957

Watercolour and crayon

©2015 Charlene Brown

This painting is based on photos I took when I climbed to Lake Agnes with my daughter and granddaughter last summer, on what turned out to be the day with the highest temperature ever recorded in Lake Louise – nearly 30 degrees Celsius! Although it was more of a climb than I remembered, we were okay as we’d headed up there right after breakfast... Not so sure about the people who were just starting up in the heat of the day about the time we got back down to Lake Louise.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Glaciers soaring out of sight

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Canoes on Lake Louise
©2015 Charlene Brown

Some of my favourite Group of Seven paintings are of the Continental Divide with the tops of the mountains not included.
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I’ve taken photographs like these on the right showing reflections of mountain-tops without including all (or any) of the mountain, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever tried a painting like this.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Summer in a steep back yard

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Orchard descending a staircase
watercolour + Photoshop™
©2015 Charlene Brown

This backyard clings to the mountainside at the head of the Howe Sound fjord. 

I took the pictures on which this painting is based about a week ago and the fruit and vegetables in the garden were not in fact as ready to pick as I have shown them. A little crop improvement seemed like the least I could do as I haven’t helped with this particular garden for several years...

Not since that great day when I planted some bulbs in the rock garden and discovered the rocks were not just decorative – they form most of the topsoil. Some of the bulbs were so shallowly ‘planted’ that the squirrels were able to re-purpose them almost immediately.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bridging the gulf of mutual ignorance III

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Lyme Bay Allegory
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

Two of my paintings last year, Intersections of diametrically opposed disciplines and Multi-disciplinary Bridges, were allegories related to bridging C.P. Snow’s ‘gulf of mutual ignorance’ between the disciplines of the arts and sciences.

This third ‘bridging allegory’ painting depicts an actual set of stacked and balanced stones, some bridging the spaces between stacks – that appeared recently near where I live. As the whole thing has been set up on an ‘island’ that only appears at low tide, we have the added drama of the occasional, and mysterious, re-bridging of a gulf, when any of the key components gets washed out.