Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Elegant Environment-Energy-Economics Haiku

Drawn-on-film animation ©NFB

I got an email from the GVPL the other day to tell me the Japanese Design book I’d requested was available for pick-up. Unlike some of the history books on the reading list for our November trip to Japan, this book has lots of pictures, so it’s easy to remember some of the stuff I’m reading. For example, did you know the Japanese have at least twelve words for ‘elegant’? One of these words (suki: informal, subtle elegance) could be said to describe the environment-energy-economics haiku  I hope to program a computer to write.

My plan is to have the computer illustrate the haiku it generates as well, in an appropriately suki manner, possibly reminiscent of the hand-drawn animations Norman McLaren produced at the National Film Board of Canada about sixty years ago. The classic McLaren animation, Blinkity-Blank, is an excellent example of his signature irreverent and playful style, which often features lines, dots and other abstract forms, along with people, birds and the occasional horse. And it goes on f o r e v e r. It was created in 1955, well before we all developed 22-second attention spans.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Another Banff Sunset

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Late evening, early summer
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

This was supposed to look like it belonged in a set with the Banff Sunset I painted a couple of weeks ago. As it happens, about all they have in common is a lot more detail than can normally be seen after sunset, when the only natural light is alpenglow.

There are a couple of reasons they’re so different. I didn’t have the other painting available for reference when I painted this one and, more importantly, I couldn’t find my indigo paint, so I used Payne’s gray instead.  I haven’t used my Payne’s gray for so long it took almost five minutes to get the lid off the tube... And I think I like it better!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Virtual Paintout in Santa Fe

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Looking east on West Palace Street
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

After motoring around town (sometimes along streets with instantly melting and reappearing snow cover, apparently not photographed entirely in one day) I selected this view including the New Mexico Museum of Art. 

The Museum, just one of four state-supported museums in Santa Fe, is in the next block on the left side of the street. I think it’s one of the most attractive examples of the iconic Pueblo Revival style of architecture, featuring rounded corners, irregular parapets, thick battered walls and projecting wooden roof beams, which is very popular in Santa Fe. If you click on this link to Google Streetview, then click a couple of times on the arrow that appears on the street, you can travel to the next block, then pan the camera left to see the front of the museum.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mid-year update

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Banff Sunset
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

Here are some highlights concerning progress on The Plan for 2015:

I’ve excerpted and combined information and ideas from old projects that I haven’t looked at for a while and made some of them part of a new project – recycling a lot of paper and freeing up almost a gigabyte of computer space in the process!

My new project is an offshoot of the Fine Art of Physics book I completed in April. 

Painting our Christmas trip to La Vegas is the only travel journaling I’ve done so far this year, but I have big plans for painting during and following an Art Gallery trip to Japan I’ll be doing this November... and I’ve done my usual 'virtual travel journaling' by participated in six Virtual Paintouts this year, Philadelphia, Bangladesh, Greenland, Bhutan, Cesky Krumlov, and Estonia.        

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.