Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How much of this is still there?

Palmyra
Watercolour and crayon
©2018 Charlene Brown

There was a great deal of speculation in 2015, when ISIS was known to be trying to destroy the ‘Venice of the sands,’ that they might succeed in leveling Palmyra and other ancient sites completely. It’s hard to say just how much of the portion of the ruins  shown here might still exist, even when ‘before and after’ pictures of the ancient caravan city  are available.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Abstracting landscapes I’ve painted before

Beaver Pond at Third Lake
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

To achieve an abstracted landscape, I’m using a technique employed by oil and acrylic painters – instead of doing a pencil drawing, I’ve ‘roughed in’ the basic shapes using oil pastels, then gradually refined the overall composition with boldly-applied layers of paint. 

As usual, this painting ended up quite a bit less bold or even ‘rough’ than I’d hoped it would be, and more detail than I wanted found its way past the ‘resist’ of the oil pastel. 


Despite this, I will continue to try to abstract familiar scenes, mainly from the Rockies, possibly  allowing my inner ‘Hundertwasser’ a bit more leeway.   

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Review of 2017 + Plan for 2018

Many Springs Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park
Watercolour
©2017 Charlene Brown

Here are some highlights of a review of 1150 Words in 2017 and my plans this blog in 2018:

·       Travel journaling:  I completed a project begun in 2016 to expand on the sketches and paintings my grandchildren and I produced during the trips I took with them between 2004 and 2013.  There were 30 blog posts in total which I compiled, with additional photographs, into a 29-page booklet.

·        Clean energy haiku/haiga project:  I have produced 50 poems using ‘found’ haiku and computer-stylized versions of landscape paintings from all the Provinces and Territories of Canada. So far I have compiled 14 of these illustrated poems, with a plan to include up to 50, in a book, ‘Inventing the Future with Clean Energy Haiku.’

·       I attended a workshop in Writing for Children at Camosun College here in Victoria, during which I completed a first draft of the first chapter of a YA novella. I hope to complete a first draft of the whole book in 2018. The illustrations will be computer-generated.

·       My blog metadata indicates that in 2017 I added 20 archaeology-related blog posts to the 77 posts I’d written previously.  Three of these were from Virtual Paintouts, two from a trip to Ireland with my daughters, ten from a trip to Iran with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and five from My Travels with Our Grandkids. I plan to begin compiling the ones I like into an archaeological review.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Last seen in 1962

Johnston Canyon
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown


I have only ever seen this particular view of one of the waterfalls in Johnston Canyon on two occasions, despite having climbed the canyon regularly between 1954 and 1971. The main hiking trail up the canyon is a bit back from the edge over the roof of this cave, and you used to have to climb down through the forest to reach this spot.  It must be more accessible now, because even the Google Camera has been here! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fourth Revolution Haiku

Larch Valley


This is a computer-abstracted version of a painting that was based loosely on some other people’s photographs taken from Sentinel Pass above Larch Valley. I’ve never been up there myself, because of a grizzly bear warning posted at the trailhead at Moraine Lake (plus it’s a really long climb.)  

The haiku is advocating a larger role for direct current on our power grids, as DC is required by many end-use devices such as digital equipment, solar PV, storage batteries, electric vehicles.  The fourth revolution is, of course, the fourth industrial revolution – intelligent automation, artificial intelligence that enables robots to learn and communicate with each other, machines that can make multiple products and customize each one, software-driven systems.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Climate change preparation

The Oilsands

Canada is gradually improving its ranking in environmental opinion polls, but we’re still subject to some derision, focusing on the Alberta Oilsands, which critics refer to as ‘tarsands that produce the world’s dirtiest oil.’
They may be right, but I think if we paid higher carbon taxes we could pay for whatever research it takes to clean up this energy source. And this would be far better than going to war over oil in the Middle East or using food to make biofuels.

In the meantime, I thought I’d present this ‘blot on the landscape’ as a ‘cleaned up’ semi-abstract design. As for making sense of the rest of the overlaid haiku, Googling ‘climate change preparation’ will get you over a million results to read...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Haven’t painted Banff in over two months!

Banff, from Sulphur Mountain
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2017 Charlene Brown


I was once quoted by Katherine Tyrrell, on her blog Making a Mark writing, “ ...until I was about eight, I was only vaguely aware that anybody painted anything but the Canadian Rockies.”  The Rockies, especially the Banff area, continues to be a favourite location, with this being my 88th Canadian Rockies blog entry. I was quite surprised to notice my last Banff painting was September 17, although I’ve probably gone even longer than that occasionally.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 10

Sunset at Carberry House
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

We planned to stay in a ‘Scottish Baronial pile’ near Edinburgh for our last night in Scotland, and selected the splendid Carberry Tower Mansion House and Estate from the various piles available. Fortunately it occurred to one of the girls that Carberry was much too splendid to spend a night which would end at 4 am when we had to leave for the Edinburgh airport for our flight to Toronto, so we scheduled our second last night in Scotland there instead.
The place has quite a history, being first mentioned in the 11th century when King David I of Scotland granted Carberry to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey. The original building was a simple square tower house, ‘built more for strength than ornament’ according to Wikipedia. It changed hands many time over the years, and was gradually improved piece by piece, with no apparent plan, except that the extension seemed to proceed in ‘an anti-clockwise direction.’  It turned out surprisingly well.  Eventually it was owned by the 16th Lord Elphinstone, who was married to Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, whose sister Elizabeth visited and helped at the Red Cross bazaar held at Carberry Tower in 1915. Apparently, Elizabeth liked the place so much that, years later she and her husband brought their two daughters there for summer holidays.  That was in the early 1930s before anyone knew that the elder daughter would become Queen Elizabeth II.