Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Virtual Paintout still in Utah

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Boarders and Skiers at the Park City Mountain Resort
watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

Here’s another entry in the September Virtual Paintout. For a change, I decided to use a view with lots of people… and I soon discovered there was hardly anyone out standing around on the days the Google camera Streetviewed Utah! I finally found a little crowd at the base of one of the lifts at the Park City Mountain Resort just outside Salt Lake City. Here is the link to it

I’ve used some of the tips on a 2008 post on the highly-regarded art blog Making a Mark
  • look for connections between people in terms of relationships and body language
  • identify the big shape that is the group of people. If you can't see an edge then don't draw it.
  • make the connections between different zones more obvious. Overlap figures and objects to demonstrate who is in the foreground, the middle ground and background.
  • Avoid drawing faces and feet. (If you draw a likeness, then you should really obtain a model release.) Squint when you look at faces and then only draw what you can see - which will be values. You'll be surprised at how little detail there is. (I should mention that with Google Streetview, likenesses are not a concern – all faces are pretty consistently blurred out.) Feet are often drawn bigger than they actually are. Try to make them smaller then you want to (again not a concern here, as everyone has boots on.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Elegant Clean Energy Haiku III: Quantum Leap Haiku Generation

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Wikipedia defines a typical haiku as a three-line observation about a fleeting moment involving nature, with the three lines having 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Quantum Leap Haiku is a three-line observation about a fleeting tangent involving technological innovation. Again, the lines have 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

The objective of Quantum Leap Haiku verses is to explain how to invent stuff, embracing the principles of environment, energy (physics) and economics. Here is another example using a computer-abstracted version of one of my paintings – this time in a square format, with the verse under the picture, rather than superimposed:

Another ‘how to invent stuff’ non sequitur
Watercolour and Photoshop™
©2015 Charlene Brown

Sphere eversion is an apparent paradox relating to the conservation of energy; forcing a competitive head-start by the adoption of disruptive technology can be turned into an economic advantage; ‘using’ garbage rather than just putting it somewhere is an environmental concept finally catching on across all sectors.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On the road again

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Atacama desert

Watercolour and crayon

©2015 Charlene Brown

The Atacama Desert in Chile is another South American location on 'the road less traveled' that I read about in the Globe & Mail and posted paintings of on August 26 and September 2.

When I first found the images this painting is based on I thought the mountain was very much like a Chilean volcano (Osorno) that I computer-painted in 2003. But when I compared the finished painting of the volcano in the desert to Orsorno, I realized that, apart from a similar near-symmetry and being in the same country, the two have nothing in common. 

The Atacama desert is just over 100,000 sq. kilometers of virtually uninhabited, vegetation-free, stony terrain, salares (salt lakes), sand and felsic lava. The Puerto Varas region, on the other hand is a popular tourist destination, has a wonderful climate, Lianquihue – the second largest lake in Chile, other lakes which really are "the colour of the lakes in Banff National Park in Canada!" as our guide on a Holland America shore excursion had promised, and rose gardens as far as the eye can see. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Virtual Paintout in Utah

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Mossy Cave Trailhead
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in the state of Utah this month.  This painting shows one of the trailheads that line the roads that take you through Bryce Canyon National Park in the south-central part of the state. 

If you have a look at the link to this location in Streetview  you will notice you can’t actually see the water in the creek from the road – I’ll admit I added that detail after looking at the Google Earth view of this location. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

On the road less travelled again

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Colca Canyon
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

This canyon in southern Peru was also mentioned in the Globe & Mail article about lesser-known, but spectacular, sights in South America. 

More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States, the canyon supports an impressive agricultural base laid out on hundreds of pre-Incan stepped terraces.

Colca Canyon reminded me of other paintings of the terraces found throughout this part of the Andes that I've written about – the Incan Salt Pans at Salineras de Maras  and the agricultural complex at Moray

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Taking the road less traveled

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To a place less real
watercolour, crayon and Photoshop™
©2015 Charlene Brown

Last week I read an article in the Travel Section of the Globe & Mail about fascinating (and, in my opinion, very paintable) places that most of us have never heard of.

They were all in South America, and this is one of them – Potosi, Bolivia. ‘To a place less real’ is the result of running a more realistic painting of Potosi, with which I wasn’t entirely delighted, through my favourite Photoshop filter.  

I’ve sometimes wondered why the special effects capabilities of Photoshop are referred to as ‘Filters’... Maybe it’s because you can use them to filter out the parts of a picture you don’t like.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Elegant Clean Energy Haiku II

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In my first post on Elegant Clean Energy Haiku, I mentioned a plan to program a computer to write and illustrate haiku in a manner I hoped would be reminiscent of Norman McLaren of the National Film board of Canada…

Getting a computer to write haiku (well, a haiku-like non sequitur) is fairly straightforward. (Should you be wondering, Wikipedia defines ‘non sequitur’ as a logical fallacy where a stated conclusion is not supported by its premise and therefore the conclusion is arbitrary.)

Persuading my computer to produce an abstract illustration of the lines of haiku as it prints them, however, is a part of the project I haven't even started. When I figure that out, I’ll post an outline of the methodology. Meanwhile, here is a haiku example, overlaid on a computer-abstracted version of the painting of the Opabin Plateau I wrote about last week. I’ll explain the objective of these verses in my next ‘haiku’ post.

A ‘how to invent stuff’ non sequitur
Watercolour and Photoshop™
©2015 Charlene Brown

According to Leon Zolbrod, in his book, Haiku Painting, haiku illustration, or haiga, transcends the world of haiku poetry, revealing new insights that the poem alone, despite the inimitable expressiveness of Japanese calligraphy, cannot express. From the beginning of haiku development in the 17th century, poet and haiga artist alike endeavored to eliminate every superfluous element and to attain an austere beauty, akin to that of abstract art, associated with the discipline of Zen and its emphasis on purity and simplicity.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Soaring out of sight again

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The other side of the mountain
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

I hadn’t tried this before even though I’ve always thought the ‘topless’ effect evokes the precipitous nature of a mountain most forcefully, in Group of Seven Paintings for example. And I thought at the time that I’d probably try more paintings of mountains soaring out of sight.

This view from the Opabin Plateau includes the even more precipitous south face of the continental divide above Lake Louise  in my opinion among the most paintable string of mountains anywhere.