Thursday, March 26, 2009

Different Strokes Challenge: Beach Family

Beach Family at Pacific Rim National Park
Watercolour and ink
©2009 Charlene Brown
The Week 27-28 Challenge on Different Strokes from Different Folks has a family in it (hence the name). So, at first, it looked like too much of a challenge for me. But I really think it would improve some of my landscapes if I included people, so I’ve been making a point of trying it more often. Karin Jurick, who runs the site, must have seen painters like me coming – she included the following in her excellent note on motivation: If you find figures difficult, remember these wise words from Monet "...try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever ... merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape..."
So here they are – in the middle distance. It will be a while longer before I try close-ups.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another Shot at the 2010 Olympics

Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains from the Olympic Village
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2009 Charlene Brown
I don’t mean to imply that I might actually have a shot at participating in the Olympics – this shot is simply another in my series of paintings of the Olympic venues and the Sea-to-Sky Highway that connects them. And it’s a hypothetical shot at that, given that the Olympic Village from which this is supposed to be the view isn’t quite built yet. And I’ve done a little east-west contraction in order to fit in all the mountains from Howe Sound on the left to the Grouse Mountain ski hill on the right.
My next Olympics painting will be another highway shot – there’s an especially picturesque part of the route being threaded through the tops of the cliffs as it leaves the TranCanada Highway and heads north at Horseshoe Bay. But it seems like every time we go over there something’s moved or there’s a new ramp, so I’ll be waiting for the final design to reveal itself.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Extreme Challenge: Sushi!

Photoshopped Sushi
Watercolour, crayon, marker and computer
Charlene Brown

It’s one thing to paint something that already looks sensational, but the latest challenge on Different Strokes from Different Folks presented a tasty, but not particularly sensational-looking, subject -- I hesitated a few days before trying it. The only other time I sent a painting to this blog, the subject was a ‘San Francisco Victorian’ and I think there were almost 150 entries in that one. I decided to try the Week 25-26 Challenge – Sushi, just because there were nowhere near as many entries for this one.
As I’m trying to produce more abstract mountain landscapes and cityscapes, I decided to try stylizing this still life in an abstract direction using a ‘find the main shapes’ approach (the only approach I know). But, as usual, my main shapes picked up a few details they didn’t need.
Then I tried having a go at it with Photoshop, and liked a few of the results. Today (March 20) I decided to substitute my favourite for the one I sent in to Different Strokes. I would have sent 'Photoshopped Sushi' to begin with -- but, as they specifically request that you don't send in computer-manipulated versions of the original photograph, I assumed they didn't want computer-manipulated versions of your paintings either.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back to Tasmania

Pandanis at Lake Oberon, Tasmania, Australia
Watercolour and crayon
©2009 Charlene Brown

I haven’t actually been back to Tasmania, much as I’d love to see it again, but I did revisit a watercolour of Lake Oberon I painted in 1998. Somehow, what I’d thought was a serene understatement of the beauty of this rugged wilderness area was looking pretty … well, boring. In Tasmania, they pride themselves on resisting all the bad aspects of twentieth century development (by which they mean pretty well all aspects of twentieth century development, as I recall) and this has resulted in a wonderful otherworldly tranquility about the place. I didn’t want to lose that, so planned to jump the painting up just a little… But I soon realized it was too insipid to do anything with and started over. I’ve added this painting to my website, Paint Every Mountain.