Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Year-end Review

Royal Roads
Photoshopped watercolour
2010 Charlene Brown

Here's how I think I did with repect to following my plan for 2010:

Paint more spontaneously - very little progress here though I was pleased with the way Mt. Assiniboine turned out in September. When I began abstracting paintings of the Victoria area, I found I had to resort to computer 'abstracting' to get results I liked. The abstracted version of Royal Roads University, originally posted October 27, is an example of this. Do more journaling - I wrote 'illustrated journal' posts about a trip to Mexico in February, a Panama cruise in April-May, a trip to the Rockies in July, and flashbacks to the twentieth century using excerpts of articles published in the 1990s. Continue to participate in group blogs - I completed 12 Virtual Paintout entries and was pleased to see Places to Paint: Charlene Brown's Rockies featured on The Art of the Landscape. Write more how-to articles - I wrote The Extreme Sport of Watercolour Painting for Empty Easel in April. Finish graphic novel and learn how to use Wacom tablet - Yes! I published my comic book in October... but as for using the tablet, I discovered outsourcing! The characters in Counter-Espionage Disinformation for Beginners were drawn by my grandson, Philip Hogg . I did eventually learn how to use the tablet in the Animation and SFX class at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School. Paint more videos and learn how to use Adobe Flash - I learned the basics of this at film school, and completed videos about archaeology (the First War Movie) and A Year in the Butchart Gardens
I'll write a post early in the new year, showing how my goals for 2011 reflect those set out for 2010 (or not).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Butchart Gardens: the video

Winter in Butchart Gardens
computer-painted video
Charlene Brown 2010

I liked the way Photoshop 'abstracted' my painting of Butchart Gardens so much that I made it into a 0ne-minute video showing what this magical place looks like year-round. This picture shows the sunken garden as it looked (briefly) a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the Christmas illuminations, featuring the Twelve Days of Christmas, have been turned on, and Day Five is in this part of the garden, as you will see if you have a look at the video on Youtube.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Virtual Paintout in County Clare

I hope this is County Clare!

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

It’s pretty easy to find lovely landscapes in County Clare, the location of this month’s Virtual Paintout. I did have one problem (mentioned by some of the others who have sent pictures in to the Virtual Paintout) – sometimes there’s no way of knowing if you’ve driven into another, equally-lovely county. Limerick, for example.

It was only when I started to draw this scene and zoomed in on the Streetview picture to get a better idea of some of the details, that I even noticed the herd of cows and the buildings! Here’s a link to it – have a look and you’ll see what I mean.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The first war movie

Battle of Kadesh

Bas relief mural

13th Century B.C.E.

This mural, on the second pylon of the Ramesseum near Luxor in Egypt, is said to be a multiple image representation of Ramses II driving a chariot into battle against the Hittites at Kadesh. I decided to break out the ‘moving’ parts and use them to computer-paint a ‘war movie’ video. (Another theory about the mural has it that the multiple legs simply indicate there are two horses pulling Ramses’ chariot, but I prefer the ‘action shot’ version of the story…)

Gert van Dijk’s website is an excellent reference for drawing animations of the various gaits for horses – but I found that the only gaits that the precisely spaced bas relief legs lent themselves to were bounding and pacing! Mr. van Dijk says, “a bound won't work for a horse: it would probably fall,” and I don’t think horses rear up on their hind legs while pacing… So both possibilities need modification. What we have is either a rearing pacer or a mincing bounder. You can see the resulting 30-second video on Youtube … and assuming Ramses didn’t scatter the Hittites driving a pacer, his horse must be bounding (carefully) into battle…

BTW, history tells us that Ramses wasn’t as victorious at Kadesh as his murals would have us believe… Maybe he really did have a pacer pulling his chariot!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update on the Victoria Abstracts

High Rock Park

Photoshopped watercolour

©2010 Charlene Brown

I’ve completed painting abstract versions of the three Victoria pictures I posted beginning October 27. This is not one of them.

You know how sometimes when you’re not happy with a painting you’ve just finished and put it aside for a few days, then look at it with fresh eyes, and it looks surprisingly more successful, or at least has some potential you hadn’t noticed…? Well, that didn’t happen with my abstract paintings – in fact, they were worse every time I looked at them. So I tried Photoshopping my original paintings, and am quite pleased with the results! I’ll post the others sometime in December.

High Rock Park looks pretty much like the representative version in the size shown here, so please be sure to click on the picture to enlarge it and see how Photoshop handles the picky details.

I liked the Photoshop version of Butchart Gardens so much I’m making it into a video… and working on that got me further side-tracked into doing something about an archaeological video I mentioned way back in July in my mid-year review. I’ll post that as soon as it’s finished.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another twentieth century flashback

From a moving train

Watercolour and ink

©1996 Charlene Brown

Canadian ‘Group of Seven’ painter Lawren Harris is said to have leaped from a moving train in his eagerness to begin a day of sketching in the Canadian Rockies. In the fall of 1996, I could have done that too, but took the less rigorous approach of doing the sketching itself from the moving train. It is hard to imagine a pleasanter way to travel.,,

This painting shows the dazzling outlook from Switzerland’s Glacier Express over the baroque village of Andermatt. This spectacular view actually alternated from left to right during the serpentine climb toward the early October snowline.

Speaking of dazzling, the best ice fields are often on the north slopes of the Alps, and their most spectacular aspects are seen by looking south. Around noon, that means facing pretty well straight into the sun. (in June of last year I wrote a blog post mentioning you get the same effect looking north in the Andes) Photographs from inside a train are dominated by the window’s reflection of brightly lit hands and camera. The only way to get a nice picture is with fairly sophisticated photographic equipment – or, of course, paintbrushes.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Abstract of Butchart Gardens (not)

Changtse, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse

Watercolour monotype

©1998 Charlene Brown

The abstract of the Butchart Gardens still needs a surprising amount of work for something that was supposed to be spontaneous and bold (and really quick). So here’s another flashback to the twentieth century, complete with cautionary note about printmaking (see below).

At the Banff Mountain Book Festival in 1997, it seemed like I was one of only about five people who had never climbed Everest. I didn’t even have painting it on my bucket list… So it was fairly surprising when, four months later, I found myself in Nepal attempting to get to a good spot to do just that by climbing from Changa Narayana to Nagarcot. After taking four hours to complete the ‘three-hour’ climb to this vantage point, and discovering Everest was still barely visible, I realized I was going to have to get closer to paint it. I also realized I’d better do it the easy way – using photographs taken from a Buddha Air flight from Kathmandu to Everest and back, non-stop.

I was lucky enough to get two perfect shots as we circled by Changtse, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. I later combined them and used the monotype printmaking process I outlined in another twentieth century flashback.

In fact, I think the whole thing is too close to the subject, and was never that pleased with the composition. I’m only showing it here so I can include the above-mentioned cautionary reminder about printmaking… The clouds streaming from the Himalayan peaks were created by removing blue paint from the printing plate with a wet tissue. They were not part of the original drawing – done while I was being careful to do everything in reverse. The result – clouds on Everest apparently driven by an east wind – almost never happens, I am told.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Virtual Paintout in Rio de Janeiro

From Estrada do Sumaré

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

When I learned the Virtual Paintout was in Rio de Janeiro this month, my first thought was to paint a beach scene including the fantastic Gaudi sidewalk (yes, THE Gaudi designed the sidewalk there!) but then I couldn’t find a scene I liked. I discovered later that several painters – have a look at the Virtual Paintout entries from Horst Hittenberger, Trevor Davies, Jennie Stewart and Jeri Risin – found great ‘Gaudis’ to paint, but somehow I missed them all.

I chose a panorama view from the road up to the statue of Christ the Redeemer instead. Here’s the link to it BTW, along one stretch of the road near the top, the Google camera picked up a leaf, and included it in every ninth picture for several kilometres! I’ve been wondering how many other people noticed that leaf.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High Rock Park

Esquimalt Harbour

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

Of the many rocky outcrops that dot the southern tip of Vancouver Island, High Rock Park is one of the easiest to get to, being in the middle of Esquimalt, just west of downtown Victoria. There is a cairn at the top with a plaque identifying the main features in the 360 degree view, including Mounts Baker, Rainier and Olympus in Washington State.

Actually, the view the day I was up there didn’t extend anywhere near that far. After a typically dry summer in the ‘rain shadow’ of the Olympic peninsula, we’ve had a drizzly, foggy fall. Hence the bright green moss all over everything. The lawns around town are also sporting a green glow not usually seen until mid-winter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Butchart Gardens

The Sunken Garden

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

This is the ‘realistic’ starter painting for another Victoria landmark I intend to make into an abstract someday soon. I’ve made it a little unreal by telescoping the perspective and raising the viewpoint to include waterfalls, pools and fountains not actually visible from this terrace at the top of the ramp down to the sunken garden.

This spectacular garden, now a national historic site, was begun by Jenny Butchart in 1904, when she decided something needed to be done about the gaping hole left where limestone had been quarried for the family cement business. If you want to see what this wondrous place really looks like, click here.

I think I’ll do one more ‘realistic’ painting of some part of Victoria, then abstract all three and post the best one. Maybe I’ll ask you to guess which one it is…


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Royal Roads University

Another abstract gone wrong

Watercolour, crayon and ink

©2010 Charlene Brown

This was supposed to be an abstract version of a sketch I posted about a year ago, but somehow it went the way of most of my abstracts, with one little Edwardian detail leading to another and another, even unto the lagoon and the Japanese Garden. My husband graduated from Royal Roads 50 years ago when it was a Military College, and says he does not recall it being so Disneyesque.

I plan to paint a few more local landmarks, and then seriously abstract all of them at once. We’ll see how it goes…

Friday, October 22, 2010

Graphic novel now in print!

Epilogue of graphic novel
InDesign document, watercolour painting
©2010 Charlene Brown, characters by Philip Hogg 

The Epilogue, in which I promised everything would fall into place back in Ottawa – Gatineau, actually, with a view across the river to Ottawa – is now finished and my graphic novel has been printed!

It will be for sale at Legends here in Victoria, but you can read it, until I take it off my website, at Counter-Espionage Disinformation for Beginners:…the graphic novel (Be sure to set your reader at ‘side-by-side page views’ as the story sometimes works across the 2-page spread.)

And BTW, you can check out Philip Hogg’s blog by clicking on his name, above, or in any of my blog posts that include his artwork.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Maria Theresa Connection II


Springtime in Innsbruck

Watercolour, crayon and ink

©1996 Charlene Brown

When I wrote about the Maria Theresa connection in the Middle East last week, I mentioned her continuing fame in her native Austria.

Indeed, there cannot be many towns of any size in Austria today without at least one Maria Theresien Strasse, Platz, Ring or Parc… This painting is the view along my favourite of these, Maria-Theresien-Strasse in Innsbruck, as seen from the spectacularly-sited ski-jump built for the 1964 Winter Olympics.

Much of her reign as Archduchess of Austria from 1740 until 1780 was devoted to maintaining her territory during a period of much conflict in Europe. By forming strategic alliances, she succeed in preserving the unity of her lands, although her plan to strengthen the empire by having one of her sixteen children, Marie Antoinette, marry the heir to the French throne didn’t work out well at all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Maria Theresa Connection


Munzturn, Hall bei Innsbruck

Watercolour and crayon

©1996 Charlene Brown


I won’t get a chance to paint for the next couple of weeks, so here’s another flashback to the twentieth century – to one of the paintings I did in the Tirol region of Austria in 1996. I'll post another Tirol painting next week.

In the antique shops in the United Arab Emirates, where I was living at the time, I’d found a surprising number of Maria Therese silver dollars among the collections of old coins. I had thought this a little odd until I learned that these beautifully designed coins were in widespread use for many years throughout the Middle East – accepted as an international currency because of their always reliable quality and value. I was familiar with Maria Theresa’s continuing fame in her native Austria, but had been unaware of the indirect renown of this popular ruler in the Gulf.

The coins were originally minted in the town of Hall, just east of Innsbruck in 1780. The classic alpine fortification structure of the Hall Mint, the Munzturn, provides an interesting additional aspect of Austrian architecture in this town which has many beautiful old buildings.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Virtual Paintout in San Miguel de Allende

Revueltas, San Miguel de Allende

Watercolour and marker

©2010 Charlene Brown

This month, the Virtual Paintout is in San Miguel de Allende, a delightful and historic town north-west of Mexico City. Thousands of artists from all over the world have visited San Miguel, and a huge number of them have stayed to live there, painting and teaching in the vibrant international art colony.

At first I maneuvered around downtown to find the best shot at the much-photographed (and hundreds-of-times-painted Cathedral de San Miguel de Allende. But then, figuring that everybody would be doing that (and noticing that it looked really hard to paint) I began my very enjoyable cruise around the residential areas, eventually selecting this view. Here’s a link to it (You have to pan left to include the street.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My favourite place to paint

Mt. Assiniboine, including Lakes Magog, Sunburst, Cerulean and Elizabeth

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

When Katherine Tyrrell asked us to talk about our favourite places to paint on the Art of the Landscape, I first thought of Mt. Assiniboine, as I was just there this summer. Then I thought of Lake O’Hara, then Moraine Lake… Then I decided to just name the Canadian Rockies, which has always been my favourite place to paint. I grew up in Banff, and until I was about eight, I was only vaguely aware that anybody painted anything but the Canadian Rockies.

As I wrote in a blog post at the beginning of this year, “There is a mystique to having lived in mountains. You never want to be away from them for too long, especially your own mountains. I love to go back to the Rockies as often as possible.” Here’s a link to my paintings of the Rockies on my blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five things I learned at Film School

Gulf Islands

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

1. How to use a Wacom tablet to create a simple running cycle in Adobe Flash, using only nine images – as well as how to replicate this sequence so your (rather ineptly-drawn) figure can go more than two steps.

2. Green screen filming of another running figure (me, actually) and how to ‘key out’ the green background using Adobe After Effects, producing a film clip with no background that can be placed in any setting. And we learned that some activities, running being one, don’t lend themselves very well to green screen filming, simply because you can’t really go anywhere – You must stay in front of the fairly narrow screen.

3. Replicated sequences and green screen clips can be used repeatedly with different backgrounds, using a compositing program such as Adobe Premiere Pro. This is an efficient way of producing otherwise painfully slow video ‘footage’ but must be done with finesse. Please check out my video Running Around North America to see the results of doing it without a lot of finesse …

4. Paintings of Google Streetviews make great background for computer animations, and if you use your own paintings you don’t have to concern yourself with copyright infringement. Fortunately, I was able to download paintings I have on my blog. I hadn’t taken any files or paintings with me, because I had planned on a little painting while I was there, but soon learned…

5. There is no time for anything but your project, while you’re at G.I.F.T.S. (Two other people did individual animation projects and two groups did documentaries, and one group wrote and produced a drama.)

It’s taken until now to unwind from the intensive five-day program and find time to paint Gulf Islands. It shows the view from the ferry leaving Galiano Island at the entrance to Active Pass, with Mayne Island on the right and the Point Roberts peninsula (part of Washington State) in the distance.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Graphic Novel Artwork

Ottawa, seen from Gatineau

Watercolour, ink and fluorescent marker

©2010 Charlene Brown

I haven’t finalized the layout for the two-page Epilogue spread in my graphic novel, Counter-espionage Disinformation for Beginners because I’ve added this illustration – the view out the window of the CSIS office to it. The office has moved across the Ottawa River (only in my imagination) because this is my comic book and I like the view from Gatineau. Included in this view is the National Gallery of Canada, the Chateau Laurier, the steep set of locks at the north end of the Rideau Canal, and the Parliament buildings. It was developed from the Google Streetview taken from the Quebec approach to the Interprovincial Bridge – a route I traveled many times back in the day.

Philip has sent me the figure drawings for the Epilogue, keeping the layers separate fortunately, as they're having to be moved around to accomodate this window and the view across the river. So we're still on schedule for finalization in time for printing in October! Please keep the 'edit' suggestions coming...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Virtual Paintout in Manhattan


Looking west along Park Row
Watercolour, crayon and ink
©2010 Charlene Brown
TheVirtual Paintout is on the island of Manhattan this month. Once again, I planned a semi-abstract design, and once again it became way more detailed and representative than I’d hoped it would be.
I began by removing the vertical perspective. This ‘third point’ perspective makes tall buildings appear to lean into the centre of the picture, and is an overpowering effect on Google Streetview, especially if you tilt the camera up. After that, I concentrated on achieving a loose, ‘painted once’ effect, and managed to stop before getting into as much picky detail as, for example, my previous Virtual Paintout picture of Halifax, another abstract-gone-wrong. Here is the link to this location in New York.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Graphic Novel Artwork

CSIS, espionage, disinformation, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq

Chapter 5

InDesign document, watercolour painting, characters by Philip Hogg

©2010 Charlene Brown


Except for the Epilogue – wherein everything falls into place back in Ottawa about a month after the action in Chapters 4, 5 and 6 – my graphic novel is now complete! It’s a little rough around the edges in places, but I’m hoping to have it ready to go to press in October. Meanwhile, I’ve put the 18 completed pages up on my website. You can find it by clicking on Counter-Espionage Disinformation for Beginners:…the graphic novel


If you want to have a look at it in this more readable format, please be sure to have your pdf reader set to display two pages at a time. And please feel free to advise me of all the typos, inconsistent spellings or other peculiarities you come across!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Running out of masking fluid



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The Towers from Cautley Meadows
Watercolour, crayon and fluorescent marker
©2010 Charlene Brown

Here’s one last painting of Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, showing the view from Mt Cautley to the south at midday. The evening before I planned to do the painting, I masked the snow and the glacier lilies – fortuitously choosing to do the lacy upturned petals of the lilies first. The reason this was a lucky choice was that the Masquepen® (with its lovely needle-nose applicator) that I was using began to run dry well before I was finished.

Have a look at the picture of my masked drawing on the right to see how I got around the problem. The technique I had followed was to paint the shadows, including where they fell on snow, before any masking was done. Then I did the delicate masking (well, delicate for me anyway) of the flowers. There wasn’t a lot of fine-line masking left to do when I realized I wasn’t going to have enough of the green fluid to cover the remaining snow, so I ripped off bits of masking tape (the brownish stuff on the right) to cover the largest patches. After the paint was dry, I found that the crepe I use to remove masking fluid takes off masking tape easily too. Light green crayon was used to define the larches in the forest, and the back-lit flowers were finished with fluorescent marker.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Graphic Novel Artwork

CSIS, espionage, disinformation, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq

Chapter 6

InDesign document, computer montage, characters by Philip Hogg

©2010 Charlene Brown


The background of this two-page spread from my graphic novel started out as a pretty complex Photoshop montage of Kyrgyz patterns and images of artefacts looted from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. But, after shifting about 20 layers of loot, people, rugs, jewellery and dialogue around many times, I remembered that, as usual, less is more. This minimalist montage is the result.

I wish the extraneous bits I usually put in my watercolours could be taken out so easily.

Anyway, I’m happy to say this comic book is almost finished, and it now has a title! Counter-Espionage Disinformation for Beginners: the graphic novel. As soon as I’ve got a couple more pages at least in readable draft form, I’ll put it up on my website.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Virtual Paintout in Prince Edward Island

Cape Road

Watercolour, marker and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown


The Virtual Paintout is back in Canada for the month of August! We have all of Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the ten provinces, in which to find something we’d like to paint.


While manoeuvring around on Google Streetview, I found myself wondering if the residents had maybe been warned the Google cameras would be coming by – a suspicious number of them seemed to have just mowed their lawns right to the street!


The Gulf of St. Lawrence, lined with miles of wide red sand beaches, can be seen in the distance in this view from Cape Road. Here is the link to this location.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mt. Assiniboine reflections

The Lake with the Secret Name

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

I have painted the classic and much-photographed north face of Mt. Assiniboine, showing another unnamed lake – in this case a very well-known one. And here’s why this particular lake has never been named…

Actually, my theory is that it has in fact been named by everyone who has ever seen it! I think everyone has special memories associated with it, especially those who are lucky enough to come across it very early in the morning or late in the evening when everything is calm and the surrounding mountains are reflected perfectly. And these memories are of course secret.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mount Assiniboine

From Cautley Meadow

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

Since horses are no longer allowed into this sensitive alpine region, there are only two ways into Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, 6-8 hours climbing/skiing or 10 minutes in a helicopter. I’ll admit right off that I took the 10-minute route (including a pretty exciting updraft-augmented leap through a dip in the precipitous ridge of the continental divide). But I did get myself and my watercolour sketching stuff up to the Cautley Meadow for this unusual view of Mt. Assiniboine – the frequently clouded east face. It’s pretty well impossible to do a painting with only one subject in magical places like this, so I’ve included the surrounding glaciers (Gloria on the far left, and Magog in front of Mt. Assiniboine) and lakes (Magog on the right, Gog and a tiny, unnamed pond we were not encouraged to explore because a grizzly sow is currently teaching her cubs to swim and fish there). I even tried to capture the effect of the carpets of spring flowers – mostly blue anemones, forget-me-nots, moss campion and heather, with glacier lilies near the timberline below us. BTW, I say spring flowers because summer at this elevation is said to begin August 1 and extend to August 15.


Monday, July 26, 2010

More Retreating Glaciers


Grinnell Glacier, Montana, U.S.A.
Watercolour sketch
©2010 Charlene Brown

On our recent drive to Calgary to hike in the Canadian Rockies, we took the American route across northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana, stopping overnight in Spokane and at Many Glaciers Lodge in Glacier National Park. The second day included the spectacular traverse of the almost 80-year-old, 48-mile Going to the Sun Road – that took four hours! Of the many wonderful painting locations along this road and the route in to the lodge, this lupin meadow on Sherburne Lake, with the Grinnell Glacier in the distance, was my favourite. There’s a fascinating collection of historic photographs at the lodge, showing the vastly greater volume of ice in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and some of the most striking comparisons can be seen on the website of the Northern Rocky Mountains Science Center. The one closest to the location of this painting is Grinnell Glacier from Lake Josephine circa 1914 - 1938 - 2008 If you have a few minutes be sure to have a look at this impressive and beautifully designed website.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mid-year review

Arrival at Lake Issyk-kul, Kyrgyzstan

Watercolour, background for Chapter 5 of graphic novel

©2010 Charlene Brown


Under cover of darkness, Lake Issyk-kul, back and front cover illustration

Photoshopped watercolour

©2010 Charlene Brown







I’m using Tina Mammoser’s January 2008 post on Achievements, Mind maps/Concept maps, Goal setting as a guideline to review progress on My Plan for 2010,


Achievements: In the first six months of 2010, I wrote 32 blog posts. However, if I only count posts where I really feel I’ve achieved something – by which I mean I’ve done something different – there are only six! BTW – I noticed this reflects the Pareto Principle (roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) as I only spent about 20% of my time on these projects.

Mind Map/ Concept Map: This is a great way to ‘diagram’ your plans! First you draw radial Mind Maps around your main areas of concentration (mine are landscape painting, graphic novel and archaeology) then connect various permutations and combinations of techniques, venues and target groups – all the usual blogging concepts – to generate and visualize ideas. Tina Mammoser’s June 29 post highlights a new, creative twist on mind mapping – the PIP Personal Idea Pad developed by Todd Henry, who writes the Accidental Creative. PIP broadens your horizons by adding multiple perspectives (and a unique framework to contain them) to maximize your chances of generating brilliant, often tangential, ideas.

Goal Setting: Do the goals I posted in My Plan for 2010 need to be adjusted?

· Paint more spontaneously: This remains elusive, but I will continue trying.

· Do more journaling: This is going well. Haven’t tried ‘blogging on the road’ yet, though I love it when other people, like Mary Paquet, do!

· Continue to participate in group blogs such as Virtual Paintout Plein Air Artists, and The Art of the Landscape.

· Write more ‘how-to’ articles for Empty Easel. I added The Extreme Sport of Watercolour Painting (which is not so much how-to as how-I-did-it).

· Finish graphic novel - learn how to use tablet: I added three 2-page spreads in the first half of the year, but as for learning to use the tablet… I’ve discovered outsourcing! The figures in my comic book are much better now that my grandson, Philip Hogg, is doing them. I did discover that sketching people in very roughly, and then erasing the lines that aren’t right works for me, so there’s been a little progress with the tablet.

· Paint more videos - learn how to use Adobe Flash: I don’t need the interactive capability of Flash right now, so am sticking to my old method of creating animations. I’ve started a computer painted video about archaeology – another PIP idea.

The final step is to define what needs to be done NOW – well, NEXT anyway. Right now, I’m taking a couple of weeks off to gather more painting subject material sketching in the Rockies, and confer with my grandson about the drawings he’s doing for my graphic novel. My next blog posts will be near the end of July, and will be about the real Rockies and virtual Hong Kong