Tuesday, July 31, 2012

California Adventure on the Sea-to-Sky Highway

Do you see what I see?
©2012 Charlene Brown

Does anyone besides me think, “California Adventure" whenever they see this bear mountain rock formation on the highway coming south from Whistler?  By 'bear mountain' I mean the bear-shaped artificial mountain at  Disneyland. 
On the right is a picture of this California Adventure bear, the one that’s actually in California. And here’s a link to my California Adventure bear on Google Streetview. What do you think?
BTW, my bear is only slightly more natural than the Disneyland version – it’s what was left of a ridge blasted out when the Sea-to-Sky Highway was widened for the Olympics.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Winterizing photos

(click on image to enlarge)

Thunderbird Corner
Watercolour and marker
©2012 Charlene Brown

This painting of the No.16 Corner of the luge run at the Whistler Sliding Centre is based on a couple of photos I took just two weeks ago.Right now, however, this area (at the final corner where the track circles round a vertical wall and heads back uphill to the finish line) is covered in lush green grass and the track itself is bare concrete...

For winter colour and shadow reference, I was able to use some pictures I took during a race three years ago.  But I had to get Google to find me a picture of a luge rounding the Thunderbird corner during the Winter Olympics, in order to know where to put it in the painting. On the right is my only photo of this part of the track.  I managed to take it just after my grandson went by, so it wasn't really helpful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The drama of painting plein air

(click on image to enlarge)

West coast waterfall
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2012 Charlene Brown

I was out with the Al Frescoes   again, this time at Witty’s Lagoon, west of Victoria. 
Because of the sound of the waterfall, I didn’t realize that a line of hikers was filing past me – until a big black dog planted his pointy face on my painting and smiled up at me.
Leaping out of your seat is quite a conversation-starter. The dog’s owners were very apologetic and almost frantically effusive about my painting.
As always, I was trying to shift away from a straight-up representational landscape toward something more stylized, but still recognizable – but I suspected that if it weren’t for the waterfall being right in front of us, they wouldn’t have recognized it…

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Virtual Paintout in Thailand

(click on image to enlarge)

Mahamakut Buddhist University
Watercolour and gouache
©2012 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Thailand this month, with a choice of finding a spot to paint in an area stretching from Bangkok to Phuket in the south, or the area around Chiang Mai in the north. I picked Chiang Mai, and hit the jackpot on my first try – Phrapokkloa Road, where there seems to be no end of very paintable cityscapes.
I picked this view of a restoration project on a stupa at Mahamakut Buddhist University because it includes an illustration of the project on the sign on the left, providing a nice balance, I think. Here’s the link to the real thing.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Composite Viewpoints in Landscape Painting

(click on image to enlarge)
Whistler Sliding Centre
©2012 Charlene Brown

‘Composite Viewpoints’ is the term I’ve chosen to introduce the fact I couldn’t find a spot from which I could actually see everything I wanted to include in this painting – the sliding centre, a few Whistler and Blackcomb ski runs, the Overlord Glacier and Alta Lake.
This happens to me a lot, and has resulted in the occasional Drama of Painting Plein Air, where roving art critics point out the error of my ways.
Some of the dramas – in Peru, Malta, Egypt, Tunisia and Honduras – have been mentioned before. 
Other 'composite viewpoint' paintings, such as one in Alexandria, which includes the Pharos Lighthouse (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World no longer in existence) and Tehuacalco, in Mexico, were like this painting of Whistler – they didn’t elicit any drama because nobody was there when I lined up my fragmentary photos, sketches and site maps (and in the case of Alexandria, illustrations from Wikipedia) to compose the final image.