Saturday, January 31, 2015

Adventures in ARTography I

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Crusader castle ruin in Jordan (1993)
Distressed, bleached, colourized photograph
Charlene Brown

In November of last year I learned how to remix analog and digital artwork in a short course on iPhone/iPad ARTography at Camosun College here in Victoria. I’d never thought of drawings, paintings or film photographs as analog images, or the methods used to produce them as analog techniques, but for the next four blog posts, that’s how I’ll be describing them…
This picture was produced using only analog techniques, and these techniques only work on photographs printed by the old ‘wet’ method (4-colour CMYK separation).  This process is available at fewer and fewer printers or photocopiers, as we’re all switching to laser-jet printing, and such prints are getting hard to come by… unless you happen to have a shoebox full of old pictures that didn’t make it into an album because they weren’t quite good enough, but are too good to just throw away. Or because the printer talked you into ordering doubles – ‘Crusader castle ruin in Jordan’ was one of those.
Here is the process: Soak in water for about a minute, scratch with a needle or wire brush, immerse in 20% beach just until colour starts to move (Cyan will go first – try to time it so the whole layer doesn’t sheet off onto the tongs you’re using to try to get it out of the bleach), rinse in water, coat with gesso and let dry completely (overnight), colourize with pastels.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Flying home from Las Vegas

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Over either Nevada or California
©2015 Charlene Brown

The TV screens on the seatbacks with the maps showing where you are weren’t working on our flight back to Canada, so I do not in fact know where this beautiful little lake is located. I’m pretty sure we hadn’t got as far as Oregon yet when I took the picture, but I’m not even sure of that.

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Landing in Vancouver
©2015 Charlene Brown

This scene I recognized easily – the Tsawwassan ferry terminal and Roberts Bank, with the Gulf Islands in the background.

After finishing these paintings, I decided my January 8 painting of Las Vegas needed some work, so I added some more lights with white and pink gouache spatter. This turned out to be an exponential process – by which I mean I was very tentative at first, gently flicking a few carefully-aimed drops of paint onto The Strip… then switched to a fully-loaded toothbrush and was soon zapping my way through about a quarter tube of gouache. Here is the exponentially-adjusted version of Christmas in Las Vegas

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My kind of mountain

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Rainbow Mountain, Nevada
Watercolour and crayon
©Charlene Brown

You may have noticed I sometimes emphasize colour to my landscape paintings, especially the colour purple. 

In some locations it’s not easy to find any purple to emphasize, but that is not the case in Red Rock Canyon, which we toured during our Christmas trip to Las Vegas.

The parts of Red Rock Canyon that are actually red are quite nice too, but the spectacular band of purple draped over the shoulders of Rainbow Mountain made it my favourite painting possibility, by far. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Virtual Paintout in Philadelphia

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Lemon Hill Drive
Watercolour, crayon and CP
©2015 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Philadelphia this month.  It didn’t take me long to find this beautiful ‘street’ view on Google Streetview.

What I was really looking for was a panoramic view, so I looked on the city map for a green space with a view… Finding a street name with the word ‘hill’ in it sounded promising, so I parked there and looked around, et voilà! Here’s the link to it.   

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Beginning Year Seven of 1150 Words

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Christmas in Las Vegas
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

Any of you familiar with Las Vegas will recognize The Strip…  You may also detect some rearranged picture parts – the biggest one being the mountains.  This particular range, including Red Rock Canyon, lies west of Las Vegas, rather than north, as this painting would have you believe.

We alternate between the Calgary/Banff region and ‘someplace warm’ for our family Christmas gatherings, and Las Vegas was our choice in 2014.  While not as warm as some of the places we’ve visited – San Diego, Cancun, Maui – it was about the same as Arizona, with less snow, and some of the pools at our hotel were heated to the only temperature I consider suitable for swimming, 40+ degrees. The casinos (where children are allowed, as long as they don’t touch anything) are spectacular, the shopping and dining are amazing, and – I hope you’ll agree – the surroundings are wonderfully paintable.

Exponentially adjusted January 20.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Review of 2014/Plan for 2015

Review of 2014:
What went well? Travel journaling – especially the Balkans trip. I completed 24 paintings,  most of which I’m happy with, and the rest of which provide more interesting illustration than straight-up photographs.  Once again I’ve painted every Google Streetview location presented in the the Virtual Paintout this year. The pictures illustrating this post are from Rome, the December location.
What didn’t?   Adding people to my paintings… I added quite a few, but I’m not generally happy with them. 
What was new?  I finally learned something about iPad art at an excellent ‘Artogrphy’ course at Camosun College here in Victoria.

The Plan for 2015:
What to let go of to start 2015 anew?  Old projects that never got past the background info-gathering stage, or what’s left of those that have been excerpted for better projects.  That’s a lot of paper to be recycled out of binders and files, and a lot of MBs of computer memory to be cleared.
What to continue? I’m planning to continue travel journaling (and, of course, traveling) as much as I can.  So far I have two very tentative travel plans for 2015.  I hope to continue shifting from representational landscapes toward more stylized paintings and add some people to my landscapes.
What would I like for main accomplishment?  Finish ‘Fine Art of Physics’  Start a new book – it will be something I want to read that hasn’t been written yet. Try designing an iPad art app.