Thursday, June 25, 2015

A weekend on the mainland

(click on image to enlarge)
Skill-testing signs
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

The trip to the mainland is at least as spectacular as any cruise you’ve ever been on, but it has its bewildering aspects, at least the first few times you try it. 

First, there may be an electronic sign telling you the ferry you thought you’d be on is full... and what, you might ask, is entailed in a ‘1 sailing wait’? Well, it turns out a 1 sailing wait can be pretty terrific, with a nice restaurant and a craft market! A 2 or 3 sailing wait, not so much. 

Then somewhere in the eight-tollbooth jousting for position in the parking lot, or the eventual 2-lane race up the ramp to dive onto Deck 4, you might notice the enigmatic instruction to avoid using your GPS... though anyone who has ever tried to follow GPS instructions to board a ferry (Recalculating route. Make a U-turn as soon as it is safe to do so) will understand that one. 

The green destination sign, on the other hand, is a huge relief – it lets you know, in English and a Coast Salish language, that you are still on the right road. This reassuring sign is on the Sea-to-Sky Highway a few kilometers past West Vancouver, just around a sharp bend immediately after the TransCanada Highway you have been driving on has darted off to the right down a cliff.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Virtual Paintout still in Estonia

(click on image to enlarge)
Old Town of Tallinn
Watercolour and crayon sketch
Charlene Brown

I was in Tallinn once, on a Baltic cruise, and I remember walking up to the beautiful Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. I was thinking of painting that (despite promising myself not to try anything so elaborate after sketching the cathedral of the same name in Sofia last year) but discovered that the Google camera hadn’t really been able to get any great shots of it. At that point, I remembered something else about our day in Tallinn... the streets are so narrow that you hardly see anything of the Alexander Nevsky cathedral until you’re practically on the front steps!  Attempts to view the cathedral from open areas around town such as this square in the Old Town weren’t any more successful, but I did like the view of the square itself. Here's the link to this Google Streetview

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Virtual Paintout in Estonia

(click on image to enlarge)
Viljandi Castle
Watercolour and crayon
©2015 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Estonia this month. At first I tried to line up a nice shot of the skyline of Tallinn, the capital, and when that didn’t work, headed south and found this castle ruin overlooking a lake near the centre of Estonia.

Viljandi Castle was built by the Crusaders of the Order of Teutonic Knights in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. It fell into ruin following the Polish-Swedish wars of the early 17th century, and was ‘quarried’ for stones for construction in Viljandi throughout the 18th century.

Currently the ruins form a popular resort area just outside of town. An open-air stage with several rows of comfy seating (I think not) is located in the former central courtyard. Here is the link to the Google Streetview on which the painting is based.