Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 5


Connemara
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

Next we traveled through the truly majestic Inagh Valley in the Connemara district.

I was tempted to include all of its visual delights tiny villages, stone bridges spanning rushing creeks and waterfalls, flocks of fluffy black-faced sheep, the occasional Connemara pony but decided to confine my painting to the basic mountain scenery, without even trying to work in an outcropping of green Connemara marble.

Perhaps I will have some of these embellishments in the next painting an all-encompassing panorama of Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian walled garden at the head of the valley.      


Monday, October 16, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 4


Cliffs of Moher
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown


We had another bit of rain the day we walked the famous Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most visited natural attraction.  (In fact we had bits of rain every day we were in Ireland. And rainbows every day as well.)

Unfortunately, these spectacular 120 m high cliffs have also been described as one of the ‘most deadly tourist hotspots on the planet.’  Despite extensive fencing along the most-visited stretches of the cliff edge, designated ‘official’ paths, and many ominously-illustrated warnings (note the now-famous selfie-sender featured in the sign on the right, below), accidents and suicides are actually increasing in frequency.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 3

Ladies View
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

One of the stops on our Irish RailTour was Killarney, and from there we were taken by bus on the very winding, sometimes precipitous Ring of Kerry.

A highlight was the Ladies View of the Killarney Lakes so named because Queen Victoria, while dedicating or inaugurating something during an official visit, gave her ladies-in-waiting the day off and sent them on an excursion.  They spotted this lovely vista and insisted that the Queen herself have a look at it the next day.

In keeping with this backstory and assuming Queen Victoria was always accompanied by a kilted bagpiper, we were ‘piped’ to the lookout point. Our piper was not kilted, but decked out in industrial-strength raingear known as an Inverness Cape, leaning stoically into the wind. I’ve exaggerated how much of the ladies view you could see that day everything but the piper was actually kind of blurry.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls - 2


Cobh
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

After Blarney Castle, our Irish RailTour took us to the picturesque port of Cobh on the south coast of County Cork. 


This relatively small town was key to the maritime and emigration legacy of Ireland. In the eighteenth century, the port, then known as Cove, had become an important centre for merchant shipping (and the accompanying piracy), and in the nineteenth century became a tactical navel military base, especially during the Napoleonic Wars between France and Britain (of which Ireland was still a part). The name of the port was changed to Queenstown in 1848 to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria and was a major point of embarkation for the transportation of ‘criminals’ to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) as well as the massive migration to North America at the time of the Famine. The name was officially changed to Cobh, a Gaelicisation of Cove, in 1920 around the time of the formation of the Irish Free State. 

A ‘Victorian’ garden and many international flags line what is now a major cruise ship terminal.   

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls - 1


Blarney Castle
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown


My daughters and I last went on a trip together, just the three of us, to celebrate my sixtieth birthday, many years ago.  We decided it was time for another one, and selected Ireland because none of us had been there, and Scotland because our family is pretty solidly of the Scottish persuasion.

It is said that kissing the Blarney Stone will bestow upon you the ‘gift of the gab’ (or blarney).  It is also said, by just about everyone who has been to Blarney Castle – including us, that they didn’t have time to kiss anything. There’s just too much to see standing stones, mysterious caves, fern gardens, waterfalls to waste any time standing in line, climbing an alarming number of spiral steps and hanging upside-down off the edge of the roof to kiss the stone parapet that juts out about half a meter (see top left of tower in the painting). 

The pictures below are of my daughters on the castle grounds.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Stuff you used to know, but now have to Google


I’ve never lived in this city. Actually, I did live in Edmonton from 1959 to 1962, but the city pictured here was not there at the time.
The only structures in this painting that I remember from my university days are the High Level Bridge and Provincial Legislature on the far left and the Fairmont MacDonald Hotel, which is just about exactly in the middle – and it is quite different from the MacDonald I remember. Back then, the hotel had a huge ‘Brutalist’ addition, and the whole structure was referred to as a ‘tiny perfect chateau and the box it came in.’ Anyway, the box has been removed, and dozens of much nicer boxes have been added to form today’s Edmonton skyline.

Energy research is quite different from the physics I knew back in the day as well. And when you can’t even remember most of the physics you did know back then, well it’s a good thing there’s Google and Wikipedia now...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Haiku non sequiturs


Saint Andrew’s in on the Bay of Fundy, which has about the highest tides in the world, which suggested this painting for this haiku.

The middle line, makes sense tidal power to the grid: Marine currents, unlike many other forms of renewable energy, are a consistent source of kinetic energy because of regular tidal cycles influenced by the phases of the moon. Unlike wind, wave and solar power, intermittency is not a problem, so tidal power can be a reliable input to the electricity grid.


But, as with most of my haiku, where the lines really are randomly selected and grouped, the end result is kind of a non sequitur. Eventually I will try to make sense of these non sequiturs…

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Another not-particularly-random haiga selection


This haiku reminded me of  the Cave & Basin National Historic Site, the 1885 birthplace of Canada’s National Park System.   At this location, in Banff National Park, naturally occurring warm mineral springs can be found inside the cave and outside in an emerald-coloured basin.

When I worked there I was completely unaware of the lovely springs and pools above the cave shown here. I think the same can be said of most of us even now. Although there are lots of warm and hot springs all along the mountain chains in Alberta and British Columbia, nobody gives them much thought except as a place to swim. We should be looking at geothermal power potential more seriously, though probably not at any spring that’s given birth to a National Park System. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Possibly the prettiest place in Saskatchewan


LeBret
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

My discovery of this lovely village wasn’t entirely accidental as I concentrated my search in the famously beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley.  

LeBret is well known for its Stations of the Cross leading up to the Qu’Appelle Mission seen in the foreground of this painting.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Another Canadian Landscape not in Alberta or British Columbia

Niagara
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

This view of Niagara Falls only shows about half of the Horseshoe (Canadian) part of the falls, giving precedence to the (smaller) American Falls in the foreground. It seems more paintable, though, than the better-known straight-on view of Horseshow Falls shown below.
 
I probably shouldn’t add it to my collection of Canadian landscapes, given that it’s less than half Canadian... but I’m a little short of Ontario locations, so I’m counting it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Virtual Paintout still in Buenos Aires

Plaza Naciones Unidas - Floralis generica
watercolour and crayon
2017 Charlene Brown

This relatively new (inaugurated in 2002) icon of Buenos Aires officially goes by the name of Floralis Generica, but is generally known as the Big Steel Flower. It is 23 metres high and 32 metres wide when the petals are open.  They actually close down to 16 metres at night. It sits in the centre of a pool of water which reflects the flower and protects it from vandals. Here is a link to the Streetview I have painted

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Virtual Paintout in Buenos Aires


Bosques de Palermo
Watercolour and crayon
2017 Charlene Brown

My first thought was to paint a Steetview of 9 Julio Avenue (July 9 is Argentina’s Independence Day), a boulevard said to be the widest city street in the world. It has seven lanes in each direction and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each. Rapid transit lines, inaugurated since I saw 9 Julio Ave in 2002, runs for three kilometres down the centre of this spectacular street. 
But then I recalled that ‘too much pavement’ is often a problem when you’re looking for a paintable Streetview, because the Google camera is usually mounted on a vehicle driving on the pavement, and it occurred to me 20-some lanes of it would be hard to work around.
I decided to concentrate my search on the pathways of the many parks in Buenos Aires. Here is a link to the Bosques de Palermo, one of many very paintable locations I found.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Haiga selection

 Cape Dorset - Inuit Art Central

Haiga is a style of illustration that reflects the pure, minimalist aesthetics of haiku poetry.  In my haiku project, the haiga on which I place the haiku are computer-simplified versions of some of my Canadian landscape paintings.

Last week I explained that lines of haiku are selected randomly from lists of ‘found’ phrases, in order to create potentially-brilliant juxtapositions of unrelated concepts. 


I used the same procedure to find unrelated haiga backgrounds for the poems…  within reason, of course. If you know where Cape Dorset is, you will know that the selection of a line beginning with ‘remote’ was not entirely random.  Or even slightly random.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Random definitions of 'random'


Haiku on Mont Royal

My haiku-generating project makes random selections of phrases I have found in newspaper and magazine articles about clean energy research. These 5 and 7-syllable phrases are grouped together, again randomly, into haiku poems 3 lines of unrelated, enigmatic and potentially-brilliant combinations of concepts related to environmental and economic aspects of the development of clean energy technology.

Just to be clear by ‘random’ selection I mean something about halfway between the pure randomness that statisticians have devoted their lives to generating, and the early-21st century buzzword which I think just meant crazy unpredictable. So, the lines of haiku are selected and grouped ‘by chance without a plan or system.’ Next week I’ll talk about the selection of the haiga illustrations for the background of each haiku.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Canada C3 (Coast to Coast to Coast)


Pond Inlet
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown
(based on image from cbc.ca)

Participants in Canada C3, the 150-day expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage, will be in Pond Inlet from August 12 to August 14.

This is one of the most picturesque communities in Canada’s Arctic.  It is surrounded by parts of Sirmilik National Park, with mountain ranges and several dozen glaciers viewable in all directions. This is, of course, why I picked this location to paint, but here are some additional interesting facts about the place...

Climate change has caused this part of the Baffin Island coastline to be ice-free for longer periods and in recent years it has been navigable for as long as three and a half months. In addition to the short sea cargo shipping season, food and other supplies are flown in from Montreal, 2500 km away, year-round, and are very expensive. There are three schools, Ulaajuk (elementary), Nasivvik (junior and senior high) and the Nunavut Arctic College. The record high temperature for August is 19 degrees C; the average high temperature in August is not quite 9 degrees C.



Sunday, July 30, 2017

The grass is greener on the other side

Mt. Olympus from Hurricane Ridge
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

It’s true the grass is greener on the American side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is because they get much more rain than we do. In fact Victoria is said to be in the ‘rain shadow’ of the Olympic Mountains. Moist Pacific air dumps everything it’s got on the area I’ve painted (represented by the biggest red cloud on the weather map on the right) before it gets to Victoria.


They don’t have actual hurricanes as the name of the ridge and its appearance on the weather map would imply – but they get a lot of rain.  And anywhere from 30 to 60 feet of snow every year!

A bunch of us from the Esquimalt racing group went over for an afternoon of hiking along Hurricane Ridge last weekend and we had a great day, with high cloud, almost no rain at all, and just enough of a breeze to cool the July day down to perfect!

The spruce trees are bluer on the other side too…

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Canada C3 (Coast to Coast to Coast)


Sam Ford Fjord
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

Canada C3, one of the Signature Projects for Canada's 150th Anniversary, is an epic 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. Through this unprecedented journey, Canada C3 is celebrating our environment, sharing the stories of coastal communities and connecting Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

I was looking for locations to paint on the expedition's scheduled route, and selected Sam Ford Fjord initially because of its memorable name, and then because I discovered it is quite spectacular. Canada C3 will reach the Sam Ford Fjord on August 10

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Not in Alberta or British Columbia


Lunenburg
Watercolour and marker
©2017 Charlene Brown

I painted this mainly to round out the collection of paintings of all parts of Canada for my Haiku project which was definitely short of locations in the Maritime Provinces. I selected Lunenburg because it was so peaceful and seemed to be about the prettiest place in Nova Scotia.  And I was a little surprised when research revealed that is has a long (for Canada) and often-violent history.


Lunenburg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, to protect its ‘unique architecture and civic design’ and because it was considered to be the best example of planned British colonial settlement in Canada. The aim of this British colonial settlement was to drive out the Mi’kmac and Acadian Catholics, which they apparently did very well.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hydrolaccoliths

Pingos in the Northwest Territories
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

One quarter of the world’s Arctic ice dome hills, called pingos, are located in a region near Tuktoyaktut just east of the delta of the Mackenzie River. In various stages of growth and collapse, their striking profiles dominate the skyline in this very flat area even though they are only 5 to 36 meters in height.

I plan to use this painting in my Haiku project.  I wonder if there is any significance in the fact that their other name, hydrolaccolith, has five syllables ?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Virtual Paintout in Malta

Hagar Qim Temple
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Malta this month. When I learned that, I headed immediately to Hagar Qim, one of the megalithic temples of Malta, as I’d been there in 1999, and wanted to see if I could find the location I’d painted at that time. I found it, even including the island of Filfla in the distance. 

The whole area is now nicely shaded by the canopy I’ve included in this painting. (We found a similar arrangement at Persepolis in Iran when we were there a couple of months ago.)


Here's a link to the Streetview of Hagar Qim above.

On the right is the painting I did eighteen years ago. I used to paint more carefully then.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Alberta Badlands (not)

Killdeer Badlands
Watercolour
©2017 Charlene Brown

Who knew there were spectacular badlands in Saskatchewan? Everyone but me, apparently, and the Killdeer Badlands have been described as the baddest of them all.


This wild, other-worldly landscape features free-standing flat-topped buttes, hoodoos and other weird formations… and, most years, very little grass. Even sage and cactus have a tough time surviving. This is noteworthy as they are part of Grasslands National Park. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Nunavut again

Pangnirtung Fjord
Watercolour and crayon
©2007 Charlene Brown

Pangnirtung is the only place in Canada where I’ve actually seen chartreuse arctic poppies. I like these flowers so much that I transplanted them all the way to the painting of Yukon I posted last October. 

The northern end of this fjord is in Auyuittuq National Park the most accessible of the National Parks in Nunavut... which is to say, it’s hardly accessible at all





Thursday, June 29, 2017

A perfect place to paint or pot

A studio with a view
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

If an artist could choose a location for a studio anywhere in the world, I think Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands would be contenders – especially a spot that included a view of the ocean and some mountains.

The perfect place shown here is on the south coast of Vancouver Island, near Sooke, looking out across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic peninsula of Washington state. This particular location is already taken (by artisans who somehow find the time to look after llamas and a spectacular garden as well as potting and woodworking) but there are still a few perfect places available...


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Virtual Paintout in Guatemala

Tikal
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Guatemala this month.  When I heard this, I headed directly for Tikal on Google Streetview.  Tikal has been on my bucket list for some time.

Of course I found no end of paintable locations in this magnificent Mayan ruin, but was finally able to settle on this view of the Temple of the Jaguar, which was started around 700 CE and is about 47 metres tall. (That makes it 17 metres taller and at least 100 years older than the much better known El Castillo at Chichen Itza in Mexico.) 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lake Louise from a brand new angle

Where was the photographer standing?
Watercolour
2017 Charlene Brown

This painting is based on a photo by Paul Zizka Photography for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, published in the Globe & Mail on May 19 this year. I looked at a Google Earth view of the area and decided he could have been on Mt. Saint Piran... but the angle of the view from Mt. Saint Piran isn’t quite right. Perhaps he was at the top of it controlling a drone-mounted camera hovering just a little to the east.

However it was done, I know I haven’t ever seen a picture of Lake Louise from this angle, and I really liked this one.  So, despite my plans to paint pictures of Canadian landscapes in provinces or territories other than British Columbia and Alberta for my Haiku project, here I am with another Alberta painting.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran XI

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

  
Isfahan, regarded as one of the finest cities in the Islamic world, is the site of the most stunning building in Iran, the Shah Mosque, the construction of which began in 1611. Known since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 as the Imam Khomeini Mosque, it is located on Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the second largest public square in the world (No.1 is Tiananmen in Beijing).  Also on this expansive square are the Ali Qapu Palace (on the right in this picture) another large mosque and the gate to the Isfahan Grand Bazaar – and the day we were there, calèches, an art class from a girls’ school and dozens of picnicking families.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran X

Towers of Silence
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown


Yazd was the birthplace, and remains a stronghold, of Zoroastrianism – the world’s first monotheistic faith. The day we arrived, we visited the Fire Temple, to which Zoroastrians from all over the world travel to see the sacred flame. As we departed for Isfahan the next day, we stopped at the Towers of Silence, where the dead were placed for ‘sky burial’ consumption by vultures.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran IX

Central square in Old Yazd, showing wind towers and the monumental Amir Chaqmaq complex













Our group from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, on the way to dinner in Old Yazd at sunset, Jameh Mosque in the background

Yazd, an oasis surrounded by the mountains of the high desert, is graced with great Islamic architecture.  But what I found most paintable were the many windtowers found in the narrow, shady streets of Old Yazd.




Neighbourhood mosque in Old Yazd
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

According to Wikipedia, windtowers, or windcatchers, are traditional Persian architectural elements providing natural ventilation by catching the wind from any direction and directing it down into the building. Windcatchers can be found in traditional Persian-influenced architecture throughout the Middle East, including the Gulf Arab states, especially Dubai.  That is where I first saw them.

According to the World Bank, Dubai is one of the largest consumers of energy per capita in the world and in the summer months an estimated two thirds of that is used for air conditioning. There has been some hopeful theorizing that the windtower concept could be integrated into new buildings there and this might make a meaningful reduction in their “AC addiction.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Here`s what we did in Iran VIII

The rock tomb of Darius the Great
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

From Persepolis, our bus took us to Naqshe Rostam, about 10 km to the northwest. This precipitous cliff is one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring sites of the ancient Achaemenid Empire, consisting of the colossal tombs of several Persian kings dating to the 4th and 5th centuries BCE as well as several reliefs carved by the Sasanians in the 3rd century CE. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran VII

Persepolis
Watercolour, crayon, computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

What I had expected to be the highlight of our trip – Persepolis, built by Darius the Great in 515 BCE and burned by the invading Greek army led by Alexander the Great not quite 200 years later – turned out to be everything I had hoped it would be, and more.  We explored the entire site – with a guide who continually referred to ‘Alexander the Not Great’ – from the statuary of the colonnaded gates to the long bas relief-lined stairways up to elevated terraces and palace ruins, and on up to the rock tombs from which the whole valley can be seen.

Here are some of my favourite sculptures.

Gate of All Nations
Bas relief in the Apadana Palace
Unfinished Gate

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran VI

Naranjestan Gardens
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

The second part of our tour, in the southern, more frequently visited and hotter part of Iran, began with our arrival in Shiraz. We were scheduled to drive out to Persepolis the afternoon of the first day – by somebody who had never been there in the heat of the day, according to our guide.
She had arranged instead for us to go to Persepolis in the cool early morning of the next day, and took us to the Naranjestan Gardens and Nasir al Molk Mosque – both of which were pretty cool, even on a hot afternoon.


Mihrab at the Nasir al Molk Mosque

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran V


Soltaniyeh Dome at Zanjan
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown


After exploring the many levels and barrel-vaulted passages of Takhte e Soleyman, we continued on our way to Qasvin, stopping to climb around the various levels of the ethereal blue interior of the massive Soltaniyeh Dome at Zanjan.

Interior undergoing renovation of all levels.  

This building, the oldest double-shell dome in the world, is a key monument in the history of Islamic architecture.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran IV


Takhte e Soleyman UNESCO World Heritage site
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown


After spending the night in Takab in a memorable ‘basic’ hotel, we proceeded higher into the Alborz Mountains to the 1500-year-old Takhte e Soleyman fortress, spectacularly-located on a volcano crater rim. The surrounding snow fields, which included orchards beginning to blossom, made the place even more other-worldly than expected.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran III

Mehri Temple
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

The second remote archaeological site we visited was the ­subterranean Mehri Temple in Maraqeh, recently re-discovered and at this point still being excavated. The sketch above is a combination of photos taken in three directions (think of it as a Cubist approach) showing Quranic inscriptions around the walls indicating that, although it was originally built in the 3rd century BCE by sun-worshippers, it was used as a mosque in the 13th century CE.



Finally we toured the ancient Sorkh Dome, built in the late 12th century CE, now being restored and set in a garden with Islamic designs and a huge vertical sun clock. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Virtual Paintout in South Korea


Looking north from Seoul
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in South Korea this month.   I had originally planned to paint a Streetview of PyeongChang, which will be the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics next February.  However, that area, near the north-east coast, doesn’t seem to have been covered by Google Streetview yet.  Only the areas around Seoul in the north-west and Busan on the south-east coast, as well as some National Parks are included in the coverage. My painting shows the view looking towards Bukhansan National Park from Seoul.  Here is the link to it.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran II

On our second day in Iran we flew to Tabriz, in the Northwest corner of the country, where we saw all the important sights, the highlight of which was the historic Blue Mosque of Tabriz. The picture on the left shows me inside this mosque, wearing the headscarf required at all times in Iran. We ended our day with dinner in a pavilion on El Goli, the famous square lake in the centre of the city. As it was Thursday evening, the beginning of the week-end, after dinner we joined hundreds of local families enjoying a stroll on the entertainment-filled perimeter of the lake.

Kandovan
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

The next day we drove to some remote archaeological sites, the first of which was the still-inhabited 800-year-old conical cliff dwellings of Kandovan.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran I

Tehran
Watercolour, marker and crayon 
©2017 Charlene Brown

From April 5 to 17 I was one of 20 participants on a marvelous tour ‘Treasures of Iran’ organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and guided by Barry Till, the Gallery’s Curator of Asian Arts.

I started (barely) several sketches while I was there, but we had so many places to go and things to do that I am only now actually finishing any of them.


This first sketch is the view of the Milad Tower and the Alborz Mountains from our hotel in Tehran ... except I have made it the view from nearby Laleh Park and included the hotel (the whitish building with the distinctive Y-shape) in the picture. Because I can.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI e – Paris

One day, after spending the morning in the Musée d’Orsay we had lunch in their palatial dining room.

I should mention that, except for the trip to Giverny and the garden party in the suburbs, all our movements around Paris were on the Métro  and we averaged six trains a day!  Can you imagine two guides shepherding 13 grandparents and 11 kids between platforms, up and down escalators, through turnstiles where you had to retrieve your ticket, and out the correct exits to get us all to the side of the boulevard we expected to be on  every time? Fortunately, the kids who leaped off the train at the wrong stop were all quite capable of leaping back on, and none of the rest of us who couldn’t leap anywhere had a heart attack!


On the last night in Paris, we went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkling, and I made a video of the show… on purpose, unlike most of the videos I make with my digital camera.
Then I decided to take advantage of our unique position to take some regular pictures in other directions, including the view I’ve painted here, looking up the Avenue de la Grande Armée and Avenue Charles de Gaulle to La Défense. Begun in 1958, La Défense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district, featuring many skyscrapers and La Grande Arche, a twentieth century version of the Arc de Triomphe we were standing on (and at 110 metres, twice as high).