Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tidal power haiku

Pangnirtung Fjord

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.

It lies within an area said to have the second highest tides in the world which, combined with its remoteness, makes it a good candidate for tidal power. On-site power generation would provide electricity to charge electric cars, trucks and ATVs, reducing the need for expensive fuel shipments.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Traditional Berber designs
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Ghadames is an oasis in Libya, about 450 km southwest of Tripoli, near the Tunisian and Algerian borders. The old part of town, which I visited in 2006 as part of a University of Victoria travel study program, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings inside the walled part of the city are remarkably cool, because their thick, nearly-windowless walls are painted bright white. 

The intricate red decorations that I have added are actually inside the houses and are, as far as I know, unique to Ghadames. The Berber designs used include elongated triangles, diamonds, the sun, the moon, palm trees and the Tuareg cross.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Traffic congestion haiku

Rush Hour in Squamish

This is a spectacular place to be stuck in traffic, half-way between Vancouver and Whistler, with an Emily Carr-inspired ­forest and Mt. Garibaldi catching the last rays of the setting sun – contemplating what all the idling vehicles are doing to the atmosphere.

A Google search of the term in the second line, disruptive discovery, produces one million results! There’s even a free weekly Disruptive Discoveries Journal that is focused on uncovering and interpreting both the opportunities and challenges in the natural resources, biotech, and technology sectors resulting from the convergence.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Remote site power haiku

Thor Peak

This huge granite spike is located in Auyuitttuq National Park on Baffin Island in Nunavut. I’ve seen it described as the coolest-looking mountain in Canada... with which I certainly agree, given that its 1250 m west face is the longest purely vertical drop on earth.

It is also a great (not particularly random) choice for a background to a haiku poem beginning with ‘remote site power.’  The next line, ‘using emissions …’ could refer to combining carbon dioxide and water using the energy in sunlight to form hydocarbon fuels – a process which has been developed, but is not likely to prove economically viable, except in really remote sites. This haiku comes closer to making sense than most…

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Looking north from the agora
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

In Tunisia and Libya on a University of Victoria travel study program ‘Exploring Roman Africa’ in 2006, I painted tiny sketches in a spiral-bound watercolour book. Recently I have started expanding some of my favourites. Cyrene is one of them.

Originally a Greek colony, situated in a lush valley near the Mediterranean coast in eastern Libya, Cyrene was one of the principal cities in the Hellenic world.  It was Romanized and remained a great capital until the earthquake of 365 CE. The agora is an excellent illustration of the claim that more mosaics have been preserved in the Roman provinces of North Africa than anywhere else in the empire, and the North African mosaics exhibit more vibrant colours than their Italian counterparts. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Illustrating Creative Nonfiction

Glasgow 1897
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

A computer-stylized version of this painting, which was based on old photos of the Tolbooth Steeple in Glasgow Cross, will form the underpainting of a computer collage illustrating the ‘young adult’ or YA novella I have started.  

The novella is multi-generational journal being written in the ever-evolving genre of creative nonfiction. Chapter 1 (a draft of which is the only part I’ve actually written) begins in Glasgow, just before the electrification of the tram system.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Gate of Xerxes
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Unlike last week, I know exactly how much of this ruin is still there, as I took the photos this painting is based on last April.  Most of the damage to Persepolis was done by Alexander the Great when he invaded Persia in 330 BCE.

The background and the gate from this angle were in separate photos.  The mountains were actually off to the right quite a bit, but of course I wanted to include them in the painting.  And I also wanted to paint the gate from this angle because of the two Assyrian-style Lamassu supporting the pillars, compared to the relatively ordinary bulls at the other end.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How much of this is still there?

Watercolour and crayon
©2018 Charlene Brown

There was a great deal of speculation in 2015, when ISIS was known to be trying to destroy the ‘Venice of the sands,’ that they might succeed in leveling Palmyra and other ancient sites completely. It’s hard to say just how much of the portion of the ruins  shown here might still exist, even when ‘before and after’ pictures of the ancient caravan city  are available.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Abstracting landscapes I’ve painted before

Beaver Pond at Third Lake
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

To achieve an abstracted landscape, I’m using a technique employed by oil and acrylic painters – instead of doing a pencil drawing, I’ve ‘roughed in’ the basic shapes using oil pastels, then gradually refined the overall composition with boldly-applied layers of paint. 

As usual, this painting ended up quite a bit less bold or even ‘rough’ than I’d hoped it would be, and more detail than I wanted found its way past the ‘resist’ of the oil pastel. 

Despite this, I will continue to try to abstract familiar scenes, mainly from the Rockies, possibly  allowing my inner ‘Hundertwasser’ a bit more leeway.   

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Review of 2017 + Plan for 2018

Many Springs Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park
©2017 Charlene Brown

Here are some highlights of a review of 1150 Words in 2017 and my plans this blog in 2018:

·       Travel journaling:  I completed a project begun in 2016 to expand on the sketches and paintings my grandchildren and I produced during the trips I took with them between 2004 and 2013.  There were 30 blog posts in total which I compiled, with additional photographs, into a 29-page booklet.

·        Clean energy haiku/haiga project:  I have produced 50 poems using ‘found’ haiku and computer-stylized versions of landscape paintings from all the Provinces and Territories of Canada. So far I have compiled 14 of these illustrated poems, with a plan to include up to 50, in a book, ‘Inventing the Future with Clean Energy Haiku.’

·       I attended a workshop in Writing for Children at Camosun College here in Victoria, during which I completed a first draft of the first chapter of a YA novella. I hope to complete a first draft of the whole book in 2018. The illustrations will be computer-generated.

·       My blog metadata indicates that in 2017 I added 20 archaeology-related blog posts to the 77 posts I’d written previously.  Three of these were from Virtual Paintouts, two from a trip to Ireland with my daughters, ten from a trip to Iran with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and five from My Travels with Our Grandkids. I plan to begin compiling the ones I like into an archaeological review.