Sunday, July 28, 2019

Versions of History


Cupid’s Cove NL
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

This is the view of Cupid’s Cove from the Cupids Legacy Centre which was built in 2010 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first English settlement in Canada. There are those who dispute the claim that this settlement was the first, but the near-by Cupids Cove Plantation archaeological dig has yielded ample documentation and evidence of construction activity and farming beginning in 1610. It was certainly among the first.

The Legacy Centre also flies the three flags that are official flags of Newfoundland and Labrador – from left to right in the painting, the Provincial flag, adopted in 1980, the Canadian flag adopted in 1965, and the Union Jack, the official flag of the Colony of Newfoundland before Confederation in 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador became a Canadian Province. The Legacy Centre does not fly the Newfoundland Tri-colour (pictured on the right), mistakenly thought to be an official flag and sometimes flown by contrarians but mainly seen on ‘Republic of Newfoundland’ tee-shirts.

Another source of variations in the history of Newfoundland is included in this painting – the two towers on Spectacle Head on the other side of the cove. Depending on who is telling the story, these towers:
  • predate the Norse colonization in the late 10th century
  • predate English settlement, having been erected in sets of three all along the Atlantic coast to guide European fishing fleets to safe harbour
  • predate Confederation having been built by a man who still resides in Cupids Cove, when he was a teenager.      


Sunday, July 21, 2019

A clear path to 2050


The Paris Agreement dealing with GHG emissions mitigation, ­adaptation, and finance, was signed by almost 200 countries in 2016.  Its goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. (It is generally agreed that limiting the increase to 1.5 °C would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change, but temperature increases in parts of Canada’s north are already close to double that.)

Each country must determine, plan, and report on the contribution that it undertakes – generally in reducing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity production. It has been proposed by the Green Party that Canada set a goal of eliminating the use of ­fossil fuels by 2050. Others have similar, less drastic, ideas, but no political party, industry or economic sector has laid out a clear path or timetable to achieve this.

And here’s an explanation of the first two lines of the haiku… Even though any comprehensive schedules for such massive, years-long undertakings will require constant adjustment and fine-tuning you have to start somewhere. The third line refers to clean transition bonds, a proposed new financing tool that would enable Canada’s energy and other carbon-intensive industries to finance emission reduction and leverage opportunities for process improvement and new product development.



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Hiking on Signal Hill for real this time

St. John’s NL
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

This view of the harbour is from the Ladies’ Lookout Trail above the Cabot Tower on Signal Hill.
I painted the same area from a different angle a few years ago  ago.


I prefer the (almost) real thing, as shown above.  I was able to include a couple of the Signal Hill tarns, George’s Pond and Deadman’s Pond, and two  icebergs outside the harbour. One is the same iceberg I posted last week at Cape Spear, which can be seen in the background.  The other wasn’t actually there the day I took the photos on which this painting was based I photographed it ten days later from downtown St. John’s when we returned there before flying home. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

I have finally made my way to all 13 provinces and territories of Canada!


Cape Spear – the most easterly point in North America
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

Beginning June 13, a group of 26 of us embarked on a University of Victoria travel study program, ‘Discover Newfoundland!’ We were a fairly well-travelled bunch, but more than half of us had never been to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador (NL).

This is the first of several pictures I plan to paint of the places that we saw. Built in 1836, the first Cape Spear lighthouse (upper right in the painting) was designed in the unique architecture of the time – on top of the lightkeeper’s residence. The ‘new’ lighthouse tower (upper left) was built in 1955.

St. John’s, the capital of NL, is just over 5000 kilometres by air (almost 8000 kilometres if you take the TransCanada Highway) from Victoria.  It took all day (7 am PDT to 10:30 pm NDT) to fly there, what with stops in Vancouver and Toronto, and a 4.5 hour time difference. It is 2000 km closer to Ireland than it is to Victoria. 

Needless to say, it was well worth the effort I hope I can convey some of my enthusiasm for this distant province in the paintings I will post over the next few weeks.   


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Graphene Haiku


The incredible properties and potential uses of graphene could mean that it will replace silicon as the fundamental building block of a new age. As well as being the thinnest, strongest and lightest known material, graphene is flexible, impermeable to molecules and extremely electrically and thermally conductive.

It has been used to make water filters capable of purifying, desalinating and extracting minerals from water much more efficiently than present methods, and fabric that is perfectly suited for making clothing that must be breathable and well insulated.

Theoretically it could be made to act as a superconductor at room temperature or to replace batteries by generating and storing ‘solar power without sunlight’ as mentioned in my blog post on Found Haiku

Line 1: Although graphene is simply graphite in the form of a sheet of networked carbon, it was discovered and isolated for the first time very recently, in 2004, and the synthesis of usable quantities is still very difficult and expensive. More efficient methods of production are gradually being developed.

Line 2: The highly unusual properties of grapheme mean that anything researchers are able to learn will likely lead to unexpected applications in apparently unrelated industries.

Line 3: Research and development potential appears to be unlimited.