Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year-end Review

The Garden at Government House, Victoria, BC

Watercolour sketch

©2009 Charlene Brown

Using this mid-October sketch as a starting point, I have computer-painted in both directions through all seasons and put the series together in a video that runs just over one minute. If you’d like to see it, click on A Year in a Victorian Garden

And speaking of Years… Here is a review of my first year blogging 1150 Words…

I originally named my blog ‘Weekly Painting Worth 1150 Words’ to commit myself to painting and writing regularly, and to keep my entries short – the reasoning being that the picture would be worth 1000 words and I’d only write 150 more. I hoped the brevity of the entries would increase the likelihood that my blog would actually get read – as well as the likelihood it would ever get written. And it worked!

1150 Words is for sharing ideas about watercolour, computer, and video painting, and that has worked beautifully as well! The ‘sharing,’ however, has been pretty one-sided. I’ve learned a great deal more from other people’s blogs, especially Making a Mark than I have been able to pass on.

In fact, the only post I can think of where I actually described a useful technique that was new (to me anyway) was about masking back-lighting effects on figures in a landscape viewed ‘almost directly into the sun.’

Another post I’m quite pleased with is about painting on the Opabin Plateau at Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies.

Click on Opabin Plateau to see these sketches on an interactive Google map

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Banff

Computer painting based on a webcam shot, used with the permission of Banff Gondola. The current picture on the live webcam can be seen by clicking on Banff right now

I’ll be away from my computer for a few days as we’re going to spend Christmas in Calgary and Banff – hoping for a Chinook, needless to say. Banff has been at least as cold as it looks in the picture above for about two weeks now!

I had a very pleasant surprise today when I discovered I’ve had the ‘Over the Top’ award passed on to me by Mary Paquet! Mary’s blog, Art Adventures really is an adventure, and a real treat to follow. Have a look – you’ll love it!

I started blogging on January 2, 2009, and I’m planning to be back in time for a year end review – Would love to hear from anyone who would care to comment, especially if you can tell me what you likedmost (or least) about 1150 Words, or if you had a favourite post...

Hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Virtual Paintout in Mexico City

Las Brujas at Liorna, Mexico City

Watercolour, crayon and marker

Charlene Brown

Bill Guffey’s Virtual Paintout is in Mexico City this month. It’s been surprisingly cold the last couple of weeks (just above freezing here in Victoria, and much worse in most of the rest of Canada) so such a lovely warm location makes the virtual paintout an even better idea than usual. I managed to stick with my plan to find a relatively simple street scene on Google Streetview this time, unlike my previous adventures in Halifax and Belfast both of which were a little crazy-making.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

72 days to go!

From the Peak 2 Peak Gondola


©2009 Charlene Brown

This is the Overlord Glacier in Garibaldi Provincial Park, as seen looking SE from the new Peak 2 Peak gondola. The gondola cable car spans the valley between two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb. You can see live (updated every 15 minutes) webcam pictures of the two terminals at the Peak 2 Peak website. And if you happen to look at it just before 8am or just after 4pm Pacific Time you might catch a terrific sunrise or sunset this time of year.
With just 72 days to go, this is the last of my 2010 Olympic venue paintings, for a while anyway... I need to get to work on some other projects with even fewer days to go (Chistmas, for example).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

75 Days to Go!

Inukshuk at Whistler


©2009 Charlene Brown

Here’s another one of the huge inukshuks built on Whistler Mountain for the Olympics – which open in just 75 days! This one is further down the mountain than the inukshuk I wrote about February 19 and the view is in the opposite direction. Whistler Village can be seen in the valley, as well as one of the golf courses at the base of Blackcomb, some of the lower ski slopes and the top of the luge run.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Graphic Novel Artwork II

CSIS, espionage, disinformation, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq


InDesign document containing digital photomontage

©2009 Charlene Brown

I’ve been working on a comic book aka graphic novel – a fictionalized combination of some of my travel painting and workshop painting stories. Thinking that feedback from readers who are artists and illustrators would be helpful, I decided to do WIP posts on this blog. I had a lot of trouble actually getting started – until I realized there’s no rule saying you have to start at the beginning!

Finally, on September 6, I began by posting ‘Chapter 3: Calgary to Bishkek.’ After that, I worked through the plot of the story from the beginning and realized there was more than two chapters’ worth of stuff before they left Calgary.

So, I wrote this Prologue, and the Chapter formerly know as 3 became ‘Chapter 4: August 8, 2003.’ The September 6th posting has been revised accordingly. It occurs to me that this disjointed approach isn’t really conducive to discussion, but would love to hear any comments or questions you have about these fragments of my graphic novel.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Have you been here?

St. John’s, NL
©2009 Charlene Brown
Have you been here? I haven’t, but the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is definitely on my bucket list.
In the meantime, I’ve pieced together some pictures of the provincial capital, St. John’s – Signal Hill, the harbour, the colourful houses, and the icebergs that occasionally get this far south – unimpeded by any realistic knowledge of how they actually line up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Exploring Roman Africa II

--> Ptolemais, Libya
Watercolour and computer painting
©2007 Charlene Brown
Originally one of the five cities of the 7th Century BCE Libyan Pentapolis, Ptolemais was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BCE (and passed to his General, Ptolemy - hence the name), and conquered by Rome in the 1st Century CE. 
Ptolemais was the site, in 301 CE, of an early attempt at wage and price controls – Diocletian’s Edictum De Pretiis – overlaid, in this computer painting, on the background of a watercolour of the site.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Exploring Roman Africa I

--> Zaghouan Water Temple
watercolour and ink
©2007 Charlene Brown
These paintings were completed a couple of years ago following a University of Victoria travel study program, Exploring Roman Africa. 
This one, which shows the ruins of the source of the Romans’ water supply in the Tunisian mountains, was done using photographs.
 Another painting, shown below, used a sketch I painted on the archaeological site at Uthina, as cameras were not allowed at this on-going dig. It shows the ruins of the temple, the amphitheatre and, in the distance, surviving parts of the aqueduct from Zaghouan to Carthage

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day at Hatley Castle

Hatley Castle

Watercolour and ink

©2009 Charlene Brown

In 1906, B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir, built this 40-room home in the Scottish baronial style popular in the Edwardian Period. The Dunsmuirs also created beautiful formal gardens on the estate, which is situated on a lagoon near the entrance to Esquimalt Harbour, west of Victoria.

At the outbreak of World War II, plans were made for the King and Queen and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to reside in Canada. Hatley Castle was purchased by the federal government in 1940 for use as their residence. However, the Royal Family decided to tough it out in London and the estate was converted into a naval training facility. The name was changed to Royal Roads Military College in 1948, and in 1995 it was designated a National Historic Site, and became Royal Roads University.

My husband was a cadet at Royal Roads when it was a Military College, and we will be attending the Remembrance Day Service there today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An Unusual Look at Banff


Watercolour and ink

©2007 Charlene Brown

A few months ago, my daughter, who was involved with organizing the annual education conference of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors, asked if she could use one of my paintings of Banff (I’ve got lots) on the conference announcement. From the various digital images I sent, she selected this one, partly because it included the Fairmont Banff Springs, where the conference is taking place this week. It’s an unusual view of Banff, looking south toward Goat Mountain – the much more famous ‘postcard’ view of Banff is in the opposite direction, north along Main St. toward Cascade.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Virtual Paintout in Halifax

Duke Street, Halifax

Watercolour and ink

©2009 Charlene Brown

I was pretty pleased to find out the Virtual Paintout is in Nova Scotia, here in Canada this month! After painting a rather complicated picture for the Belfast Virtual Paintout in October I had planned to try something simpler – but when I found this view of the Halifax City Hall surrounded by new office towers on Google Street View, I thought it was just too paintable to pass up… Maybe next time I’ll select something that doesn’t make me crazy...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sea-to-Sky Highway

Howe Sound from the new Sea-to-Sky

Watercolour and crayon

©2009 Charlene Brown

My April 16 blog post was about a painting of this stretch of the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, the two main venues for the upcoming Winter Olympics. That painting was based on a series of photos taken from the opposite direction on Christmas day when this part of the highway was just a clearing and the beginning of a cut through the ridge above Horseshoe Bay.

Now that the road is finished you no longer have to negotiate all the curves around the bay and the ferry terminal. Arrival at the entrance to Howe Sound is very sudden and quite spectacular… and about three steps ahead of the poor lady in your GPS who will continue ‘Calculating Route’ to exit the TransCanada Highway for about two kilometres after you’ve left it. We drove to Squamish last weekend, and only had the GPS on for the entertainment value, but out-of-province visitors attempting to drive north from Vancouver should probably be warned not to use any GPS programmed before about a month ago.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inuit Art Central

charlene brown, arctic, painting cape dorset
Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada
Watercolour and crayon
©2009 Charlene Brown
Cape Dorset has more artists per capita than any other Canadian municipality. It’s likely you’ve never seen a painting of it though, as these folks aren’t landscape painters. This particular scene hasn’t been ‘done to death’ as seems to happen in other artists’ enclaves like, say, Banff or the Gulf Islands. The Inuit of Cape Dorset are stone carvers and printmakers – creators of iconic Canadian images of the far north, and they’re been doing it for fifty years. Probably the most famous Inuit printmaker of all, Kenojuak Ashevak, who designed The Enchanted Owl was from Cape Dorset.
I’ve been up north a few times, though not recently, and I’d like to go back sometime – there are lots of wonderful sights that need to be painted up there. But for now, I think I’ll just continue painting the Rockies and Vancouver Island, again and again...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting Ready for the Olympics

Early Snow at Whistler

Watercolour and crayon

©2009 Charlene Brown

They’ve had the first snowfall at Whistler at the higher elevations, boding well for the Olympic Alpine events in February – but just in case it’s one of those years (occasional warm rain) the snow-making machines and 80-person crew have also fired up and the lower slopes have a light dusting as well. I’ve tried to show current conditions in this painting, but it’s actually based on a picture taken on a midwinter evening when the area was completely snow-covered. The alpenglow on the peaks, which I’ve only ever seen in February, is also a figment of my imagination.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Virtual Paintout in Belfast

Fisherwick Presbyterian Church

Watercolour, crayon & ink

©2009 Charlene Brown

Several artists whose blogs I follow have contributed to The Virtual Paintout, a blog run by Bill Guffey, who has had the rather good idea of using ‘Google Street View’ as a resource for traveling the world to find interesting locations and subjects to paint. I liked the entries by Liz Pearson Cathy Gatland and Pat Reese so much, I decided to give it a try, and started looking around Belfast, Northern Ireland, the location of Bill’s October challenge.

There are so many very paintable locations available, I decided the only way to make a decision was to narrow my search to churches – and eventually selected this one. There are at least ten street views of it, and when I strung them together, I couldn’t figure out the perspective – until I went to the original Google map Satellite view and discovered the street curves about 15 degrees part way along the building. Couldn’t resist including the 'Don’t Walk' signal and the sign proclaiming this an ‘ALCOHOL FREE ZONE.’

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Painting in the Rockies II

Moraine Lake

Watercolour, crayon & ink

©2009 Charlene Brown

This is the SW end of Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, one of the areas in which we were hiking a couple of weeks ago. This view shows one of the streams of melt water flowing into that end of the lake. This inflow contains ‘rock flour’ which gives the lake its colour. Also shown is the glacier to the left of Mt Fay (the highest peak in the picture) not normally seen in the much more famous view of the lake from the rockpile at its NE end. This better known view (with Mt Fay on the extreme left) used to be on our twenty-dollar bills.