Thursday, February 26, 2009

What happens to plein air paintings after you get them home?

Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan, Egypt
computer painting
©2009 Charlene Brown

In my case – quite a few things, as I hardly ever complete anything but postcards on location. Two of the Egyptian archaeology sketches I did during last year’s University of Victoria travel study program have been turned into half-sheet watercolours. The others are being stylized into semi-abstracts.
I like the idea of ‘abstracting’ travel paintings, either on the computer, or as new watercolours or collages – but, having taken the trouble to get to the locations I paint, I like them to remain recognizable. This computer painting of the Unfinished Obelisk at Aswan started out as the fairly realistic sketch below. (I say 'fairly realistic' because you can’t actually see the whole thing from one spot, and have to climb around the length of the obelisk to see the top, which is the most interesting part). I’ll post paintings of Edfu, Luxor, Giza, and Kalabsha, when I settle on their degree of ‘abstraction.’

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Surviving the fastest luge in North America

Inukshuk at Whistler, British Columbia
©2009 Charlene Brown

I’ve just spent the weekend on the mainland, where they’ve started the one-year countdown to the 2010 Olympics. Two of my grandkids were in luge races at the newly built Whistler Sliding Centre, said to have the fastest luge run in North America, and both won gold medals in their age groups, hitting speeds of over 97 kph. And I survived watching them!
We also rode the new Peak 2 Peak Gondola, a 3-kilometer unsupported lift spanning the valley between two mountains, Blackcomb and Whistler. This week’s painting includes the Black Tusk volcano core and the Tantalus Range as seen from the Whistler peak, as well as one of the giant inukshuks, symbol of the 2010 Olympics.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another angle on the Icefields Parkway

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta
watercolour, ink and crayon
©2007 Charlene Brown

I put this painting of Peyto Lake on my website, Paint Every Mountain today, in place of a painting of the Columbia Icefield I’d decided I didn’t like as much as I thought I did when I last updated the site. This view of Peyto shows the distinctive, easily recognizable outline of the lake as seen from Bow Summit – which I always assumed was its actual shape. Imagine my surprise, on a recent Google Earth tour of the Rockies, to discover the odd blue thing shown below! I soon figured out that Peyto’s well-know perceived shape is exactly what you’d expect to see from a distance (X marks the spot) viewing on a downward angle of maybe ten degrees… I wish they’d had lovely subjects like this in Perspective Rendering 101 instead of cameras and egg cartons and other painful projects.

The real Peyto Lake

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seasonal Paintings

Continental Divide from Healy Pass
Watercolour and ink
©1998 Charlene Brown

Early Fall on the Continental Divide
Watercolour, crayon & ink
©2008 Charlene Brown

The paintings I did this week will probably go in a group show at Goward House, a seniors’ centre where I paint every Wednesday. Because they prefer we don’t publish exhibition entries prior to the Opening in May, I’ve posted one of the paintings I put in the show last year, along with the older painting upon which it was based. The first ‘Continental Divide from Healy Pass’ shows the mountains and hanging lakes on the Alberta side of the divide, painted after hiking in the area in July, 1998. The fall version was one of several paintings I redid in the spectacular colours – golden larch along the timberline after the first snow – I saw during a late September trip to the Banff area in 2004. Another one – Mt Rundle – is on my website Paint Every Mountain.