Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Twentieth Century Flashback

The Great Wall of China

Monotype print

©1995 Charlene Brown

I haven’t quite got my final two paintings from our Panama cruise ready to post, so here’s another flashback to the twentieth century – the Great Wall of China, which I visited in 1995.

Construction began 27 centuries ago on this massive 6000 kilometer long structure, designed to repel foreign hordes. Initially it seemed ironic that the Wall is now overrun with them – until one considers the big bucks we were all paying for the privilege.

Built along the edges of steep ridges wherever possible to maximize its vertical rise, the Wall itself is very steep as it follows the ridges to the various peaks. It literally ‘charges off in all directions,’ including up. Walking along it is not the stroll we had expected, but it was worth the climb. My painting ‘The Great Wall of China,’ a long segment of the Wall at Badaling was painted indirectly as a monotype – a print made by painting in watercolor on a Plexiglas plate, which is then run through a press with a dampened sheet of watercolor paper, producing one unique print.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Virtual Paintout in the Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

I took a little break from Panama cruise paintings to do this entry for the Virtual Paintout while they’re still at their May location, the Czech Republic. Like many of the others painting Google Streetviews this month, I’ve discovered some of the most paintable locations are accessible only to pedestrians – and the Google car-mounted cameras have had to be maneuvered in some pretty imaginative ways. This view of the Mansion Tower in Czesky Krumlov, for example, was obtained from what looks like a picnic area in the middle of the stream!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not the Colombia we used to hear about

La Piscinita Beach, Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

When our ship docked at Santa Marta in Columbia, I went on an excursion to Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast. We climbed up through clouds (of steam, I think) swirling through a jungle of dracaena, philodendron, and other ‘houseplants’ as big as houses, palms and red-crowned Poinciana trees, then down to this spectacular boulder-strew beach. These huge rocks have been rounded, cracked and are being rounded again, into unique and very paintable shapes.

Not one of us was beaten up, kidnapped or recruited to take cocaine anywhere. In fact I’d forgotten all about ‘that’ Columbia until our guide asked if we were surprised at all. He went on to say that things have been changing for the better ever since the present government came into power eight years ago. They have another election coming up at the end of this month – we’ll see how it goes…

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cruising through the Panama Canal

George Town, Cayman Islands

Mixed media, including typewriter correction fluid (remember that stuff?)

©2010 Charlene Brown

This is the time of year cruise ships shift from their southern to northern routes, and I’ve just had a wonderful three weeks on one of these ‘repositioning’ cruises – a truly spectacular series of locations for ‘on location’ painting. We started in Tampa, Florida and made our first stop in the delightful city of George Town on Grand Cayman. – where we arrived, along with three other cruise ships, on the last big day of the Caribbean cruise season. Although Georgetown gets close to 1000 cruise ships every year, they don’t yet have a dock big enough to accommodate any of them and we all went ashore in tenders (actually our ships’ lifeboats) two of which I’ve included in my painting. After the Caymans there was one stop in Colombia, a fascinating transit of the Panama Canal, several stops in Costa Rica and Mexico, San Diego, and finally Victoria, where we disembarked within sight of our condominium (Yes!) I’ll be painting larger versions of a few of the watercolour sketches I completed on deck and in various jungles, beaches and archaeological sites, and will post them in the next couple of weeks.