Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mount Assiniboine

From Cautley Meadow

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

Since horses are no longer allowed into this sensitive alpine region, there are only two ways into Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, 6-8 hours climbing/skiing or 10 minutes in a helicopter. I’ll admit right off that I took the 10-minute route (including a pretty exciting updraft-augmented leap through a dip in the precipitous ridge of the continental divide). But I did get myself and my watercolour sketching stuff up to the Cautley Meadow for this unusual view of Mt. Assiniboine – the frequently clouded east face. It’s pretty well impossible to do a painting with only one subject in magical places like this, so I’ve included the surrounding glaciers (Gloria on the far left, and Magog in front of Mt. Assiniboine) and lakes (Magog on the right, Gog and a tiny, unnamed pond we were not encouraged to explore because a grizzly sow is currently teaching her cubs to swim and fish there). I even tried to capture the effect of the carpets of spring flowers – mostly blue anemones, forget-me-nots, moss campion and heather, with glacier lilies near the timberline below us. BTW, I say spring flowers because summer at this elevation is said to begin August 1 and extend to August 15.

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Retreating Glaciers

Grinnell Glacier, Montana, U.S.A.
Watercolour sketch
©2010 Charlene Brown

On our recent drive to Calgary to hike in the Canadian Rockies, we took the American route across northern Washington, Idaho, and Montana, stopping overnight in Spokane and at Many Glaciers Lodge in Glacier National Park. The second day included the spectacular traverse of the almost 80-year-old, 48-mile Going to the Sun Road – that took four hours! Of the many wonderful painting locations along this road and the route in to the lodge, this lupin meadow on Sherburne Lake, with the Grinnell Glacier in the distance, was my favourite. There’s a fascinating collection of historic photographs at the lodge, showing the vastly greater volume of ice in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and some of the most striking comparisons can be seen on the website of the Northern Rocky Mountains Science Center. The one closest to the location of this painting is Grinnell Glacier from Lake Josephine circa 1914 - 1938 - 2008 If you have a few minutes be sure to have a look at this impressive and beautifully designed website.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mid-year review

Arrival at Lake Issyk-kul, Kyrgyzstan
Watercolour, background for Chapter 5 of graphic novel
©2010 Charlene Brown

Under cover of darkness, Lake Issyk-kul, back and front cover illustration
Photoshopped watercolour
©2010 Charlene Brown

Achievements: In the first six months of 2010, I wrote 32 blog posts. However, if I only count posts where I really feel I’ve achieved something – by which I mean I’ve done something different – there are only six! BTW – I noticed this reflects the Pareto Principle (roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) as I only spent about 20% of my time on these projects.
Mind Map/ Concept Map: This is a great way to ‘diagram’ your plans! First you draw radial Mind Maps around your main areas of concentration (mine are landscape painting, graphic novel and archaeology) then connect various permutations and combinations of techniques, venues and target groups – all the usual blogging concepts – to generate and visualize ideas. Tina Mammoser’s June 29 post highlights a new, creative twist on mind mapping – the PIP Personal Idea Pad developed by Todd Henry, who writes the Accidental Creative. PIP broadens your horizons by adding multiple perspectives (and a unique framework to contain them) to maximize your chances of generating brilliant, often tangential, ideas.
Goal Setting: Do the goals I posted in My Plan for 2010 need to be adjusted?
· Paint more spontaneously: This remains elusive, but I will continue trying.
· Do more journaling: This is going well. Haven’t tried ‘blogging on the road’ yet, though I love it when other people, like Mary Paquet, do!
· Continue to participate in group blogs such as Virtual Paintout Plein Air Artists, and The Art of the Landscape.
· Write more ‘how-to’ articles for Empty Easel. I added The Extreme Sport of Watercolour Painting (which is not so much how-to as how-I-did-it).
· Finish graphic novel - learn how to use tablet: I added three 2-page spreads in the first half of the year, but as for learning to use the tablet… I’ve discovered outsourcing! The figures in my comic book are much better now that my grandson, Philip Hogg, is doing them. I did discover that sketching people in very roughly, and then erasing the lines that aren’t right works for me, so there’s been a little progress with the tablet.
· Paint more videos - learn how to use Adobe Flash: I don’t need the interactive capability of Flash right now, so am sticking to my old method of creating animations. I’ve started a computer painted video about archaeology – another PIP idea.
The final step is to define what needs to be done NOW – well, NEXT anyway. Right now, I’m taking a couple of weeks off to gather more painting subject material sketching in the Rockies, and confer with my grandson about the drawings he’s doing for my graphic novel. My next blog posts will be near the end of July, and will be about the real Rockies and virtual Hong Kong