Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My favourite place to paint

Mt. Assiniboine, including Lakes Magog, Sunburst, Cerulean and Elizabeth

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

When Katherine Tyrrell asked us to talk about our favourite places to paint on the Art of the Landscape, I first thought of Mt. Assiniboine, as I was just there this summer. Then I thought of Lake O’Hara, then Moraine Lake… Then I decided to just name the Canadian Rockies, which has always been my favourite place to paint. I grew up in Banff, and until I was about eight, I was only vaguely aware that anybody painted anything but the Canadian Rockies.

As I wrote in a blog post at the beginning of this year, “There is a mystique to having lived in mountains. You never want to be away from them for too long, especially your own mountains. I love to go back to the Rockies as often as possible.” Here’s a link to my paintings of the Rockies on my blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five things I learned at Film School

Gulf Islands

Watercolour and crayon

©2010 Charlene Brown

1. How to use a Wacom tablet to create a simple running cycle in Adobe Flash, using only nine images – as well as how to replicate this sequence so your (rather ineptly-drawn) figure can go more than two steps.

2. Green screen filming of another running figure (me, actually) and how to ‘key out’ the green background using Adobe After Effects, producing a film clip with no background that can be placed in any setting. And we learned that some activities, running being one, don’t lend themselves very well to green screen filming, simply because you can’t really go anywhere – You must stay in front of the fairly narrow screen.

3. Replicated sequences and green screen clips can be used repeatedly with different backgrounds, using a compositing program such as Adobe Premiere Pro. This is an efficient way of producing otherwise painfully slow video ‘footage’ but must be done with finesse. Please check out my video Running Around North America to see the results of doing it without a lot of finesse …

4. Paintings of Google Streetviews make great background for computer animations, and if you use your own paintings you don’t have to concern yourself with copyright infringement. Fortunately, I was able to download paintings I have on my blog. I hadn’t taken any files or paintings with me, because I had planned on a little painting while I was there, but soon learned…

5. There is no time for anything but your project, while you’re at G.I.F.T.S. (Two other people did individual animation projects and two groups did documentaries, and one group wrote and produced a drama.)

It’s taken until now to unwind from the intensive five-day program and find time to paint Gulf Islands. It shows the view from the ferry leaving Galiano Island at the entrance to Active Pass, with Mayne Island on the right and the Point Roberts peninsula (part of Washington State) in the distance.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Graphic Novel Artwork

Ottawa, seen from Gatineau

Watercolour, ink and fluorescent marker

©2010 Charlene Brown

I haven’t finalized the layout for the two-page Epilogue spread in my graphic novel, Counter-espionage Disinformation for Beginners because I’ve added this illustration – the view out the window of the CSIS office to it. The office has moved across the Ottawa River (only in my imagination) because this is my comic book and I like the view from Gatineau. Included in this view is the National Gallery of Canada, the Chateau Laurier, the steep set of locks at the north end of the Rideau Canal, and the Parliament buildings. It was developed from the Google Streetview taken from the Quebec approach to the Interprovincial Bridge – a route I traveled many times back in the day.

Philip has sent me the figure drawings for the Epilogue, keeping the layers separate fortunately, as they're having to be moved around to accomodate this window and the view across the river. So we're still on schedule for finalization in time for printing in October! Please keep the 'edit' suggestions coming...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Virtual Paintout in Manhattan

Looking west along Park Row
Watercolour, crayon and ink
©2010 Charlene Brown
TheVirtual Paintout is on the island of Manhattan this month. Once again, I planned a semi-abstract design, and once again it became way more detailed and representative than I’d hoped it would be.
I began by removing the vertical perspective. This ‘third point’ perspective makes tall buildings appear to lean into the centre of the picture, and is an overpowering effect on Google Streetview, especially if you tilt the camera up. After that, I concentrated on achieving a loose, ‘painted once’ effect, and managed to stop before getting into as much picky detail as, for example, my previous Virtual Paintout picture of Halifax, another abstract-gone-wrong. Here is the link to this location in New York.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Graphic Novel Artwork

CSIS, espionage, disinformation, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq

Chapter 5

InDesign document, watercolour painting, characters by Philip Hogg

©2010 Charlene Brown

Except for the Epilogue – wherein everything falls into place back in Ottawa about a month after the action in Chapters 4, 5 and 6 – my graphic novel is now complete! It’s a little rough around the edges in places, but I’m hoping to have it ready to go to press in October. Meanwhile, I’ve put the 18 completed pages up on my website. You can find it by clicking on Counter-Espionage Disinformation for Beginners:…the graphic novel

If you want to have a look at it in this more readable format, please be sure to have your pdf reader set to display two pages at a time. And please feel free to advise me of all the typos, inconsistent spellings or other peculiarities you come across!