Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Abstract of Butchart Gardens (not)

Changtse, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse

Watercolour monotype

©1998 Charlene Brown

The abstract of the Butchart Gardens still needs a surprising amount of work for something that was supposed to be spontaneous and bold (and really quick). So here’s another flashback to the twentieth century, complete with cautionary note about printmaking (see below).

At the Banff Mountain Book Festival in 1997, it seemed like I was one of only about five people who had never climbed Everest. I didn’t even have painting it on my bucket list… So it was fairly surprising when, four months later, I found myself in Nepal attempting to get to a good spot to do just that by climbing from Changa Narayana to Nagarcot. After taking four hours to complete the ‘three-hour’ climb to this vantage point, and discovering Everest was still barely visible, I realized I was going to have to get closer to paint it. I also realized I’d better do it the easy way – using photographs taken from a Buddha Air flight from Kathmandu to Everest and back, non-stop.

I was lucky enough to get two perfect shots as we circled by Changtse, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. I later combined them and used the monotype printmaking process I outlined in another twentieth century flashback.

In fact, I think the whole thing is too close to the subject, and was never that pleased with the composition. I’m only showing it here so I can include the above-mentioned cautionary reminder about printmaking… The clouds streaming from the Himalayan peaks were created by removing blue paint from the printing plate with a wet tissue. They were not part of the original drawing – done while I was being careful to do everything in reverse. The result – clouds on Everest apparently driven by an east wind – almost never happens, I am told.