Friday, September 30, 2011

Just another pretty face

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Mt. Robson
Watercolour and crayon
©2011 Charlene Brown

About twenty years ago I attended a watercolour workshop in the Canadian Rockies given by well-known American artist, Barbara Nechis.  We were in the Bow Valley surrounded by spectacular peaks, and Barbara reminded us that some of them had been painted hundreds, if not thousands, of times. She went on to suggest that, under the circumstances, we consider carefully whether or not each of the paintings we were about to produce really ‘needed’ to be done… Then she explained some unique approaches and showed us some fascinating painting techniques that could result in something more than just another pretty mountain scene.
I’ve tried to heed Barbara’s advice – working on something approaching her wonderfully loose, semi-abstract style – but, in fact, have produced way too many straight-up pretty mountain scenes in the years since that workshop. Perhaps I’ll select a series of these and either ‘abstract’ them or re-do them in the throes of a really dramatic mountain storm…

Monday, September 26, 2011

September at the international postcard exchange

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Japanese Garden near Victoria
©2011 Charlene Brown

This was the September card I sent to Desirée Habicht in California, as part of our international  postcard exchange, a Postcard from my Walk.  It shows the Japanese garden, situated in the deep ravine that runs from the main Butchart Gardens to the ocean. It is so shady that everything, including the stone lanterns, is covered in moss. Sometimes I think it’s my favourite part of the Butchart Gardens.
There’s a new post every couple of days on the Postcard from my Walk blog, and the quality and variety of the artwork is fascinating! Have a look at my post about the beautifully-drawn September card I received fromAlbrecht in Germany.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Virtual Paintout in New Orleans

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St Louis Cathedral from Decatur Street
Watercolour and crayon
©2011 Charlene Brown

I first painted this cathedral from a Google Streetview of Chartres Street that included lots of French Quarter architecture. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but unfortunately, Chartres was photographed very early in the morning and was completely deserted.  It was only after that painting was finished that I realized this straight-on view from the other side of Jackson Square was much more appealing.  I’ve added my first St Louis Cathedral painting to the sidewalk display that appears in the Google Streetview from Decatur Street.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homage to Emily Carr

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Watercolour and gouache
Charlene Brown

I recently entered a competition The Underlying Spirit, for artworks in all media produced as an homage to Emily Carr.  The Victoria College of Art entry guidelines included the statement, “In the same way Emily searched for the ‘underlying spirit’ in the landscapes, indigenous artworks, and people she painted, we are looking for entries that reflect that same  motivation in contemporary West Coast creators.” Focusing on the mention of ‘contemporary’ I began with a small sketch, ‘Rush Hour in Squamish’ with spectacular Mt. Garibaldi reflecting the last rays of the setting sun… but then I decided to go with something probably more to Emily’s liking, the same scene, but along the shoreline of Howe Sound before you get to Squamish.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hand-painted postcards from round the World

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Hieroglyphic stairway at Copan
Watercolour and ink
©2011 Charlene Brown

This is the postcard I sent to Albrecht Rissler in Germany  – my July contribution to A Postcard from my Walk. I mailed it from the island of Utila in Honduras in late July and Albrecht received it about a month later.  I noticed when I read his write-up about it, his scan of the painting was much better than the photo I'd taken before I sent it (love the name he gave the file too -- Karte von Charlene) so I've used his file here. 
This painting shows some detail of the hieroglyphic stairway that was part of a painting of Copan I wrote about in August
There’s a new post every couple of days on the Postcard from my Walk blog, and the quality and variety of the artwork is fascinating! Have alook at the latest post.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Have you tried painting a themed series?

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Washington DC
Watercolour, ink and crayon
©2011 Charlene Brown

While deciding on what location to paint next in what I hope will become a fairly comprehensive series of paintings of Canada, I got to wondering what kind of a start I’ve made on a series of American landscapes…  Not much, as it turns out.
If I don’t include the American mountains that I slip into the backgrounds of as many of my Victoria paintings as I possibly can, I have only done 12 blog posts about American locations!  So here’s one more.
Have you given some thought to which of your paintings might be considered a start of a comprehensive series? Have a look -- you may be surprised!