Sunday, April 28, 2013

Syria will have to wait too

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1994 Charlene Brown

Like last week’s painting of Seoul, this etching was done in anticipation of seeing the real thing – back when we lived in Dubai, and getting to Syria seemed pretty straightforward. Somehow, it never quite worked out, and the closest I got to Palmyra was a brief stopover in the Damascus airport on my way to Jordan.  Since returning to Canada I’ve missed a couple of chances to go back to the Middle East on university Travel Study Programs… and now, of course, going to Syria isn’t straightforward at all!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

South Korea will have to wait

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Watercolour and crayon
©2013 Charlene Brown

I am on the art tours committee, a volunteer fundraising group at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, planning and organizing day-trips up-island or to Vancouver, trips of four or five days duration further afield to, say, Alberta or Ontario, and really big tours every year or two to such places as the Hermitage in St. Petersburg or Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam in S.E. Asia. 
This year’s really big one, scheduled for November, was to go to South Korea and Japan, lead by the Gallery’s Curator of Asian Arts, Barry Till.  Then North Korea found its way into the headlines every day for about three weeks, and some of the people who had said they were interested in participating started stalling or even backing out.  So about a week ago we pulled the plug on the South Korean portion of the tour.   
At approximately the same minute, North Korea disappeared from the news…  Purely coincidence, of course, but I like to think we’ve contributed our bit to reducing tension in the world.
I’m disappointed we’ve had to make this decision (I think I’m the only one) as I was planning to join the tour, and I’d done some Google Image research on the painting possibilities in South Korea – mostly the temples, museums and gardens we were going to visit, but including a few cityscapes as well.  This painting of Seoul is a compilation of a few of them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Virtual Paintout in Bulgaria

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Mosque in Smolevo
©2013 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Bulgaria this month.  It took almost no time at all to find this nicely composed Google Streetview of the hilltop village of Smolevo, with the Balkan Mountains in the distance. Here is a link to it  

I couldn’t help thinking Google was very lucky with their timing when they photographed this part of the country.  It looks like a pretty spectacular, and warm, late winter day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another twentieth century flashback

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Lake Louise
Watercolour monotype
©1996 Charlene Brown
I may have given you the impression I find Lake Louise somewhat less magical than Lake O’Hara in my blog post a few days ago. Let me explain.  
Part of the allure of Lake O’Hara is simply that it’s so hard to get to – the much more famous wonder of Lake Louise is easily accessible, and most of the millions of visitors to western Canada make a point to seeing it.  
The hiking and walking trails around and above the lake are never actually crowded, just because there is so much lakeshore and mountainside to accommodate them… but the parking lots are at least as bad as any shopping centre I’ve ever seen. There’s often entertainment as well, such as the Canadian Army Cadet pipe band that happened to be there the day we visited in 1996. And another thing... the north face of the glaciers visible from Lake Louise is much thicker than the ice on the other side of the mountain

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The other side of the mountain

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Lake O’Hara
©2013 Charlene Brown

In 1916, the American artist John Singer Sargent famously painted Lake O’Hara from this spot, since known as Sargent’s Point.  It continues to be a favourite location for painters almost one hundred years later.
From here you can see one of the most perfect settings inthe Rockies – the other side of Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy which form the backdrop for Lake Louise.  In a way, Lake O’Hara is the mirror image of Lake Louise… except it is much smaller, about 1000 feet higher, and a much deeper green.