Sunday, March 26, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids V e – Honduras

Utila Honduras

Just before our return to Canada we spent two nights on Utila, one of the islands in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This reef, the longest in the Western Hemisphere, extends from the northern tip of the Yucatan peninsula along the Mayan Riviera, past Belize and Guatemala to the Bay Islands of Honduras. Utila is the smallest of these islands.

The first painting I started on Utila focused entirely on what I could see of the coral beds looking down into the shallow water close to the shore (augmented by what I could remember of the underwater view I’d had during an inept couple of minutes of snorkeling.)

It wasn’t until the second morning we were on the island that I discovered this stunning view looking back toward the Nombre de Dios mountains on the mainland of Honduras. They’d had a fair bit of rain on the mainland, (we knew that) so none of this was visible when we first arrived. Pico Bonito, on the right, is the tallest peak in this part of the range.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Another Canadian landscape not in Alberta or British Columbia

Toronto from 20 km west
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2017 Charlene Brown

This was the view from the apartment in Mississauga just west of the Rattray Marsh, where we lived in the 1980s.
When I was thinking of a name for the painting, I determined the distance to Toronto using Google Maps, and will admit I had thought it was much further, as it took a full hour on the GO Train to get there.

I only ever saw this combination of black thunderclouds and luminous pale green lake a couple of times during the four years we lived there, but it’s what I remember the best.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids V d – Honduras

In the next couple of days, we experienced some extremes of tropical weather – blazing near-vertical noon-day sun at a museum near ­Copan, followed by drenching rain in San Pedro Sula.

At the museum we saw a full-scale replica of a Mayan temple, inside of which was a strobe-flashing presentation of some of the legends represented on the carved and painted exterior walls. After the show, the kids were invited to draw their versions of the stories. Here is Adam’s interpretation of the legend explaining the Equinox (I think).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Can you guess where this is?

Tombstone Territorial Park Yukon
Tombstone Territorial Park
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

If you are thinking perhaps this is in the same part of Canada we were in the last time I asked you to guess, Yukon,  you are exactly right.

Grizzly Lake, shown here, is accessible from the Dempster Highway, Canada’s first all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle. 

The highway is named after Inspector Jack Dempster, who joined the Royal Northwest Mounted Police in 1897 and went on to render outstanding service in Yukon for a total of 37 years.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids V c – Honduras

Hieroglyphic Stairway Copan Honduras
We spent a full (by which I mean really full) day exploring the extensive, multi-level archaeological site at Copan. Most of the time, the kids were at least two levels ahead of us.
When we were there the hieroglyphic stairway was under a protective tarpaulin, making it tricky, but not impossible, to paint – it was pretty much impossible to photograph! The reason for the tarpaulin was that the steps and sculpture were being cleaned and repaired in preparation for the end of the world. I will explain...
In the 8th century, a remarkably accurate circular calendar was devised (and carved in stone) by the Mayans. It defined lengths of years and the timing of seasons for more than a millennium into the future – all the way to what would be December 21, 2012 on the calendar we use today. This led some people to believe that the Mayans had predicted the world would end that day. In Copan.
By 2011 it was pretty widely agreed that this probably wouldn’t happen, but it was decided to proceed with an appropriate ceremony the following year anyway.

The painting is a made-up view of the site, and the photograph on the right shows what we could actually see of the hieroglyphic stairway.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Virtual Paintout in Ghana

St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Ghana this month.    Ghana, Senegal and the Canary Islands appear to be the only parts of West Africa to have been Streetviewed by Google. The Virtual Paintout was in the Canary Islands in 2010. Here is a link to my entry.

As the whole country is available for the Virtual Paintout, I spent quite a while motoring around the countryside before I selected this very paintable scene just outside the Central Market in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region. Here is the link to it.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids Vb - Honduras

We’ve all heard great things about shade-grown coffee – well, here’s another one. If you’re going mountain climbing on a coffee plantation, a shady one can be wonderfully cool on a hot July day in Honduras! I should mention we didn’t actually climb up the mountain, but were taken up in the truck in this painting (first coffee truck we’d ever seen with seating for 25). At the top the kids planted a couple of dozen coffee bushes, sort of ably-assisted by all of us grandparents – it couldn’t have taken us more than 10 times as long as the regular workers…  Then we climbed down 1143 steps carved into the steep slope, to the processing area, where we had a picnic of hot tamales and coffee (what else?).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids V a - Honduras

In 2011, I took Keara and Nick’s younger brother, Adam, on a Road Scholar Intergenerational trip to Honduras.
I had big painting plans for this trip, but we were kept so busy – first hiking in the rain forest, swimming in rock pools, watching the kids learn how to prepare tostadas and play the marimba (not surprisingly, Adam was top of the class in both) and whitewater rafting on the Rio Humuya, that I didn’t actually complete anything!

I did paint and mail a couple of postcards I had promised to mail to friends in Europe, but I didn't complete the rest of my (barely) started cards, such as the Cannonball tree below, until after we returned to Canada.

This is what you see if you look up through the lower branches of one of the huge Couroupita guianensis lining the roads at the Lancetilla Botanical Garden in Honduras.