Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran VI

Naranjestan Gardens
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

The second part of our tour, in the southern, more frequently visited and hotter part of Iran, began with our arrival in Shiraz. We were scheduled to drive out to Persepolis the afternoon of the first day – by somebody who had never been there in the heat of the day, according to our guide.
She had arranged instead for us to go to Persepolis in the cool early morning of the next day, and took us to the Naranjestan Gardens and Nasir al Molk Mosque – both of which were pretty cool, even on a hot afternoon.

Mihrab at the Nasir al Molk Mosque

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran V

Soltaniyeh Dome at Zanjan
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

After exploring the many levels and barrel-vaulted passages of Takhte e Soleyman, we continued on our way to Qasvin, stopping to climb around the various levels of the ethereal blue interior of the massive Soltaniyeh Dome at Zanjan.

Interior undergoing renovation of all levels.  

This building, the oldest double-shell dome in the world, is a key monument in the history of Islamic architecture.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran IV

Takhte e Soleyman Iran

Takhte e Soleyman UNESCO World Heritage site
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

After spending the night in Takab in a memorable ‘basic’ hotel, we proceeded higher into the Alborz Mountains to the spectacularly-located 1500-year-old Takhte e Soleyman fortress. The surrounding snow fields, which even included orchards beginning to blossom, made the place even more other-worldly than expected.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran III

Mehri Temple
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

The second remote archaeological site we visited was the ­subterranean Mehri Temple in Maraqeh, recently re-discovered and at this point still being excavated. The sketch above is a combination of photos taken in three directions (think of it as a Cubist approach) showing Quranic inscriptions around the walls indicating that, although it was originally built in the 3rd century BCE by sun-worshippers, it was used as a mosque in the 13th century CE.

Finally we toured the ancient Sorkh Dome, built in the late 12th century CE, now being restored and set in a garden with Islamic designs and a huge vertical sun clock. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Virtual Paintout in South Korea

South Korea

Looking north from Seoul
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in South Korea this month.   I had originally planned to paint a Streetview of PyeongChang, which will be the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics next February.  However, that area, near the north-east coast, doesn’t seem to have been covered by Google Streetview yet.  Only the areas around Seoul in the north-west and Busan on the south-east coast, as well as some National Parks are included in the coverage. My painting shows the view looking towards Bukhansan National Park from Seoul.  Here is the link to it.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran II

On our second day in Iran we flew to Tabriz, in the Northwest corner of the country, where we saw all the important sights, the highlight of which was the historic Blue Mosque of Tabriz. The picture on the left shows me inside this mosque, wearing the headscarf required at all times in Iran. We ended our day with dinner in a pavilion on El Goli, the famous square lake in the centre of the city. As it was Thursday evening, the beginning of the week-end, after dinner we joined hundreds of local families enjoying a stroll on the entertainment-filled perimeter of the lake.
Kandovan Iran

Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

The next day we drove to some remote archaeological sites, the first of which was the still-inhabited 800-year-old conical cliff dwellings of Kandovan.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran I

Tehran Iran
Watercolour, marker and crayon 
©2017 Charlene Brown

From April 5 to 17 I was one of 20 participants on a marvelous tour ‘Treasures of Iran’ organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and guided by Barry Till, the Gallery’s Curator of Asian Arts.

I started (barely) several sketches while I was there, but we had so many places to go and things to do that I am only now actually finishing any of them.

This first sketch is the view of the Milad Tower and the Alborz Mountains from our hotel in Tehran ... except I have made it the view from nearby Laleh Park and included the hotel (the whitish building with the distinctive Y-shape) in the picture. Because I can.