Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Haven’t painted Banff in over two months!

Banff, from Sulphur Mountain
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2017 Charlene Brown

I was once quoted by Katherine Tyrrell, on her blog Making a Mark writing, “ ...until I was about eight, I was only vaguely aware that anybody painted anything but the Canadian Rockies.”  The Rockies, especially the Banff area, continues to be a favourite location, with this being my 88th Canadian Rockies blog entry. I was quite surprised to notice my last Banff painting was September 17, although I’ve probably gone even longer than that occasionally.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 10

Sunset at Carberry House
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

We planned to stay in a ‘Scottish Baronial pile’ near Edinburgh for our last night in Scotland, and selected the splendid Carberry Tower Mansion House and Estate from the various piles available. Fortunately it occurred to one of the girls that Carberry was much too splendid to spend a night which would end at 4 am when we had to leave for the Edinburgh airport for our flight to Toronto, so we scheduled our second last night in Scotland there instead.
The place has quite a history, being first mentioned in the 11th century when King David I of Scotland granted Carberry to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey. The original building was a simple square tower house, ‘built more for strength than ornament’ according to Wikipedia. It changed hands many time over the years, and was gradually improved piece by piece, with no apparent plan, except that the extension seemed to proceed in ‘an anti-clockwise direction.’  It turned out surprisingly well.  Eventually it was owned by the 16th Lord Elphinstone, who was married to Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, whose sister Elizabeth visited and helped at the Red Cross bazaar held at Carberry Tower in 1915. Apparently, Elizabeth liked the place so much that, years later she and her husband brought their two daughters there for summer holidays.  That was in the early 1930s before anyone knew that the elder daughter would become Queen Elizabeth II. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 9

The Royal Mile
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

We were very lucky in our hotel selection in Edinburgh, discovering when we arrived that we had a great view of the Scott Monument (BTW, almost everyone knows at least two quotes by Sir Walter Scott – ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!’ and ‘Breathes there a man with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land!’ – although some of us may have thought they were Shakespeare…)  And the Scott Monument was just far enough to our left so as not to obscure any of the Royal Mile!

I thought this painting was so close to the real thing, that I tried right-clicking on it and searching Google for the image. The ‘visually similar images’ Google found were Pecs in Hungary, New York City, Wroclaw in Poland, Pacific City (in the Crackdown3 computer game, I think), Philadelphia, Atlanta, Quebec City and Buenos Aires. Google did not find my painting similar to Edinburgh however.

Below is a picture of us on Victoria Street, below Edinburgh Castle.  This colorful location is said to be one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books.  Google thinks it looks like Copenhagen, Liverpool, Dublin, Istanbul, London and (Yes!) Victoria Street in Edinburgh.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A trip to Ireland and Scotland with the girls – 8

Giant's Causeway
Giant's Causeway
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

If you’re familiar with the Giant's Causeway, which heads out from the coast of Northern Ireland towards Scotland, you’ll know you can’t actually see all these aspects of the formation from just one spot. So I’ve painted it from several spots, as is my custom.

I’ve included as many of the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns as seemed appropriate, and added the little puddles from the latest rainfall in the concave tops of many of them. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres high and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places. They are result of an ancient volcanic eruption,  or the remains of an unsuccessful road-building project started by Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool) – depending on who is telling you the story.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Living the dream in a warm place

I think everyone wishes at some point that they could live on a houseboat in some nice warm place. Here’s a bunch of people living the dream in Victoria Harbour.

We try not to be too smug about our climate here – but every February we get going on the annual flower count.  It’s always in the millions way before the rest of Canada has seen its first crocus. Sorry.

And – not only do we have warm winters, we don't need air conditioning in the summers.  The low-carbon economy everyone's trying for is pretty easy to maintain here.