Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Libyco-Punic Mausoleum and other newer ruins
watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Dougga, located in northwestern Tunisia, is considered to be the best preserved example of an Africo-Roman town in North Africa. 

I have rearranged and condensed the city in this painting in order to fit the Libyco-Punic Mausoleum the only monument of this type known in the ancient world into the composition.  It is the tall structure in the upper right hand corner of the painting.  Originally built in the second century BCE when the area was a Phoenician colony, the mausoleum had an important bilingual Numidian and Punic-Libyan inscription that enabled archaeologists to decipher the original alphabet.

Dougga was annexed into the Roman province of Africa in 46 BCE and flourished under Roman rule with many important structures built during the second and third centuries CE.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tidal power haiku

Pangnirtung Fjord

The northern end of this fjord is in Auyuittuq National Park, the most accessible of the ­National Parks in Nunavut – which is to say, it’s hardly accessible at all.

It lies within an area said to have the second highest tides in the world which, combined with its remoteness, makes it a good candidate for tidal power. On-site power generation would provide electricity to charge electric cars, trucks and ATVs, reducing the need for expensive fuel shipments.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Traditional Berber designs
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Ghadames is an oasis in Libya, about 450 km southwest of Tripoli, near the Tunisian and Algerian borders. The old part of town, which I visited in 2006 as part of a University of Victoria travel study program, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings inside the walled part of the city are remarkably cool, because their thick, nearly-windowless walls are painted bright white. 

The intricate red decorations that I have added are actually inside the houses and are, as far as I know, unique to Ghadames. The Berber designs used include elongated triangles, diamonds, the sun, the moon, palm trees and the Tuareg cross.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Traffic congestion haiku

Rush Hour in Squamish

This is a spectacular place to be stuck in traffic, half-way between Vancouver and Whistler, with an Emily Carr-inspired ­forest and Mt. Garibaldi catching the last rays of the setting sun – contemplating what all the idling vehicles are doing to the atmosphere.

A Google search of the term in the second line, disruptive discovery, produces one million results! There’s even a free weekly Disruptive Discoveries Journal that is focused on uncovering and interpreting both the opportunities and challenges in the natural resources, biotech, and technology sectors resulting from the convergence.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Remote site power haiku

Thor Peak

This huge granite spike is located in Auyuitttuq National Park on Baffin Island in Nunavut. I’ve seen it described as the coolest-looking mountain in Canada... with which I certainly agree, given that its 1250 m west face is the longest purely vertical drop on earth.

It is also a great (not particularly random) choice for a background to a haiku poem beginning with ‘remote site power.’  The next line, ‘using emissions …’ could refer to combining carbon dioxide and water using the energy in sunlight to form hydocarbon fuels – a process which has been developed, but is not likely to prove economically viable, except in really remote sites. This haiku comes closer to making sense than most…

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Cyrene libya

Looking north from the agora
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

In Tunisia and Libya on a University of Victoria travel study program ‘Exploring Roman Africa’ in 2006, I painted tiny sketches in a spiral-bound watercolour book. Recently I have started expanding some of my favourites. Cyrene is one of them.

Originally a Greek colony, situated in a lush valley near the Mediterranean coast in eastern Libya, Cyrene was one of the principal cities in the Hellenic world.  It was Romanized and remained a great capital until the earthquake of 365 CE. The agora is an excellent illustration of the claim that more mosaics have been preserved in the Roman provinces of North Africa than anywhere else in the empire, and the North African mosaics exhibit more vibrant colours than their Italian counterparts.