Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Virtual Paintout in the US Virgin Islands

Columbus’ Landing site from Frigate View, Christiansted, St.Croix
Watercolour and marker
Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in the US Virgin Islands this month. There are three islands to choose from and I picked this view on St.Croix.  Here is a link to it

It’s great to have the Virtual Paintout back after a long hiatus! The last time I sent them a painting was a year ago when it was in Buenos Aires. Here is a link to that post

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The biggest tea plantation in all of Canada

Westholme Tea Farm
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Last week we visited this Vancouver Island tea farm. It’s hidden away in the hills north of Duncan, near the Crofton terminal of the SaltSpring Island ferry. The tea plants are on terraces above the building housing the tearoom, preparation rooms, tea shop and ceramics gallery. Their own and other organic teas are served indoors or on the patio (under those white umbrellas) beside their extensive flower and herb gardens, and what must be the biggest fig tree Canada.

We had tea and dessert decorated with a sprig of lavender and the pottery’s characteristic spiral design.  This design also appears in their branding and some of the ceramic teasets for sale in the gallery.  I found it reminiscent of Hundertwasser’s painting and architecture, particularly in the cityscape design on some of their ceramics, and have worked the theme into my painting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What the Early Second Millennium CE looked like around the World

Americas and Pacific
The moai monoliths were carved between 1250 and 1500 CE on Rapa Nui, a Chilean island also called Isla de Pascua or Easter Island, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Of the almost 900 of these  massive head and torso statues, 45% have been moved and positioned, 10% were dropped along the route from the quarry and 45%, including the largest which is 12 metres in length and weighs 75 tons, remain in the quarry.


The Historic Centre of Tallinn, Estonia dates back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the returned knights of the Teutonic Order.  It developed as a very wealthy major centre of the Hanseatic League, and now contains some prime examples of Northern European Medieval architecture.

Near East & Africa

The Bahla Fort at Nizwa, Oman is an outstanding example of a fortified oasis settlement of the Medieval Islamic period. The walls and towers of this immense structure are made of unbaked brick on a stone foundation, and the compound is watered by an extensive falaj system.

The picturesque village of Shirakawa-go in Japan, known for the cultivation of mulberry trees and sericulture (silkworm farming), is located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the country. A steeply-roofed, thatched multi-level Gassho-style architecture, well suited to heavy snowfall, evolved. The area was settled for hundreds of years BCE, but the name ‘Shirakawa-go’ did not appear clearly in history until the 12th century.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Synergistic Haiku

Lake O’Hara
Storable power: energy storage systems convert electricity into a storable form of energy and release the energy back as electricity at a later time. Storage technologies under study include pumped-storage hydropower, compressed air systems that can spin a turbine, and utility-scale batteries.

Net zero-ready building: designing building to be very energy efficient with the appropriate infrastructure to handle an onsite power plant when price of photovoltaics comes down

This is synergy: creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts – particularly in remote areas such as Lake O’Hara.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Almost downtown compared to Hot Springs Cove

Evening at Harrison Hot Springs
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2018 Charlene Brown

Just two hours east of Vancouver along the rim of Harrison Lake in a hanging valley above the Fraser is a popular and heavily developed strip of hotels including the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa.  There are several large indoor and outdoor pools kept at various temperatures, plus the long sandy beach for cooler swimming – quite the opposite of the barely-accessible hot springs in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park that I wrote about a few months ago.