Sunday, April 28, 2019

Mitigating Climate Change

This is the first entry in Chapter 5 of the Clean Energy Haiku book I am writing Transitioning.

Abruptly ending the consumption of fossil fuels is impossible.  Even an immediate end to oil and gas exploration and declaration of in-ground resources as ‘stranded,’ as some environmental groups recommend, would do irreparable harm. Transition to a low carbon economy can only be accomplished through an orderly progression at each stage in the energy ­economy.

Here’s an explanation of the enigmatic haiku on the painting of Canmore, above.
Line 1: Physics is the branch of science dealing with matter and energy and their interactions. Newton’s second law of motion, normally written F=ma, and Einstein’s Special Relativity theory, expressed as E=mc2 are about all that most people remember about Physics.
Line 2: Methane reductions are cheap: Making improvements to oil and gas equipment and facilities that leak or release methane is a relatively inexpensive way for the oil and gas sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the sow’s ear years, while we’re still dependent on fossils fuels for such a large portion of our energy needs.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Another part of BC that doesn’t get painted very often

Della Falls
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

This spectacular waterfall in Central Vancouver Island is almost nine times as high as Niagara!  Della Falls is said by some to be the highest waterfall in Canada, but unlike Niagara’s free fall of 50 meters, Della’s 440 metres is in three twisting cascades with only occasional sheer drops.  This painting's swirling spirals of mist, generally associated with sheer drops, are simply extending the theme of (Hundertwasser-inspired) deciduous trees, which aren’t there either.

Other than going in by helicopter, Della Falls can only be accessed by a 35-km canoe or water taxi trip the length of the Great Central Lake, followed by an 11-km climb to the base of the falls.  I’m sure that when viewed live, after taking the trouble to get there, these falls are truly awesome without any imaginary spiral embellishments. 'Truly awesome' (unlike the ‘awesome’ pizza selection I always seem to make) really is awesome, in the original sense of the word.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hydroelectric Haiku

This picture will be the first illustration in Chapter 3: The Controversial Stuff, in the Clean Energy Haiku book I am writing. Hydoelectric power wasn't always controversial. If permission to use Niagara Falls to generate hydroelectric power were to be the subject of a referendum in the twenty-first century, many would vote against it – blissfully unaware that the power plants in Niagara Falls have been quietly (well actually, quite noisily) generating electricity for a century!  Originally called the Queenston-Chippawa Hydroelectric Plant and renamed Adam Beck I in 1950, the first large-scale hydroelectric generation project in the world started producing power in 1922. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.

This haiku is not as ambiguous as it first appears.
Line 2: Energy efficiency and renewable energy (such as hydroelectric power) are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy.
Line 3: The controversial aspects of hydro result when dams are built and you look further afield at the flooding of productive land or habitat, or even further afield to the loss of market for small run-of-the-river operations which were counting on continued demand for electricity.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Not your after-work excursion

Swimming in Elfin Lake
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

Although the Elfin Lakes are not far from Vancouver, getting there is pretty much an all-day undertaking. First there is a 16 km drive off Highway 99 at Squamish, up through Quest University on Mamquam road and Garibaldi Park road to the trailhead. The 11 km climb is not steep, with just a 600 metre elevation gain, but it is a climb.
And swimming in the first lake is not the casual affair this painting and the many pictures posted on the internet would have you believe it is either. You may notice no swimmers are ever very far from the entry point   because the lakes are sometimes not ice-free until July! And they never really feel ice-free. Apparently. I wouldn’t know.   

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Another part less painted

Oyster River Potholes
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

I’ve never seen a painting of the Oyster River Potholes, which are on Vancouver Island, south of Campbell River, about a three-hour drive north of Victoria.  

Although I could find no evidence on the internet that anyone had ever tried painting these sandstone bowls, there are some excellent photographs. I was particularly impressed with the composition of some dramatic grayscale close-ups on Dave Ingram’s Island Nature blog.

Painting these photographs was not what I had in mind though they are works of art in their own right and copying them would just be silly.

I wanted an overall panorama of this whole stretch of the Oyster River. I achieved this by positioning the various photos of portions of the formation in what seemed like a reasonable composition.  It is unlikely that it is accurate.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

History of Design VI

This page from the History of Design shows where the sixth cross-cultural ‘time capsule’ I compiled last year fits in. Last July I wrote ‘What the Late Second Millennium CE looked like around the world.'
The paintings in that blog post show the blue-highlighted locations in the table above.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The other side of the mountain

North face of Castle Mountain
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

The south face of Castle Mountain can be seen for almost forty kilometers along the TransCanada Highway between  Banff and Lake Louise. I have painted that side at least twice – in October 2012  and April 2009.

The other side of the mountain, shown here, is only seen by the intrepid few who hike several kilometres up from the highway.

The north face of Pilot Mountain, in the centre of the picture, is about sixteen kilometers away, on the other side of the Bow Valley facing the highway, and will be more familiar to anyone who has driven that stretch of the TransCanada.