Sunday, September 29, 2019

Missing from 1996

Amber Fort
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

The beautiful Amber Fort, sometimes referred to as the Amber Palace, is located about 11 kilometres from Jaipur overlooking Maota Lake. Built of red sandstone and marble, mainly in Mughal style, it is the most opulent of the ‘Hill Forts of Rajestan,’ a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is the second in a series of locations I plan to paint to add to a compilation of Christmas letters I wrote beginning in 1990. My 1996 letter included the photo of some tourist on an elephant shown on the right, taken on one of the ramps (in about the centre of the painting) coming down from the main gate .

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Missing from 1992

Nakhal Fort
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

I began writing detailed Christmas letters in 1990, the year we moved to Dubai. These letters always had lots of photos, but very seldom included any paintings.  My next project is to compile them all and add images of paintings relating to the adventures chronicled.  In cases where I don’t have any paintings that I like, I’ll paint new ones. This is the first.

Nakhal Fort is one of the places we visited during a road trip to Oman in 1992. It is located on a rocky prominence on a spur of the Hajar Mountains about 120 kilometres west of Muscat.  

Although this fort was originally built in the pre-Islamic period, most of what can be seen today was built less than 200 years ago.  The archaeology of Oman and the UAE at the south end of the Persian Gulf, is nowhere near as ancient as that found in Iraq and Iran at the north end.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Leif Erikson slept here

Springtime in L’Anse aux Meadows, NL
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

Dating to about 1000 CE, L’Anse aux Meadows is the only confirmed Norse site in North America. It is located on the northernmost tip of the Great Northern Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. It was discovered in the 1960s and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Reconstructions of the original sod buildings can be seen in about the centre of this painting, to the left of the grassy mounds protecting the actual location of what's left of the eight structures that have been found – leaving this area accessible for continued archeological digs. Evidence has been found indicating the largest of the original buildings may have been occupied by Leif Erikson.

Lush new grass and the tiny flowers of early spring (in mid-June) were everywhere from just below the still-melting snow on the ridge along the stream to the Norse settlement.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

View from the coast

Western Brook Pond gap
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2019 Charlene Brown

Early in the morning of our first full day in Gros Morne National Park we hiked 3km in from the coastal highway to the west end of Western Brook Pond, planning to board a boat for the trip to the end of the fjord 15 km inland for this iconic view.  

After waiting a couple of hours for the clouds to lift, during which the view of the mountains didn’t vary much from what you see on the right, the boat trip was cancelled.  

The next day, however, as we drove by on our way north to L’Anse aux Meadows, there they were – the near vertical cliffs framing the gap in the 800-metre high plateau of the Long Range Mountains, with a dusting of fresh snow, as shown in the painting above.  

This plateau is actually the most northern section of the Appalachian Mountains.  Who knew there was a fjord in the Appalachians? 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Canada’s most adorable bird

An improbability of puffins
Watercolour and marker
©2019 Charlene Brown

Groups of puffins have been given several names, ranging from ‘colony’ to ‘improbability.’  

Hard to say where 'improbability' came from, but it may relate to their ability to fly.  Actually they do very well flapping about and diving to catch fish, often surfacing with several in their big beaks – once they manage to take off.  It’s just getting airborne that looks like an improbability. The only way they seem to be able to get going is to fall off the grassy ledge at the end of their burrow, beating their wings (and their feet, I think) as fast as they can.

We went out in a boat to see a cliff-face colony or improbability on an island in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.  You can’t go ashore of course, so I took dozens of blurry pictures of these adorable birds while bouncing around on the boat.  The blurriest among them were the ones trying to take off seemed like the only way to get them in focus was to paint them.