Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The most spectacular route to Lake Oesa

Lake O’Hara and the Opabin Plateau from the Wiwaxy Gap Trail

Watercolour and oil pastel

©2020 Charlene Brown

Having mentioned that my daughter was sort of confined to Alberta this summer, I should admit that the Wiwaxy Gap trail is in British Columbia, just barelyabout 2 km southwest of Victoria Glacier, which is in Alberta.  But it’s okay because the pictures I used to paint it were taken last year.

In fact, Lake O'Hara is much less accessible to everybody this year.  Parks Canada is not operating the Lake O'Hara shuttle from the TransCanada Highway and an 11-kilometre hike is the only way in.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Remembering 2017

Screenshot of a 3-page Christmas letter
Adobe InDesign document
©2020 Charlene Brown

Here’s another Christmas letter, with the addition of three sketches of Iran – the Takhte e Soleyman fortress in the Alborz Mountains, the Soltaniyeh Dome at Zanjan, and Naqsh-e Jehan Square in Isfahan as well as a watercolour painting of Connemara in Ireland.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

‘Moderate’ Day Hike that would probably take me three days

Headwall Lake #1 above the Smith-Dorrien Trail
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2020 Charlene Brown

I’ve never climbed to this stunning little lake and I don’t think I ever will. Although the trail is said to be one of the ‘best day hikes in Kananaskis,’  it’s a steep 16k up and back, and before you even get to the trailhead you have to drive more than 40k on the unpaved Smith-Dorrien Trail.  

All very spectacular of course, but I’m quite happy to just keep abstracting the pictures my daughter sends me of the places they get to.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Remembering 2016

Screenshot of a 3-page Christmas letter
Adobe InDesign document
©2020 Charlene Brown

Here’s another Christmas letter, with the addition of a watercolour painting of the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, California.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Recognizable Landscape Abstracts

On Pocaterra Ridge above Highway 40
Watercolour and oil pastel
©2020 Charlene Brown

As I’m a little short of recent mountain photographs of my own, I am using photographs sent by my daughter as references for a series of ‘recognizable’ landscapes.

Although I have climbed to Ptarmigan Cirque on the other side of the Highwood Pass (just east of Elbow Lake which can be seen across the highway in this painting) I have never been on Pocaterra Ridge, so I was unconstrained by any personal recognition of this view while putting together this 'recognizable' abstract.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Rewriting of 2020

Montreal January 2021
Computer-altered mixed media
©2020 Charlene Brown

In December 2019 I received a manuscript evaluation of the first draft of my book, The ‘Starting Out’ Years, and began making some of the changes they suggested.

The book is about the years in the lives of girls in six generations of my family when they finish school and decide what to do next.  The first four stories, about my grandmother, my mother, myself, and my daughter, hadn’t changed since that first draft.

But the fifth story is about my partly-fictional granddaughter, Fiona, during the years she finishes school and goes on to university.  2020, the year she graduates from high school, unfolded smoothly in that first draft. It was the most exciting year in Fiona’s life.  And then 2020 actually happened. 

In March, when I sent the second draft to the editors, I made some references to COVID-19. But the narrative in that story still jumped directly from a December 2019 high school dance in Edmonton to Fiona’s arrival at McGill University in Montreal in September 2020.  And the illustration I had asked to have inserted was this one:

Montreal September 2020
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2015 Charlene Brown

The book has been back and forth to the publisher a few times since then.  I have made many additions to the fifth story, as 2020 literally fell apart.  Fiona’s arrival at McGill University has been delayed until January 2021hence the picture at the beginning of this blog post.

I am still hoping to have the book available in time for Christmas, so I’m just going to guess what happens for the rest of the year and get it into the production process as quickly as possible.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Painting something that’s been painted a million times before -- from a new angle

 Victoria Glacier from Mount Fairview

Watercolour and oil pastel

©2020 Charlene Brown

We’ve all been doing a lot less travelling this year, and I’m fresh out of recent location sketches or photos of my own to use as references for painting landscapes.

Fortunately, one of our daughters and her family have been similarly encouraged to stay in one province and have ventured out (and up) to places in Alberta even they had never set foot on before, and they’ve sent lots of pictures.

This painting is an abstracted version of the view of much-photographed and painted Victoria Glacier from the top of Mount Fairview. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Remembering 2015

Screenshot of a 3-page Christmas letter
Adobe InDesign document
©2020 Charlene Brown

Here’s another Christmas letter, with the addition of three watercolour sketches from an art tour of Japan - Shirakawa, Descent from Lake Chuzenji, and the Golden Temple, and a watercolour painting, Christmas in Balboa Park.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Is Spring Break over yet?

A year like no others
Watercolour and crayon diptych
©2020 Charlene Brown

These paintings, based on photographs of one of my real granddaughters, illustrate some scenes from the story of my partly fictional granddaughter in my soon-to-be-published book, The ‘Starting Out’ Years. 

The paintings won’t appear in the book, but will be in “Re-writing in Real Time” an article I am writing for Medium Publications.  The article is about all the changes that I have made in the book during the last few months, because of the shutdowns and cancellations required to control the pandemic.