Sunday, December 27, 2020

Review of 2020: Be Kind. Be calm. Be safe

Christmas in Innsbruck
Watercolour and crayon
©2018 Charlene Brown

This painting was one of the illustrations in Chapter 3 of the YA novel I finished this year.

The title of this blog post, 'Be Kind. Be calm. Be safe' the daily message from our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, seems to have gotten British Columbia through this unprecedented year in better shape than most.

And here’s what I painted and wrote about on my blog in 2020. 

·     Travel painting: I’ve continued to paint locations I’d planned to see, 

although most of this year’s plans are still on my bucket list.

·        I finished a YA novel about the career planning and launching years in the lives of girls in six generations of my family—in fact I finished Chapter 5, part of which takes place in 2020, several times, as schools and universities opened and closed. Hoping it will be published before the 'I Read Canadian' children’s and YA book promotion in February.

·        Compilation of Christmas letters from 1990: I added a few paintings to the photos already in these letters, before editing them and putting them all together. This turned out to be a much larger project than I thought it would be, but with 2020 being the kind of year it was, I also had lots more time available to do it.  I was able to complete 30 years worth of letters – 95 pages!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sparking joy without Marie Kondo

White-browed tit-warbler, native to the Tian Shan Mountains
watercolour and crayon
©2020 Charlene Brown

Having trouble with your 2020 resolution to de-clutter with Marie Kondo?   There are other ways to spark joy—the thought that 2020 is almost over sparks quite a bit of joy...

Or, according to Nicholas Wilton’s video, playing with colour sparks joy.  He says that colour “is pure emotion, and a stand-in for you and your feelings.”  Instead of choosing the ‘right’ colour to perfect your art, he says that if you always choose colours that say YES, you will always produce your best, most exciting work.

I’ve been doing that for a while, usually adding as much purple as possible to my paintings. But that's not what happened here.  White-browed tit-warblers look pretty much the way I’ve painted this one!  Don't you think that just knowing they exist sparks joy?

I remember just a year ago, thinking the relatively straightforward yellow-browed warbler was pretty terrific! 

Charlene on Instagram


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Synchronicity between our art and our lives

‘Urban’ background for a page in a graphic novel
Computer-altered watercolour and crayon
©2020 Charlene Brown

In the podcast I mentioned last week ‘Why trying to be good is killing your art,’ Nicholas Wilton suggests you list great painting experiences and techniques you have really enjoyed learning. 

Here is my short list:

1.      Helipainting in the Bugaboos with Canadian artists Robert Genn and LizWiltzen,  beginning a painting by placing ten basic shapes, which summarize the whole thing, leading to an abstract but recognizable landscape, possibly with telescoped perspective and rearranged components

2.      Abstract collage workshop with American artist Louise Cadillac  in the Greek Islands

And he says you should also think about the painting projects you are now working on about which you are most enthusiastic.

3.      writing and illustrating books

Because of what Nicholas Wilton calls the synchronicity between your art and your life, keeping these factors in mind will energize your work in the direction of whatever you truly want. It certainly works for him. So I'll give it a try - with an abstract graphic novel.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Painting is more fun than ever now

St. Lucia 1 and 2
Mixed media
©2020 Charlene Brown

American artist Nicholas Wilton, in a podcast ‘Why trying to be good is killing your art,’ suggests you stop worrying about getting a painting ‘right’ – he believes ‘your best art will always come from finding your own way.’

Painting is more fun if you focus on the process of getting where you want to go, rather than the actual outcome.

Given the importance of looking back to get where we want to go, what time, place, and method in your past reminds you of how much you love making art?

My answer is 1986 St. Lucia: the first of my favourite painting trips (actually a surprise Christmas gift).  A technique I had a lot of fun with there was scraping paint out to create designs on cocoa pods, so I included some scraping in these paintings.