Sunday, August 29, 2021

And the Words of the Prophet Are Written on Her Blog Each Year

Palm Springs from the top of the Tramway
Watercolour and marker
©2017 Charlene Brown

Here’s a good reason for having an art blog – it enables you to write self-fulfilling prophecies

Mostly, when friends or people I meet hear I have an art blog, they will express surprise (at YOUR age!)  They’ll ask a couple of polite questions but generally they don’t interrogate me about the thing.

Sometimes however, they’ll want details. Muttering vaguely that I enjoy painting and posting a painting every week requires that I make time for painting regularly will barely slow them down. They’ll ask what I’m doing with my blog.

If they look interested after I say a few words about paintings I’ve written about on my blog, I try a little strategic extrapolation about what I’m going to do next.

Then, in order to avoid having my extrapolation turn into an outright lie, I actually have to do something — resulting in the renowned self-fulfilling prophecy.

In early January each year I publish* these extrapolations on my blog as plans for the coming year. These plans can include any activity, really, that might result in a series of paintings, or even a book.

*Publishing my extrapolations pretty well guarantees that they will become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Should you be wondering about the painting above: My first blog post each year (the one with the prophecies) is usually illustrated with a painting of the place we’ve just spent Christmas -- such as Palm Springs.



Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Summer of Excessive (Virtual) Camping

Maligne Lake
Watercolour and crayon
©2021 Charlene Brown

My daughter and her family were camping in Jasper National Park recently. They weren’t at Maligne Lake, but I’ve painted it anyway, because the place where they were actually camping had so many trees you could barely see the mountains.

They camped in Banff National Park the next weekend, and were happy to include their ‘Ontario’ son that time as inter-Provincial travel restrictions were lifted.  But the daughter who still lives at home and has been on every single camping trip, has declared this the Summer of Excessive Camping.

She may have a point, and I suspect their dog feels the same way.  But I'm finding that excessive virtual camping is pretty easy to take.


Sunday, August 15, 2021

A word about deciduous trees

Banff Firebreak
Watercolour and crayon
©2021 Charlene Brown

One of the unforeseen results of many decades of successful forest fire prevention in North America has been thousands of square miles of overmature, tightly packed, highly combustible conifers, particularly in National Parks – a perfect storm of wildfire hazards as climate change worsens conditions around the world. 

Beginning about a hundred years ago, firebreaks such as the one in this painting were cut to protect inhabited areas. This firebreak is now pretty well filled in, and can no longer be easily seen, and a multi-year plan to improve and expand it was launched last year.

The original break was a clear-cut on the north face of Sulphur Mountain, with no replacement of trees.  I understand the new one will extend over a much larger area on the west slope of the mountain, with some thinned clusters of trees left in place, and additional deciduous plantings,  so that’s the way I’ve painted it.  Deciduous trees provide shade for groundcover as well as acting as fuel breaks because they ignite much less readily than conifers.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Decimation doesn’t begin to describe what happened in Lytton

BC Interior, July 2021
watercolour and crayon
©2021 Charlene Brown

Decimation was a form of Roman military discipline in which every tenth man in a group was executed by members of his cohort. 

At the end of June, after three successive days on which the highest temperatures ever recorded in Canada were reached in Lytton, British Columbia, 90% of the town was destroyed in a firestorm.  This was described in one TV interview as ‘decimation.’ 

There is no sufficiently horrific word to describe the near-total ruin when all but 10% is destroyed.

The Lytton fire continued to spread and more wildfires ignited so that by the end of July the smoke from hundreds of fires in the hills above vineyards and orchards of the interior of British Columbia reached across North America.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Leftover vegetables

 Developing good eating habits 











 Backstory of the Illustration above





Shamrock Farms cauliflower



I used the top square of the painting above to illustrate an article about developing good eating habits I published recently on Medium. The article was about a lot of things besides developing good eating habits – that just happened to be the only part of it that had anything to do with any paintings I had on my computer.  

The previously-used part of ‘Developing Good Eating Habits’ is from a 2009 blog post, and is my interpretation of a photo of a vegetable arrangement on a painting challenge called ‘Different Strokes from Different Folks’ (the photo is shown to the right of the previously used painting). 

It didn’t occur to me until after I went to a lot of trouble to find these leftover vegetables that three vegetables didn’t look like a particularly good variety to be called a good eating habit, so I added a turnip, an eggplant, some carrots and pulses, a handful of new Yukon Gold potatoes and a very paintable cauliflower I happened to see on the Shamrock Farms Facebook page.