Sunday, December 26, 2021

How my 2021 plans for this blog worked out

 One of the places I might travel to with my daughters
Watercolour and Photoshop™

Travel painting: We’ll see how that goes – bound to be better than 2020, I declared at the beginning of this year.  To my surprise, my travel remained almost entirely virtual, or even bucket list, like the one above, and when I finally got out and painted a landscape, it was only 10 k from home.

Graphic novel: I wrote several blog posts about producing a graphic novel based on a screenplay, but only added six new paintings to the graphic novel I had started in 2020.  It is based on a by-election in a constituency in Alberta… and when the Canadian government called an unnecessary general election in September of this year, I realized there was little interest in elections of any sort, and put that project on hold.

Creative archaeology: In case my travel plans don’t work out, I planned to re-interpret some of the photos and sketches I accumulated in past archaeology-related travel with the University of Victoria travel study program.  I actually added 16 posts, throwing in re-worked paintings from Art Gallery of Greater Victoria trips as well.

Data analytics: I didn’t even mention this out loud in my plan for this year, but during 2021 I ended up following this ‘suggestion’ by the late Robert Genn: 

“There’s always something to get on with, actually one damn thing after another.”

One of the things that I ‘got on with’ was data analytics. In trying to convince some of my grandchildren that data analytics skills will be important for everybody, no matter what their field of study, it’s occurred to me it might be worthwhile to update my own understanding of the various concepts. There are four main kinds of analytics – descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.  I’m interested in predictive analytics, especially extrapolating and visualizing (and painting) unanticipated outcomes. I actually completed 14 blog posts that I tagged as ‘predictive analytics’ seven of which had original illustrations.  The other seven were re-posts of pages from my book, “Inventing the Future.” 

Next week I will post my Plan for 2022.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A final favourite post from the past (August 2014)

The ascent of
the Mons Philosophorum
Watercolour and Photoshop™
©2014 Charlene Brown

Alchemy was a medieval chemical science or speculative philosophy that aimed to achieve perfection. Its specific goals included the transformation of base metals into gold or at least silver, and the discovery of a universal cure for disease.

It evolved as an art - not as a science. Processes developed by alchemists never succeeded in producing gold or even silver, but they did produce building materials such as plaster and mortar, tar and asphalt, fuels for heat and light, artificial gems, medicines, soaps,  cosmetics, beer and wine. Many alchemical processes were discovered by accident, but once mastered, were passed on by an apprenticeship system.

The words ‘alchemy’ and ‘chemistry’ were used interchangeably during most of the 17th century. During the Enlightenment, however, a distinction was drawn because of the rise of modern science with its emphasis on rigorous quantitative experimentation and disdain for ancient wisdom… and the increasing disrepute of alchemists, who claimed through trickery, to achieve perfection – the ultimate goal of alchemy.

 Using Photoshop, I have added some popular alchemy symbols for metals, processes and measures – pounds, ounces and my personal favourite, the scruple.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Another favourite post from the past (August 2020)

Heli-painting in the Bugaboos
Watercolour and crayon
©2020 Charlene Brown

A call for online entries to an Artist & Selfie Painting Competition included an ‘Artists en Plein air’ category so I decided to enter a painting based on a photo of me taken on the heli-painting trip in 2012.

There was no requirement to mount, frame with glass covering, pack and ship the painting, and the entry fee was only USD 37. That ended up being CAD 50.78, which had risen to CAD 51.06 by the time it was posted on my Visa bill, but still… not having to ship the thing, usually a big problem with watercolours, was compelling.  And, there was no requirement to have your face appear in this portrait, also compelling.


Sunday, December 5, 2021

One of my favourite posts from the past (January 2016)

A Parliament like no other
Watercolour and crayon
©2016 Charlene Brown

From the outset, the Scottish Parliament building and its construction were controversial. Begun in 1999 with completion planned for 2001, it actually opened in 2004, £400 million over-budget. The design won numerous awards including the 2005 Stirling Prize, and, according to Wikipedia, has been described as a tour de force of Arts & Crafts design and quality ‘without parallel.’  It also placed fourth in a 2008 poll on what UK buildings people would most like to see demolished.

I think the driver on a tour bus I was on in 2007 might have been one of the folks who placed this building so high in the demolition rankings the following year. We drove by so fast that, by the time he even mentioned what it was, we missed most of it.

I got another chance to paint it, when the Virtual Paintout (where participants used Google Streetviews for reference) went to Edinburgh.  I like the unique look of this building but couldn’t find a Google Streetview that gave any sort of idea of its overall appearance, so I settled for this glimpse of what I thought might be the front.  (I realized later that if, instead of painting this Streetview, I’d rotated the camera to the right I would have gotten this rather better view and I’m guessing the flags are at the front door.)