Sunday, February 27, 2022

Time-traveling with a bag of crayons again – and a cautionary tale

Sacsayhuaman, Peru
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

My first attempt to paint this Incan ruin on a mountainside above Cusco is shown below.

The words ‘Viva El Peru’ on the far side of the valley are actually lighter than their surroundings and started out written in a white crayon resist, but the resist lost its grip, and I decided to use ink instead.  But I would have preferred to get the right (white) effect with the crayon Hence the cautionary tale…

Be careful where you find your white crayons

I was having lunch in a restaurant with my daughter and her kids in 2009 just before I took one of them to Peru, and the kids were given white placemats and crayons to play with.  I noticed there were a lot of white crayons (normally kind of hard to come by as you have to buy a large pack to get one white crayon).  My daughter pointed out that the restaurant had lots because, obviously, ”What kid is going to want to draw on white paper with a white crayon?”

I asked if I could have a couple, and the answer was, “Sure what kid is going to want to draw on white paper with a white crayon?” So we took a couple of them all the way to Peru -- where they proved to be completely useless at resisting anything because, again obviously, the crayons kids are given in restaurants are washable.

This painting's 'Viva El Peru' was done with totally unwashable crayons.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Twentieth Century Design in Europe

The Atomium, Belgium
Watercolour, crayon, and marker
Charlene Brown

The Atomium was constructed for the first post-war world exhibition (Expo 58). The nine sphere model of atomic structure represents faith in the power of science, and in nuclear power.

This is the last of the four samples highlighted in the twentieth century time capsule below.

I have written nine stories for the online publication platform, Medium,
 each with four paintings representing four areas of the world.  So far, seven of these stories have been published, all with the underlying message: 
“History isn’t just a series of wars, you know.”  

A few of these examples, like today’s painting, mention war or even have obvious military connections Citadel in Mohenjo-Daro, Great Wall of China, Fort at Bahla, Alhambra at Grenada, and Morrow Castle in Havana.  But I think there is general agreement with my point that the art and architecture of civilization often outlasts the re-drawn maps and treaties and military alliances and other results of wars... And will continue to do so.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Twentieth Century Design in the Near East and Africa

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

Hassan II was the King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999.  Because he stated in 1980 that he wanted the Hassan II Mosque to be built on the water, it is situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.  Work began in 1986 and the mosque, with the tallest minaret in the world, was completed in 1993. It can accommodate 25,000 inside and an additional 80,000 in the outdoor courtyards.

Next week I will post my fourth painting illustrating twentieth century design selected from the cross-cultural timeline I printed in a blog post a couple of weeks ago

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Twentieth Century Design in Asia

Pudong, Shanghai
Watercolour, crayon and marker
©2022 Charlene Brown

In the early twentieth century, the Bundwith dozens of foreign banks and magnificent commercial buildings in the Beaux Arts Style, was world famous, the best known area of Shangai. However, The Communist government that took over in 1949 began the systematic removal of these ‘colonialist’ structures and, although there was some restoration in the 1970s and ’80s, international interest soon shifted to the Pudong New Area, directly across the river, when its amazing redevelopment began in the late twentieth century.  Some of the buildings shown here were not completed until the twenty-first century, but the structure most often associated with Pudong the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower (with red and blue lighting in the painting), was completed in 1994.