Sunday, March 31, 2024

Another page for my Time Travel book

San Gimignano towers, Tuscany, Italy
watercolour monotype 1/1
©1988 Doris Livingstone

I’ve been to this medieval walled city, where 'skyscrapers' were invented, twice.  The first time was in 1988 when I was visiting my sister during a print-making workshop she was attending in Florence.  She was learning to make monotypes such as San Gimignano, above, which I love, so I have made this one exception to my watercolour-and-crayon procedure for illustrations in my Time Travel book. 

I’d never heard of San Gimignano, but she promised me that the 800-year-old ‘skyscrapers’ – apparently built by rival families trying to out-do each other ­­over a period of years beginning in 1199 – were definitely worth seeing, and it was easy to get there on a local bus.  She was right on both counts and we had a great day, with the place practically to ourselves.

It was quite a different story in 2000 with my husband on our Retirement Grand Tour, because an amazing number of people seemed to have found out about the place since 1988, and we had to deal with a lot of world class competitive parking professionals. Even under those circumstances it was well worth the effort, starting with our first glimpse of the  unforgettable skyline as we made our way from the distant spot on the highway where we’d left the car through climbing up to the city’s hilltop setting and exploring the stonework and architecture.

Here I am recovering from the effort

Sunday, March 24, 2024

One more for the Bucket List in my Paint Every Mountain book

Torres del Paine National Park
watercolour and crayon
©2024  Charlene Brown

Torres del Paine National Park is a hiker’s paradise – its most famous hike being the demanding W Trek up and down the park’s valleys to see its most famous sights. 

If I ever do get to this magical place, I am unlikely to try the entire 50 kilometre length of this route – which takes the shape of a “W.” Hence the name.

I missed my chance to fly into Torres del Paine when I was on a cruise to South America and Antactica in 2002 – mainly because this particular 6-hour shore excursion cost almost $1000! With no guarantee of a landing when you got there!

Instead I computer-painted an outline of several mountains in the range combined with a star chart from the Southern Sky astronomy lesson we’d had on-board our darkened ship earlier in the cruise.

Southern constellations, 2002
computer painting


Sunday, March 17, 2024

Surfrider Foundation Canada

Vancouver Island Surf (reference used was composite of several photographs)
watercolour and crayon
©2024 Charlene Brown

Canada’s pristine coastline (at 202,000 kilometres, the longest in the world) has long been a source of wonder and inspiration, attracting adventurers and nature enthusiasts from all over the world. Among the many activities that draw people to Canada’s coasts, particularly the west coast of Vancouver Island, surfing has become a huge draw in recent years.

Because of the potential impact of thousands of surfers on the landscape, marine biodiversity, and indigenous cultural heritage, Surfrider Foundation Canada was formed.  Their purpose is to ensure that the delicate balance between coastal recreation and conservation efforts is maintained and the oceans and beaches they love are protected.

SFC activities have expanded to include leadership in pollution prevention, coastal protection, and environmental awareness training. Current priorities include plastics reduction, environmental monitoring, coastal clean-up campaigns, as well as container spill response and debris mitigation.


Sunday, March 10, 2024

Another page for my Time Travel book

Mine shuttle at Bankhead
watercolour and crayon
©2024 Charlene Brown

Bankhead, a ghost town near Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, was a coal mining town that flourished at the turn of the twentieth century.

Little remains but some building foundations, the steps up to the Catholic church and part of the mine train shown in this painting.

When the mine closed in the 1920s, most of the people and several buildings were moved into nearby Banff and Calgary.

Bankhead, as it was in 1910
computer painting
©2005 Charlene Brown

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Another page for my Time Travel book

Great Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Egypt
watercolour and crayon
©2024 Charlene Brown

The Karnak Temple is located in the ancient city of Thebes (now called Luxor) in Egypt.  It is thought to be the largest temple complex ever constructed anywhere in the world.

The Hypostyle Hall was built by Pharaoh Seti I and his son Rameses II. The columns represent the primeval papyrus swamp in which Atum, a self-created deity, arose from the waters of Nun at the beginning of creation.

The Karnak Temple was one of the many Eqyptian archaeological sites we visited as part of the University of Victoria travel study program in 2008.  I wrote about several of these fantastic places when I started this blog the following year, but for some reason the only mention of Karnak was in this blog post  and it was pretty brief.