Sunday, June 30, 2024

Sketching an Alaska Cruise II

Mendenhall Glacier
crayon and watercolour
©2024 Charlene Brown

Our second port of call was Juneau, and a shore excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier. 

I was much more successful in “quickly capturing the essence” of this landscape, thanks to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center provided by the US Forest Service. 

The sheltered, perfectly located presentation area took in the entire glacier and even included the top of spectacular Nugget Falls to the right of the glacier toe.  (I altered the perspective slightly to reflect the viewing angle from the upper part of the Visitor Center but, unlike my Ketchikan composition, only one viewpoint was required to see all the components of Mendenhall Glacier.)

The presentation area even included a long lectern-like table to hold notepads and sketchbooks!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sketching an Alaska Cruise

crayon, ink and watercolour
©2024 Charlene Brown

In my book, ‘Paint Every Mountain’ I include some tips on quickly capturing the essence of a landscape with a few colourful ‘shapes’ using an easily carried painting kit ─ a bag of crayons. 

I don’t always follow these ‘essence’ tips, myself especially when I encounter a landscape with as many intriguing details and peculiarities as we found in Ketchikan AK, the first port of call on our recent cruise. 

Only partly cloudy the day we were there, Ketchikan is normally so wet that its annual rainfall is recorded in feet (about 13 of them)! The main street through town is set on pillars in the sea at the base of the lush mountainside. Side streets are so steep some are not ‘streets’ at all, but wooden staircases snaking up the rain-forested slopes. And Creek Street is in fact a creek, with moss-covered bridges and houses, artists’ studios and shops cantilevered over the torrent. 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Paradigm shift on a greeting card

The Million Dollar View
Watercolour greeting card
©2024 Charlene Brown

For years I have tried to see and paint things differently, shifting away from realism toward abstraction.  Often the painting fights back, and I find myself adding picky details to what should have been the finished product.

I realized that’s what had happened here when I compared previous versions I had painted of roughly the same view.

This much-photographed scene was named ‘The Million Dollar View’ about a hundred years ago by the marketing department of the Canadian Pacific Railway, as it was the view from the (then CPR-owned) Banff Springs Hotel.  Sometimes pictures of the Million Dollar View included the hotel itself, as in the painting below one of the (slightly) more abstract ones I referred to above.  

Banff Springs, 2014
from the ’50 Shades of Orange’ chapter in Paint Every Mountain

Some time soon I am going to try painting pairs of greeting cards, one representational and one more abstract, at the same time.  Using the same colours. Maybe.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

This is not a waterfall

Bow Falls
watercolour greeting card
©2024 Charlene Brown

I was surprised when I looked for previous paintings of the (inaccurately named) Bow Falls that I might have written about on this blog, to find that there were none unless you consider the painting below, based on an aerial view of the Bow Valley. It includes the Bow Falls, among many other things.

This particular painting reminded me of the fact that this stretch of the Bow River consists of Class 5 rapids, not falls, stretching back toward the town of Banff almost half a kilometre.



Bow Valley
©1991 Charlene Brown

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Another ‘Street View’ greeting card

Climbing to Victoria Glacier
watercolour greeting card
©2024 Charlene Brown

Here’s another view that didn’t quite fit into the multi-viewpoint painting of the Plain of Six Glaciers  I mentioned last week.  On the extreme left of Climbing to Victoria Glacier, as well as the painting I wrote about last week, the ‘claws’ at the north end of Mt. Lefroy can be seen.

I must admit, even after hiking up to the glaciers a few times and seeing Mt. Lefroy from various angles, I hadn’t noticed this formation until my attention was drawn to it by the $1,667,500. sale of a Lawren Harris sketch that I wrote about in 2014.