Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran IV

Takhte e Soleyman UNESCO World Heritage site
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

After spending the night in Takab in a memorable ‘basic’ hotel, we proceeded higher into the Alborz Mountains to the 1500-year-old Takhte e Soleyman fortress, spectacularly-located on a volcano crater rim. The surrounding snow fields, which included orchards beginning to blossom, made the place even more other-worldly than expected.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Here's what we did in Iran III

Mehri Temple
Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

The second remote archaeological site we visited was the ­subterranean Mehri Temple in Maraqeh, recently re-discovered and at this point still being excavated. The sketch above is a combination of photos taken in three directions (think of it as a Cubist approach) showing Quranic inscriptions around the walls indicating that, although it was originally built in the 3rd century BCE by sun-worshippers, it was used as a mosque in the 13th century CE.

Finally we toured the ancient Sorkh Dome, built in the late 12th century CE, now being restored and set in a garden with Islamic designs and a huge vertical sun clock. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Virtual Paintout in South Korea

Looking north from Seoul
Watercolour and crayon
©2017 Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in South Korea this month.   I had originally planned to paint a Streetview of PyeongChang, which will be the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics next February.  However, that area, near the north-east coast, doesn’t seem to have been covered by Google Streetview yet.  Only the areas around Seoul in the north-west and Busan on the south-east coast, as well as some National Parks are included in the coverage. My painting shows the view looking towards Bukhansan National Park from Seoul.  Here is the link to it.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran II

On our second day in Iran we flew to Tabriz, in the Northwest corner of the country, where we saw all the important sights, the highlight of which was the historic Blue Mosque of Tabriz. The picture on the left shows me inside this mosque, wearing the headscarf required at all times in Iran. We ended our day with dinner in a pavilion on El Goli, the famous square lake in the centre of the city. As it was Thursday evening, the beginning of the week-end, after dinner we joined hundreds of local families enjoying a stroll on the entertainment-filled perimeter of the lake.

Watercolour, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

The next day we drove to some remote archaeological sites, the first of which was the still-inhabited 800-year-old conical cliff dwellings of Kandovan.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Here’s what we did in Iran I

Watercolour, marker, crayon and computer
©2017 Charlene Brown

From April 5 to 17 I was one of 20 participants on a marvelous tour ‘Treasures of Iran’ organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and guided by Barry Till, the Gallery’s Curator of Asian Arts.

I started (barely) several sketches while I was there, but we had so many places to go and things to do that I am only now actually finishing any of them.

This first sketch is the view of the Milad Tower and the Alborz Mountains from our hotel in Tehran ... except I have made it the view from nearby Laleh Park and included the hotel (the whitish building with the distinctive Y-shape) in the picture. Because I can.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI e – Paris

One day, after spending the morning in the Musée d’Orsay we had lunch in their palatial dining room.

I should mention that, except for the trip to Giverny and the garden party in the suburbs, all our movements around Paris were on the Métro  and we averaged six trains a day!  Can you imagine two guides shepherding 13 grandparents and 11 kids between platforms, up and down escalators, through turnstiles where you had to retrieve your ticket, and out the correct exits to get us all to the side of the boulevard we expected to be on  every time? Fortunately, the kids who leaped off the train at the wrong stop were all quite capable of leaping back on, and none of the rest of us who couldn’t leap anywhere had a heart attack!

On the last night in Paris, we went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkling, and I made a video of the show… on purpose, unlike most of the videos I make with my digital camera.
Then I decided to take advantage of our unique position to take some regular pictures in other directions, including the view I’ve painted here, looking up the Avenue de la Grande Armée and Avenue Charles de Gaulle to La Défense.

Begun in 1958, La Défense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district, featuring many skyscrapers and La Grande Arche, a twentieth century version of the Arc de Triomphe we were standing on (and at 110 metres, twice as high).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Virtual Paintout in Tunisia

Punic Ruins at Carthage
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

The Virtual Paintout is in Tunisia this month.  It didn’t take long to find this location on Google Streetview, an archaeological site now part of the city of Tunis, with a view of the Jebel Boukornine in the distance,  as I’d been there before…

I did a computer painting of almost this exact location in 2009, based on two of my own photographs from a UVic Travel Study program in North Africa in 2006. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Travels with our Grandkids VI d – Paris

We went on many excursions within the city, including Notre Dame, the Louvre the picture on the left shows Rachel and me with the Winged Victory and some of the other thousands of people who were there that day and the Paris ‘beach’ on the Seine, built for people who couldn’t get to the real French beaches on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

One evening we were invited to a garden party at the home of one of our guides in a suburb on the outskirts of Paris. The food was marvelous and the entertainment incredible. First, all the kids were taught how to paint ‘just like Monet,’ then a magician mystified us all.  We were told he was just for the kids, but he was really good and I don’t think anyone figured out any of his illusions. Rachel and I certainly didn’t. 

On the right, below, is Rachel’s ‘Lily pond, après Monet.’