Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Westsong Walkway

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Summer Planting
Watercolour, crayon & ink
©2009 Charlene Brown

This is where I’ve been doing my sketching and walking since joining Sketchercize a couple of weeks ago. As I’m the only sketcher in our walking group (and I don’t seem to have the gumption to get out there on my own) I usually only sketch one thing per day. Today, however, I decided to put a whole picture together including the spectacular mountain backdrop we have here. (Actually it isn’t here; it isn’t even in Canada – it’s in Washington State, but we have a great view of it.) ‘Summer Planting’ shows a City of Victoria parks crew changing the flowers, something they do four times a year throughout the city. It’s about the only time wheeled vehicles are allowed on the 3km Westsong Walkway – okay, I’ll admit they had a snowblower down there a couple of times last winter – so it’s a perfect place for drawing and painting.
BTW, here's one of my single-subject sketches - which actually took two days!
Arbutus at Lime Bay

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whitewater rafting in Peru




Urubamba River Rafting
Watercolour, crayon and ink
©2009 Charlene Brown

This painting is based on a photo of a wonderfully calm stretch of the river. The waves are totally a product of my Masquepen-fueled imagination. But they did happen. Three times!

I used a surprising amount of masking fluid on my paintings of Peru. This one, where it was used to preserve the white in whitewater, and the painting of the Potato Farmers, in which masking was used to bring out backlighting effects, were painted since I returned from my trip. But the 30ml applicator bottle of Masquepen – that I didn’t know I had with me, but found in my painting purse – turned out to be just what I needed to paint the overlay design of the Incan cross and quipu, later used in the overlay painting I posted June 12.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Postcard from Peru

Sacsayhuaman Peru Inca
Here’s the finished version of a postcard I (barely) started painting on location in Peru last month – I mailed it to myself with the terse message, ‘Finish this!’ It shows the jagged walls of Sacsayhuaman, an Incan ruin on a mountainside above Cusco, which can be seen in the background. The huge stone blocks weigh up to 200 tons, and nobody knows how they were cut, moved and fitted (perfectly) into place!
The following is the little Drama of Painting Plein Air that took place when I started this postcard, and one of the other grandmothers in our group turned out to be a Roving Art Critic...
RAC: VIVA El Peru? That's amazing! How can you possibly read that from here?
Artist: Well actually, I can't.  I thought maybe there were some words, so I asked our guide, and he told me what it says. (Drama added June, 2012))

Friday, June 12, 2009

Painting history in North Africa




Carthage overlaid with Phoenecian alphabet
©2009 Charlene Brown

This computer painting was created by overlaying two photographs taken in Tunisia -- the Punic ruins at Carthage and a stone plaque at the Bardo museum. It was produced using one of the techniques I explain in an article, ‘How to paint over history,’ in the current issue of Empty Easel.
The main advantage of using a computer to create overlays is that by selectively brightening or sharpening sections of each layer, or altering the layer blending mode, unlimited possibilities are made available. This is of course its main disadvantage as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Different Strokes Challenge: Summer Vegetables


DSFDF Challenge: Summer Vegetables
Watercolour & crayon



This is my entry in the Week 37-38 Challenge on Different Strokes from Different Folks. In the reference picture put up for us to use, all the vegetables are in a bowl. And so far, everyone but me has left them in the bowl, or at least piled together. I like them better lined up.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Masking Backlighting Effects

(click on image to enlarge)
Peruvian Potato Farmers
Watercolour and crayon
©2009 Charlene Brown
I have no pictures from the day we went whitewater rafting on the Urubamba, other than some fairly embarrassing photos of us in helmets, lifejackets and wet-suits, trying to absorb instructions on how to paddle into and out of a whirlpool, and how to avoid capsizing (throw yourself across the bottom of the boat, which is surprisingly easy, but getting up again without losing your paddle isn’t). The Urubamba has some Class V rapids in the wet season, but fortunately, right now is the dry season, and we had an absolutely fantastic day. And I will probably never do it again.
Anyway, my point is that no painting or sketching was done that day, so here’s my painting of some potato farmers we saw the next day. It’s based on a picture taken almost directly into the morning sun in the northeast sky. Masking liquid was used to bring out the backlighting effects on the glacier and the figures in the foreground. As promised in my May 28 post, there will be more about the masking fluid if my quipu and Incan step designs turn out.
BTW, did you know that potatoes originated in Peru, and they have preserved and include in their diet hundreds of varieties of them? Surprises every day for my grandson and myself, accustomed to about two and a half varieties.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Paintings of Peru






Here is one of the Photoshopped versions of a painting of the Incan Salt Pans at Maras that I started while I was in Peru. These salt pans were built by the Incas almost seven hundred years ago and are still being used. An intricate irrigation system diverts an extremely salty (yes, of course we tasted it) natural stream into shallow dug-out shelves, and as the water evaporates the salt settles out.
The first picture below shows the stage I got it to on location (well, back at the hotel). There is actually more work involved in starting this than you’d think. Just deciding how many of the 2000 odd salt pans to include in the picture took quite a while. The other picture below shows what it looked like after I added a little paint and a lot of ink.
I plan to computerpaint more versions of this in various degrees of abstraction and maybe even strange new colours, but first I wll finish some of the other paintings I started.