Return to the Cote d’Azur! Great!

                                         Mandelieu La Napoule on the Cote d’Azur

Hi Everybody

After what seems far to long, due to you know what, we have just returned from a lovely holiday in France with much of our time spent back on the fabulous Cote d’Azur.

Driving through France in June in very hot weather was very beautiful with the Flowers, Lavender fields, Countryside and Mountains all sparkling in the Summer Sun.


Watercolour sketch of the Pyramid in Vienne.

Overnight in Vienne , about 10 miles south of Lyon, was an opportunity to eat in a local Restaurant ,Le Bar a Vins des Saveurs which was very enjoyable and worth seeking out. It is near the Roman Pyramid , quite spectacular ,a Roman column in a  town of many Roman ruins.

Market day at a town in Isere. Watercolour sketch

From Vienne we set off for The Cote d’Azur and on the way passed many fields of lavender and the hills and farms of the Rhone Valley

Here are two larger watercolours of that route

Lavender Farm near Orange. Watercolour 15 inches by 10

Lavender Farm in Provence. Watercolour 15 inches by 10.

Our destination was Miramar, just outside Theoule on the Esterel coast and about 12 miles from Cannes.

This is the view from our terrace of the bay at Miramar, tranquil sea, and the red rocks so prominent on this part of the coast. And hot too, every day over 30 C!

We love to travel on this spectacular coast road and this next painting is of the beach at Agay, quite near to San Raphael. Hot again!

Enjoying the Beach at Agay

It would really not be a visit to the Cote d”Azur for us without wandering around Antibes. This lovely old, yet busy, coastal town is a great place to wander.

The view of Antibes from the nearby bay is a very famous one painted by me and many others over the years. This is a new version.

Antibes with the mountains to the North. Watercololour 15 inches by 10.

This little Antibes street caught my eye as we walked around.

A side street in old Antibes, sketch 7 inches by 9.

We moved for a few days to new accommodation near Mougins, another pretty hill village north of Cannes. From there the view of the mountains is great, here is quick sketch of the scene from the walls of Mougins.

toward the mountains from Mougins. sketch, 10 inches by 8

The centre of Mougins with it’s many restaurants, cafes and houses is a delight to wander around. Here is sketch from a welcome seat in the shade

The main square in Mougins. Watercolour sketch.

One of our favourite places in the area north of Mougins is the spectacular hill village of Gourdon. Small but always worth a visit. This is a watercolour from a few years ago which gives an impression of the position of this amazing perched village.

Gourdon, a watercolour sketch from 2018. 20 by 9 inches.

Up in the mountains this cottage farm gave me an idea for quick sketch of the typical Provence scene

Whilst at Mougins we played some golf , even though it was very hot!. From the Course the view of the houses and hills nearby, gives, I hope and idea of the local scenery.

The countryside and houses around Mouans – Sartoux.

Our return journey to the UK was via the lovely lake side town of Aix les Bains and there the beautiful Lac de Bourget. From a boat trip on the lake this watercolour seemed appropriate for the final watercolour for this post.

Lac de Bourget at Aix Les Bains. Watercolour 18 inches by 9. Abbaye de Hautcombe in the foreground.

Of course I have come home with many photos and ideas for more watercolours of France and our great holiday. I will post those when I have managed to do a few more.

We will never tire of the Cote d’Azur, one the world’s most wonderful holiday destinations. If you know it well I hope these will be a reminder  of it, if you haven’t been there, then GO!

Happy travelling

Brian

Watercolours of Scotney Castle in Kent, UK

Azaleas in late May. Watercolour 14 inches by 12. 2022.



Hi Everybody

i really enjoy painting watercolours of Scotney Castle in Kent throughout the year, it is one of my favourite subjects as every time I visit there is something else to see.

The header watercolour is the most recent of a series of watercolours and it tries to capture the intense colours of the Azaleas and Rhododendrons that are so prolific there.

So I have gathered together some of the many watercolours that I have painted over quite  long time and I hope that you will enjoying seeing them.

If you have never been to Scotney do try to get there one day, it is delightful and there is so much to see there.

Firstly two tall watercolours.

 

Rellections at Scotney Castle 2 Wtaercolour 18 inches by 9. 2021

Refections at Scotney Castle Watercolour 18 inches by 8.2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter at Scotney Castle Watercolour 12 by 10 inches 2019

Scotney Castle Reflections 3. Watercolour 14 inches by 9. 2022

Colour at the pond. Scotney Castle 14 by 10 inches. 2020

My first large watercolour of Scotney Castle !6 inches by 12. 2016

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these and that you will return to my Blog soon!

Happy Travelling

Brian

PS. Why not visit my shop at http://www.Artfinder.com/brianswatercolours.

Watercolour Paintings there can be shipped immediately and there is no extra charge for shipping.

Or email me a brian@brianswatercolours.com

 

 

 

UPDATE OF MY BOOK OF ULSTER WATERCOLOURS!

As some of you may have seen I have also produced some Travel Guide Books which use my watercolours as the illustrations. 

The Book about ULSTER (TRAVELS WITH A BRUSH -ULSTER EDITION) in the North of ireland will shortly be available as a free book on the Apple iBook store but you can also view it and save it by clicking this link.

Travels with a Brush – Ulster 2022 Edition 5

The Book is in a pdf format so it is easily viewable on tablets and computers.

I do hope you will enjoy this much expanded and revised Edition.

If you would like to buy any of the watercolours featured please email me at brian@brianswatercolours.com

Some are still available and if not I am always happy to repaint a new version for you.

I hope you will enjoy the Book

Please let me know and remember other titles are available on the Travel Guides section of the BLOG

Brian

Sketching on the Antrim Coast (The Causeway Coast)

UPDATE

i have just finished this large watercolour of Fair Head which I am including in this post for you to see.Based on photos and sketches done last week whilst there.

It is painted in mixed media on prepared canvas and is 60 by 30 cms
Currently for sale on Artfinder
I hope it makes a nice Header for this post

Hi Everybody

We have just returned from a great few days on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.

We were  lucky to have very nice weather and enjoyed our stay at the Ballygally Castle Hotel which makes a good base for visits to the spectacular Antrim Coast.

We had not been to the area for 3 years and as we originally came from Northern Ireland many years ago it is always great to return and enjoy the scenery, food and meeting friends and family.

It is also great to be travelling and sketching again!

Armed with only my sketchbook, a Micron 0.2 mm waterproof pent , a few brushes and some paints I managed over the short time to visit and paint a few watercolours which I can now, hopefully turn into some larger watercolours.

My equipment for those interested.

Daniel Smith watercolours in a travel box, Escoda travel brushes, and my 12 by 9 sketchbook.

We also visited a couple o places we had not been to before, and enjoyed some new viewing areas that have been constructed along the Coast Road near Carrick-a-Rede and Ballycastle. 

So here are the sketches. They were all done very quickly in the notebook ( Volume 11!) which is just 200gsm paper so not quite so easy to lay washes down on.

This first sketch is of Ballygally Bay, with the Hotel on the far right. The headland looks like a human head profile. 

The view in the other direction at Ballygally Bay shows the coast further on too and was from our hotel room window.

Every mile of the Coast road as it hugs the sea is spectacular and on the odd occasion it deviates inland the scenes are great too.

Here is the road leading to Waterfoot Bay and Glenariffe, one of the beautiful Antrim Glens.

From just beyond Glenariffe the view back towards Glenariffe Mountain or Lurig as it is often called is quite amazing. Lurig, with a plateau at its peak is so distinctive. This classical U shaped valley is one of the finest anywhere.

Towards Glenariffe mountain for Waterfoot Bay

Further along the coast is Kinbane castle which today is not accessible but from a previous photo I have painted this sketch to include it. The view from there of Fair Head is spectacular and also from the new viewing point which overlooks  at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. All along the coast Scotland can be clearly seen, as it is only 15 miles away at the closest point.

Fair Head and Kinbane castle. In the background is Rathlin island the the Scottish coast.

This last sketch of this visit is of Fair Head again but this time from the small road that goes to “Marconi’s Cottage” near to Fair Head and just beyond Ballycastle  Golf Course (well worth playing!). The cottage is now a contemporary house but has reputed associations with G Marconi when he was experimenting with radio signals from Northern Ireland to Scotland in the late 19th Century.

Fairhead from the road from Ballycastle showing “Marconi’s Cottage site”. Scotland clearly visible on the horizon.

 

Lastly here is a recent larger painting of Whitepark Bay and Rathlin island and one of Fair Head from Ballycastle Beach. Both are 14 inches by 10 in size.

Early morning at Whitepark Bay on the Antrim Coast with Rathlin Island nearby. 14 inches by 10 on Arches 300gsm paper

Fair Head from Ballycastle Beach

 

It was so nice to be back of this wonderful part of the UK with arguably one of the finest coastal drives in the world!

Happy travelling

Brian

PS visit my shop on Artfinder for more Antrim Coast watercolours for sale.

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

Eight Days in Madeira, and some welcome sun too!

QUINTA DA CASA BRANCA

If you are planning a trip to Funchal, in Madeira, then I can very much recommend staying at the Quinta da Casa Branca.(http://www.quintacasabranca.pt)

It is a really lovely hotel with modern and traditional rooms and elegant suites , a fine restaurant , nice pool and very friendly staff. This hotel is quite small by some standards of Madeira hotels. It is a short taxi ride from Funchal , or a hilly walk, and has the most beautiful gardens too. Terrific!

We stayed eight days and enjoyed warm, mostly sunny weather and some nice trips out both in Funchal and around the surrounding areas.

I love relaxing by the pool painting watercolour sketches from the photos that I have taken earlier on a trip out and although these are all quite small pen and wash sketches they are a great reminder of our time there and will serve as a basis for some larger watercolours when home in the studio.

Madeira is about 3.5 hours due south of the UK and is a very popular destination for UK visitors. Funchal, the Capital of Madeira is on the south west coast and enjoys a  warm spring like climate nearly all year.

The old town of Funchal has museums, art galleries and lots of old houses and restaurants with vividly painted doors. There is  a Castle, St Tiago Fortress, painted in an Ocre/ Yellow colour  which really caught my eye.

Madeira is mountainous and the cliffs are never far from the towns. Here is the view from the Funchal promenade by the sea toward the old town and the Castle.

From beyond the castle the view back along Funchal bay and Harbour picks out the intricate design of the Castle turrets and distant hotels.

One of those Hotels is the famous Reid’s Palace Hotel and it is especially noted for it’s excellent Afternoon Tea service on the beautiful Terrace.

Yes !,  here we are enjoying our tea, sandwiches. scones and cakes on that Terrace!

                                             Afternoon tea at Reid’s Place Hotel

Back in the Old Town of Funchal there are some very nice squares to see or sit at for coffee or a glass of Madeira wine maybe, and there is a great fish and fruit market to explore too.

Here is just one of the square near to a lovely , but small Church, “Capelo do Corpo Santo” 

 

On one day we travelled to the nearby fishing village of Camara do Lobos.

This tiny harbour town is famous for the visits made there by Sir Winston Churchill and where he loved to sit and paint.

So I could not  resist painting a few watercolour sketches of the harbour and the boats and the nearby cliffs.

The hills behind Camara do Lobos are, like so much of Madeira, crammed with banana trees on which the sweet small bananas that Madeira is famous for hang in huge bunches.

On the outskirts of the town is a view of the massive cliffs that are so typical of the island.

The first one at lunchtime and the second in the evening 

Our visit , the first we have made since February 2020, was a great success and we intend to return to Madeira to explore some more of the island.

I haven’t yet painted watercolours of  two other places which we visited and very much enjoyed too while we were there.

They were, firstly, the beautiful Botanical Gardens set high above Funchal and secondly the even higher town of Monti with it’s Castle, magnificent gardens and toboggan rides!

If you plan a visit to Madeira you will not be disappointed, we certainly weren’t and will return!

Happy travelling

Brian

PS My thanks to Quinta da Casa Branca for such an enjoyable stay!

 

HOT OFF THE PRESS – UPDATE!

I have just finished a new studio watercolour of Camara de Lobos which is now for sale on Artfinder/brianswatercolours.

Check it out ,  below is a copy of it.

Watercolour of Camara de Lobos in Madeira. Painted on Arches 300gsm paper and 14 inches by 10.

 

The White Cliffs of The South of England

The Iconic White Cliffs at Dover in Kent

Hi Everybody

Along the South Coast of England the White Chalk cliffs are a dominant sight.

Immortalised in songs and seen as a great landmark of the UK they stretch from East Kent right through to West Suusex.

In a way they have come to symbolise the determined spirit of our Island Nation and for artists they are a great gift of nature, and for me compelling subjects.

it is the same limestone of these cliffs that gives the soil in Champagne in France the ability to produce great Champagne wines and which have in the past few decades allowed the emergence of a fine wine industry in Southern England where today some of the World’s finest Sparkling wines are now produced.

So it is against all that that have over the years painted a good many watercolours of these iconic cliffs and this post gathers some of them together now in one place.

I hope  you enjoy seeing them

Lets start  in Kent near Kinsgate Bay and the cliffs on that part of the coast.


Here is view of the North Foreland Lighthouse perched high on the Cliffs near Joss bay.

 

Flying kites near Broadstairs.

The coastal town of Broadstairs is today a popular seaside resort and has gained fame through the presence in the town  of Charles Dickens in the 19 century and his books

Low tide at Broadstairs

Dawn at Broadstairs

The beach and Cliffs at Dumpton Gap just south of Broadstairs.

As we travel further south we come to Dover and here again is the header picture for this Post showing the imagined view from a ship entering the harbour.

.Beyond busy Dover is the ferry port of Folkstone with its delightful harbour shown here.

 

 

 

At Folkestone the cliffs descend and then they reappear at Petts Levels , just beyond Rye in Sussex,  seen here from Camber Sands.

Beyond Eastbourne the white cliffs beome higher with the impressive Beach Head and the Seven Sisters Cliffs

A cold winters day at the Seven Sisters Cliifs

 

Stormy seas at the Seven Sisters

Calm day at the Cliffs

The White Bliffs csrry on further into Sussex but we will leave those and other parts of the South shore till a further post.

These paintings and many more will I hope soon appear in an “eBook” called

“The Coastal Counties of England “ which I am currently working on.

Happy Travelling and stay safe and well

Brian

“Pictures at an Exhibition”-with apologies to Mussorgsky!

Recently I have been lucky enough to have been invited to show my watercolours at  some Exhibitions and to show my watercolours in Galleries.

This is quite new to me and a little bit daunting as one doesn’t know what the reactions will be.

But it has also been exciting and although I do sell watercolours on line, mainly via Artfinder, or by word of mouth or commissions, exhibiting is a bit diifferent!

So in this post I am showing some of the watercolours, framed and ready to exhibit. Some have been sold and these are included too.

The emphasis of the exhibitions have been partly Kent biased and so the majority of the watercolours reflect this but others are of different places we have travelled to.

One really nice aspect is seeing ones work alongside others and recognising your own devolopment as an artist in context with others. This is quite stimulating and of course reinforced if a sale is made of a painting.

I feel that the past two years have changed art sales quite a bit with an increase in my sales during lockdowns and a decline now that normal life is a bit closer. I don’t know if other artists have also noticed this but again discussions at the exhibitions did indicate this may be a factor..

So here are some of the watercolours. You may have seen them before here but now I hope in a new context.

There are 9 paintings in all

Firstly a  watercolour sold at an Gallery in Tonbridge ( Artspring).

The exhibition was called “Reflections” which interestingly was the name of this Lockdown painting

Reflections at Scotney Castle in Kent 18 by 8 inches.

The next few were exhibited in a Kent Creative Exhibition in Faversham in Kent

 

For another exhibition at Hartley in Kent I introduced two new watercolours,painted on canvas

During 2022 I do hope to get the opportunity to exhibit my watercolours in more Galleries and Exhibitions, meanwhile I need to get on with a new commission!

Happy travelling and do stay well.

Brian

It’s 2022 where shall we go?

Happy New Year!

Well lets hope it is  — for us all.

A return to travelling , meeting eveyone, ditching the mask and returning life to normal. It it too much to ask?

Alas it may be but we can only plan and dream, and we do have some plans to look forward to but I wont tempt fate by talking about them yet.

So today a couple of watercolours to welcome the New Year, painted this week between Christmas and New Year of the English Lake District, one of the few places we did manage to go to in 2021.

I was amazed to find that I have a ready painted 18 sketches and watercolours of the region since travelling there in June 2021. I guess that is because we really enjoyed the area, the people and the food there, and the scenery is stunning!

Although in June it was very busy with all of us Staycationers!

These two new watercolours are of Buttermere and the beautiful waterfalls at Aira Force near the shore of Ullswater at Glenridding.

The climb up to the top of the bridge shown in this watercolour is about  150 metres which was for us quite an achievement!
But the circular walk is really a lovely experience and well worth the climb.

The falls drop about 20 metres and the roar is terrific.

The second watercolour is a larger work of Buttermere Lake, still in the Lake Dirsict but a little futher west of Ullswater.

It is very famous for  Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks and the area has always been a popular place for painters and walkers with the mountains coming down to the lake.

This is a more traditional watercolour of Buttermere , this time in more Autumn hues and is 50 by 30 cms and is painted on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper, my favourite watercolour medium.
It is for sale on Artfinder as are many of my watercolours.

Buttermere in the Lake District. Watercolour on Arches 300gsm paper , 50 by 30 cms. Fleetwith Pike to the left and Haystacks Fell to the right

 

I was prompted by our lack of recent travel to tally up the Countries that we have visited over many years, and I was surprised to find that it came to 57 different Countries. Mind you as there are over 190 Countries worldwide there is still plenty of scope for more to be added, let us hope we can!

Of those  57, I have painted watercolours and sketches of 45 and many are in this Blog’s archives.

In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy wherever you are.

As we have found over the past two years there are many fabulous places in your own area and Country to see and explore.

Very Best Wishes for 2022

Brian

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

or contact me at

brian@brianswatercolours.com and i will happily take on commissions for watercolours that are special to you!

It is what I really love to do!

Happy Christmas to you and Best Wishes for 2022

“Kentish Winter”. St Margarets Church and Oasts in Horsmonden. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Hi Everybody

This is probably my last post of 2021 and although it has been a pretty dreadful year over all my watercolour painting has been a great thing  to keep me busy and with many paintings finished and quite a lot sold, donated or given away I have had great pleasure from my hobby!

I hope for everyone that 2022 will be a better year and that we will all manage to learn to live with the remnants of Covid and once again be able to travel and meet up with Family and Friends.

I hope to continue painting lots of watercolours, in differing styles and sizes , including my venture into watercolours painted on to prepared canvases.

“Waves” Petts Level in East Sussex from Camber Sands. Watercolour on Canvas 16 inches by 12

We have few travel plans for 2022 so I hope these will enable me to visit some new places and paint so new scenes whilst there.

In the mean time my Best Wishes to you all and take care, stay well and look forward to a much nicer 2022.

Brian

 

Three Watercolours for sale of Scotney Castle in Kent

Hi Everybody

These 3 watercolours are still for sale and deliverable before Christmas and as I have had some enquiries I tnought I would quickly post them here.

Also there is one of the view from Horsmonden to Gaoudhurst in Kent ,one of my favourite views.

Contact me at brian@brianswatercolours.com for up to date pricing and delivery options or visit Artfinder or ETSY.

Each watercolour is an original, and they are unique and of one of the loveliest places to visit in Kent.

Summer at Scotney Castle Watercolour 36 cms by 25

Scotney Castle in Winter Watercolour 27 by 24 cms

The view from Horsmonden towards Goudhurst in Kent Watercolour 37 by 26 cms SOLD

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