Monthly Archives: May 2015

Two weekends in May

Our travel recently has been a bit hectic and May has seen us spend two lovely weekends in two very different places.

First of all we spent a few days in Northern Ireland catching up with family and friends.

Some time too for touring around and just a few hours to create two watercolours.

Firstly we visited a very nice Farm shop and cafe in Hollywood called McKees, and from there we had a lovely view of Scrabo Tower and the Mourne mountains.

I could not resist trying to reproduce the scene in this watercolour.

Scrobo Tower and the Mourne Mountains. Watercolour 14 inches by 12

Scrabo Tower and the Mourne Mountains.
Watercolour 14 inches by 12

Another day saw us travelling to Newcastle, right next door to the Mourne Mountains. Just north of Newcastle is Murlough Bay and in this nature reserve there are lovely walks that take you down to the sea. This watercolour  is that view, the beach and the Mourne mountains sweeping down to the sea.

The Mourne Mountains from Murlough bay. Watercolour 14 inches by 12

The Mourne Mountains from Murlough Bay.
Watercolour 14 inches by 12

With many more photos taken over the weekend I now have lots of ideas for more paintings, and an update to my Ulster guide book.

Just one week later we were off to the coast of Normandy in France with some friends. Our main aim was to view the Landing Beaches, Museums and Cemetries associated with the Normandy landings of June 1944. The invasion of France in 1944 heralded the final winning phase of the war in Europe which ended 70 years ago. The sacrifice and endeavour of the brave soldiers, sailors and airman can  be felt as you walk and visit the sights in this area.

We managed to see a lot in a few days and enjoyed Normandy, it’s people, food, cider and scenery.

So just two watercolours so far but more to follow as we managed a visit to Honfleur as we travelled back to Calais and the Channel Tunnel.

From the beach at Arromanches you can still see the mannificent artifical harbour created in June 1944 and some of these colosal structures are shown in the painting.

The Beach at Arromanches Watercolour 14 inches by 12

The Beach at Arromanches
Watercolour 14 inches by 12

Inland just a few miles away is Bayeux, famous for the Tapestry but a really lovely town with a wonderful Cathedral.

Bayeux

The Mill Wheel in Bayeaux. Watercolour 14 inches by 12.

This mill wheel and the river are in the heart of Bayeux with a view across to the Cathedral.

If you ever can, do visit Normandy and the landing beaches. They are amazing memories of a crucial time in the ending of World War 2.

Happy travelling!

Brian

Breakfast in the Sun!

Hi Everbody

Readers of this blog will know how much we like to spend time  in Mandelieu, near Cannes on the Cote d’Azur

The past couple of weeks there have, as always, been great and warm enough to sit outside on our terrace and eat our breakfasts and lunches. How nice to do this in April!

Visits there always give me some time for painting watercolours, either on the spot,or from new photos from our daily jaunts or from reference photos from the past few years.

This holiday was no exception and so here are the paintings that I managed to do on this trip.

Nearby to us is the hill top town of Cagnes and close by is the former home of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Renoir lived and worked there in the 19th and 20th centuries until his death in 1919.  It is lovely place to visit and there is real sense of his love of the house and it’s gardens and views. There are number of his paintings and sculptures on display and many photos too.

This painting is the view from the bedroom of Alice Renoir, his wife, looking across to Cagnes.

 

Cagnes from Renoir's former Home

Cagnes from Renoir’s former Home

This watercolour is 14″ by 10″ on Arches rough paper. All these paintings are this size as I use an Arches glued edge pad when travelling mostly.

As we travel into the hills and mountains of Provence there are many rural scenes that I love to paint. Usually they are a mixture of reality and composites of several photos and these two watercolours fall into that category.

Spring in Provence

Spring in Provence

The Vineyard, Haut Provence

The Vineyard, Haut Provence

Really nearby us is the seaside town of Mandelieu – La Napoule. It has large marina with many yachts and boats moored there of all sizes. From the marina there is a good view of The Castle, which today is an art gallery and a nice place to visit.

The Castle at La Napoule

The Castle at La Napoule

From nearby Theoule there are fine views across to Cannes and the Iles de Lerin. The second of these, St Honorat is seen in this painting , painted  from a zoomed photo of the island, taken from Theoule.

Ile St Honorat

Ile St Honorat

Further East of Cannes is Antibes. I love to paint at Antibes and this particular painting is of the large Fortress which guards the harbour, Fort Carré,  with some of the many moored yachts in the harbour.

Fort Carre at Antibes

Fort Carre at Antibes

Its seems that we often take the ferry from St Maxime to St Tropez for lunch, and a  wander round the old part of the town. I love to paint the small unspoilt harbour at le Ponche, Port de Pêche, and our recent trip was no exception to this. So here is another view of Port de Pêche, just a few minutes walk from the bustling and glitzy harbour on the main front at St Tropez.Porte de peche, St Tropez

I hope you enjoy these paintings from the land of warm sun and beautiful scenery, it is such a nice place to be!

Happy travelling and Painting!

Brian

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