Monthly Archives: June 2018
We have just returned from a very enjoyable cruise on the Duoro River in Portugal.
Just before the Cruise we spent a fcouple of days in Lisboa and then travelled to Porto to get on the Viking River Cruise.
Alas the weather wasn’t always as good as we would have expected in Portugal in June but slowly it improved and luckily it didn’t stop us enjoying the towns, cities and scenery. Of course we also enjoyed the Port and the Douro wine too and our trips to various places were all very interesting.
Last year we spent time in Lisboa so I am using one painting from that trip to introduce this Post.
What better than one of their iconic trams in the old town area of Lisboa.
While we were in Lisboa we took a day trip to Sintra and its amazing Pena Palace. Then a lovely journey along the coast to see the most westerly point of mainland Europe and the cliffs and bays of the Atlantic. I have some paintings of the coast planned for the future.
Here is a quick sketch of Pena Palace. If you visit do go inside it is a very interesting visit.
Our transfer to Porto took us to Coimbra, an ancient University town about halfway from Lisboa to Porto.
Our arrival in Porto was rather wet but luckily the sun broke through the following day and so I was able to paint this double spread sketch of Porto. It is a lovely City with much to see and do and especially taste the Port. The history of Port production is fascinating and we learnt a lot from a great visit to the Sandeman cellars.
From Porto we sailed up the Douro through it’s amazing locks and visited a number of places along the way , stopping each night, before heading off the next day. The scenery is spectacular and the number of Vineyards and Wine producers quite amazing.
Here are a couple of Douro river scenes
One visit took us to Mateus Palace, this is the Palace used to name the Mateus Rose wine which I am sure you have come across. Probably a scene for a future painting but I was stuck that day by the Church and Vineyards, just next door and here is a quick sketch I made of the scene.
One day we visited the very old Town of Castelo Rodrigo. The Castle is now mainly a ruin but once this was a dominant Castle town on the Portuguese /Spanish Border. It has a very old and has a quite magnificent Church to visit too. It is the Ingreja Matriz de Castelo Rodrigo.
Our final trip before retuning down the Douro river with its wonderful scenery was into Spain to see Salamanca. Salamanca is an imposing and interesting city with a great history and a very old University. There are many stork nests in the City too, all in precarious places and all inhabited by the many storks there.
I hope to produce quite a few paintings of Salamanca in the future but here is the one sketch and one larger watercolour that I have so far painted.
We have come back with many wonderful photos of the Douro Valley and River and the fine memories of very nice people that we met with on the cruise and in Portugal. Always a warm welcome and wonderful wine and Port. I will be searching out more Portugeuse, especially Douro, Wine here in the UK. If you find some buy it and drink it, you will not be disappointed.
Last weekend I was privileged to be on a watercolour workshop with Viktoria Pridshenko.
Viktoria is one of an elite group of exceptional watercolour painters and to be able to spend 4 days learning her techniques and approaches to watercolour painting was absolutely amazing.
The course was held in the East Devon Art Academy in Sidmouth, and very well organised and arranged by Cathy Osbond. Do look the Academy up as it does lay on many varied and interesting courses throughout the year
Sidmouth is a lovely seaside town that transports you back to childhood days at the seaside and is a lovely place to be for a few days anyway. Great fish and chips and great ice cream too. For lunch go to “The Filling Station” you will not be disappointed!
Over the four days of the course Viktoria painted watercolours and explained her approach and then we all tried to emulate using the techniques and ideas that she gave us. It was quite inspiring!
In the evenings I managed to paint a few little sketches of the area too in my traditional sketchbook style too, but I will be trying to incorporate her ideas into my future watercolours.
These are the watercolours that I managed to produce. They are much larger than I usually paint at 26 by 18 inches and are painted on Hahnemulle 600 gsm paper which works so well for this strongly wet into wet technique which Viktoria is so brilliant at.
Of course my watercolours were not in the same league as Viktoria’s but it was fantastic learning weekend. I hope you enjoy seeing them.
And here are the sketches of the area.