Monthly Archives: April 2020
My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 1 -“The first 5 weeks in Lockdown”
I expect like me you are just wishing you could go somewhere, ANYWHERE I hear you say!
Well those days will return, but I have been travelling around the Globe quite a bit since the lockdown started.
It is of course Virtual, but by painting watercolours of various place I can almost escape there for a while. By the time I have trawled through old photos to find the one I want to paint the memories of these places come flooding back and the concentration of painting soon transports me to those far away places.
I have been posting these paintings recently so not many new ones but I thought I could put them together as a sort of Journal if only for my own amusement, and I hope yours too!
It all stared sitting in the garden in the lovely April sunshine thinking of all the gardening I should be doing, not to mention sorting out the shed, garage,study etc etc.
But soon the travel bug took over.
I had been worrying about a delivery of a variant of this watercolour of Porto in Portugal
to a customer in Toronto when I realised that I had not been to Toronto for a very long time and so the idea of a Skyline painting seemed the thing to do. Don’t ask why, even I don’t know!
One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of Singapore.
We had stayed in the Ritz Carlton there the last time we were there and this is the skyline from near there. What a City Singapore is! I can even taste a spectacular meal we ate one evening there, in very authentic restaurant, of Beef in Black Bean sauce and Beef Rendang!
The trip back to the UK included a quick diversion to Chateau Chalon in the Jura in France. (That thanks to watching Rick Stein on TV). A wonderful area of that equally wonderful country with stunning ,and rather special Wine!
And just to make sure the days were fully filled up, a return visit to Amsterdam, another great place to be.
But soon I was back in the UK with view of the Countryside in Kent that I can’t now visit and another view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun bursts through.
Being back in the UK brought on another attack of the travel bug and a long weekend in Tuscany seemed just the right thing to do. So after a brief stop in Florence to look at the the house located on the Ponte Vecchio —
—I drove into the heart of Tuscany. It has been warm here in Kent and so the warmth of Tuscany seemed just so good.
Basing ourselves near to San Gimignano, as we have done before, gave me some time to enjoy painting some watercolours, first of Piazza della Cisterna in the heart of San Gimignano and then the view from San Gimignano across the wonderful Tuscan landscape.
Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!
And so the first 5 weeks of Lockdown have let me cover a lot of miles without even stepping outside!
I hope that this Lockdown won’t go on too much longer but if it does my Virtual bags will have to be repacked and put into us again.
Happy Virtual Travelling Everybody!
Stay safe and well too.
Two Watercolours – Different styles
Thanks for reading my Blog posts!
This post has just two watercolours, but ~I hope you like the increased frequency of my posts during the Worldwide Pandemic.
One is a pen and wash sketch of some houses located right on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and which is just 10 inches by 7 and another which is much larger at 22 inches by 16.
The Ponte Vecchio is a very unique bridge still retaining the style common in the Middle Ages where houses were built right across the bridges in major European cities.
Very few remain and the Ponte Vecchio is probably the best example today.
Pen and wash is a favourite way for me to paint and usually they are, painted in my sketchbook, this painting is no exception.
However I also like the challenge of larger watercolours, with no pen involved, and this scene is of a view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun breaks through the clouds.
With the larger painting multiple washes are employed compared to fewer on the sketch of course.
I have developed this style of painting since spending a week last year with the wonderful watercolour painter Herman Pekel and I am very grateful for his help with my technique. Not quite up to his standard through!
We met at Big Sky Arts at The White House Hotel in Norfolk in 2019 , a great location for a really superb watercolour course.
Anyway stay safe and keep well
I will be back to the easel!
Another watercolour of Tuscany – The wonderful San Gimignano
The City of Towers
In my last post I featured a watercolour from San Gimignano, so today I have painted a watercolour sketch of the Piazza del Cisterna, right in the centre of San Gimignano. This Cisterna in the Piazza was originally built in 1273 was enlarged in 1346 and painted by me in 2020!
This watercolour pen and wash sketch is painted across two pages of my Sketch book and measures 24 inches by 8.
I was a little surprised that I had not painted this scene before but by making it a large panorama I have been able to include a lot of this lovely Piazza. The Towers of San Gimignano are so unique and amazing ,”Manhattan of the 13th Century”.
Originally there were over 70 towers but today only 14 of them still exist. Only 6 are in this painting. Some of the Towers are over 150 feet tall.
In this painting I have included an artist, maybe we will be able to get back there before too long to soak up the amazing atmosphere, not to mention the great food, warm welcome and really super wine!
Also I have included a couple of previous paintings of San Gimignano produced whilst visiting there in 2013.
I hope you like them.
I am trying to post much more often that I normally do so that there are frequent new paintings for everyone to look at, and as I am painting a lot more than normal it lets me have an outlet for all my artwork!
Anyway stay safe, and thanks for looking at my blog posts.
All the best.
Tuscany, Wonderful memories – We will be back!
With travel now not possible for the time being anyway, Tuscany will be very quiet, and we all feel for the awful situation in Italy and well as here in the UK and around the World.
But we will all return to Tuscany with its wonderful Cities and Towns, the Countryside, very friendly people, and the great food and delicious wine.
Just as soon as we all can, because it is such a magical place to visit and enjoy.
With that in mind I decided yesterday to paint a large watercolour (well for me ) of the sun rising across the Tuscan countryside. Derived partly from photos taken from San Gimignano looking East and other photos taken on our last visit to the area.
Larger watercolours are exciting and challenging and this one has come out fairly well. It is 19 inches by 8 and will look nice mounted and framed I think. Something else to do!
Also here are a couple of very quick sketches, also from photos taken on that last visit to Sienna in Tuscany. These are both of the area away from the Campo in Sienna. There are so many wonderful sights there to paint but these two smaller sketches were also painted very recently whilst at home, sitting in the garden in the sun thinking of Sienna!
In these days of isolation I am very lucky to have such an absorbing pastime of watercolour painting to while away the hours.
Maybe soon we will be able to get back to some golf!
Stay safe wherever you may be and lets all look forward to travel in the future.
All the best
The Master’s Golf at Augusta – Looking forward to 2021!
Sadly, due to the terrible impact of Covid 19 in the USA and around the World, this year’s Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Course has been cancelled and won’t be played again till 2021. Like all sporting events for both players and spectators this is a very sad situation and all we can do is look forward to the resumption of sport as soon as is possible and the events that will follow.
Each year I like to post a few watercolours of Augusta National Golf Course as it is a place that I would really like to visit, and maybe even play the course! The Azaleas and the trees around the course make it one of the World’s most beautiful Golf Courses.
Maybe one day this will happen but until then I can only look at the phots of it and back videos of former competitions there.
So here a few watercolours painted over the past few years of the very beautiful Augusta course in Georgia.
All were painted from fleeting scenes on the television and a few screen shots.
I hope you will enjoy seeing them and join with me in wishing all golfers around the world “safe times” and of course everybody else too.
Stay safe and we can all look forward to exciting golf tournaments in 2021.
Spring is really arriving!
Although we can’t tour around the beautiful County of Kent at present, the Spring is really arriving fast .
We are currently having the most lovely weather and normally I would be off taking photos of the Kent countryside so that back at home I could paint some watercolours of the scenes.
Its fun to paint on location as well but of course that too isn’t possible in the current situation as we sensibly stay home and try to help limit the spread of this horrible virus.
So a quick whizz through some photos and with a bit of artistic licence I can be somewhere in Kent with the Oast houses, Rapeseed growing in the fields and a few poppies too.
So here is today’s watercolour, trying to capture that scene. It is out there somewhere!
I hope you like it.
If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.
The Sun is out – and we are in!
With a walk or sitting in the garden as the only outdoor options possible in these unprecedented times I am pleased to tell you that it has been is a really beautiful weekend here in the South Of England. Warm and sunny , a perfect April day.
Having done the walk, time to enjoy the garden and an opportunity to paint a small watercolour of one corner of it.
Our small Magnolia is flowering nicely this year, it must have liked the wet winter and the warm weather now,as we are too!
i also managed to paint another pen and was sketch of Portrush in Northern Ireland this weekend too. We had visited port rush last year, and it has, over the years, become a very nice, if a it busy, seaside resort with fine beaches and many new restaurants. And of course it is on the fabulous North Antrim Coast which has featured in many posts on this blog before.
This watercolour is of the Inner harbour where many small boats moor and where the quaysides are lined with restaurants. A nice place to stop at after driving all the way up the Causeway Coastal Route.
Stay well and be safe
An Extraordinary Wine Experience in the Jura.
A good many years ago we spent a few days in the delightful Jura region of France. Good food and beautiful countryside everywhere. One evening, we met by chance, a wine merchant from Belgium and with him were able to visit the world famous Domaine of Jean Macle and family at Château-Chalon.
It was a really wonderful experience tasting the very unusual “Vin Jaune” of the Domaine and seeing their beautiful, but small Domaine. The wine was, I seem to recall, tasted with small pieces of the local Comté cheese, another delicious food from the Jura region.
The Macle family have been making wine in Château-Chalon since 1850 and it is a very unusual wine as the 10 year ageing process gives the wine a very distinctive taste and bouquet. Their small Domaine is around 19 hectares and stretches across the beautiful hills of the Côte de Jura region.
Jean Macle is acknowledged as a true Master of Château Chalon.
After recently watching a television programme by Rick Stein on French cuisine, I was looking back through my photos of our visit to the Jura, when I found a number of photos which have led me to paint this watercolour of the Château Chalon with the vines growing down the hillsides.
It reminds us that this is one of the many beautiful regions of France that we really must try and visit in the next few years.
Our visit there was quite extraordinary experience for which I am most grateful to Jean Macle and his family. I am sure that their wine production will continue for many more generations of their Family.
I hope you like this watercolour, 37 by 28 cms and painted on Arches Cold Pressed watercolour paper.
If you ever get the chance to spend sometime in the Jura, it is really wonderful part of France.