Author Archives: brianswatercolours
Bosham in West Sussex is really a small and delightful Town. It has a really lovely Harbour and is a great place to spend a few days Walking and also visiting the surrounding area, especially Chichester, which is a lovely Cathedral City and well worth a visit.
This was also a great opportunity to paint some watercolours and to enjoy good food and accommodation at “The Millstream Hotel” in the Town, a few minutes walk from the Quay.
In this flatfish landscape the sea rises quickly to engulf the shore road and the cars parked there! Don’t leave your car for long!
It is painters paradise and we luckily had good weather so the opportunity to paint “en plain air” was very welcome
We also visited the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, where many historic buildings have been gathered together as a village with demonstrations and lovely Sussex Weald Countryside to enjoy.
Here are the watercolours that I managed to paint whilst there, which I hope you will enjoy.
On our visit to Chichester we visited the Cathedral but also the lovely Deanery Gardens and this row of old houses caught my eye in Canon Lane.
We really enjoyed our few days in Bosham and I am sure we will want to return to the area again.
In this the second of the series it is the turn of The Côte d’Azur and Provence in Southern France.
This spectacular part of the world has always been one of our most favourite destinations with the mountains, sea and a wonderful coast. That is before we even start to think of the food and wine.
For an artist it is also a place of wonderful light and clear air, dazzling azure blue seas and marvellous towns , villages and mountains.
I have painted hundreds of watercolours of the region so it is tricky to pick a few but here goes.
- St Tropez
St Tropez has it all, a bustling harbour filled with huge yachts, tiny streets and many boutiques, markets and crowds in the summer. The best way to get there is on the Ferry from Saint Maxime, the journey alone is great!
This first watercolour shows St Tropez with yachts racing off shore
Away from the busy harbour with the vast yachts is the tiny port of La Ponche.
With a group of restaurants at the entrance the harbour and beach has not changed in many years, but alas the fishing fleet is no longer there. We love to have a simple lunch there at a restaurant called La Pasquier et Mazagran of a freshly made omelette and frites, some crusty French baguette and a carafe of lovely local Rosé wine. Inside the Restaurant it is like stepping back in time, or outside on the terrace the shade of the awnings is very welcome.
2. The Perched Villages and Towns
From Eze via Vence, St Paul de Vence, Bar sur Loup, Toutettes sur Loup, Gourdon, Montaroux, Callian, Tourettes, Fayence,S eillans and on toward Bargemon the Perched villages and townsof this area of Provence are wonderful.
House perched on Cliffs, Narrow winding streets, bars and Restaurants in abundance. Small and large Churches and fine views across to Cannes ,Nice, and The Esterel peninsula.
There just isn’t time to explore them all now so here are just three for this Post.
Gourdon perches on a cliff edge with its Chateau and intesting shops ,perfume distillery and restaurants.
The road up is steep but wide and the views across to the Esterel and Nice quite amazing..There is good restaurant , La Taverne Provencal, looking over the view where we have enjoyed nice lunches too, and the panini in a little cafe on the main street are delicious too.
Our favourite restaurant for many years was La Table D’Yves in Fayence but sadly it is now closed.
However Fayence and the area have many nice restaurants and our favourite these days is very good Le Moulin De La Camandoule which is is really terrific and has a lovely oustside Terrace to enjoy . Great menus especially their vast, and slightly wobbly, Cheese trolley and Dessert Souffles are all excellent. The view of Fayence from the terrace is lovely. A great place to stop and enjoy Lunch or Dinner. Or stay as they have rooms too.
Very old, with narrow winding streets. We ate some while ago at a Restaurant called Chez Hugo (chezhugo.fr) where I enjoyed a terrific Squid Bourride. With its flavours of Cumin and Spices, it was a special plate of food.
So much did I enjoy it that I have developed my own recipe for it!
Rather different but I like it!
Here is the method.
Part boil a handful of new potatoes.
In an oven proof casserole fry, in olive oil with a pat of butter, sliced Shallots, about 6, with two sticks of chopped celery, 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a tablespoon of cumin, some chilli flakes, a good pinch of salt and coarse black pepper, about 12 turns of the grinder.
When softened but not too brown add a large glass of white or rose wine and the same about of good stock,chicken or vegetable.
In another pan fry the medium sized squid, or five small ones, which has been chopped in bite sized pieces and dusted with flour until just going slightly brown. Add this and the halved potatoes to the casserole and pop in the oven at around 160C. If is seems too dry add a splash of water. Cook for 25 minutes and serve immediately with crunchy bread and very chilled Rosé Wine. Voila!, Bon Appetit!
With so many great places on the Côte d’Azur to visit I think we may need a return visit later on in this series!
Next time this series will take us to the USA and a few destinations there.
This new occasional series of posts picks out some wonderful places that we have visited in our travels, drinks we have enjoyed there and some memorable meals.
As you know I love to record our travels in watercolour and so this series will feature watercolours painted during those many years of travel.
It will cover a good number of Countries, but we have to start somewhere and so here is the first post in this series , featuring a a few parts of Australia.
- Sydney and Watson’s Bay
Sydney is one of the World’s great destinations. Its location , Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are only a part of the great cultural attractions of this City.
Savour the great wines, enjoy the scene and the food all around the harbour and the City.
However my choice for this first entry is just in the outskirts of Sydney at Watson’s Bay, approached from the Bay on one of the Ferry boats this headland town boasts one of the finest Fish Eateries, Doyles!
Get a balcony table and enjoy the great fish and chips,( we ate Kingfish) enjoy a lovely glass or two of crisp unoaked Australian Chadonnay. The views are great and then reboard the ferry and tour the whole of the Bay.
2. The Barossa Valley
Many years ago on a visit to Adelaide I had the chance to spend some time in the Wine region of The Barossa Valley. A recent article in the newspaper had me looking back at my notes and photos and this led me to produce this watercolour painting , a Pen and Wash sketch.
The wines in the Barossa Valley are great, some legendary, and on that visit I enjoyed some Old Vines Shiraz and a great Australian “Barbie” .
Australian bred beef is terrific and we naturally had some wonderful steak and some Kangaroo too. The visits to the Wineries were very good. The scenery all around the region was lovely. I hope my watercolour captures a small part of this great part of South Australia.
3. The Blue Mountains
Not many hours from Sydney are the beautiful Blue Mountains. A great place to stay and visit with sweeping vistas in all directions. The steepest train ride anywhere too I seem to remember.
We stayed at Katoomba and enjoyed great hospitality and food. One really memorable dinner was in Leura , at a restaurant called Silk’s Brasserie where ate great beef tenderloin and had some of the best food and service possible.
I see it has moved now from Central Leura to Silvermere in Wentworth Falls, it is great to see they are still doing well. And of course our meal was accompanied by a lovely Australian Cabernet Sauvignon!
Next time we will reminisce about the Cote d’Azur in France.
I hope you have enjoyed this first post of this new series.
Here a couple of new Pen and Wash watercolours that I have added to this post
And Bosham on the South Coast of England
Having received some nice comments about my smaller Pen and Wash watercolours I have here collected together a number for the past few year
They are in no particular order but may remind you and I of a number of places that together we have visited!
I hope you will enjoy this reprise
This coming week sees The 150th Open Championship being held at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews and so I thought a short post with just a few paintings of that Course and a couple of other Open Golf Venues would be in order.
The Old Course at St Andrews was first established in 1552, 470 years ago!
First of all the view from the Swilcan Bridge up to the Clubhouse on the Left and the 18th Green
Many think that The Old Course at St Andrews represents the ultimate golf challenge with its narrow bumpy fairways, small or in some case double greens, and fearsome rough in the summer.
And add to all that the changeable and often strong wind that blows on the East Coast of Scotland and this is a truly formidable challenge to any golfer.
With the World’s finest Golfers taking on the Challenge this coming week ,and trying to win the coveted Claret Jug it will be four days of massive excitement around the world.
Across on the West Coast of Scotland lies the fine Golf Course at Turnberry. With it’s great views of Ailsa Craig off the shore and long, fast fairways, deep rough and again very tricky winds this is also a very difficult previous Open Golf venue. Turnberry was last a Venue for the Open in 2009 but is not listed at present for future Opens.
In 2019 and previously in 1951 The Open was held at Royal Portrush Golf Course in Northern Ireland. It will host the 2025 Open as well.
Founded in 1888 The Club achieved Royal patronage in 1895 from the then Duke of York.
This watercolour shows the 5th Green and Whiterocks Bay beyond.
Portrush is on the spectacular Antrim Coast Road in Northern Ireland, featured on this blog many times.
Scotland is a Country of magnificent scenery and over 580 Golf Courses. There are countless wonderful beaches too and to give you some examples here are just two watercolour of places at the far North of Scotland, painted for commissions some years ago.
If like me you will be watching and enjoying The Open Golf I hope it turns out to be exciting and fun for all involved. If you don’t play golf just enjoy the Scottish scenery.
There are quite afew new watercolours for sale on my Www.Artfinder.com/brianswatercolours Site
Please do check them out
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
This little Antibes street caught my eye as we walked around.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these and that you will return to my Blog soon!
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 email@example.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
PS visit my shop on Artfinder for more Antrim Coast watercolours for sale.
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!
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!
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.