Author Archives: brianswatercolours
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.
You know that you have chosen the right restaurant when the food is delicious and the view terrific.
So it was last Sunday at the Restaurant of Le Moulin de la Camandoule , L’Escourtin.
The weather was lovely and our table on their beautiful patio had a stunning view of the old town of Fayence high above us.
A great meal in a restaurant that I would highly recommend if you are in that area of Provence. So naturally I took some photos and here is the watercolour painted later that afternoon of the view of Fayence.
Our week, based in Mandelieu, gave us other opportunities for some good meals in restaurants, especially also La Table D’Yves, also near Fayence, and some time to meet friends and enjoy the beautiful coast to Agay along the Esterel coastal road. It is a really spectacular drive and in Agay lunch at La Belle Vie is always good. The now disused lighthouse at Agay can be seen for the beach there and this watercolour is from a close up taken with the camera of the little harbour near the lighthouse.
We didn’t visit St Paul de Vence on this holiday but the scene from the approach to the town is one I love to paint. So here is a new version painted this week.
Some years ago we bought some lovely watercolour prints by an artist called Padia. Here is my interpretation of one of those watercolours. With another painter called Cybele they had a shop called Les Deux Ateliers in St Paul. Cybele still sells mainly beautiful oil paintings from her Gallery there today and it is well with a visit.
Here is my interpretation, painting this small watercolour has also helped me learn some new techniques too.
Lastly we nearly always visit Antibes. With a lovely Old Town and a big busting port there is always lots to see.
Here is a watercolour of the view from the walls of the old Town across the bay toward the mountains.
I hope you will enjoy these new paintings.
Another lovely week in this really beautiful part of France.
To contact me send an email to
NB Some other watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at
The sun is shining ,the warmth of the Spring has suddenly brought on the Bluebells in the woods in Kent.
Some years the cow parsley masks the Bluebells but not this year, this is a great year for them.
Recently we visited a friend’s beautiful garden near Hawkhurst in Kent and by the pond in their garden was a lovely wood full of bluebells
i couldn’t resist having a go a painting them and here is the result. Bluebells have unique colours ranging from Blue to Violet which is quite a challenge, but no matter the accuracy the memory will remain of that beautiful scene.
As many of you know we also live to play golf and we are lucky that our golf course has woods with bluebells too.
So here is another painting from a year or two back with a scene on the course with bluebells in the woods.
If you do have a chance to get out into the countryside to see the bluebells then do try to go at this time, if not I hope you will enjoy my attempts to capture their beauty.
NB Some other watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at
It is a long journey to Capetown from the UK, but well worth it to enjoy the warmer weather of March and to experience great food, stunning wines and wonderful hospitality.
We have been before and each time we have a lovely holiday there with very good friends.
Our primary aim is to find some sun to play golf in but the overall experience is always great.
Eating in restaurants is a delight with very, very good wines at affordable prices and super food and service too.
I would especially mention three restaurants from this recent visit which were very enjoyable.
In Constantia “95 at Parks” was very good and most accomadating.
In George the Restaurant called “Fat Fish” where the quality off the food and the service is great.
In Wilderness there is a real “Star” of a restaurant called “Serendipity”. It has to be one of the most enjoyable places to eat that I have ever experienced in South Africa. Lizette and Rudolf take delight in describing their food and they and their staff produce food of the highest possible quality in their lovely Guest House and Restaurant. I think you get the picture – Go There !
We started our holiday in the Western Cape staying at Steenberg Vineyard near Constantia. A great location for visiting Capetown and the area.
From there to Fancourt in George for golf and the lovely scenery of the Outeniqua mountains. The golf courses at Fancourt are really great and in beautiful condition.
So along with all this eating and drinking and golf I also managed to fit in time for a few watercolours. We that is what this Blog is all about after all!
Here ore my efforts, some just quick sketches in the notebooks and other larger paintings.
I hope you will enjoy them all
NB Some of these watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at
This month just one painting, although a bit larger than normal in size.
This watercolour was painted from photos taken when I was last in Portofino a couple of years ago but the light on the water then lingers often in my mind which inspired this recent watercolour.
The painting is 19 inches by 7.5 to give plenty of room for the reflections of the buildings and boats in the bay.
I hope you like it and if you haven’t been to this area of Italy then get planning!
PS. Although this painting has been sold there are many more in my shop at
maybe there you will see just the item for your home or as a gift.
CONTACT ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org for commissions and to purchase any of my paintings
Escaping the British winter if only for a short time is always part of our plan!
We had never visited Tenerife before so the lure of sun and good golf brought us to the Abama Resort in Tenerife
In fact the weather was perfect for golf and warm enough to enjoy time lazing by the pools.
We even managed some touring about on Tenerife to get a feel for some of the island and it’s scenery.
Tenerife is dominated by the Volcano, Mount Teide although there hasn’t been a significant eruption for over a hundred years.
Tenerife is very mountainous and to get to the North of the island we had to go over a 3800 foot pass with its very, very windy roads. The cliffs at Los Gigantes are spectacular and big as their name suggests and they sweep down to the sea from the mountain range that we travelled over to go to Garachico and the North.
In amongst the golf and relaxation there was time to paint a few watercolours in the sketch book which is now my favourite medium when travelling. A quick pen and ink sketch followed by some watercolour washes gives me a good record of a place or landscape. Of course the plan is to paint larger watercolours at home. However the sketches work pretty well for the blog.
The Abama golf course is also very hilly and challenging with unforgiving greensand very fast greens to make it even harder. Luckily eveybody uses a buggy as walking the course would tire a mountain goat!.
Our trip to the north and especially the little town of Garachico yielded a very pleasant lunch experience in a little family restaurant called “Candelaria” in Garachico. Their home made bread and enjoyable menu and owners made the lunch great. If you are ever there do go and find it and try it, it was really nice. It is at the back of the town about 100 metres from the main Square
Our time in Tenerife was brief but enjoyable and we did find the sun!
Hi Everybody, — “Happy New Year”
After a lovely Christmas time in the UK with the family it was nice to spend the New Year on the Cote d’Azur with some good friends enjoying welcome sunshine and the lovely scenery of the area.
Of course it gave me some time to paint a few sketchbook watercolours of the area and the opportunity for us to enjoy the fine food and wine of the area.
I would like to especially mention our lunch at the Camandoule Hotel in Fayence. Just a great meal and very good value in this lovely hotel which was once a Mill. I would strongly recommend it as every time we have been there it has been great.
Anyway in the days there I was able to paint a few watercolours, quite quick ones in the sketch book which may become larger studio paintings in the future.
Here they are and I hope you like them.
All this and the Sun thing too!
For many years I travelled to Washington on business and enjoyed many happy times there.
I saw a photo the other day that reminded me so much of those exciting times and the friends that I made there over the years.
So today I thought maybe a quick watercolour would be a fun thing to do and true enough all those memories came flooding back.
I haven’t visited Washington for a few years now but the view across to the Capitol is one of my lasting memories.
If you were one on the many who shared those times with me I hope you too have fine memories of this great City.
Anyway I hope you all like this effort to capture that evening scene.
Happy Travelling – and – a Very Happy Christmas to you all and Best Wishes for the New Year.
I was watching the new Rick Stein programme on TV the other evening, it’s called Road to Mexico and starts in San Francisco. If you don’t know of him he is famous chef with restaurants in Cornwall, and produces really interesting TV programmes and Cookery Books.
It reminded me of great visits there and the waterfront scenes got me thinking about a watercolour of the of the skyline.
In fact today I painted two scenes, one large 20 inches by 14 and one small 10 inches by 4.
Both are almost monochrome but use a mixture of Teal Blue and Violet as the base colours.
They are little different from my normal watercolours so I hope you will like them. They were certainly fun to paint and very quick too!
So here they are
I hope you like them, and if you are like me you will remember San Francisco fondly.