Author Archives: brianswatercolours

A few days on the Isle of Wight

Hi All

Just a few miles off the south coast of England and a 40 minute car ferry ride away from Portsmouth lies The Isle of Wight.

We have just returned from a few days there and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this very picturesque island. It was made even better by some pretty good summer weather, which has been in short supply this summer.

The highlights were our visit to Osborne House, a former holiday home of Quuen Victoria and our trips round the coast and also to Mottistone Manor and it’s beautiful gardens.

Time too for a few watercolours for this Post which I hope you will enjoy.

We had never spent any time on the Isle of Wight so this was a very nice opportunity to see at least some of the island.

We stayed at Ventnor on the south coast and really enjoyed a restaurant there called “Le Tour du Monde”. So good we went there twice! I would recommend it if you are visiting Ventnor.

The journey West from Ventnor goes past some lovely island scenery and great views of the coast. The bay at Freshwater is lovely (painting underway) and the town of Yarmouth was very nice too with a good lunch place by the pier called The Gossip Cafe.

From there is was only a few miles to Mottistone Manor and it’s Gardens. This National Trust place was really lovely and this painting tries to capture is beautiful summer garden and the 16th Century House.

The Garden and house at Mottistone Manor Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arched NOT watercolour paper.

Another trip was to Osborne House, a favourite holiday home for Queen Victoria and Price Albert in the 1840’s and 50’s. There they enjoyed being by the Sea in this Italian revival designed mansion with only 100 staff!

The gardens a very beautiful and the walled garden is a must see there with it’s soft fruit and flowers.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert entertained and enjoyed time away from London until Price Albert’s death in 1861. Many rooms can be visited and the park around the house contains a “Swiss Cottage” which was a playing and learning place for their children. There is a bus can take you down to the beach there where family used to bathe in the sea, and where you can see Queen Victoria’s batheing machine where they could change and be rolled down into the sea!

This view of Osborne House is from the path to the Swiss Cottage.

Osborne House Watercolour 9 inches by 7

 

We also visited Cowes East and West, connected by a Chain car ferry and also went to look at Carisbrooke Castle. A Castle has stood there for over 1000 years but it is most famous as the place where Charles 1st was held before the second Civil war of 1648 and his subsequent loss and then his execution in 1649.

My watercolour shows the very imposing entrance to the Castle.

Carisbrooke Castle Watercolour 9 by 7 inches.

Our last trip took us to Bembridge,  a boat haven on the East coast and to Seaview where their Regatta was underway.

Here is small watercolour of some boats at Bembridge.

Boats at Bembridge Watercolour 9 inches by 7.

So a very enjoyable few days on the Isle of Wight, if you have been I hope you will enjoy these watercolours and if you plan to go maybe they can give you some ideas.

Happy travelling

 Brian

A short trip to Northern Ireland

We have just been over to Northern Ireland for two Celebrations.

The first a couple of days at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh to celebrate a couple of notable Birthdays and then to Carrickfergus for a great family Wedding

Both events were really good and the weather was very kind to us too, with sun and warmth as we travelled about.

Just time for a few watercolours and a couple painted before we went as gifts for the Bride and Groom.

Lough Erne is a huge Lough with countless islands and lovely views. We were able to take a boat trip on the Lough and visit Devenish Island with is now ruined and very old Church and Monastery. 

The ruined Monastery on Devenish Island on Lugh Erne. Water colour 14 inches by 10 on Arches NOT paper

At the southerly end  of Lower Lough Erne lies  the very old and historic town of Enniskillen.

The “Watergate” there is a focal point of the town and this watercolour was painted from photos taken from our boat trip on the Lough.

The Watergate at Enniskillen. 14 inches by 10 on Arches NOT watercolour paper.

Around the shores of Lough Erne there are many sights to see and this cottage scene is typical of the scenery.

A Cottage in Fermanagh. Watercolour 12 inches by 9 on Arches Rough watercolour paper.

The Wedding  was held in the lovely statley home called Magheramorne House, quite close to Larne and not far from Carrickfergus.

This sketch of Magheramorne House will remind the Bride and Groom of there Wedding day there as they start their new life together in Carrickfergus.

Magheramorne House. Watercolour pen and Ink sketch 10 by 8 inches.

Everybody wishes them All the Best for the Future.

Carrickfergus on the Causeway Coastal Route. Watercolour on Arches NOT paper 12 by 8 inches.

 

So a very enjoyable week on this beautiful part of the UK, and many more photos to paint in the future

Happy travelling

Brian

UPDATE! Shane Lowry wins The Open at Royal Portrush!

Hi Everybody

Readers of this post will have seen images of my watercolours of the North Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland before.

Shane Lowry the brilliant Irish Golfer has just won The Open Golf on the  Dunluce Links of Royal Portrush Golf Course on that beautiful coast.

Congatulations to Shane and all his team!

The Open was last held there in 1951 and for it to be there  once again is a great achievement of many people over many years.

I could not  help wanting to post some watercolours of the coast of Antrim and to start with a new painting of the 5th Green on the Dunluce links which is right next to the shore. This hole is  next to White Rocks bay and is often called that. It is challenging like the whole course and this weekend I am sure we will all see much excitement on the course from all the world class golfers assembled there.

The 5th Hole on the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Watercolour 16 inches by 11.

 

But Portrush is only a part of the wonderful coast line that starts in Carrickfergus and stretches all the way to Donegal. Here are selection from the many watercolours that I have painted over the past years. The whole coast is such a delight to visit due to it’s proximity to the sea, the wonder of the Antrim Glens and amazing places like the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and its many excellent golf courses.

Carrickfergus Castle

Sailing off the Antrim Coast near Ballygally

The Antrim Coast near Carnlough

The Antrim Coast at Ballintoy

Fair Head near Ballycastle on the Antrim Coast

The coast from above Cushendun

The Giant’s Causeway at sunset

The Bushmill’s Inn

And when you have seen all the sights you can happily retreat to the Bushmills Inn for great food and drink and good company.

Enjoy watching The Open, I will!

Happy travelling

Brian

The Heat and Beauty of the Cote d’Azur

Fayence ,the view from Le Moulin de la Camandoule

When the sea sparkles on the Côte d’Azur you can tell somehow before you go out that it is HOT. And it certainly was on our recent visit to La Napoule, 37 Celsius in fact most days. Nice to be in a air conditioned hotel and have great air conditioned car too!

However it was a lovely as ever and although just a short trip, there was time in the late afternoons for a few quick Pen and Wash watercolours.

This style works for me on travel and provides some ideas for large watercolours when home in the studio. In fact the next post will be one of these as a larger artwork.

La Napoule is a very nice place to stay and the large Pullman Hotel was very comfortable with a delightful beach to cool off at with a dip in the warm Mediterranean waters.

During our stay there we visited our two most favourite restaurants, both in Fayence; “Le Moulin de la Camandoule” and “Le Table d’Yves”. These are exceptional places to eat at, and both have lovely views of Fayence. Great dinner too with friends at “Freres de la Baie” in Theoule and “Le Brocherie” in La Napoule

So here are the Pen and Ink watercolours, all about 11 by 8 inches but this time painted on Fabriano 300gsm Hot Pressed watercolour paper, as this paper is very nice to use for pen and wash.

I hope you will enjoy them and also that you will be able to spend some time one day on the beautiful Esterel Coast and around the Côte d’Azur

Happy Travelling

Brian

The Castle at La Napoule

The Market in the Centre of old Antibes

 

Iles St Marguerite. Yachts sailing ,seen through the zoom lens!

 

A beach at La Napoule.

An afternoon of Pen and Wash.

We spent a delightful afternoon with Alan Colledge, a fine watercolour artist from Kent in England.

We occasionally visit his studio for some tuition on techniques and ideas and it is alway fun and rewarding.

This time was no exception and his information on Pen and Wash was excellent and so with his guidance we produced some watercolours.

Here is the main one that we all did after watching his demonstration. It is of Scotney Castle in Kent. This is a lovely National Trust castle and grounds and in the spring the Azaleas and Rhododendrons are splendid.

pan and Wash study of Scotney Castle in Kent. 7 by 8 inches.

You can find Alan Colledge at Art fairs and Craft and Farmers markets across the South of England where he sells his watercolours and greetings cards. This weekend he will be at the Midsummer Fair in Lenham in Kent. It is held at The Tithe Barn, Lenham, Kent ME17 2QD

Alan Colledge’s website is http://www.alancolledge.com

This was  a very nice day and quite different from my usual watercolours so thanks to Alan for showing us his approach to this interesting technique.

Happy travelling

Brian

A few days in sunny Sevilla!

It has been a poor start to the summer in England and so it was great to escape the rain and spend a few days with good friends in a very sunny Sevilla.

Just about 2 1/4 hours from London Sevilla is in the heart of Andalusia in Southern Spain and gets very hot indeed in the height of summer.in June it was around 28 so very pleasant indeed.

We stayed in a very old collection of buildings now a nice hotel called Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia on Calle Santa Maria la Blanca, about 10 minutes  walk from the main square where the Alcazar and the huge Cathedral of Seville are. This is one of the Hotel’s many inner courtyards which are open to the sky, but cool on a hot day.

A courtyard in the Casa de la Juderia Watercolour 9 inches by 7

The little streets are interesting in Seville with shops, houses and restaurants and of course Tapas bars. They get very busy late in the evening as eating out is a common thing obviously for the local population.

The main attraction of Seville is the Alcazar some of which is well over a thousand years old.

Evidence of the Romans in aqueducts and the layout of the city are also to be seen.

In between the touring around and eating and drinking there was time for a few quick sketches of some things that we visited and saw. These were all very quick sketches with watercolour that might become the basis for larger watercolours back in the studio.

A guide for the Alcazar is in my mind essential and our’s, Maria, was very knowledgeable and interesting.

The entrance to the Alcazar

The entrance to The Alcazar

Here is the front to the Alcazar where the queue to get in can be found.

Do buy tickets in advance for the Alcazar and the Cathedral as this will avoid the long queues.

Inside the Palace  the decoration , much in the Moorish style, is truly fantastic and very well worth seeing and the gardens are extremely beautiful too. After the guided tour we were able to retrace our steps to some of the rooms and to linger in the gardens and have some lunch there.

Just inside the entrance to the Alcazar, the first Courtyard

When you have finished and seen everything inside the Alcazar this is the view as you  emerge of The Giralda and the Cathedral.

The Giralda ,once a Moorish tower is adjacent to the enormous Cathedral of Seville and can be part of the entrance ticket. We didn’t climb to the top but even seeing it from below is very impressive.

The view from the Alcazar exit of the Cathedral and The Giralda.

Of course there are many other sights to see and visit in Seville, the Bullring, the River and the various old quarters of the City.

Also there is the Place d’Espagna built for the 1929 exhibition and it is surrounded by the lovely María Luisa Park.

By the substantial river is the famous tower, Cruceros Torre del Ore, built in the 13th Century.

A nice subject for another small watercolour!

Cruceros Torre del Ore by the river in Seville. Watercolour and ink. 9 inches by 7.

 

visiting Sevilla involves quite a lot of walking but most things are easily reachable on foot. Taxis are plentiful and reasonable and the trip back to the airport easy to.

Alas now back in the UK where it still seems to be rather changeable weather, maybe the sun will shine soon.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

 

Burnham Market

“In Burnham Market” A Watercolour 15 inches by 11.

Following on from the Workshop with Herman Pekel I have painted  this watercolour of a little row of shops and houses in Burnham Market in West Norfolk that caught my eye when I visited there.

It is a very pretty town with lots of shops and cafes and very nice to stroll about.

This watercolour attempts to incorporate some of the ideas that Herman showed us and is the first that I have done back here in my studio using only  hake brushes and some Chinese calighraphy brushes. They are fun to use and help with the dry brush techniques.

I plan to continue to paint in this somewhat bolder style and hope that you will like these results too.

The watercolour is painted on Saunders NOT paper and is 15 inches by 11.

if you are in West Norfolk do vist Burnham Market and Burnham Overy Staithes, and I would highly recommend a stay at the White House Hotel at Sussex Farm too.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

A Workshop with Herman Pekel

Hi All

I have just been lucky enough to have spent four and a half days at a workshop led by the great Australian Watercolour painter, Herman Pekel.

The workshop was held at The White House Hotel (stayatthewhitehouse.co.uk) at Sussex Farm near Burnham Market in North West Norfolk. The Hotel and the organisation of the workshop were superb and I would strongly recommend the Hotel for guests whether they be painters or not. The accommodation, food and the  ambience of Sussex Farm are really fantastic and we all really enjoyed being there.

The workshop was run by Big Sky Art (bigskyartcourses.com) who are brilliant at organising the time there and the facilities at Sussex Barn are very good.

However the star was Herman Pekel who did many demonstrations indoor and out and is a complete inspiration to the watercolourist.

He is engaging , and easy to be with, and full of helpful advice and he puts enormous energy into the workshop.

His ability to see the key aspects of a scene for a watercolour are terrific and watching his demos before then attempting the same scene are very inspiring.

I wanted especially to try to paint bigger and bolder and to learn how the brush marks and tone are so important to the finished watercolour.

Can I turn it all into practice now that I am back in my studio? I hope so even if only some rubs off after this one workshop.

Big Sky Art arrange for dinners at the White House Hotel with Big Sky Art founder, Janie, and the workshop attendees ( who were all delightful) and the tutor. This is a great benefit to understanding composition, the painting process and the big issues,  as well as being great fun!I

I have tried to be brief here and so here are some of the paintings that I managed to finish during the workshop. I would like to acknowledge Herman’s help in bringing them to a conclusion.

Obviously there are no originals by Herman on my Blog, but they were all quite brilliant.

I hope you like the look of them as they are for me a small step towards being a looser, more brush stroke driven artist.

Apart from everything else just being around North  Norfolk is great, the countryside, towns and the shoreline are all very inspiring to an artist. No wonder so many great artists have been drawn to this area. Now Herman has been there too, with a band of keen followers and students!

Happy painting

Brian

Near Burnham Overy Staithes. Watercolour 18 inches by 13.

Norfolk houses. Watercolour 15 by 11 inches.

The Pond. Watercolour 19 by 13 inches.

The Inlet. Watercolour 19 by 13 inches

Hills and Sky. Watercolour 19 by 13inches.

Across the Fields. Watercolour 19 by 13inches

Another watercolour of Rye!

I find the East Sussex town of Rye a favourite location for painting my watercolours.

I have done quite a lot and many have appeared on the blog over the years.

So here is another one,Rye from the marshes looking across to the harbour and town.

I hope you like it, it was fun to paint it!

Happy travelling

Brian

Rye ,the Harbour and Town in Spring Watercolour 13 inches by 7.

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Last weekend at the Master Golf

The 12th green at Augusta National Golf Club

Last weekend we enjoyed watching the amazing Master’s Golf on the TV from Augusta. As ever it was fantastic spectacle, and made even more so by Tiger Woods once again winning the Trophy.

While watching I sketched these three small watercolours as the scene of the course with the Azealeas is as always so wonderful to see. 

These are simple line and wash watercolours, each one about 9 inches by 8 and on Khadi watercolour paper in the sketchbook.

It could have been one of my ” Places I would like to be” posts and maybe one day we will visit there to see the beauty of this golf course at first hand.

I hope you like them , and if you play golf that the quality of the play from the Professionals will inspire your game too.

Happy travelling

Brian

The 16th Hole at Augusta national, known as “Red Bud”

The 12th Green at Augusta National Golf Course, viewed from the Tee.

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