Author Archives: brianswatercolours
It is now 101 years since the end of the First World War.
Today we remember those whose sacrifices both in that War and since have enabled us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.
We will never forget them.
I am reminded of this in the personal sacrifices of members of my Wife’s family in 1917.
We have visited Ypres twice in recent years following the final days of my Wife’s great Uncles who were killed at Passchendaele in 1917. Visiting there was a remarkable and very moving experience.
We will always remember the great sacrifices made by so many over 100 years ago that give us all the freedoms we enjoy today.
Thanks for reading this blog post.
I like to paint my watercolours in a few regular sizes
On travel they are often 10 by 8 inch pen and ink studies that sometimes become larger paintings. Here is a recent example
In the studio or en plein air I like to paint watercolours that are 14 by 10 inches or 16 by 12. For me it a comfortable size and I quite often use Arches 300gsm watercolour paper blocks which are very nice to work with whether indoor or outside.
Again here is recent one
Occasionally I will paint lager paintings in watercolour up to about 25 inches by 20. For me these take a bit more preparation and thought and naturally take longer to do.
So here is recent example of a lager painting recently sent to a customer in the USA. It is of Durnstein on the Danube river and was based on painting and photos taken there a few years ago.
It is 24 inches by 16 inches and was painted on 600gsm Saunders watercolour paper . This thick paper is great to use as it retains the water for long periods and that helps with larger areas of washes.
Here are a few more larger watercolours painted over the last few years
I hope to be painting quite a lot more larger watercolours in the future
Just a quick post with some new and old watercolours of evening skies
Lets start with a very recent watercolour of Rye and one of a scene on the Rhine also painted recently.
And some stormier skies :-
And some calmer Evening to end this post
Happy travelling Everybody!
We have just retuned from a great 10 days with some very good friends from a Viking cruise of the Rhine that started with 3 days at Lake Como in Italy.
We enjoyed really great weather and mostly blue skies and nice white clouds.
It was a trip that we had been looking forward to for quite a while and it was very good with the most spectacular views at Lake Come and on the Rhine.
Many photos were taken and each day I managed to find time to paint some watercolours of scenes we had seen as we travelled on the Viking Longship and on a smaller boat around Lake Como.
Most of these watercolours were sketch book size pen and ink studies which I hope will prove to be subjects for larger studio paintings in the future.
3 were larger 14 inch by 10 watercolours more traditionally painted with a few ink highlights. I have titled each one with their details.
The sparking water of Lake Como and the Rhine made the scenes really great and the Rhine Gorge area was spectacular with it’s many Castles and lovely towns by the river. Our lake trip around Lake Como was wonderful too with time at Bellagio and stops at many interesting vistas around the lake.
So here are my Watercolours of the trip, I do hope you like them as they were all fun to paint.
In Como itself we ascended the funicular to Brunate for Great Lake views but Como Town itself is a very nice and ancient place.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, better know as Como Cathedral, caught my eye and so this is the first watercolour.
A view of a lakeside residence from the Como to Cernobbio ferry is the subject of this next painting with a water fountain being enjoyed by some local boys.
On our way to Bellagio we paused at some great vistas. This very tiny town of Nesso with a waterfall cascading through it to the lake was just one of many.
Here is my interpretation of the scene
Bellagio is very nice lakeside town to wander around ,enjoy a coffee and the stunning views. From there you can see and visit Varenna
i have also painted these two larger watercolours of Varenna
They are both 14 by 10 inches on Arches NOT watercolour paper.
Here they are
Lastly while on Lake Como I painted this watercolour of a lovely town as seen from our tour boat. It is called San Giovanni. Really a lovely looking town but so far only seen from the water. Maybe on the next visit….
We eventually left Lake Como and were driven across the Alps to Lucerne. A truly spectacular drive over the passes and not through the tunnels.
We boarded the ship at Basel, itself a very lovely town but no paintings from there as yet
We traversed 600 miles of the Rhine to Amsterdam and the passage through the Rhine Gorge was terrific with many castles and towns to see.
These two painting are of Kaub Castle, Pfalz. This was once a tollgate on the Rhine and dates back many hundreds of years.
On the way to the Rhine Gorge we stopped at Strasbourg and took a detour to Heidelberg on the River Neckar. I managed a quick sketch of the impressive bridge at Heidelberg with its towers.
From the Rhine Gorge we travelled to Amsterdam and stopped at Kinderdijk to see the lovely windmills there. That painting and some others are now awaiting action in the studio so another Rhine post should be coming soon.There were so many wonderful scenes to paint that I may be busy for while!
And so here is an update. This watercolour was painted today. October 1st.
This is Kinderdijk in The Netherlands. Our final stop before Amsterdam
This watercolour is 14 by 10 inches on Rough watercolour paper.
Title : “Kinderdijk Windmills on a blustery evening”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Around the shores of Lough Erne there are many sights to see and this cottage scene is typical of the scenery.
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.
Everybody wishes them All the Best for the Future.
So a very enjoyable week on this beautiful part of the UK, and many more photos to paint in the future
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.