Category Archives: Antrim Coast

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

Return to the Antrim Coast

This summer we will be back in Northern Ireland for a short holiday and a family wedding. We are very much looking forward to it.

It will be great to be back to a place where so much of my early life was spent and where such great memories abound of people and places.

We will spend some time on the wonderful Antrim Coast and it’s splendid scenery.

Fair Head from Ballycastle Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on 600 gsm watercolour paper.

Recently I painted yet another watercolour of the scene from Ballycastle Strand across to Fair Head and so that triggered me into doing this post which unashamedly uses watercolours painted over the years of this stunning and very scenic part of the world.

If you haven’t downloaded my free guide with watercolours for Ulster then please do so either using the link above or via the iBook store.

This is a much shorter version of some of the paintings from that book.

The Antrim Coast road starts in Belfast but very soon you arrive in Carrickfergus with its great Norman Castle.

Carrickfergus Castle

After passing through Larne the road takes you to  Ballygally where the road is right next to the sea and Scotland seems so nearby across the water.

Yachts sailing off the Antrim Coast

The Coast near Carnlough

 

Watercolour of Ballygally, 11 by 7 inches.

A little bit inland from the coast the remarkable trees near Armoy are a good diversion and if you are a Game of Thrones fan they feature in that programme as The King’s Highway.

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim. The King's Highway in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim.
The King’s Highway in Game of Thrones

On the way visit Ballintoy, and Murlough Bay, also used in that series.

Further along the coast is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and of course the  famous Giants Causway with its incredible hexagonal basalt columns.

 

The Giant’s Causeway at sunset.

 

There is so much more to see on this great Coast so do take the time to visit there.

We will enjoy our next visit and if you can plan a visit to this delightful part of the world which you will enjoy.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

My Watercolour Highlights of 2016

Happy Christamas and Best Wishes for 2017!

It has been a great year for us and I hope you too have enjoyed the Year and also this blog.

Retired life is good and our now 4 Grandchildren and their parents are a continuous joy.

In this post I am revisiting some of my favourite watercolours of this year, which have originated in our travels around the World and visits around the UK. I have picked just seventeen, from around 50 paintings completed in the year.

Here is a reprise which I hope you will enjoy. For me this indulgent post is such a great reminder of the year.

I hope that you enjoy the Season and the New Year.

Many thanks for reading my blog, it is your responses and views that make it such fun.

All the best

Brian

January  — Crillon-Le-Brave in Provence

Although we travel a lot in Provence we have yet to visit Crillon, maybe in 2017. A bit of artistic licence in this painting!

Crillon Le Brave

February. The joy of some winter sun in Mauritius and the fun of painting while lying on a lounger at the beach at Le Touessrok Shangi La Hotel!

The Beach at Le Touessrok Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

The Beach at Le Touessrok Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

March.  Painting at home a favourite view from our many visits to Northern Ireland. Fair Head on the Antrim coast seen from the beach at Ballycastle.

Fair Head

April.

Near us in Kent is Rochester and the River Medway. This painting is a “time travel” painting taking us back to 1937 (even before my time!) when the Sunderland Flying boats were being built at Rochester. So here is a Short’s Sunderland flying boat over Rochester.

Rochester in 1937

May

With memories of a great weekend in Amsterdam with friends still fresh in my mind I finished these two paintings of  this fine and fascinating city.IMG_2653

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June

With the arrival of our new granddaughter in May local-ish travel led us to Malden in Essex. This painting , a new size for me is 19 inches by 8, but suits the scene quite well.

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July

Back in France and a chance to paint in the sun , from sketches and photos. The trip from St Maxime by boat to St Tropez is the best way to get there. Lunch at the Mazarin under the green awning and then a painting of this quiet back water of St Tropez. A delightful day out!

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August

More paintings in Provence An evening scene and big J Class yachts in St Tropez harbour.

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September

Two paintings for friends this month, one of Great Dixter in Sussex, and the second of J Class yachts sailing off the Isle of Wight. I am glad they liked them!

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J Class yachts racing at the Isle of Wight David and meg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October

A visit to Rye inspired this painting of Camber castle, built in the time of Henry VIII but now just a ruin. Rye in the background. Also locally the beautiful Leeds Castle here in KentCamber castle

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November

I like to read the excellent Bernard Cornwell historical fiction books, some of which feature Bebanburg Castle,now Bamburg Castle. Again in the wider format to highlight the vast beach and sky!Bamburgh castle

 

December

This month I have been painting some scenes of Venice from my photos and a painting from a photo taken by Mitch Zeissler ( thanks for the permission, Mitch) showing the Mission Mountains of Montana, which was the subject of my previous post.Della salute

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It has been a busy year painting ( and these are only some!) so I do hope you have enjoyed looking at some of my 2016 efforts.

Seasons greetings and Best wishes for 2017

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

Sun, Sea and Sand!

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu in Sicily

Hi Everyone,

Spring is just starting to make an appearance here in Kent in England.

As regular readers of this blog will know I like to paint watercolours from my photos of  seascapes and so I thought a post bringing a few of my Seascapes together might help me look forward to the warmer and  sunnier days to come.

Going through my paintings archive I discovered that there are many such paintings, too many to put here so I have just chosen some that I painted over the past few years. Most of the painting are 14 inches by 10 and painted on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.

Mostly they are places I am familiar with but one or two fit into the category of place I would like to visit as they were gifts or commissions.

I hope you like them!

Brian

Orfordness Lighthouse (Pope)

Fishing Boats at Orfordness Lighthouse

 

Bude in Cornwall

Bude in Cornwall

Balnakeil, Durness(Sleight)

Balnakeil Strand at Durness in Scotland

Paphos Cyprus - Version 2

A beach near Paphos in Cyprus

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The beach at Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.

Sandwood Bay(Sleight)

Sandalwood Bay in the North of Scotland

Vias plage

Vias Plage in the South of France

The 6th Hole at Pine Cliffs

The Golf Course and Beach at Pine Cliffs in the Algarve in Portugal.

The Mourne mountains

The Beach at Murlough Bay and the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland

Maybe I will do second post on the same theme soon but wherever you are enjoy your travels and the coming of Spring

Brian

 

Enhance your Family History Project with Paintings!!

The Black Arch on the Causeway Coastal Route.

                 The Black Arch on the Causeway Coastal Route.

By way of a diversion I thought I might introduce you to an idea I had some years ago which can add some extra interest to the documenting of your Family History project.

Researching the historical background of your family is fascinating but can produce a lot of data and alas that data, whilst interesting to the researcher, does not  make interesting reading for the younger members of your family who may  (??)  one day, show some interest in all that research. I guess it is not till we all advance in years that the history of our families becomes a bit more interesting anyway!

Just leaving the succeeding generations all the data is unlikely to be a successful strategy so producing some form of booklet or document is most likely to be a more useful hand me down for the future. Paper is not  much in fashion these days but a paper book or document, maybe also produced as an eBook as well, is still very likely to stand the test of time.

Even for bloggers like us paper is a good solution for long term storage of all that hard work documenting the past few hundred years.

The heart of your project will probably be the Family Tree but adding narrative to each of the families covered by your research will add some insight of the people in the Tree and their way of life.

I decided that to bring the project even more to life I would include as many photos of the people as I could find but that won’t take you back before the mid or late 1800’s. So to illustrate the histories of the families I decided to add some watercolours of the places they came from, sometimes as they might have been at the time, or just places that they liked to visit. Paintings of the Churches they were married in seemed an obvious choice and where possible the houses they once lived in. Even if these have long been demolished you can sometimes find data to reconstruct the scene, at least to give some context to the narrative. If your narrative can give some insight as to how they lived in years gone by this can be very interesting too. 

You will be pleased to know I am not going to bore you with my research data, but here are a few paintings that I have used to illustrate the Family History Book of the 6 major families that it covers.

First of all a couple of Churches painted as near as possible to the way they looked at the time. An earlier generation of my family were married in Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent during the exceptionally cold winter of 1911. This was the year I believe that Niagara Falls froze over too!

Kent, Minster Abbey as it would have looked in 1911

Kent, Minster Abbey as it would have looked in 1911

In the early 19th Cenury other family members were married in The Churches of Detling (then spelt

Debtling) in Kent and at Boxley Church, also in Kent

Kent, Debtling Church in 1809

Debtling Church in Kent as it looked in 1809

Boxley Church, Kent

Boxley Church, Kent

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the late 19th century some of my ancestors lived in the middle house below West Malling in Kent.  Here I have tried to reconstruct the scene in 1891. He was the local Weights and Measures Inspector, an inserting job, which invloved testing the beer in the local breweries almost every day!

West Malling in Kent in 1891

West Malling in Kent in 1891

The earliest record that I have so far managed to find is of a wedding in Lenham Church in 1628. I don’t think they had Linseed growing in the fields then but my painting tries to show it anyway!

Lenham Church

Lenham Church

Lastly some branches of my family and my wife’s family hail from Northern Ireland.

So here is the Church of St Anne in Belfast where a marriage took place in 1869. The Church was demolished in the 1890’s and the fine (and still standing) St Anne’s Cathedral was built on the site.

St Anne's Church in Belfast in 1869

St Anne’s Church in Belfast in 1869

Northern Ireland,Carrickfergus - Version 2 (Mandy and Drew)

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And lastly we had, and have, close associations with the whole beautiful Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. This spectacular coastal route has featured in a number of my previous posts. So here is a watercolour of Carrickfergus, the beginning of the Causeway Coastal route and a town with many associations with our families.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this diversion. Back to more recent travels soon!

Brian

A Week in Northern Ireland-Visits to the “Game of Thrones” Locations

 

Fair Head from the West

Fair Head from the West

Hi Everyone,

We always seem to be on the go and last week we enjoyed a lovely visit to Northern Ireland, for many reasons one of our favourite places in the World.

It wouldn’t have been authentic if the sun had shone every day , but in mixed weather the countywide was beautiful and we managed to tour around, visit friends and family and also visit both familiar and  new destinations.

Some of these were the locations of scenes from the very popular TV series  Game of Thrones.

We have not been devotees of the series but seeing locations known to us in dramas is always fascinating, especially when they have been “catapulted” back , many hundreds of years, to become the land of Westeros

So this post features some places that can be seen in the series. These are my interpretations of the scenes, and of course are not as accurate as photos but they are all original!

We stayed in delightful new cottage/apartment in Holywood (http://www.holywoodhill.com), which we would also strongly recommend if you are planning visit to Northern Ireland. Holywood is a nice small town only a few miles from Belfast with galleries,cafes,restaurants and shops and makes a good base to get around the Province.

Whitehead seen from Holywood Hills Cottages. Co Down.

Whitehead seen from Holywood Hills Cottages. Co Down.

 

Eventually I will update my guide book to Ulster with these destinations but for now I hope you enjoy seeing them in the blog, together with one or two other places that we visited .

Happy travelling and enjoy the Summer, if  it ever reappears!

Brian

 

The Church and Cliffs at Ballintoy. Co Antrim

The Church and Cliffs at Ballintoy. Co Antrim

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim. The King's Highway in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim.
The King’s Highway in Game of Thrones

Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains from Greyabbey. Co Down.

Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains from Greyabbey. Co Down.

Fair Head from Murlough Bay. Co Antrim. Features as the Iron Islands in Game of Thrones

Fair Head from Murlough Bay. Co Antrim. Features as the Iron Islands in Game of Thrones

Fair Head seen from Ballycastle. Co Antrim.

Fair Head seen from Ballycastle. Co Antrim.

When you are on a roll!

Travels with a Brush – Ulster

Hi Everyone,

I had such nice comments about my last post, “A New Venture” and the guide book to the Cote d’Azur that I thought that I should follow this up quickly with the second book in the series.

This new book is about Ulster, the most northerly Province of Ireland and becomes number 2 in the series “Travels with a Brush”. I hope you will like this one too. It is dedicated to my Mother in Law, Sadie, who died last year and who loved this beautiful part of Ireland, especially the Antrim Coast which is the first Chapter of the book.

I am waiting for the book to appear on the Apple iBook store but for non iPad users there is a PDF version at the top of this post which can be viewed and downloaded.

Once again all comments would be most welcome as that will help me with updates and subsequent volumes in the series. 

I hope you enjoy looking through it and if you haven’t been to this part of the world, put it into your future itineraries!

Happy travelling  and painting

Brian Tucker

Travels with a Brush - Volume 2 - Ulster

The Causeway Coastal Route – The Antrim Coast

For family reasons we have been spending  time in Northern Ireland recently.   Sadly this time has seen the recent death of my Mother in Law, Sadie, who was a lovely lady of 85 years.  Sadie  always had great love for the Antrim Coast as it had very special memories for her, especially the area around Drains Bay and The Black Arch.

We will all miss her a great deal, and so this blog is dedicated to Sadie, a very special lady indeed.

These places are special to us too and I hope this blog will encourage you to visit, or if you know the area to enjoy once again the wonderful scenery that is found there.

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The Giants Causeway is world heritage site and a route has been carefully signposted to it from Belfast. This striking rock formation is a magnificent sight , and with the new visitor centre a good place to visit in Northern Ireland

If you start in Belfast the Causeway Coastal route is well signposted and over a day, or two, if you have the time this route takes you along some of Northern Ireland’s fine scenery and one or the World’s great coastal drives.

This series of paintings, some of which go back a few years picks out just few spots on the Coastal journey.

As a starting point Belfast is a fine city but these days one of it’s not to be missed highlights is the new Titanic centre, located in the area once occupied by the huge Harland and Wolff shipyard.

A few hours spent there will be rewarding with its visions of Belfast of old and the history of the ill fated Titanic.

On leaving Belfast via the Causeway Coastal Route the road hugs Belfast Lough and the first major town you will arrive at is Carrickfergus.

Carrickfergus has one of the best preserved Norman castles in the British Isles. It is located next to the harbour. Built by Robert De Courcy in the 12th century it dominates the town.

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

After leaving Carrickfergus the roads turns inland but soon arrives near Whitehead.  Turn off into Whithead and enjoy it painted seafront houses and hotels.

At the northern end of the town there is good coastal path that leads towards Whitehead lighthouse located on the cliff top.

Whitehead lighthouse

Whitehead lighthouse

after leaving Whitehead the roads lads towards Larne,today cross channel port to Scotland. ferries have been going from here for many years.

Follow the Causeway Coastal route signs and the road soon rejoins the sea, and before arriving in Drains Bay you pass through the natural archway across the road known as The Black Arch. Just one of many aptly named landmarks on the coast.

The Black Arch, near Drains Bay

The Black Arch, near Drains Bay

From Drains Bay the road hugs the coast and eventually brings you into Ballygally. The old castle is nowadays a good hotel  and if you park at it and look back at the hill that you have just passed you will see the distinctive features of face profile that the shape of the hill makes. (Zoom into the painting below to see it).  This area of the coast has been inhabited for Neolithic times apparently. You are certainly treading in the steps of history!

Ballygally

Ballygally

Sunset at Ballygally

Sunset at Ballygally

From Ballygally the road continues to be close to the sea, passing through very nice small towns of Carnlough, Glenarm, Glenarriff and on to Cushendall. If time permits turn off at Glenarriff and turn into the beautiful glacial valley you will see there.  Back at the coast you will see that sailing around this whole coast is favourite pastime, almost anywhere you will find yachts off the shore. IMG_1553

As you now head on take the diversion that passes Cushendun and Tor head, stop off whenever you can to admire the cliffs, views and scenery. It is really good at many places. Further along the cost the cliffs are at their highest at Fair Head. If you can go there and walk along the cliffs. If not then from Ballycastle Fair Head can be seen well. Its prominent shape is shown in these paintings

The beach at Ballycastle

The beach at Ballycastle

Fair Head

Fair Head

Ballycastle has great beach and golf course too.   From Ballycastle the road  rises over the hills, but divert off it to Ballintoy and do stop at the headland at Whitepark Bay where the view is really spectacular. If you feel brave stop to at the Carrick a Rede rope bridge, and there walk across to and island above the pounding sea!

Tor Head and Whitepark Bay

Tor Head and Whitepark Bay

From there you will shortly arrive at the Giants Causeway. The new visitor centre is well organised and you can even get a bus to the actual stone formations by the sea. These hexagonal rocks, formed millions of years ago are quite extraordinary. It is rarely calm there so the pounding sea  adds to the drama of the place.

Here are two paintings of the Causeway.

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway

Sunset at the Giant's causeway

Sunset at the Giant’s causeway

The causeway coastal route continue further on to Portrush and beyond, but before setting off further do visit the nice little town of Bushmills. Here are good restaurants and cafes and most importantly the famous Bushmills Distillery. This, the earliest Distillery in the British Isles to be licenced is the home of Bushmills Irish Whiskey. It has a different taste and aroma to Scottish whisky so a tour of the Distillery is a must and a sample at the end of the tour will encourage you to take a bottle or two home!

Before heading to Portrush turn off to Portballintrae. A small seaside resort with a nice harbour. After leaving Portballintrae the road will take you past Dunluce Castle. This ruined castle is perched on the cliff edge and is interesing to explore, but it can be seen well from parking area just past the castle on the Causeway Route, that view is shown below.

Dunluce castle

 At Portrush you will find golden sandy beaches, dunes and a very famous golf course, Royal Portrush, a terrific challenge for any golfer. This seaside resort used to be the summer destination of Belfast folk, although much quieter now it is still a holiday destination. Nearby is Portstewart where you can drive on to the beach and not far inland  is the bustling town of Coleraine . There you can cruise on the River Bann which flows from Lough Neagh, the largest inland lake in the British Isles.

This blog is only a little snapshot of this great coastal drive. If, like us, you are attracted to areas where mountains meet the sea you will really enjoy travelling there. For me there is the benefit of scenes to paint too!

Enjoy your travels

Brian

Shoot it,Sketch it: Ballygally in Northern Ireland

Hi

By way of a change I thought I would do a Shoot it, Sketch it Blog.

Recently we stayed at Ballygally on the beautiful North Antrim Coast ( I have blogged about the beauty of this coast before) and while there took the photo below and then I managed to find a little time for a quick watercolour.

You may be able to see that the cliff outline looks so like a face in profile , and I have tried to capture the feature.

I hope you enjoy this somewhat different Blog, inspired by looking at the great artwork on Clouds of Colour!

Happy painting!

Brian

Photo of Ballygally on the Antrim Coast

Photo of Ballygally on the Antrim Coast

Watercolour of Ballygally, 11 by 7 inches.

Watercolour of Ballygally, 11 by 7 inches.

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