Category Archives: Canada

My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 2 – Weeks 6 and on of the Lockdown.

“It would be nice to be back in Quebec”

Quebec. The Frontenac Hotel from the old town

As we enter Week 6 of the Lockdown I think I will have to get travelling even more.
With so many places already visited and new watercolours to produce over these next weeks I will start Part 2 and then add to it daily or whenever a new watercolour gets created.

We enjoyed a very nice cruise a few years ago from Quebec to Boston and visited many places on the way. But there wasn’t time to go everywhere and some places remain very firmly on our list for further visits to New England,Canadas and Nova Scotia.

Whilst on that trip we saw many lighthouses, there are a lot on the Atlantic coast, and so this watercolour painted yesterday is of the lighthouse on Curtis Island just off the Maine coast at Camden.

The Lighthouse on Curtis Island. Early evening glow. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

We didn’t manage to visit Prince Edward Island on that cruise due to rough weather which was a very great disappointment, but we did pass this lighthouse  on that portion of the cruise.

I

A Lighthouse on the eastern seaboard of Canada.

And one more for good measure, the Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbour.

 Bar Harbour is a lovely town to visit and stay indefinitely a place not to miss.

 

The Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor

So this week my theme of  travelling around New England will continue but who knows where I will travel to next!

UPDATE

One place on the Eastern Seaboard of Canada I had hoped to visit this year, as well as Prince Edwards Island is Peggy’s Cove. This delightful small town and harbour is a photographer’s and artist’s haven and so that is why this virtual visit is stopping off there!

I am indebted to Jeffrey Newcomer and his web site http://www.partridgebrookreflections.com for his permission to use one of his images of Peggy’s Cove as the basis of this watercolour. Thanks Jeffrey!

I hope you like this attempt to capture the scene and maybe i can get there in reality one day soon.

 

Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia

Whilst in the are here are two images form previous actual visits to this area.

Firstly a sunset on the St lawrence Estuary. We did see some really spectular sunsets there!  and a watercolour of a really fine schooner off the harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sailing off Halifax

 

 

Sunset on the St lawrence

I would really be happy to be there again too!

More updates in a few more Lockdown days.

Happy virtual travelling!

Stay safe and well

Brian

 

       

My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 1 -“The first 5 weeks in Lockdown”

I expect like me you are just wishing you could go somewhere, ANYWHERE I hear you say!

Well those days will return, but I have been travelling around the Globe quite a bit since the lockdown started.

It is of course Virtual, but by painting watercolours of various place I can almost escape there for a while. By the time I have trawled through old photos to find the one I want to paint the memories of these places come flooding back and the concentration of painting soon transports me to those far away places.

I have been posting these paintings recently so not many new ones but I thought I could put them together as a sort of Journal if only for my own amusement, and I hope yours too!

It all stared sitting in the garden in the lovely April sunshine thinking of all the gardening I should be doing, not to mention sorting out the shed, garage,study etc etc.

A corner of the garden

But soon the travel bug took over.

I had been worrying about a delivery of a variant of this watercolour of Porto in Portugal

to a customer in Toronto when I realised that I had not been to Toronto for a very long time and so the idea of a Skyline painting seemed the thing to do. Don’t ask why, even I don’t know!

Toronto Skyline

One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of Singapore.

Singapore

We had stayed in the Ritz Carlton there the last time we were there and this is the skyline from near there. What a City Singapore is!  I can even taste a spectacular meal we ate one evening there, in very authentic restaurant, of Beef in Black Bean sauce and Beef Rendang!

The trip back to the UK included a quick diversion to Chateau Chalon in the Jura in France. (That thanks to watching Rick Stein on TV). A wonderful area of that equally wonderful country with stunning ,and rather special Wine!

Chateau Chalon in the Jura region of France

And just to make sure the days were fully filled up, a  return visit to Amsterdam, another great place to be.

 

But soon I was back in the UK with view of the Countryside in Kent that I can’t now visit and another view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun bursts through.

The Kentish Countryside

The sun breaking through the clouds

Being back in the UK brought on another attack of the travel bug and a long weekend in Tuscany seemed just the right thing to do. So after a brief stop in Florence to look at the the house located on the Ponte Vecchio —

—I drove into the heart of Tuscany. It has been warm here in Kent and so the warmth of Tuscany seemed just so good.

Basing ourselves near to San Gimignano, as we have done before, gave me some time to enjoy painting some watercolours, first of Piazza della Cisterna in the heart of San Gimignano and then the view from San Gimignano across the wonderful Tuscan landscape.

Piazza dell Cisterna in San Gimignano.

Tuscany

Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!

In the Heart of Lucca in Tuscany

And so the first 5 weeks of Lockdown have let me cover a lot of miles without even stepping outside!

I hope that this Lockdown won’t go on too much longer but if it does my Virtual bags will have to be repacked and put into us again.

Happy Virtual Travelling Everybody!

Stay safe and well too.

Brian

Skylines

Hi Everybody

Life here in the UK is changing daily, and not for the better it seems, as we contend with the Virus.

Not going out is the new phase we are in and as it will last a while we will all be rather frustrated.

Maybe some more time for painting, reading, gardening and hopefully still some golf will now now be our new norm! Travel will have to wait for now.

So today I painted a watercolour of the skyline of Toronto.

After a recent commission from there I thought I should look up Toronto as I had only passed through it years ago when visiting Niagara Falls.

I immediately saw that like a number of other cities it has an impressive skyline and so here is the watercolour.

                 Toronto. Watercolour 18 inches by 8 on Arches NOT watercolour paper.

I have painted a few skylines before and so they are reproduced here. They are enjoyable to do and I like the almost monochrome approach I have used here.

As they are fun to do I think I might do some more, well there is going to be plenty of time over the next few months!


I hope you like these so far,more to follow.

Red roof on Teal lake. Watercolour 10 inches by 10.

San Francisco. Watercolour 16 by 8 inches

Rye from the Marshes. Watercolour 14 by 8

San Francisco, watercolour 11 by 7 inches

Montreal. Watercolour 14 by 9 inches

Stay well and Travel will return for us later on.


Brian

 

 

Places where I would like to be – Yosemite and the Canadian Rockies!

Some friends’ recent holiday to the Canadian Rockies and our trip a few years ago to Yosemite have inspired me to try to paint a few mountain scenes.

Using their, and my own photos, from these trips here are just 3 watercolours of those places.

Our trip to Yosemite was amazing, such scale and grandeur is hard to beat. and our friends photos of their Canadian trip reminds me that the West of Canada is still on our “bucket list”

I hope you enjoy this short post , I found producing these paintings a lot of fun, and maybe a visit one day? Lets hope so.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Sunset at Lake Moraine in the Canadian Rockies. Watercolour 16 by 12 inches.

Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Watercolour 13 inches by 9.

Cruising the St Lawrence and New England

Hi Everyone, thanks for reading this post.

We have just spent great 2 weeks meeting up with very good friends and together cruising down the St Lawrence Seaway and out into the Gulf and then on to New England.

It is a journey we have been looking forward to for some time and the places visited and the scenery were terrific.

It is our 15th year cruising with our four good friends and as always there is lots to talk about and to enjoy, both on and off the cruise ship.

Naturally it is great opportunity for photography, and for me, a time to paint some watercolours of the places we have visited on the Cruise, and afterwards in a short stay in Kennebunkport in Maine.

This year the vivid autumn colours are little later than usual but we did still manage to catch some views of the trees turning to gold, bronze, and red as we travelled.

Vainly we watched for whales which do frequent this region, but alas 3 spouts was the only glimpse we got, and a potential whale watching trip in Bar Harbor was sabotaged by bad weather.

Anyway I have lots of photos to turn into watercolours but here are the paintings that I managed to complete on the cruise.

More updates to this blog in the future as I sift through the photos and turn some into watercolours.

I have included a couple of extra paintings from previous trips to New England for you to see until I can get round to some new watercolours of New England.

We started the cruise in Montreal and this evening skyline painting didn’t work too well but it gives glimpse of this interesting and large city. Montreal is I am told the second largest French speaking City in the world, second only to Paris!

Evening at Montreal

Evening at Montreal

On leaving Montreal we were treated to a spectacular sunset which gave me an interesting challenge as a watercolour.

Sunset on the St Lawrence near Montreal

Sunset on the St Lawrence near Montreal

 

Overnight we sailed to Quebec where even though it was our second visit there we enjoyed walking around this lovely City. On our second day we took a “Foodie Tour”, which was really good. Local food and wine and stops many tasting places and restaurant finished up by beer and Cheese tasting in the Frontenac Hotel. Our guide was excellent and the combination of Food and history of the City was very interesting.

I strongly recommend this if you are planning some time in Quebec. Have look at http://www.toursvoirquebec.com, our guide was Jocelyn Belle.

On the tour the view of the Frontenac Hotel from the older and beautifully restored  lower town inspired this watercolour.

The Frontenac Hotel from Quebec's Old Town

The Frontenac Hotel from Quebec’s Old Town

Our cruise took us past the pretty Ile d’Orleans and Montmorency Falls ( paintings at a later date!)

Our next port of call was Saguenay, a town at the end of a 32 mile Canadian Fjiord. Despite watching for whales at the entrance to the fjord we didn’t manage any sightings.

 

From Saguenay we sailed over night to Baie Commeau, a small but interesting town on the North bank of the St Lawrence. A highlight there was our time spent at the Glacier visitor centre with amazing information about, and photos of Glaciers around the World.

 

From here we went on to Gaspe where we took to opportunity to visit Perce and its famous Rock. This vast rocky island lies just offshore and dominates the town. Here is my painting from a photo taken just out of the town at the lighthouse.

Pierce Rock. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Pierce Rock. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

From Gaspe we sailed to Prince Edward Island , but alas due to strong winds we were unable to dock there. However these two lighthouses passed by the ship as we sailed and approached the island and so on the extra day at sea I painted these two watercolours.

A Lighthouse near Gaspe in Canada

A Lighthouse near Gaspe in Canada. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

 

Blockhouse road Lighthouse on PEI

Blockhouse road Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

After the dissapointmetnof not landing at Prince Edward Island we sailed on for 2 days to Halifax, Nova Scotia. They have made the board walk a real feature of Halifax and it is very pleasant stroll along it into the town and up to the Citadel if you have the energy for the climb!

There are some lovely old yachts and small ships in the port at Halifax and fine views across to Fort George.

Here is a painting of vintage yacht sailing past Fort George, just a little bit of artistic licence here to bring them together at the island!

George Fort and a vintage sailing ship at Halifax, Nova Scotia

George Fort and a vintage sailing ship at Halifax, Nova Scotia

From Halifax we sailed overnight to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is lovely town with nice shops, and galleries, as well as being on the beautiful Mount Desert Island. Alas, it was pouring and windy when we were there, but luckily we had been there is good weather some years ago so we could imagine it in the sun. Our plan of a whale watching trip was impossible in such rough weather too.

Thus my painting of the Mount Desert Lighthouse is from an archive photo and is on sunny day!

Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor

Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor.

It was really rough weather leaving Bar Harbor and the night to Boston was the roughest cruise night we have encountered, not bad after so many cruises, we have been lucky!

We didn’t stop in Boston but picked up a car and drove with our friends to Kennebunkport where we stayed in the very nice “Captain Lord Mansion”. We really like Kennebunkport and the whole area.

In the centre of the town by the bridge you can see these 3 Dories slowly swinging together with the tide. Thought they made good subject for a watercolour.

"The Three Dories" at Kennebunkport.

“The Three Dories” at Kennebunkport.

We took a trip the next day to Ogunquit  and Perkins Cove and the Nubble light house near York. I have many more paintings of New England to do now but here is one I did 10 years ago of The Nubble which will do until I can paint a few new ones.

The Nubble Lighthouse - New England

The Nubble Lighthouse – New England, painting in 2006

So from Kennebunkport it was back home, farewells to our friends till next time and a flight back to the UK.

A great holiday with such good friends, lots of food, wine and great times.

What’s not to like!

Happy travelling

Brian

Brian@brianswatercolours.com

 

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