Category Archives: England

Back in Kent ,Lockdown easing and able to travel around!

Hi Everybody

After our whirlwind virtual visits to a load of places around the world here we are back in Kent and enjoying truly wonderful weather and some easing of lockdown.

We are back to golf and can travel about, but staying apart and being careful too!

So this past week I have been painting watercolours of Kent and one of Pinmill too.

It is nice to be painting locally again and enjoying our own lovely scenery and towns.

As readers will know I am very keen on Thames Barges and so here are four watercolours with Barges as their theme. Two of these are at Faversham and the third is near Oare in Kent.

Early evening in Faversham

Boats near Oare in Kent

Barges at Standard Quay in Faversham

Another favourite place to go and paint is of course Pin Mill in Suffolk where the barges and boats near to the Butt and Oyster Pub are a key part of the scene.

Boats and Barges at the Butt and Oyster in Pinmill.

At this time of year, even a little earlier, if possible,  a day at Scotney Castle in Kent with its wonderfull old ruined castle and stunning Azaleas and Rhododendrons is always enjoyable. We didn’t make it there this year so the watercolour is a reminder to us to visit there again when we can.

Cloudy spring day at Scotney Castle

And lastly for now, two very quick sketches of our home town of West Malling. It will be nice to see the shops, cafes,pubs and restaurants reopen soon!

Enjoy any travel you can do!

Brian

 

Buildings in West Malling High Street. Sketch book pen and wash.

 

Buildings and The Parish Church in West Malling. Sketch book pen and wash.

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

Two Watercolours – Different styles

Hi Everybody

Thanks for reading my Blog posts!

This post has just two watercolours, but ~I hope you like the increased frequency of my posts during the Worldwide Pandemic.

One is a pen and wash sketch of some houses located right on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and which is just  10 inches by 7 and another which is much larger at 22 inches by 16.

The Ponte Vecchio is a very unique bridge still retaining the style common in the Middle Ages where houses were built right across the bridges in major European cities.

Very few remain and the Ponte Vecchio is probably the best example today.

Pen and wash is a favourite way  for me to paint and usually they are,  painted in my sketchbook, this painting is no exception.

Houses on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.Pen and wash sketch 10 inches by 7, on Fabriano paper.

However I also like the challenge of larger watercolours, with no pen involved, and this scene is of a view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun breaks through the clouds.

“Shafts of Sunlight.”   Watercolour 22 inches by 16 on Arches 140lb NOT watercolour paper.

 

With the larger painting multiple washes are employed compared to fewer on the sketch of course.

I have developed this style of painting since spending a week last year with the wonderful watercolour painter Herman Pekel and I am very grateful for his help with my technique. Not quite up to his standard through!

We met at Big Sky Arts at The White House Hotel in Norfolk in 2019 , a great location for a really superb watercolour course.

Anyway stay safe and keep well

I will be back to the easel!

Brian

 

 

Spring is really arriving!

Hi Everybody

Although we can’t tour around the beautiful County of Kent at present, the Spring is really arriving fast .

We are currently having the most lovely weather and normally I would be off taking photos of the Kent countryside so that back at home I could paint some watercolours of the scenes.

Its fun to paint on location as well but of course that too isn’t possible in the current situation as we sensibly stay home and try to help limit the spread of this horrible virus.

So a quick whizz through some photos and with a bit of artistic licence I can be somewhere in Kent with the Oast houses, Rapeseed  growing in the fields and a few poppies too.

So here is today’s watercolour, trying to capture that scene.  It is out there somewhere!

I hope you like it.

Oast Houses and Rapeseed fields in Kent. Spring has sprung! Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on Arches Cold Pressed paper.

If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.

Stay safe

Brian

A walk in the woods

Hi Everybody

During these days of being at home I am reminded that I had planned soon to go with a group of painters, under the guidance of Alison Cotton, to paint some watercolours in Arlington Bluebell woods near Polegate in East Sussex.

I had been looking forward to  the visit, but then had to cancel to Go on a golf trip with friends to the South Of France,which is naturally now not going to happen. Now of course a Watercolour outing like this really no longer possible, at least for this year. Let’s hope I can get there next spring!

Arlington Woods are very famous for their wonderful displays of Bluebells. This, the most English of wild flowers is a wonderful shade of violety blue and has heady and very strong scent. They are very common in Kent and Sussex and have featured in my watercolours before. One of those is also reproduced below.

So today I have painted this watercolour of Arlington Woods which I hope you will enjoy. The watercolour is 16 inches by 9 and is painted on Arches NOT watercolour paper.

This is my favourite paper as it is very nice to paint on and in this case I have used a block of glued edge paper which is also very good for travelling when I can!

 Arlington Woods in East Sussex

I hope you enjoy this painting and like me get a chance one day to visit this beautiful area of the English countryside.

The second watercolour was painted a couple of years ago and is of a small pond and wood near to Hawkhurst in Kent.

Stay safe 

Brian

 

                                   Bluebells in the woods near Hawkhurst in Kent.

Sunset at Leeds Castle in Kent

Leeds Castle in Kent, “As evening falls” Watercolour 15 inches by 7 on Arches watercolour paper.

Just a bit of an experiment 

A quick watercolour of Leeds Castle in Kent as evening falls

I thought I would post it, any comment would as always be welcome

happy travelling

Brian

 

 

Seasons Greetings!

 

“Do you think we will be able to play by 10 o’clock?”. The Golf Course in the winter snow Watercolour 20 by 14 inches by Brian

 

 

Hi Everbody

I would like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and  Good wishes for the New Year.

I very much appreciate you looking at, and following my blog and for your comments and interest in my watercolours.

Its been a busy year with a lot of new watercolours being created and it’s been exciting to ship quite a lot to homes around the world, where I hope they will be lasting memories of travel and good times.

 

Winter in the UK has been a wet affair with no snow in my area yet, but maybe we will see some in the next few weeks.

With that in mind I painted this scene a few days ago, of our local golf club  and it seems appropriate for this last post of the year.

 

Enjoy the holidays wherever you are.

Happy travelling

Brian

Kent, The English County that’s Home!

Rochester,visions of 1937,.A Sunderland flying boat makes it’s maiden flight.

Hi All

Another dreary November day, more rain and not much golf!

We seem to be having a very wet early Winter this year and as the leaves fall into ever increasing piles my mind wandered to all the lovely places that Kent has to offer all year round.

I thought I would see how many watercolour paintings I have produced over the past few years and it seems there are a lot, over 70 in fact and many have been in various posts in the past.

So here is post dedicated to Kent, our home County of England.

I hope you will enjoy seeing some of them.

Lets start in Hastings, such a famous town and still noted for its fishing fleet located on the “Stad”, or beach.

Fishing Boats at Hastings

Fishing boats at Hastings

 

 

More fishing boats at Hythe and Littestone


Towards the East are The White Cliffs, Dover and at South Foreland Lighthouse

Dover from the Cruise Ship Terminal. 15 inches by 6.5.

South Foreland Lighthouse on the Cliffs

And further to the East the traditional seaside town of Broadstairs

Broadstairs 18 inches by 14

 

Nearby on the Isle of Thanet, the most easterly point of Kent, and there we find is Margate, famous for it association with WM Turner.

Margate sunset 14 inches by 10

Towards the Swale and Thames Estuaries is Faversham, a very old town famous for Barges and its old buildings. There are many creeks in this area and boats and barges are often moored there.

Barge as Oare, near Faversham

Barges and Barge races are common around the Kent coast. Here are couple of watercolours of some barges

Barges racing in the Thames Estuary

The 2016 Medway Barge Race

Inland lies the great city of Canterbury with its magnificent Cathedral

Mist over the City of Canterbury

Sketch of Canterbury Cathedral

In spring Kent is famous for the beautiful Blue woods and the rolling countryside around Horsmonden

Bluebells

Near Horsmonden

i have posted before about the famous Oast Houses of the South of England, and Kent especially

Here is just one  watercolour

Kentish Oasts

 

And finally back to winter, no snow yet but will there be some for Christmas?

 

 

 

Oasts in the Snow

 

The gardens at Sissinghurst Castle.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this quick visit to Kent,The Garden of England,so I will leave you with a final image of Sissinghurst castle and it’s beautiful gardens.

Come and visit Kent sometime, there is so much to see and enjoy. 

And so many more watercolours, I may venture to part 2!

Happy travelling

Brian

A quick visit to The Seven Sisters in Sussex

The Seven Sister in Sussex Watercolour 12 inches by 10.

I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Country Park that overlooks the Seven Sister Cliffs at Seaford Head recently.

It gave me a little time to sketch the scene and start a painting of the view.

As it was November it was a pretty cold day but there was a lovely morning glow way out to sea in the English Channel and this just had to be in the watercolour, together with very threatening dark clouds nearer to where I was standing.

I love this iconic scene with the Coastguard Cottages in the foreground and the mouth of the river emerging into the calm ,cold sea.

so this quick post is just that one watercolour which is now for sale on Artfinder ,or you can contact me directly.

i hope you like it and if you get a chance make your way to the Country Park and walk down towards the Cotteges and enjoy this oh so English scene.

incidentally I also had lunch at the Seaford Head Golf Club which open to non memebers and it was very good and I was made very welcome there too.

Well worth a visit!

Happy travelling

Brian

brian@brianswatercolours.com

 

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

%d bloggers like this: