Category Archives: England

Cambridge and Ely sketches and large watercolours too!

Hi Everybody

We have just had a couple of days in Cambridge and a lovely afternoon in Ely.

Ely is a delightful City with a truly magnificent Cathedral and right next to it there it a great cafe called Julia’s Tea room, very nice soup and scones for lunch!

The whole city is very nice with walks and old houses, including Oliver Cromwell’s to see.

So just a couple of quick sketches to turn into larger watercolours back in the studio.

Ely Cathedral from outside the City. Pen and watercolour sketch 9 by 7 inches. Another view from the river. The Cathedral dominates the City from every angle!


It turned out to our surprise that it was Cambridge Half Marathon weekend , and no I wasn’t entered! It was a bit disruptive and due to COVID or just making life easy many Colleges were closed to visitors which was a great shame. However we were able to visit Kings College and King’s College Chapel which is fantastic with such amazing stained glass windows and a rich history. There are so many great sights outside of the Colleges too so we enjoyed outr time there.

Here are two sketches , one of King’s College and Chapel and a view along the River Cam with some inevitable punters gliding along.

Pen and watercolour sketch of King’s College from the river bank. And a view from one of the many bridges of Colleges’s and Punts.

 


We also has a superb dinner in a family run Italian restaurant right by the river edge called Mimosa. Really superb and they made us so welcome. A great find. Good Tapas lunch too in La Raza on Rose Crescent. The best meat balls bravas I have ever had!

Since returning I have painted two larger watercolours and so here they are. They don’t fit very well with the Cambridge and Ely theme but I have really enjoyed painting something a bit bigger and  bolder than normal.

Firstly a view of the Norfolk Broads called “Big sky over the Broads” Large, by my standards, at 21 inches by 9 and another of a view across the North Downs in Kent in the summer, bright fields and another big sky. Also large and bold!

I hope you like them

A large watercolour 21 inches by 9 on Arches paper. “Big sky over the Norfolk Broads”

Across the North Downs in Kent in high summer. Watercolour 21 inches by 9.

They are both on Artfinder (www.artfinder.com/Brianswatercolours)  if you think you would like to hang them in your home!

Now with a third jab received travel seems a bit nearer, let’s hope so!

Do stay safe and well

Brian

Faversham – A gem in Kent

Hi Everybody

Faversham in Kent is a very old, and historic town well worth a visit.

Mentioned in the Domesday Book and settled for many centuries Faversham was a favoured town as far back as King Stephen in the early 12th century. He  established Faversham Abbey and Faversham has for centuries been an important seaport and market town. Once a centre of the explosives industry and still the home of a major UK brewer , Shepherd Neame

Today Faversham has many charming old houses and a thriving market as well as a Quay where barges and other craft can be seen.

It is favourite place of mine to paint and enjoy the quaintness of the area, including the nearby marshes and the creeks leading out to the Thames Estuary.

It has a fine local Art centre in Creek Creative ( and a very nice cafe too!) and shortly Faversham will be hosting a exhibition called ” Home is a Feeling” at which some of my artworks will be on show along with many items created by local artists and crafts people.

Here is the flyer for it

So today I have included some of my watercolours of Faversham which I hope you will enjoy. If you get a chance do visit Faversham and enjoy the town , it’s Quay and the excellent hostelries and shops to be found there. 

Barges at Standard Quay in Faversham Watercolour 15 inches by 11 on Arches paper

Market day in Faversham. Sketch 11 by 8 inches

Oare Creek near Faversham

A Barge at Hollowshore near Faversham

Faversham Guildhall and Market. Sketch 11 inches by 9

Boatyard at Oare Creek near Faversham. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Evening at Standard Quay. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

I hope you have enjoyed these watercolours of the Faversham area and that you will find the time to visit this very interesting town.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

Sketching in The Lake District


Hi Everbody

Well,it’s seems amazing but we have just had a nice 6 day holiday in the Lake District of England, and with really nice weather too, whilst our home county of Kent was suffering heavy rain and thunderstorms!

The area around Windermere was very busy and fortunately I had pre booked very nice restaurants some of which I have mentioned below.

The visit gave me an opportunity for some watercolour pen and wash sketches and due to the nice weather I was able to paint them “en plein air” which was very enjoyable.

In the next post I will include so more formal studio watercolour  paintings of the Lakes but here are the sketches that I have so far completed.
I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Firstly near to Windermere is Ambleside , although we didn’t realise that Ambleside at the lake is a mile or more from the town.

We went there on a Windermere lake cruise but having to wear a mask all the time on the boat was both unpleasant and in my opinion totally unnecessary as we were all distanced and out in the open air!

The House on the bridge in Ambleside.Sketch, pen and wash 10 inches by 9

In Ambleside I managed to sketch the famous House on the Bridge, which is quite extraordinary and dates back to collecting tolls , I believe mainly to do with the sheep trade.

The next day we went to Derwentwater where parking at the Lakeside is a very tricky thing to do, but on the way we spent some time at Ashness Bridge, a very old Packhorse bridge near to Derwentwater.

I was able to two quick sketches of this very picturesque scene one from the South side and one from the North.

Ashness packhorse Bridge looking South

The road there is very narrow but there is a National  Trust car park thank goodness!

Ashness Packhorse bridge looking North

Not far away from Asness bridge is Derwnetwater and there is a lovely walk along the South shore of the lake, with views across the lake to Skiddaw mountain.

I managed to capture this view in this sketch and of course there are many more photos for future paintings.

Derwentwater with Skiddaw Mountain in the distance. Sketch, pen and wash 10 inches by 9

Our next day was spent at Ullswater after a beautiful mountainous drive from Windermere across the fells.

Ullswater was much quieter and thus more enjoyable for a quiet time sitting and painting by the lake and watching the steamer gliding over the Lake. While at Ullswater we also visited The Airs Force waterfall and felt quite elated that we climbed the 220 feet to get to this marvellous waterfall.I will be doing a sketch of it shortly, as I didn’t carry anything up to the viewing point.

Ullswater. Sketch, pen and wash 20 inches by 9

On our final day we spent a few hours on the west shore of Coniston Water and i managed to paint this sketch with the very old Coniston Steamer on the lake.

Coniston Water. Sketch, pen and wash 20 inches by 9

I have arrived back with lots of ideas for future paintings which will appear on this blog in a while.

In th mean time should you venture to the Lake District I would strongly recommend these restaurants, but do book well ahead!

In Windermere – Francine’s (brilliant) and San Pietro.

In Bowness – Villa Positano (great food and atmosphere)

Beyond Ambleside The Drunken Duck (very good food but more expensive) 

I hope you will one day enjoy them.

Happy travelling once again!

Brian

A few recent watercolours, Summer is here!

Hi Everybody,

With no travel outside of the UK really possible for us yet I have been painting a few watercolours of places that I love or would like be going too.

Firstly a watercolour pen and wash sketch of Polpero in Cornwall, somewhere we have been to, but,  I am  indebted to “The Hungry Travellers Blog” (https://www.thehungrytravellers.blog) for their permission to use the photograph from which this watercolour is based. I like the verticality of the buildings that they captured in the photo.

Polpero in Cornwall. Watercolour sketch 10 inches by 9.

Next two recent commissions of Tuscany and Umbria. I have painted these scenes before but I do love to paint scenes like these again and again! Of course they are always a bit different.

Lucca in Tuscany. Watercolour on Arches paper. 18 inches by 8.

A view of evening in Umbria. Watercolour on Arches paper. 18 inches by 8.

The Lake District of England is very spectacular and so here is recent watercolour of Derwentwater there. 

Derwentwater in The Lake District. Watercolour on Arches 19 by 9 inches

 

A quiet day in Venice. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Again and again I love to try to capture Venetian scenes and this one, quite near to the Rialto Bridge is a view that I love with the Church tower adding height to the waterfront view.

Lastly two more views of Engalnd

This first one is  a view across the Suffolk Fens  and the second of a farm and Oast Houses in Kent. I hope you like them.

Across the Fens. Watercolour 16 inches by 12.

Oasts and Farm in kent. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Maybe soon some real travel will let me post some “plein air” watercolours.

In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy the summer if it is that time of year for you.

Best regards to all

Brian

PS Don’t forget if you see a watercolour here you would like to buy or commission a similar version just email me at – 

brian@brianswatercolours.com

Tall and Thin, Watercolours in a vertical format.

Hi Everybody

One kind reader remarked that a recent one of my posted watercolours seemed a bit of a departure from my normal style, and that was so although now and again I do like to paint tall watercolours rather than the more common Landscape format I usually use.

This format seems to me to  lead me to a  to a “wet into wet”, reflection style and so here I have gathered some together for you to have look at.

Some recent and some not so recent but all a bit different.

The first one , painted very recently is of the beautiful Scotney Castle , here in Kent in the UK. At the bottom of a valley, often covered in late spring with a lot of Rhododendrons and Azealeas blooms  lies the old Castle and Folly.

It is a subject I do like to paint and we do visit there quite often

Scotney Castle . Watercolour, 52 cms by 22 on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.

Here are three watercolours with a common theme.

The Pond,1,2 and 3 All about 50 by 20 cms.

 

The Pond 1

The Pond 2

 

 

 

 

 

The Pond 3

This watercolour was inspired  by a painting session with a local friend who had photographed this spot whilst in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

A Scottish river in Winter. Watercolour 50 by 30 cms

 

Some years ago we voted Portofino in Italy and this was painted from sjhetches and phots of that visit. The colourful buildings and the tranquil bay just seemed to fit this aspect ratio.

Portofino in Italy. Watercolour on Arches paper 55 by 20 cms.

 

This last watercolour is purely from the imagination and an exercise in a bright focal point in a watercolour.

Sunlight on the Pond

 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these watercolours in a somewhat different aspect ration to my normal landscape mode.

Stay safe and well 

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Places I would like to be – The Lake District of England.

Hi Everybody

As I sit here in continued lockdown and recall our many and  varied travel plans that have all come to nothing, I remember how for the past few years we had planned a short break in the The Lake District of England. To cap it all we now have snow! , not a lot just a few inches but that is enough to cause some travel chaos here, not that we can go anywhere anyway!

Frustrated by not being able to go anywhere or even meet people I resorted this week to guide books and the web for inspiration of the English Lakes and so for the past three days I have painted four watercolours of some of the many places that we would love to visit in and around the area of Cumbria, with its magnificent scenery.

Maybe later this year or next we will be able to visit and enjoy the scenery at first hand.

The Lake District today lies entirely in Cumbria and is home to the highest peaks in England. It covers over 1200 square miles of mountains and lakes.

The highest peak is Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet and this first watercolour tries to capture Scafell Pike and  Scafell  and the lake before them called Wasdale. With around 20 lakes and many Fells and Peaks the Lake District area is a very popular destination for visitors, hikers, painters, photographers and all outdoor pursuits as well as for it’s good accommodation ,and great food, and a warm welcome.

Scafell and Scafell Pike with Wasdale lake  in the foreground. Watercolour 13 inches by 9.5 on Arches Rough Watercolour paper. Available for purchase on Artfinder

My second watercolour is of the delightful small town of Ambleside which lies at the Northern end of Lake Windermere and is very famous for the “Bridge House”.

The 17th Century house, originally built to store produce from fields on the far side of the Stock Beck, is one of the most curious and  often painted houses in the Lake District.

The Bridge House in Ambleside, a Pen and Wash Watercolour. 13 inches by 9.5 on Arches Rough watercolour paper. Available for purchase on Artfinder.com/Brianswatercolours

Other bridge scene in the Lake District, this time of Stockley Bridge in Borrowdale. This very old packhorse bridge is one of many in the Lkae District.

Stockley Pack Horse Bridge . 18th Century. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

My last watercolour, for now anyway, (there will be more when I can actually go there), is the view across Buttermere which is another popular watercolour artist’s view.

My inspiration here comes from photos and also a wonderful watercolour painting by Edward Wesson, an amazing 20th century English watercolorist who is an inspiration to myself and  many artists.

Across Buttermere. Watercolour 9.5 by 13 inches on Arches Rough watercolour paper. Also available for sale  on Artfinder

Lockdown has reminded us of how many beautiful places we have to visit in the UK and with International travel some way off, even though we have now had the Covid Vaccine, there will be many places to plan visits to over the next year.

Wherever you are stay safe and well and like us please look forward to travel in the future.

Best regards

Brian

The joy of Pen and Wash watercolours!

 

San Gimignano in Tuscany from one of my sketchbooks

Hi Everybody

I love to paint watercolours, and I have always been fascinated by this medium.

Whilst I get great pleasure  trying to paint big and bold watercolours I often find myself returning to where I started , using a pen and wash technique.

The sheer pleasure of the pen marks casually laid on the paper which may or may not be important later on is such fun and then applying washes of watercolour over it in a not too rigorous edgy manner is very exhilarating.

Maybe I am easily pleased but this process, which has to be pretty speedy, has been the backbone of my watercolours for many years and I hope will continue to be so.

Pen and wash can be in my sketch books, or slightly more formally on  Watercolour paper, I particularly like Arches watercolour blocks which are so great for use when travelling!

Let’s hope we can travel again soon though!

So here are some older and more recent Pen and Wash watercolours which I hope you will enjoy.

These first three were painted just this week from photos of previous visits and that is often how they happen.  When I can in love to sketch on the spot but that is a luxury which I can’t do at present of course.

Two scenes for Yorkshire first

Staithes on the Yorkshire Coast

The village of Robin Hood’s Bay

And now a recent painting of Mousehole in Cornall and one of the River dart in Devon

Mosehole in Cornwall

Greenway Quay on the River Dart in Devon

A few on place in Provence

In St Paul de Vence

At The heart of Vence

Fayence

 

Seillans

And a quick trip into Spain and Portugal

 

Sintra

The Hotel Courtyard in Sevilla

Sevilla Cathedral

 

Salamanca

 

An finally , for now at least, a few of both Canterbury and York

 

Canterbury Cathedral from Mercery Lane

York Minster from the City Wall

The Shambles in York

I hope from these you can see the reason why I enjoy Pen and Wash so much. Immediate , Colourfull and fun to do!

Stay safe and well and maybe this year we may all get to travel again.

Brian

 

Places I would like to be – Norfolk in the UK

Sunset at Hunstanton

Hi Everybody

This will be my last post of 2020 and it will be a year I am sure we will not look back on happily.

There have been many lows but some wonderful highs such as the achievement to create new vaccines so quickly and the care so many have shown to others in such troubled times.

My watercolours have been a wonderful visual journey to get me through these lockdown days and during the year I have painted well over one hundred watercolours of many places around the world as real travel has had to be replaced with fantasy journeys to places that we love or would like to go to.

To all of you who have taken the time to look at these posts, my grateful thanks,  and I hope that as 2021 arrives we can all look forward with more optimism to a better world.

And so it was that over the holidays I was talking to a friend about Norfolk and it spurred me into action to do one of these  “Places I would like to be” posts. I do plan to go there in 2021!!!

With travel a distant memory it would be good to be in Norfolk for it’s lovely countryside, coast, big skies and amazing sunsets. Not to mention the food and yes, Norfolk wine too!

So here are some watercolours painted over the past few years of Norfolk and they will help me and I hope you to reminisce  about or if you don’t know the area to get on to your list!

One of those big Norfolk Skies and  the shore

Let’s start on the coast where the lovely beaches meet the sky

On the North coast lies the picturesque town of Balakeney  famous as one the best places to try crab rolls and sandwiches. Blakeney is apopular harbour town with many boats and yachts moored there ready for the incoming tide.

Here is my watercolour of the harbour, a great place to sit and watch the world go by!

The quay at Blakeney

And one of some boats waiting for the tide

Waiting for the tide

To the east of Blakeney is the pretty little town of Cley Next The Sea, with is equally famous windmill which has been the subject of paintings for over two hundred years.

Here is one of my watercolour but in the style of the very famous watercolourist, Edward Seago whose paintings of the British coast and Europe too are all really wonderful. I really admire his work done in the 20th Century.

Cley windmill in the style of Edward Seago.

And here is another of the Cley Windmill but in my more usual style

Cley windmill pen and wash sketch painted on site.

In 2019 I was lucky to go to a watercolour workshop held at The White House Hotel at Sussex farm, with Herman Pekel, a fantastic Australian watercolour painter and we painted around the Burnham Market area , a very pretty town and with great places to eat and drink too!

These are some of the watercolours I produced during that week with his help and guidance.

Burnham Overy Staithes

Local houses near Burnham Overy Staithes, right opposite the Hero pub with it great food and drink!

The pond at Sussex farm Hotel, The White House, a great place to stay.

Across the Norfolk fields

A Tidal inlet near Thornham

Near Burnham Overy Staithes

Thornham Old Harbour

Boats moored at Wells next The Sea painted on a bench by the coast.

And lastly a dawn seascape at Sctby on the East coast of Norfolk

Dawn at Scratby beach

I am sorry this has been a long post but anyway I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Norfolk and that you have a Very Happy 2021.

Best wishes

Brian

Kent – The Garden of England 3, and a quick trip into East Sussex

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series of Posts about Kent we explored the countryside of Kent and some great places visit.

In Part 3 , the final one of this series we will return to some of the coast that we didn’t see in Part 1.

As an artist I am much drawn, excuse the pun, to Faversham and the marshes around that area ,especially Oare and the Creeks there.

So let us start in Faversham at Standard Quay with its sheds, shops, boats and barges.

 

A threatening storm at high tide.Faversham,Standard Quay. Watercolor 16 by 12inches

The rejuvenation of the old town of Faversham has made this very old port an attractive place to visit too.

Here is sketch of the Town centre on market day

Faversham, Market Day. Watercolour pen and wash 10 by 9 inches

From Faversham its is quite nearby to go to Oare and then take the road out to Harty Ferry on the Saxon Shore Way.

A ferry used to go from there across to the Isle of Sheppey, but alas no more. A walk East  along the Saxon Shore way will bring you to the entrance to Oare creek with it boats ,barges and boatyard.

The boatyard at Oare Creek. Watercolour 16 by 12 inches.

If you had travelled to the opposite bank from Faversham the scene is a little different and there, at Hollowshore there is a great pub for a drink and good food, “The Shipwrights Arms”.

Barge at Hollowshore. 14 by 10 inches

Back in Oare the view along the Creek across the marshes offers yet another view of the area.

Oare Creek. Watercolour 20 by 16 inches

So lets move on along the coast to Whitstable and a sketch of the harbour there. Again lots of interesting shops and walks along the shore at Whitstable, nowadays a very popular town to visit , especially for its Beer Festival and abundant seafood, in particular the famous Whitstable Oysters.

Sketch of Whitstable harbour and Fishermens sheds. 10 by 9 inches.

Across Kent to East Sussex finds you able to visit  The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and this well known view is captured on a cold winters day in this watercolour.

The Seven Sisters Cliff in East Sussex. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Hastings is nearby with the fishing boats of on the “Stad”

Fishing Boats at Hastings. Watercolour 16 by 12 inches

Back towards Kent but still in East Sussex is the wonderfully quaint town of Rye

Rye skyline from Romney marsh. Watercolour 14 by 8 inches

In Rye the Landgate entrance to the Town. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

As we come to the end of this series of views of Kent and East Sussex it would be an omission to not include some Bluebells, probably the flower of Kent,  and beautiful in the spring.

Here are two watercolours of them

Bluebell woods. 16 by 12 inches

Bluebells near Hawkhurst. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Returning nearer to our home town these two watercolours of Barming’s St Margaret’s Church are somehow very typical of Kent scenes in summer and in the snow.

Poppies in the fields near St Margaret’s Church Watercolour 11 by 7 inches

Evening snow at St Margarets Church. Watercolour 11 by 7 inches

A finally home to West Malling

Two quick sketches of our home town with it many pubs, restaurants and shops.

In West Malling high Street Sketch 9 by 7 inches

West Malling High Street and St Mary the Virgin Church. 9 by 7 inch sketch.

 

I hope you have enjoyed these views of Kent through my watercolours. They have all been great fun to create.

I have recently published on iBooks a Book contains many of these watercolours and it is FREE as a download.

Look for it on Apple iBooks. It can be purchased also from Peecho as a hardback book . You can also download 

a pdf version of the new book here.

Travels with a Brush Kent Vol 3 V2 1

Be safe and happy wherever you are.

Brian

 

Kent – The Garden of England Part 1

Hi Everybody wherever you may be.

All this extra time at home this year has made me realise how fortunate we are to live in the very beautiful County of Kent in the South East of England

So I thought maybe a few posts of some old and new Kentish scenes would hopefully be interesting to my readers.

It isn’t a tour exactly but a rather haphazard wandering of our very fine piece of England. Due to the large number of places(and watercolours!) I would like to include this post will come in Three parts and this is thus Part 1

I was born In Kent rather a long time ago and more by luck than judgement we can back to live in Kent in the 1970’s. It’s a decision that has worked out well for us as a family and it has given us all the benefits of this lovely part of the UK and it’s proximity to Europe too.

Historically Kent has had a big part to play in the development of the UK and this is very true of our first stopping place, Canterbury.

Canterbury is dominated by the magnificent Cathedral and it’s history, especially that of Thomas a Beckett and the Canterbury tales by Chaucer.

It can be seen from all around the City and here are two watercolour sketches, one of the Cathedral and one of St Augustines Abbey.

Canterbury Cathedral from Mercery Lane. Watercolour sketch

It is only a few miles to travel to the North Coast of Kent from Canterbury and from Whitstable there is a long range view toward Reculver,a ruin today but once Roman fort and then an Abbey.

Reculer on the North Kent Coast Water 12 by 10 anches

As you travel further East you come to the seaside town of Margate with sandy beaches.  Here is a watercolour of  a sunset at Margate . Margate was a favourite place to paint for W M Turner. My sunset isn’t quite up to his standard though!. In Margate today there is the excellent Turner Gallery, which is well worth a visit.

 

Sunset at Margate. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

 

Continuing round the Isle of Thanet brings you to Broadstairs and  the white cliffs coast that stretches all to way to Sussex. Here the beaches are sand but as you travel further west the sand changes to shingle.

Broadstairs – Viking Bay. Watercolour 16 inches by 12

 

 

 

Kites flying at Botany Bay, near Broadstairs. Watercolour 14 anches by 10

 

Toward Dover is the North Foreland Lighthouse on top of the cliffs and in Dover itself the view of the Castle from the Harbour spit is gréât.

 

 

North Foreland Lighthouse.Watercolour 14 by 10 anches

Dover Castle from the Harbour. Watercolour

From Dover travelling west now you come to Folkestone and  Hythe and then Hastings. So here to finish Part 1 are few watercolours of Hythe and Hastings.

Fishing boats at Hythe in Kent. One of my first ever watercolours ,over 20 years ago!

Fishing boats on the Stad at Hastings

More fishing boats at Hastings

In Part 2 of this Blog Post we will visit other inland and coastal parts of Kent.
In the meantime I hope you have enjoyed this wander around our fine County of England.

Regards
Brian
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