Category Archives: Italy
Views of Venice
Some few years ago we visited Venice with friends and stayed in the delightful Locanda Vivaldi Hotel, situated on the Riva Schiavoni.
It has a great location and the views from the roof terrace are really lovely both of the Riva Schiavoni and the Church of Santa Maria della Sallute and also across to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
i have been revisiting my photos taken from there and in doing so have painted two new watercolours of the views from the terrace, plus I have added to this post some previous watercolours also inspired by the scenes from that Rooftop terrace.
I love Venice and the amazing scenes at every corner you turn, and so I hope you like these few watercolours too.
Most of these watercolours are currently for sale on Artfinder if you are interested in purchasing one.
Happy Travelling and stay safe and well
Tuscany abounds with wonderful sights and scenery and especially some amazing Cities and Towns.
Right up there is the fabulous town of Lucca.
Its narrow streets, and the marvellous Piazza dell’Anfiteatro where cafes and restaurants abound is only one of the many interesting sites of this very old Town.
To whet your appetite here are two recent watercolours of the places in Lucca,somehwere for coffee and then a stop for lunch
I hope you will enjoy this brief visit to the lovely place.
Enjoy your future travels
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.
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.
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!
The City of Towers
In my last post I featured a watercolour from San Gimignano, so today I have painted a watercolour sketch of the Piazza del Cisterna, right in the centre of San Gimignano. This Cisterna in the Piazza was originally built in 1273 was enlarged in 1346 and painted by me in 2020!
This watercolour pen and wash sketch is painted across two pages of my Sketch book and measures 24 inches by 8.
I was a little surprised that I had not painted this scene before but by making it a large panorama I have been able to include a lot of this lovely Piazza. The Towers of San Gimignano are so unique and amazing ,”Manhattan of the 13th Century”.
Originally there were over 70 towers but today only 14 of them still exist. Only 6 are in this painting. Some of the Towers are over 150 feet tall.
In this painting I have included an artist, maybe we will be able to get back there before too long to soak up the amazing atmosphere, not to mention the great food, warm welcome and really super wine!
Also I have included a couple of previous paintings of San Gimignano produced whilst visiting there in 2013.
I hope you like them.
I am trying to post much more often that I normally do so that there are frequent new paintings for everyone to look at, and as I am painting a lot more than normal it lets me have an outlet for all my artwork!
Anyway stay safe, and thanks for looking at my blog posts.
All the best.
With travel now not possible for the time being anyway, Tuscany will be very quiet, and we all feel for the awful situation in Italy and well as here in the UK and around the World.
But we will all return to Tuscany with its wonderful Cities and Towns, the Countryside, very friendly people, and the great food and delicious wine.
Just as soon as we all can, because it is such a magical place to visit and enjoy.
With that in mind I decided yesterday to paint a large watercolour (well for me ) of the sun rising across the Tuscan countryside. Derived partly from photos taken from San Gimignano looking East and other photos taken on our last visit to the area.
Larger watercolours are exciting and challenging and this one has come out fairly well. It is 19 inches by 8 and will look nice mounted and framed I think. Something else to do!
Also here are a couple of very quick sketches, also from photos taken on that last visit to Sienna in Tuscany. These are both of the area away from the Campo in Sienna. There are so many wonderful sights there to paint but these two smaller sketches were also painted very recently whilst at home, sitting in the garden in the sun thinking of Sienna!
In these days of isolation I am very lucky to have such an absorbing pastime of watercolour painting to while away the hours.
Maybe soon we will be able to get back to some golf!
Stay safe wherever you may be and lets all look forward to travel in the future.
All the best
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!
This month just one painting, although a bit larger than normal in size.
This watercolour was painted from photos taken when I was last in Portofino a couple of years ago but the light on the water then lingers often in my mind which inspired this recent watercolour.
The painting is 19 inches by 7.5 to give plenty of room for the reflections of the buildings and boats in the bay.
I hope you like it and if you haven’t been to this area of Italy then get planning!
PS. Although this painting has been sold there are many more in my shop at
maybe there you will see just the item for your home or as a gift.
Sitting here in the UK in what is now rather dreary weather, too wet for golf and my mind turns to Venice!
We have been lucky enough to have visited Venice on a few occasions and each time there is some magical new sight to see.
So going back through the many photos I have taken there I realised I have never attempted to paint a watercolour of Saint Mark’s Square, “Piazza San Marco”. So yesterday I decided to have go at it.
Once when we were there there was a bit of flooding in the Square which does happen quite often so I have tried to convey that in this watercolour. I thought I had better say that in case you didn’t notice!
I hope you enjoy looking at it and just to set the scene here are two fairly recent paintings of The Rialto Bridge and The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute as well.
Ah, Venice, oh to be there now sipping a cocktail in Harry’s bar!
All those years ago when I started painting watercolours from our travels around the world I found that small paintings were the thing to try.
Today I still enjoy quick and quite small paintings, even the odd postcard to friends.
Generally my paintings are 12 by 10 or 14 by 10 inches, as that does work for travel very well , and recently I have bought an A4 KHADI watercolour sketchbook for our next few trips.
But recently I wanted to try something just a bit larger, and a little more impressionistic. So I decided to go back to a photo taken a while ago of Florence and this watercolour, 20 inches by 14 is the result.
I am not entirely happy with it , I had a vision in my mind of the finished article which hasn’t quite occurred but I thought I would share it with you.
This view of Florence has thousands of roofs, so the idea was to leave those purely impressionistic whilst highlighting the Duomo and nearby major landmarks.
I hope you find it interesting, and back to more travel paintings in a little while.
I have recently updated my two Travel Guide Books which you can download as FREE pdf files from a page on this Blog.
They are for The Cote d’Azur and The North of Ireland.
I hope you will enjoy them!
A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be able to go on an Adriatic Cruise with four very good friends.
Before that we had spent a lovely week in Paris in beautiful weather and it was all very enjoyable. Good food, good wine and above all great company just makes a holiday so terrific.
Our cruise departed from Venice and visited Ravenna, famous for it’s wonderful 6th Century Byzantine mosaics, Split where had delightful day visiting Trogir, a World Heritage Town, and Split too.
From there we sailed to Dubrovnik, where we visited the old town but as we had been there before also took a trip to Cavtat, a beautiful small village by the sea. After Dubrovnik we sailed on to Zadar, which has a very historic and lovely old town right by the sea. Our last port of call was Koper in Slovenia, and there we took a tour along the coast to Piran, a really delightful town on a little peninsula into the Adriatic. And then on into the hills to Istrian , where we met the local stall holders and sampled there excellent food, oil and wine. Slovenia seems areally lovely place as was Croatia for our earlier ports of call. Everyone was very friendly and we really enjoyed our very short time in these Countries. Good reason to go back for much longer!
Finally we arrived back in Venice and you can never tire of wandering the little back streets and crossing the many waterways cthat make Venice what it is. Away from the main areas it is often very quiet and peaceful and every corner brings a new and interesting scene. The opportunies to paint are everywhere and it will take me long time to try my hand at some of the photos that I have returned with.
That said there was some time on the cruise for a little sketching and watercolour painting and below are some of my attempts. Often done very quickly, so I hope over the winter to revisit these photos and paint some more reminders of our cruise. For those interested the cruise line was Silverseas and the ship the Spirit. All really lovely!
I hope you enjoy these paintings, and if you have been to these beautiful places that they will serve as a reminder, if you have yet to go there I know you will enjoy the whole area of the Adriatic.
Happy travelling and painting.