Category Archives: Italy
A Place, a Painting, a Drink and a Platter. No 5 –The Veneto and Southern Italy!
Continuing with this food drink and place theme this post covers my visits to Venice and the Veneto region, and the most southerly part of Italy, the wonderful, Sicily.
As every region has such great specialities I just can’t cover them all but in these lovely places we have had such great times, drinks and food. And of course that special Italian hospitality and warmth of the people themselves.
First lets stop off in the VENETO and VENICE.
On the coast towards Trieste stands the lovely Miramare Castle. Commissioned by an Austrian Archduke it is resplendent with beutiful gardens and flowers. It is a truly delightful place to visit and then if you can, travel to Trieste and eat in one of the many restaurants or cafes there by the waterfront. There you can taste the local San Danielle Proscuito with some local Veneto wine. Trieste was the main port of the once Austro Hungarian Empire and didn’t become part of Italy until after the end of First World War in 1918.
And so to Venice itself. Oh. what wonderful place, where every corner you turn is a great vista and the back streets and canals are a painters’ paradise.
It has been hard to choose which of my many Venice watercolours to include but the choice of food and drink was easier as one special Restaurant really stood out for me in Venice.
Just off the Riva Degli Schiavoni, in a small side street called Calle del Pestrin, is the excellent Restaurant “Corte Sconta” . Great fresh sea food and a very nice place to eat. The Vongole was superb, well worth the walk along the Riva with the spectacular view above and below. More local Veneto wine too, or Prosecco!
If you plan to stay on The Riva degli Schiavoni then try the “Locanda Vivaldi” with its traditional Venetian rooms and a great location.
This watercolour was painted from a photo taken as we arrived by water taxi to stay there!
In Venice the trip down the Grand Canal is amazing with fine views and if you can visit the Fish Market then do! From there walk back slowly down the side streets until reach the Academia Bridge. All just amazing!
And so to finish this section on Venice here is St Mark’s Square from a Vaporetto, but don’t forget to buy your ticket before you board!
Down South to SICILY
Italy is a Country of so many regions, customs ,food and wine, and the wonderful scenery.
On the Mediterranean’s largest island all of these can be found in abundance.
We have enjoyed Sicily a lot and Taormina is a great place to stay and admire the views and the food and wine. I was first introduced to Pasta Norma there which was and is great! But also the fresh Ocrobus grilled is superb and this I really did enjoy in Taormina. If you can try the wine “La Segreta Nero d’Avola” from the Planeta Winery, very nice indeed and available in the UK
From Taormina the sight of Mount Etna steaming , or even erupting is amazing. Try to take trip up to the top if you can and feel the hot earth beneath your feet!
Here are two more paintings of Sicily too.
There is so much more to say about Italy but I will leave Rome,Puglia and the Amalfi coast till another time
Some of these and many watercolours are for sale or just to see on my site at
A few recent watercolours, Summer is here!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
PS Don’t forget if you see a watercolour here you would like to buy or commission a similar version just email me at –
Tall and Thin, Watercolours in a vertical format.
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
Here are three watercolours with a common theme.
The Pond,1,2 and 3 All about 50 by 20 cms.
This watercolour was inspired by a painting session with a local friend who had photographed this spot whilst in Scotland.
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.
This last watercolour is purely from the imagination and an exercise in a bright focal point in a watercolour.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these watercolours in a somewhat different aspect ration to my normal landscape mode.
Stay safe and well
More views of Venice – Update 2
I have been asked a few times since my last Venice post where we stayed and from where I took the photos that formed the basis for the paintings.
In fact we stayed at the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel right on the Riva Schiavoni which is just a short walk from St Mark’s Square and the centre of Venice.
We really enjoyed staying there and it is a nice hotel with a lovely roof top terrace.
Many photos were taken from there, some with zoom lenses and they are the basis for a lot of my Venice watercolours.
Of course when visiting Venice there are great scenes on every corner and there is unlimited subjects for artists. I certainly hope to be back there painting in the future.
We arrived at the Locanda Vivaldi by water taxi from the airport. Although more expensive that the ferry boats this is such an exciting way to get to the heart of Venice from the airport. We had booked in advance.
This week, looking back again though my photos I found one taken as we arrived and so this is a new painting depicting that moment. A small traghetto was passing by as we approached too the hotel under the bridge.
So here it this watercolour and a couple of others painted some time ago ,but again from the Riva Schiavoni or nearby
i hope you will enjoy seeing them
stay safe and well
Views of Venice
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
Coffee and Lunch in Lucca in Tuscany
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
Two Watercolours – Different styles
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!
Another watercolour of Tuscany – The wonderful San Gimignano
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.
Tuscany, Wonderful memories – We will be back!
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
Evenings, stormy and calm
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!