Category Archives: Kent in the UK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is very nice to once again be able to get out and about and even spend time sketching in the June sunshine in Kent.
This week I was able to do some sketching at Oare, near Faversham in Kent.
The marshes at Oare are a great wildlife and bird sanctuary and there is a pathway called the Saxon Shore Way that goes all around the coastline.
Where the Oare Creek meets the Faversham Creek is for me a nice place to sit and paint the boats, building and long distance view across Kent towards Faversham and beyond. I wasn’t going to be there long so the sketchbook, brushes and paints and three legged stool were enough equipment to paint a couple of scenes which could then be used to do some larger studio watercolours.
So here are the two sketches, each about 10 by 9 inches , one a closer detail of the boast and boatyard at the junction of the two Creeks. It was low tide so rather a lot of mud and not much creek!
Back home I had started some larger paintings in watercolour of this scene from older photos but my sketches have now helped finish these paintings off for you to see.
The first is from across the creek toward the boatyard with the buildings and the pub there in the background. The second is the same view as the sketches with a glimpse of St Mary’s Church in the centre of Faversham able to be seen even though it must be about 2 miles away across the flat marshy land.
And this view you have seen before. A rather impressionistic view from Oare of the creek with some barges moored.
Out of interest the two sketches take about 20 minutes each to do so it is fast and furious, but the larger watercolours take me about 2 to 3 hours to complete , albeit with some drying time for the washes.
I hope you enjoy them all.
Where next I wonder?
Stay safe and well
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of 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!
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.
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.
Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!
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.
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.
If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.
With a walk or sitting in the garden as the only outdoor options possible in these unprecedented times I am pleased to tell you that it has been is a really beautiful weekend here in the South Of England. Warm and sunny , a perfect April day.
Having done the walk, time to enjoy the garden and an opportunity to paint a small watercolour of one corner of it.
Our small Magnolia is flowering nicely this year, it must have liked the wet winter and the warm weather now,as we are too!
i also managed to paint another pen and was sketch of Portrush in Northern Ireland this weekend too. We had visited port rush last year, and it has, over the years, become a very nice, if a it busy, seaside resort with fine beaches and many new restaurants. And of course it is on the fabulous North Antrim Coast which has featured in many posts on this blog before.
This watercolour is of the Inner harbour where many small boats moor and where the quaysides are lined with restaurants. A nice place to stop at after driving all the way up the Causeway Coastal Route.
Stay well and be safe
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!
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.
With windy weather keeping me at home I thought I might paint a larger watercolour of trees and a pond
I woke up with this image whizzing round my head so that seemed a good excuse to have ago.
I do find painting at larger sizes quite challenging and this sheet of Arches paper is 22 inches by 15, and very nice to work with as it holds the water very well for long periods of time.
So here it is and I have added below two more versions of it cropped to different sizes below.
I can’t decide which version I prefer but if you have any thoughts on this I would be delighted to hear them
Just don’t ask where the pond is though!