Category Archives: Landscape
In Derbyshire lies the English Peak district.
An area of great classical English country beauty with rolling hills, interesting towns, famous historical Country Houses and , in the High Peak some really spectacular scenery.
So for a few days we stayed in a great Hotel, The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow, It is very close to Chatsworth House and whilst based there we toured around this fine part of Central England.
Good and generous food portions and really delightful scenery abound and so it was a nice opportunity to do some sketching and painting of the area.
As we were so close to Chatsworth we spent some time there both inside this extravagant home of one of England’s historically richest families and in the countryside of the Derbyshire Dales.
If you haven’t visited this area it is very well worth doing so.
Derbyshire and the Paek District has some wonderful Pack horse bridges and waterfalls. Here are Sketches of two of them to give you some idea of the great scenery to be seen in the area.
Whilst in the Peak District one the best places to visit is the Hope Valley and Castleton. Castleton is a nice small town nesting below Winnats Pass with lots of pubs and coffee shops. It is also the home of Blue John Jewellery which is mined just outside the Town.
From Castleton the drive over Winnats Pass is amazing and for those with better walking capabilities than I it is a wonderful hiking area. At the top of Winnats Pass the scenery is really lovely with Mam Tor and the high peak area really delightful.
This sketch tries to capture that panorama there but you reall have to go there to experience the spectacular nature if the area.
We visited the very interesting village of Eyam. There in 1665 plague struck and the villagers virtually sealed themselves off to await their fate, and thus not infect others. Many died both there and right across the UK and Eur0pe. In Eyam there is an excellent museum with great details of the history of that time and a lot of very interesting information about the village and the plague.
Quite close to the M1 in this area you will also find Hardwick House, the former home of Bess of Hardwick and the creator of Chatsworth. Another great house to visit and get the feel of Elizabethan 17th Century England.
We enjoyed our time in The Peak District a great deal and will return there again to explore more of the scenery, towns and villages of the area.
It was great to spend a week visiting friends and family in Northern Ireland and revisiting many great locations there, luckily I was able to fit in a few watercolour sketches along the way!
Readers of this blog will be familiar with how much we enjoy the North Antrim Coast and the spectacular scenery there.
Even the drive from Larne to Portrush is spectacular with the Causeway Coastal Route hugging the coast for so many wonderful miles.
We based ourselves this time in a great house rental in Whiteabbey (Abbeyselfcatering.co.uk) which I would strongly recommend as it’s location, near to Belfast and Carrickfergus is a great touring base for all of Northern ireland.
Whlist in Northern Ireland there wasn’t a lot of time for painting but I did manage a few “en plain air” sketches which are in this blog and were painted during out visits to the areas.
Firstly, The Giants Causeway, sitting on those famous hexagonal stones, and dodging the showers gave me time for couple of quick sketches .
And also the next bay with the amazing rock formations –
It is a busy place and pre-booking is well advised as coach loads of visitors, some from cruise ships, go there to marvel at this natural phenomenon.
Just a few miles further down the road is the famous Carrick -a-Rede rope bridge which is some 98 feet above the rocks below.
Here are two sketches one on cartridge paper which will give you some idea of the Bridge.
In the great seaside town of Ballycastle is one of the finest beaches you will see with the backdrop of the cliff known as Fair Head. This has been one of my favourite subjects over many years and here is a recent quick watercolour and a studio watercolour painted before this visit.
Of course for me a trip to Northern ireland would not be complete without a glimpse of the Mourne Mountains 30 miles south of Belfast. No time for a sketch so here are two studio watercolours of these beautiful mountains above Newcastle and Murlough Bay.
And lastly a semi abstract watercolour of the same scene painted a couple of weeks ago.
This was a short but lovely visit to Northern Ireland with is wonderful scenery, people, food and drink. ( Yes, I did manage a quick stop at the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery in Bushmills to collect some supplies!)
I hope that you will enjoy these sketches and watercolours.
If you would like to see more please download my free Guide Book to Ulster which you will find in the Header to this Blog, or search of for the book on the Apple iBookstore.,where it is also free.
Some of these and many more of my watercolours are for sale on http://www.Artfinder.com/brianswatercolours
We have just returned from two lovely weeks holiday in Provence, one of our most favourite areas in the World.
We drove from the UK in leisurely style stopping twice on the two long journeys.
Alas we hasd a lot of thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings whilst in Tourettes, near Fayence in Provence, but that didn’t stop us enjoying it all a lot . It did curtail eating dinners outside in the evenings though which we were very surprised were occurring in June. Storms often seem to be more common in August and September after a long hot summer.
I was able to do quite a lot of painting watercolours which of course I really enjoyed.
Below are my efforts which I hope you will like.The string of hill villages and towns from Vence to Seillans and beyond are are delightful, lovely narrow streets to wander through, and so here is Tourettes where were were staying in a lovely traditional home with views of the countryside.
Close by is the village of Callian. These fortified towns are very old and each one is well worth the visit. In each you will find cafes, boulangeries, and restaurants with delightful local produce to enjoy.
Non more so than Seillans where the restaurant “Chez Hugo” is very good and the setting of the Restaurant “La Gloire de Mon Pere” is depicted below.
Nearby too was Fayence where in the square by the Église Saint Jean Baptiste are Cafés and Restaurants , and many more further up into the town.
Further north from Seillans and Fayence is the fine town of Bargemon
Here is quick sketch of the shoppers there.
Of course whilst in the Côte D’Azur we could not resist a trip to St Tropez, using the ferry from St Maxime. We were very lucky to see a large yacht race going on in the waters just off St Tropez too and here is watercolour of the scene as we entered the harbour there.
In St Tropez there are so many great scenes but this new one is from the Quad towards the Church. The church is a great landmark from all around.
This is a watercolour from a previous visit but as it one on my all time favourite scenes to paint I could not resist including it here
And one more, a back street with lovely restaurants at the rear of that famous Church
From St Tropez, after lunch in Le Mazaran restaurant, (with the green umbrellas above and great omelette and chips, washed down with local Rosé wine) we took the ferry back to St Maxime and then we drove all the way round the coast back to La Napoule via St Aygulf, Fréjus, StRaphael, Agay and Théoule sur Mer on the wonderful Esterel coast road, surely one of the greatest coastal drives in the world!
being on the Côte D’Azur is never complete for us without a visit to Antibes and so we also went there once again. With the great castle opposite Antibes is a lovely town to visit and enjoy a coffee ,or lunch in one of the many eateries there.
We really do love Provence and the Côte d’Azur, and no doubt we will be back again in the future
Until then I hope you have enjoyed these few watercolours of this wonderful region of France
It is raining again!
During this dreary winter in Kent there have been quite a lot of opportunities to paint in the warmth of my studio!
Here are some recent works including one larger than usual watercolour.
Of course we did manage a trip to Madeira which was in a recent post which we really did enjoy as well.
This scene is one of my favourites and has also been popular on Artfinder.
We love Provence and this bridge reminds me of so many great times there.
And more locally –
And lastly a recent watercolour,the largest that I have ever attempted.
This is of Salisbury Cathedral when the Meadows by the River Avon are flooded, as they do twice a year.
With thanks to Rob of Robert Franklin Photography for his permission to use his excellent image.
The watercolour is 40 inches by 12 , by some way the largest I have painted. The watercolour is painted on 600 gsm Arches paper for stability. Very exciting to produce!
I hope eventally to produce some high quality smaller prints from this original watercolour.
So pretty busy of late and now looking forward to spring, some sunshine, and some outdoor painting.
Don’t forget if any of these images catches your eye some are available for sale on http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours.
Prices are reasonable and delivery fast!
For this post in this series on food and drink and scenery we are heading off to Northern Italy, well a few parts of it anyway. In Part two we will visit the Veneto area and Sicily.
Lago di Como
Our first stop is the beautiful Lake Como, a truly magnificent area of Northern Italy.
The sparkling waters of the Lake , which is surrounded by impressive mountains and then by the shore there are many delightful towns and villages.
We most recently stayed in Cernobbio where the town nestles against the southern end if the lake.
One evening we ate in a really very good and ever so friendly restaurant in the town called “Osteria del Beuc”. Amongst a delightful selection of food we enjoyed some great lake perch,lightly pan fried and really great.
We washed it down with some excellent Gavi di Gavi chilled white Italian wine.
It was a memorable evening enjoyed with great friends and we ended it with a stroll by the lake.
The next day we went in a motor launch along the lake, taking in the sights and lunching at Bellagio, a really lovely town, only rivalled in the area by Varenna.
There are so many great sights along the Lake with many famous gardens and Villas.
Here are some watercolours of Lake Como, a place we look forward to returning to.
Just the word Tuscany brings back wonderful memories of holidays spent in the lovely part of Italy.
Everywhere you turn in Tuscany there are great scens to savour, let alone the food and the stunning wine.
It is a region we love from the treasures of Firenza to the towers of San Gimignano it is all very stunning. Not to mention Pas and Sienna to!
One town I have loved to paint in is Lucca with such an iconic oval Piazza surrounded by cafes and restaurants. I am pleased to say that quite a few people around the world have original watercolours, each one different naturally, of this scene.
Just to sit and enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by is enough there to give you a great sense on calm and pleasure.
The towers of San Gimignano are really quite amazing. Although many have disappeared the are still a lot to admire.
Over 500 years old in many cases they dominate this delightful town with its many restaurants, and even more tourists!
One real food highlight there was a gelato enjoyed in the main Piazza with the towers all around us.
Here are a few more watercolours of Tuscany which i hope you will enjoy.
In Part Two of this post we will visit Venice, and the adriatic coast before travelling down south to beautiful Sicily
i hope you are enjoying this very selective visit to Italy and much as I am
This new occasional series of posts picks out some wonderful places that we have visited in our travels, drinks we have enjoyed there and some memorable meals.
As you know I love to record our travels in watercolour and so this series will feature watercolours painted during those many years of travel.
It will cover a good number of Countries, but we have to start somewhere and so here is the first post in this series , featuring a a few parts of Australia.
- Sydney and Watson’s Bay
Sydney is one of the World’s great destinations. Its location , Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are only a part of the great cultural attractions of this City.
Savour the great wines, enjoy the scene and the food all around the harbour and the City.
However my choice for this first entry is just in the outskirts of Sydney at Watson’s Bay, approached from the Bay on one of the Ferry boats this headland town boasts one of the finest Fish Eateries, Doyles!
Get a balcony table and enjoy the great fish and chips,( we ate Kingfish) enjoy a lovely glass or two of crisp unoaked Australian Chadonnay. The views are great and then reboard the ferry and tour the whole of the Bay.
2. The Barossa Valley
Many years ago on a visit to Adelaide I had the chance to spend some time in the Wine region of The Barossa Valley. A recent article in the newspaper had me looking back at my notes and photos and this led me to produce this watercolour painting , a Pen and Wash sketch.
The wines in the Barossa Valley are great, some legendary, and on that visit I enjoyed some Old Vines Shiraz and a great Australian “Barbie” .
Australian bred beef is terrific and we naturally had some wonderful steak and some Kangaroo too. The visits to the Wineries were very good. The scenery all around the region was lovely. I hope my watercolour captures a small part of this great part of South Australia.
3. The Blue Mountains
Not many hours from Sydney are the beautiful Blue Mountains. A great place to stay and visit with sweeping vistas in all directions. The steepest train ride anywhere too I seem to remember.
We stayed at Katoomba and enjoyed great hospitality and food. One really memorable dinner was in Leura , at a restaurant called Silk’s Brasserie where ate great beef tenderloin and had some of the best food and service possible.
I see it has moved now from Central Leura to Silvermere in Wentworth Falls, it is great to see they are still doing well. And of course our meal was accompanied by a lovely Australian Cabernet Sauvignon!
Next time we will reminisce about the Cote d’Azur in France.
I hope you have enjoyed this first post of this new series.
Happy New Year!
Well lets hope it is — for us all.
A return to travelling , meeting eveyone, ditching the mask and returning life to normal. It it too much to ask?
Alas it may be but we can only plan and dream, and we do have some plans to look forward to but I wont tempt fate by talking about them yet.
So today a couple of watercolours to welcome the New Year, painted this week between Christmas and New Year of the English Lake District, one of the few places we did manage to go to in 2021.
I was amazed to find that I have a ready painted 18 sketches and watercolours of the region since travelling there in June 2021. I guess that is because we really enjoyed the area, the people and the food there, and the scenery is stunning!
Although in June it was very busy with all of us Staycationers!
These two new watercolours are of Buttermere and the beautiful waterfalls at Aira Force near the shore of Ullswater at Glenridding.
The climb up to the top of the bridge shown in this watercolour is about 150 metres which was for us quite an achievement!
But the circular walk is really a lovely experience and well worth the climb.
The falls drop about 20 metres and the roar is terrific.
The second watercolour is a larger work of Buttermere Lake, still in the Lake Dirsict but a little futher west of Ullswater.
It is very famous for Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks and the area has always been a popular place for painters and walkers with the mountains coming down to the lake.
This is a more traditional watercolour of Buttermere , this time in more Autumn hues and is 50 by 30 cms and is painted on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper, my favourite watercolour medium.
It is for sale on Artfinder as are many of my watercolours.
I was prompted by our lack of recent travel to tally up the Countries that we have visited over many years, and I was surprised to find that it came to 57 different Countries. Mind you as there are over 190 Countries worldwide there is still plenty of scope for more to be added, let us hope we can!
Of those 57, I have painted watercolours and sketches of 45 and many are in this Blog’s archives.
In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy wherever you are.
As we have found over the past two years there are many fabulous places in your own area and Country to see and explore.
Very Best Wishes for 2022
or contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and i will happily take on commissions for watercolours that are special to you!
It is what I really love to do!
This is probably my last post of 2021 and although it has been a pretty dreadful year over all my watercolour painting has been a great thing to keep me busy and with many paintings finished and quite a lot sold, donated or given away I have had great pleasure from my hobby!
I hope for everyone that 2022 will be a better year and that we will all manage to learn to live with the remnants of Covid and once again be able to travel and meet up with Family and Friends.
I hope to continue painting lots of watercolours, in differing styles and sizes , including my venture into watercolours painted on to prepared canvases.
We have few travel plans for 2022 so I hope these will enable me to visit some new places and paint so new scenes whilst there.
In the mean time my Best Wishes to you all and take care, stay well and look forward to a much nicer 2022.
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.
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.
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
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
Over the past while and both before and since our recent visit to the Lake District I have been painting fairly large watercolours in my studio of the area.
Some are based on the sketches in my previous post but others are from photos of the area.
One, of Scafell Pike has already been sold, but the others are all available, so do contact me if you think one would go well in your home.
Also recently I sold a painting of The Mourne Mountains with all four seasons on the one wide watercolour.
This has encouraged me to try another, This time of Derwentwater and so this is the first of the Studio Watercolours
This next watercolour is an impressionistic watercolour of Buttermere, a beautiful Lake in the area.
Next the sold watercolour of Scafell Pike, quite impressionistic too.
In Ambleside the House on the Bridge is one of the famous sights of the Lake District.
Here as a studio watercolour.
Near Ambleside is the beautiful Langdale Valley and the Langdale Pikes. Here is a watercolour of the scene at dawn as the sun breaks into the valley.
And now Ullswater as the evening sets in
This next watercolour is again of Derwentwater but now in full summer, just as we saw it.
And lastly Stockley Packhorse Bridge
I will continue to paint more watercolours from my sketches in the Studio of the Lake District but this is the work so far.
I do hope you enjoy them , it is a wonderful area to visit and to paint!