Category Archives: Northern Ireland
Last week I posted about the beautiful Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
It started me thinking that a series of the same panorama for each season might be fun to paint and then I wondered, how about just doing one watercolour with all four seasons in the one painting!
Crazy or Exciting?
Well I decided to have a go today and here is the result, hot as they say , off the press!
It starts from left to right with summer first so that I could include some yachts sailing below a cobalt blue sky. Then comes Autumn with a softer ultramarine and cerulean blue cloudy sky before winter with dark skies and rain and snow landing on the Mourne’s highest peak, Slieve Donard and below it a colder sea foaming up on to the beautiful sandy beach. Lastly we are back to spring with big clouds in a cobalt sky.
I know it’s a bit weird but it was a lot of fine to try to paint and maybe you will like it.
I would love to get your comments.
I have popped it on to Artfinder in case someone really likes it!
I am now thinking of other scenes that might work with this idea so who knows you may see some more.
With our second jab due quite soon and half of the UK now vaccinated seeing friends and family and even some travel is becoming a reality, thank goodness.
It is a fantastic UK vaccine achievement which we all are very proud of and congratulate those who have made it happen – well done!
Stay well and safe
Many many years ago when I lived in Northern Ireland a visit to County Down and the Mourne Mountains was always a treat, whether it was to go to the beautiful beaches, or to play golf at Royal County Down Golf Course or to wander down the Ards Peninsula and see Strangford Lough, no matter where the scenery was alway superb.
The gentle rolling hills, known as Drumlins are a characteristic of the soft and gentle countryside but with the promise in the distance of the Mourne Mountains rising above the busting seaside town of Newcastle.
If you have followed this blog you will have seen my watercolours that try to capture the amazing beauty of the wilder Antrim Coast but County Down is a greener, if that is possible, part of Northern Ireland
I have painted this area quite a lot over the years and so here are some of these watercolours that try to capture the Mourne Mountains.
From as far away as Belfast the mountains are visible even though they are over 30 miles away.
As you approach Dundrum the mountains become even clearer and view from near to Dundrum shows the broad extent of the landscape.
As you approach the mountains a visit to Murlough bay will give you fine views of the coast and the mountains
This famous nature reserve is a really great place to visit.
Here are a couple of watercolours painted from photos taken at that beach
I am indebted to Gerry Judge for allowing me to use two of his fine photos as the basis for the next two watercolours
Firstly the same general scene as above but now at sunset
And secondly an old derelict cottage in the heart of the Mountains
This next watercolour, painted many years ago, is the scene from near Hilltown and was used as a background by a well know Belfast Chef, Alex Greene, in the series on TV “The Great British Menu”. It was exciting to see my watercolour being used by him.
At the foot of the Mourne Mountains lies the town of Newcastle , a busting seaside resort and where the Simna river reaches the sea. Nearby is Tollymore Forest park a marvellous place to visit and to enjoy the woods and forest of the mountain. A walk there will take you to Foley’s Bridge , one of the many Game of Thrones ;coalitions in Northern Ireland.
Lastly here is another watercolour of the Mourne Mountains views painted quite a while ago.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick trip to the Mourners Mountains. If you have never been then do go there to enjoy the great hospitality and scenery of this ;lovely part of the UK.
Stay well and safe
I am always on the lookout for interesting scenes to paint as watercolours and although most of my watercolours use photos that I have taken , occasionally I see a photo that I would like to have a go at painting too.
This has happened twice this week and with time available due to the lock down I was lucky enough to get the permission’s of the two photographers to paint these watercolours. I am indebted for their permissions.
The first one is of a small town in Cornwall, called St Clements, which is near Falmouth.
I saw the image on a blog that I always enjoy reading called Cornishbirdblog.
Even if you don’t live in Cornwall, and I don’t, I would recommend it as it is always interesting to read.
So here is my version of a photo of St Clements and I do hope to visit there one day.
The second one is of a place I do know well, The Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland.
I have painted quite a few watercolours of the area before but an evening photo taken by Gerry Judge really caught my eye and so here is my watercolour interpretation of it.
You can see Gerry’s excellent photos at Gerry Judge Photography and I am very grateful for his permission to use the photo as a basic reference for this watercolour
And lastly a watercolour from one of my own photographs, this time of Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland where we enjoyed a short break a couple of years ago. I have tried again to capture that early evening scene of calm waters and an interesting sky.
With several more weeks of this current Lockdown still to go I hope to paint quite a few more watercolours
I hope you will enjoy these two anyway.
Stay well and safe
PS If you have a photo of a favourite place that you would like a watercolour of, please email me at
and send me the photo for an immediate quotation. Turnaround times are very quick, prices include shipping, and many people have been pleased with their new watercolour.
Alas as the COVID infection rate has risen in the UK we are, in England, back in a four week lockdown.
At least the sun is shining and so going out for a walk is pleasant, although alas we can’t play any golf.
so this week I have been busy painting a few new watercolours
During October I was lucky enough to have some paintings in Galleries in Tonbridge, the Artspring Galley, and in the Creek Creative Gallery in Faversham. They both were featuring artwork created during Lockdown and being involved was very interesting. My thanks to them for letting me be a part of their exhibitions.
I had lots to chose from to supply to them as I had painted over 60 watercolours during that first Lockdown.
So here are this weeks paintings some of which will be going to a Gallery hopefully in December.
Firstly a watercolour of White Rocks Bay near Portrush in Northern Ireland, on the beautiful Antrim Coast.
I had previously painted this bay as part of a painting and post of the Royal Portrush Golf Course but this watercolour is from just a bit further along the coast at the Bay.
These next three paintings may go to a Gallery in time for Christmas and are quite small compared to my usual watercolours.
They are all A4 size in their white mounts which I have included here.
They were fine and relaxing to paint and so I think I will do a lot more this size.
Ihope you like them
So as Lockdown has started again I guess I will be back painting some more watercolours and sending out a new Post
Take care, stay safe and chill out!
All the Best
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
We have just been over to Northern Ireland for two Celebrations.
The first a couple of days at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh to celebrate a couple of notable Birthdays and then to Carrickfergus for a great family Wedding
Both events were really good and the weather was very kind to us too, with sun and warmth as we travelled about.
Just time for a few watercolours and a couple painted before we went as gifts for the Bride and Groom.
Lough Erne is a huge Lough with countless islands and lovely views. We were able to take a boat trip on the Lough and visit Devenish Island with is now ruined and very old Church and Monastery.
At the southerly end of Lower Lough Erne lies the very old and historic town of Enniskillen.
The “Watergate” there is a focal point of the town and this watercolour was painted from photos taken from our boat trip on the Lough.
Around the shores of Lough Erne there are many sights to see and this cottage scene is typical of the scenery.
The Wedding was held in the lovely statley home called Magheramorne House, quite close to Larne and not far from Carrickfergus.
This sketch of Magheramorne House will remind the Bride and Groom of there Wedding day there as they start their new life together in Carrickfergus.
Everybody wishes them All the Best for the Future.
So a very enjoyable week on this beautiful part of the UK, and many more photos to paint in the future
Readers of this post will have seen images of my watercolours of the North Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland before.
Shane Lowry the brilliant Irish Golfer has just won The Open Golf on the Dunluce Links of Royal Portrush Golf Course on that beautiful coast.
Congatulations to Shane and all his team!
The Open was last held there in 1951 and for it to be there once again is a great achievement of many people over many years.
I could not help wanting to post some watercolours of the coast of Antrim and to start with a new painting of the 5th Green on the Dunluce links which is right next to the shore. This hole is next to White Rocks bay and is often called that. It is challenging like the whole course and this weekend I am sure we will all see much excitement on the course from all the world class golfers assembled there.
But Portrush is only a part of the wonderful coast line that starts in Carrickfergus and stretches all the way to Donegal. Here are selection from the many watercolours that I have painted over the past years. The whole coast is such a delight to visit due to it’s proximity to the sea, the wonder of the Antrim Glens and amazing places like the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and its many excellent golf courses.
And when you have seen all the sights you can happily retreat to the Bushmills Inn for great food and drink and good company.
Enjoy watching The Open, I will!
This summer we will be back in Northern Ireland for a short holiday and a family wedding. We are very much looking forward to it.
It will be great to be back to a place where so much of my early life was spent and where such great memories abound of people and places.
We will spend some time on the wonderful Antrim Coast and it’s splendid scenery.
Recently I painted yet another watercolour of the scene from Ballycastle Strand across to Fair Head and so that triggered me into doing this post which unashamedly uses watercolours painted over the years of this stunning and very scenic part of the world.
If you haven’t downloaded my free guide with watercolours for Ulster then please do so either using the link above or via the iBook store.
This is a much shorter version of some of the paintings from that book.
The Antrim Coast road starts in Belfast but very soon you arrive in Carrickfergus with its great Norman Castle.
After passing through Larne the road takes you to Ballygally where the road is right next to the sea and Scotland seems so nearby across the water.
A little bit inland from the coast the remarkable trees near Armoy are a good diversion and if you are a Game of Thrones fan they feature in that programme as The King’s Highway.
On the way visit Ballintoy, and Murlough Bay, also used in that series.
Further along the coast is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and of course the famous Giants Causway with its incredible hexagonal basalt columns.
There is so much more to see on this great Coast so do take the time to visit there.
We will enjoy our next visit and if you can plan a visit to this delightful part of the world which you will enjoy.
Spring is just starting to make an appearance here in Kent in England.
As regular readers of this blog will know I like to paint watercolours from my photos of seascapes and so I thought a post bringing a few of my Seascapes together might help me look forward to the warmer and sunnier days to come.
Going through my paintings archive I discovered that there are many such paintings, too many to put here so I have just chosen some that I painted over the past few years. Most of the painting are 14 inches by 10 and painted on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.
Mostly they are places I am familiar with but one or two fit into the category of place I would like to visit as they were gifts or commissions.
I hope you like them!
Maybe I will do second post on the same theme soon but wherever you are enjoy your travels and the coming of Spring
By way of a diversion I thought I might introduce you to an idea I had some years ago which can add some extra interest to the documenting of your Family History project.
Researching the historical background of your family is fascinating but can produce a lot of data and alas that data, whilst interesting to the researcher, does not make interesting reading for the younger members of your family who may (??) one day, show some interest in all that research. I guess it is not till we all advance in years that the history of our families becomes a bit more interesting anyway!
Just leaving the succeeding generations all the data is unlikely to be a successful strategy so producing some form of booklet or document is most likely to be a more useful hand me down for the future. Paper is not much in fashion these days but a paper book or document, maybe also produced as an eBook as well, is still very likely to stand the test of time.
Even for bloggers like us paper is a good solution for long term storage of all that hard work documenting the past few hundred years.
The heart of your project will probably be the Family Tree but adding narrative to each of the families covered by your research will add some insight of the people in the Tree and their way of life.
I decided that to bring the project even more to life I would include as many photos of the people as I could find but that won’t take you back before the mid or late 1800’s. So to illustrate the histories of the families I decided to add some watercolours of the places they came from, sometimes as they might have been at the time, or just places that they liked to visit. Paintings of the Churches they were married in seemed an obvious choice and where possible the houses they once lived in. Even if these have long been demolished you can sometimes find data to reconstruct the scene, at least to give some context to the narrative. If your narrative can give some insight as to how they lived in years gone by this can be very interesting too.
You will be pleased to know I am not going to bore you with my research data, but here are a few paintings that I have used to illustrate the Family History Book of the 6 major families that it covers.
First of all a couple of Churches painted as near as possible to the way they looked at the time. An earlier generation of my family were married in Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent during the exceptionally cold winter of 1911. This was the year I believe that Niagara Falls froze over too!
In the early 19th Cenury other family members were married in The Churches of Detling (then spelt
Debtling) in Kent and at Boxley Church, also in Kent
In the late 19th century some of my ancestors lived in the middle house below West Malling in Kent. Here I have tried to reconstruct the scene in 1891. He was the local Weights and Measures Inspector, an inserting job, which invloved testing the beer in the local breweries almost every day!
The earliest record that I have so far managed to find is of a wedding in Lenham Church in 1628. I don’t think they had Linseed growing in the fields then but my painting tries to show it anyway!
Lastly some branches of my family and my wife’s family hail from Northern Ireland.
So here is the Church of St Anne in Belfast where a marriage took place in 1869. The Church was demolished in the 1890’s and the fine (and still standing) St Anne’s Cathedral was built on the site.
And lastly we had, and have, close associations with the whole beautiful Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. This spectacular coastal route has featured in a number of my previous posts. So here is a watercolour of Carrickfergus, the beginning of the Causeway Coastal route and a town with many associations with our families.
I hope you have enjoyed this diversion. Back to more recent travels soon!