Category Archives: Paintings from our travels

A Workshop with Herman Pekel

Hi All

I have just been lucky enough to have spent four and a half days at a workshop led by the great Australian Watercolour painter, Herman Pekel.

The workshop was held at The White House Hotel (stayatthewhitehouse.co.uk) at Sussex Farm near Burnham Market in North West Norfolk. The Hotel and the organisation of the workshop were superb and I would strongly recommend the Hotel for guests whether they be painters or not. The accommodation, food and the  ambience of Sussex Farm are really fantastic and we all really enjoyed being there.

The workshop was run by Big Sky Art (bigskyartcourses.com) who are brilliant at organising the time there and the facilities at Sussex Barn are very good.

However the star was Herman Pekel who did many demonstrations indoor and out and is a complete inspiration to the watercolourist.

He is engaging , and easy to be with, and full of helpful advice and he puts enormous energy into the workshop.

His ability to see the key aspects of a scene for a watercolour are terrific and watching his demos before then attempting the same scene are very inspiring.

I wanted especially to try to paint bigger and bolder and to learn how the brush marks and tone are so important to the finished watercolour.

Can I turn it all into practice now that I am back in my studio? I hope so even if only some rubs off after this one workshop.

Big Sky Art arrange for dinners at the White House Hotel with Big Sky Art founder, Janie, and the workshop attendees ( who were all delightful) and the tutor. This is a great benefit to understanding composition, the painting process and the big issues,  as well as being great fun!I

I have tried to be brief here and so here are some of the paintings that I managed to finish during the workshop. I would like to acknowledge Herman’s help in bringing them to a conclusion.

Obviously there are no originals by Herman on my Blog, but they were all quite brilliant.

I hope you like the look of them as they are for me a small step towards being a looser, more brush stroke driven artist.

Apart from everything else just being around North  Norfolk is great, the countryside, towns and the shoreline are all very inspiring to an artist. No wonder so many great artists have been drawn to this area. Now Herman has been there too, with a band of keen followers and students!

Happy painting

Brian

Near Burnham Overy Staithes. Watercolour 18 inches by 13.

Norfolk houses. Watercolour 15 by 11 inches.

The Pond. Watercolour 19 by 13 inches.

The Inlet. Watercolour 19 by 13 inches

Hills and Sky. Watercolour 19 by 13inches.

Across the Fields. Watercolour 19 by 13inches

Another watercolour of Rye!

I find the East Sussex town of Rye a favourite location for painting my watercolours.

I have done quite a lot and many have appeared on the blog over the years.

So here is another one,Rye from the marshes looking across to the harbour and town.

I hope you like it, it was fun to paint it!

Happy travelling

Brian

Rye ,the Harbour and Town in Spring Watercolour 13 inches by 7.

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Return to the Antrim Coast

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.

Fair Head from Ballycastle Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on 600 gsm watercolour paper.

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.

Carrickfergus 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.

Yachts sailing off the Antrim Coast

The Coast near Carnlough

 

Watercolour of Ballygally, 11 by 7 inches.

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.

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim. The King's Highway in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim.
The King’s Highway in Game of Thrones

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.

 

The Giant’s Causeway at sunset.

 

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.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

10 Days on Paradise Island!

Mount Bambous from The East Coast of Mauritius

Hi All

We have just returned from 10 days in Mauritius, we think of it as a paradise island, especially in January when the UK is cold and the weather is so fabulous in Mauritius.

We returned again to the Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort , on the East coast at Trou D’Eau Douce, which we really like, and where as well as great facilities and beaches there is the very challenging Ile au Cerfs Golf Course to play.

I have never played golf anywhere except there that requires a lovely 15 minute boat trip to get to the course, it is really a great experience.

There is something very special about painting watercolours whilst sitting on a sun bed on the beach, but some of these watercolours were done like that from photos or memory as well as painting the scene right there on the beach.

They are all quick works, about 9 inches by 8, (they have to be with such hot sun!) and are in my Khadi Papers travel sketch book. They will provide the basis for larger watercolours to be painted here in the studio now that we are home.

Wherever you look in Mauritius there are little boats moored or sailing out fishing. They provide endless opportunities for sketches even if they were just a fleeting scene viewed as you drive by.

Anyway they were all fun to do and I hope you like them.

Mauritius is such a lovely island with delightful people who are all very friendly and helpful. They have a great multicultural population and although the locals all speak Creole to each other almost everybody speaks both French and English as they are the languages taught in the schools there.

With it’s large rainfall but beautiful sunny weather too it is a very green and lush island where the main crop is sugar cane, which you see everywhere you go and as well as exporting sugar  the rum made from it is very good too!

So here are the watercolours from this trip.

Grand Baie on the North Coast

 

Boats at the beach

 

Big Mauritian Skies!

A farm by the road

 

The Ilot Mangenie at Le Touessrok. Secluded and only a boat ride away!

Two boats on the beach

 

Fisherman on the jetty

Now we are back in the cold of the UK, but with great memories of yet another wonderful trip to Mauritius.

Happy travelling!

Brian

Places where I would like to go! Lake Bled in Slovenia

Hi Everybody

Some years ago some good friends visited Lake Bled in Slovenia. I have never been there but I really do hope to get there in the next year or two.

They sent me a nice photo taken from the south side of the lake showing the fabulous scenery of the area.

The  Island of Bled is in the Lake and it has a Pilgrimage Church, The Assumption of Mary with a 171 foot tower,  on it together with a baroque stairway of 99 steps leading up to the Church.

I decided that it would be good to try to paint a watercolour of the scene, so after some research and looking at the area on Google Earth and other sites I started the watercolour.

Then during the process some other friends saw the artwork and said how much they too had enjoyed visiting Lake Bled and could I paint another watercolour of the scene. Yes of course! It is such an enjoyable view that a second painting seemed a very good idea. They are never the same of course , which is just as well, as I never reproduce my watercolours as prints.

These are the two paintings.

Lake Bled . The first watercolour.

Lake Bled in Slovenia . The first watercolour.

Lake Bled Eileen and david

Lake Bled, the second watercolour painting

A year of two passed and then I had enquiry from the USA for the painting which of course were not available, but again I offered to paint the scene once more.

This I did and the recipient was pleased with the result.

Lake Bled1

The third version of the Lake Bled Watercolour

Amazingly not more than a few months later the same thing happened again but this time from a different State in the USA. And so a fourth watercolour of the scene was the result (this one was requested to have  darker tones to the lake) and another happy recipient too!

Lake Bled3

And the fourth version of the scene at Lake Bled

So you see I do think it is about time I actually went there, and painted the scene “en plein air” just for myself.

Just need to get on with the planning!

Happy travelling and painting, and a Happy New Year too!

Brian

PS, If you too would like a watercolour of Lake Bled, then just email me at brian@brianswatercolours.com

Season’s Greetings

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Winter at Horsmonden in Kent Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper.

If you are regular viewer of this site then my thanks for your continued visits, comments and likes.

If you are new here then you are most welcome and I hope you will find some watercolours that interest you.

It has been a busy year with a fair amount of travel to many lovely places and I hope that the Posts that have resulted from these travels have been of interest to you all.

Our visits to South Africa, Tenerife, France, Portugal, Devon and around our lovely County of Kent have given me many opportunities to paint and sketch, and to meet other artists too.

We hope to travel quite widely in the New Year and especially our planned Rhine river cruise at the end of the summer will take us to many new places in Europe and the opportunity to paint some watercolours as I go.

To end the Year I have included above this winter scene of Horsmonden in Kent, which I have just finished painting today. Although we haven’t had any snow as yet, it seems seasonal to paint a winters scene and to use it to wish everyone my Best Wishes for the Christmas holidays and the New Year.

I have a few ideas for posts in the New Year and so I hope before long to be posting again.

In the mean time, Happy Travelling!

Brian

 

 

Remember, Remember. Let us never forget.

This Sunday as we remember those who died in the First World War and all the conflicts around the world since I have decided to repost a number of my watercolours with poppies in them.

One hundred years ago the First World War ended leaving a lost generation of those who died in the conflict.

We have visited Ypres twice in recent years following the final days of my Wife’s great Uncle who was killed at Passchendaele in 1917. Visiting there was a remarkable and very moving experience.

David Andrews , from Larne in Northern Ireland, was reported as “missing in action” at Passchendaele in the Ypres are on 17th August 1917.  His body was never recovered. David was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 14th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles when he was killed. 
He, and many hundreds of thousands also killed in the Ypres area, are commemorated on the magnificent Tyne Cot War Grave Memorial at Ypres.His battalion had only engaged that day and in one day the troop was reduced from 400 to 100 men.  The battalion landed in Boulogne in October 1915 and was disbanded in February 1918 in France. David’s brother also served in the War and was gassed, but returned home eventually. Alas many of their friends never did.

These watercolours hopefully highlight how beautiful poppies are in the countryside across Europe. They are of course an great visual aid to artists providing interesting foregrounds to the paintings.

Anyway I hope you will enjoy them and remember as we do the great sacrifices made by so many over 100 years ago that give us all the freedoms we enjoy today.

Brian

Poppies in Provence

Poppies in the corn at St Margaret’s Church , Barming in Kent

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September sun on the Cote d’Azur

It was a fairly quick trip this time but the weather was fantastic

Mid 30s so in between sorting out a few things we were able to relax and enjoy the sun,the wine and some great meals out with friends and ourselves

I can’t recommend The Camandoule and Table D’Yves highly enough if you are in the Fayence area, they are both great restaurants and always worth the visit.

As always when we are away there was some time for quick sketches in my sketch book, now at volume 3!

Here they are and I do hope you like them

This really quick painting of watercolours appeals to me a lot as I can travel light and paint quickly even in the hot sun.

Plenty of time in the studio for larger artworks for the web sites too, when we are back home.

Near Cannes is the little town of  Mandelieu La Napoule with it’s Castle reconstructed by Henry Clews a US philanthropist.. This 10 by 7 inch watercolour shows the lovely little beach next to the quay.

If you have flooded this blog for any time you will know we like St Tropez,not for it Glitz but the back streets and it history. This Port de apache only A short stroll from the busy Quay and still quite like it must have been many years ago.

Off the St Tropez Coast yachts are alway whizzing about with the backdrop of the town behind. This is my interpretation of that scene.

When we are in StTropez I am alway transported to the town as it was in the early part of the 20th Century. Here I have tried to recreate that scene,so different from today, but it must have been an amazing sight to early 20th Century painters when they went there for the first time.

St Tropez as it may have been in 1910.

Lastly a scene in;the heart of St Paul de Vence,  the little but very famous hill village on the Cote d’Azur. Full of art studios and galleries there is a lovely view at every corner,and this is just one of them.

Another one of those”At the heart of St Paul de Vence” watercolours

So a busy week but a few watercolours too.

Do go to the Cote d’Azur, it is one of the really special places in the world and always rewarding to visit.

Happy Travelling

Brian

if you have enjoyed seeing these sketches do go to my site on Artfinder

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours 

 

A Sketchbook weekend in South Devon

We have just spent a really nice long weekend in South Devon, based in Babbacombe where we stayed in the delightful Cary Arms Hotel, right down almost on the shore line at Babbacombe.

The Cary Arms Hotel in Babbacombe Bay

The view from our Balcony at The Cary Arms of a the Brixham Trawler “Pilgrim” built in 1895 and a  Crabber sailing boat.

Its a good and interesting hotel with very friendly staff and good reasonably priced food too. From our balcony and room we could watch a pair of seals entertaining people on the jetty and the boats coming and going from the bay.

So we had some time for touring around and sketching too. Maybe some of these paintings will become larger works in the studio but I increasingly like to paint these  little 9 by 7 inches watercolours that are so quick to do and which I hope capture the lovely places around South Devon.

We found two other very good restaurants too in Torquay and both are well worth a visit. They were The Orange Tree, and The Waddling Duck, where the dinner was really superb.

We used the ferry to go across to Brixham with it colourful houses and harbour.

Brixham.

A trip using the River Dart ferry to get into Dartmouth was great and sitting on the quay there was a great place for another sketch of the river and entrance to the Town.

Dartmouth Estuary and castle

Kingswear from Dartmouth

Straight across from Dartmouth in Kingswear there are more  lovely colourful houses so they became a sketch too.

Greenway Quay seen from Dittersham

Just down the river is the little town of Dittersham and across from it is the Landing Quay for Greenway, the home until her death of Agatha Christie. We went to see it and the grounds and that was very interesting too.

We also visited Coleton Fishacre, a beautiful Art Deco period house on the coast near Kingswear. No sketches yet but a really lovely place to visit., and we spent a lovely few hours up in Dartmoor with its wild and beautiful scenery, so different for the Devon coast.

So now we are back in Kent with lots of good memories and photos of our time in Devon.

With so many great places to visit in the UK we hope to get to more in the near future

Thanks for looking at this blog post

Happy Travelling

Brian

PS There are many more of my paintings for sale at  

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

Lisbon and a Cruise on the Duoro River

Hi Everybody

We have just returned from a very enjoyable cruise on the Duoro River in Portugal.

Just before the Cruise we spent a fcouple of days in Lisboa and then travelled to Porto to get on the Viking River Cruise.

Alas the weather wasn’t always as good as we would have expected in Portugal in June but slowly it improved and luckily it didn’t stop us enjoying the towns, cities and scenery. Of course we also enjoyed the Port and the Douro wine too and our trips to various places were all very interesting.

Last year we spent time in Lisboa so I am using one painting from that trip to introduce this Post.

What better than one of their iconic trams in the old town area of Lisboa.

 

A Tram in Old Lisboa

While we were in Lisboa we took a day trip to Sintra and its amazing Pena Palace. Then a lovely journey along the coast to see the most westerly point of mainland Europe and the cliffs and bays of the Atlantic. I have some paintings of the coast planned for the future.

Here is a quick sketch of Pena Palace. If you visit do go inside it is a very interesting visit.

Pena Palace at Sintra

Our transfer to Porto took us to Coimbra, an ancient University town about halfway from Lisboa to Porto.

Our arrival in Porto was rather wet but luckily the sun broke through the following day and so I was able to paint this double spread sketch of Porto. It is a lovely City with much to see and do and especially taste the Port. The history of Port production is fascinating and we learnt a lot from a great visit to the Sandeman cellars.

Porto from the South bank of the Douro River. Sketch book watercolour 18 inches by 8.

From Porto we sailed up the Douro through it’s amazing locks and visited a number of places along the way , stopping each night, before heading off the next day. The scenery is spectacular and the number of Vineyards and Wine producers quite amazing.

Here are a couple of Douro river scenes

Vineyard and the Douro. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

By the bank of the Douro. ketch 9 by 8 inches.

One visit took us to Mateus Palace, this is the Palace used to name the Mateus Rose wine which I am sure you have come across. Probably a scene for a future painting but I was stuck that day by the Church and Vineyards, just next door and here is a quick sketch I made of the scene.

Igreja de Mateus Church near Mateus Palace.

 

One day we visited the very old Town of Castelo Rodrigo. The Castle is now mainly a ruin but once this was a dominant Castle town on the Portuguese /Spanish Border. It has a very old and has a quite magnificent Church to visit too. It is the Ingreja Matriz de Castelo Rodrigo.

Castelo Rodrigo . Watercolour Sketch,9 by 8 inches.

Our final trip before retuning down the Douro river with its wonderful scenery was into Spain to see Salamanca. Salamanca is an imposing and interesting city with a great history and a very old University. There are many stork nests in the City too, all in precarious places and all inhabited by the many storks there.

I hope to produce quite a few paintings of Salamanca in the future but here is the one sketch and one larger watercolour that I have so far painted.

In Salamanca. A watercolour sketch, 9 inches by 8

The Gold hues of Salamanca. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

We have come back with many wonderful photos of the Douro Valley and River and the fine memories of very nice people that we met with on the cruise and in Portugal. Always a warm welcome and wonderful wine and Port. I will be searching out more Portugeuse, especially Douro, Wine here in the UK. If you find some buy it and drink it, you will not be disappointed.

Happy Travelling

Brian

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