A good many years ago we spent a few days in the delightful Jura region of France. Good food and beautiful countryside everywhere. One evening, we met by chance, a wine merchant from Belgium and with him were able to visit the world famous Domaine of Jean Macle and family at Château-Chalon.
It was a really wonderful experience tasting the very unusual “Vin Jaune” of the Domaine and seeing their beautiful, but small Domaine. The wine was, I seem to recall, tasted with small pieces of the local Comté cheese, another delicious food from the Jura region.
The Macle family have been making wine in Château-Chalon since 1850 and it is a very unusual wine as the 10 year ageing process gives the wine a very distinctive taste and bouquet. Their small Domaine is around 19 hectares and stretches across the beautiful hills of the Côte de Jura region.
Jean Macle is acknowledged as a true Master of Château Chalon.
After recently watching a television programme by Rick Stein on French cuisine, I was looking back through my photos of our visit to the Jura, when I found a number of photos which have led me to paint this watercolour of the Château Chalon with the vines growing down the hillsides.
It reminds us that this is one of the many beautiful regions of France that we really must try and visit in the next few years.
Our visit there was quite extraordinary experience for which I am most grateful to Jean Macle and his family. I am sure that their wine production will continue for many more generations of their Family.
I hope you like this watercolour, 37 by 28 cms and painted on Arches Cold Pressed watercolour paper.
If you ever get the chance to spend sometime in the Jura, it is really wonderful part of France.
The Town of Château-Chalon in the Jura region of France. Watercolour 37 by 28 cms on Arches paper.
When the sea sparkles on the Côte d’Azur you can tell somehow before you go out that it is HOT. And it certainly was on our recent visit to La Napoule, 37 Celsius in fact most days. Nice to be in a air conditioned hotel and have great air conditioned car too!
However it was a lovely as ever and although just a short trip, there was time in the late afternoons for a few quick Pen and Wash watercolours.
This style works for me on travel and provides some ideas for large watercolours when home in the studio. In fact the next post will be one of these as a larger artwork.
La Napoule is a very nice place to stay and the large Pullman Hotel was very comfortable with a delightful beach to cool off at with a dip in the warm Mediterranean waters.
During our stay there we visited our two most favourite restaurants, both in Fayence; “Le Moulin de la Camandoule” and “Le Table d’Yves”. These are exceptional places to eat at, and both have lovely views of Fayence. Great dinner too with friends at “Freres de la Baie” in Theoule and “Le Brocherie” in La Napoule
So here are the Pen and Ink watercolours, all about 11 by 8 inches but this time painted on Fabriano 300gsm Hot Pressed watercolour paper, as this paper is very nice to use for pen and wash.
I hope you will enjoy them and also that you will be able to spend some time one day on the beautiful Esterel Coast and around the Côte d’Azur
The Castle at La Napoule
The Market in the Centre of old Antibes
Iles St Marguerite. Yachts sailing ,seen through the zoom lens!
You know that you have chosen the right restaurant when the food is delicious and the view terrific.
So it was last Sunday at the Restaurant of Le Moulin de la Camandoule , L’Escourtin.
The weather was lovely and our table on their beautiful patio had a stunning view of the old town of Fayence high above us.
A great meal in a restaurant that I would highly recommend if you are in that area of Provence. So naturally I took some photos and here is the watercolour painted later that afternoon of the view of Fayence.
Fayence from Le Moulin de la Canandoule. Watercolour 12 inches by 9.
Our week, based in Mandelieu, gave us other opportunities for some good meals in restaurants, especially also La Table D’Yves, also near Fayence, and some time to meet friends and enjoy the beautiful coast to Agay along the Esterel coastal road. It is a really spectacular drive and in Agay lunch at La Belle Vie is always good. The now disused lighthouse at Agay can be seen for the beach there and this watercolour is from a close up taken with the camera of the little harbour near the lighthouse.
The little harbour near the old Agay lighthouse. Watercolour sketch 9.5 inches by 7.5
We didn’t visit St Paul de Vence on this holiday but the scene from the approach to the town is one I love to paint. So here is a new version painted this week.
St paul de pence as you approach it from Cagnes. A watercolour 12 inches by 9.
Some years ago we bought some lovely watercolour prints by an artist called Padia. Here is my interpretation of one of those watercolours. With another painter called Cybele they had a shop called Les Deux Ateliers in St Paul. Cybele still sells mainly beautiful oil paintings from her Gallery there today and it is well with a visit.
Here is my interpretation, painting this small watercolour has also helped me learn some new techniques too.
My version of a “Padia” watercolour of Provence
The hills of Provence and the back streets of St Tropez are always favourite themes for me and so here two more watercolours painted during this visit.
Lastly we nearly always visit Antibes. With a lovely Old Town and a big busting port there is always lots to see.
Here is a watercolour of the view from the walls of the old Town across the bay toward the mountains.
“The Clouds roll in”. – . A watercolour of the view from the Walls of Old Antibes. 12 inches by 9.
I hope you will enjoy these new paintings.
Another lovely week in this really beautiful part of France.
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After a lovely Christmas time in the UK with the family it was nice to spend the New Year on the Cote d’Azur with some good friends enjoying welcome sunshine and the lovely scenery of the area.
Of course it gave me some time to paint a few sketchbook watercolours of the area and the opportunity for us to enjoy the fine food and wine of the area.
I would like to especially mention our lunch at the Camandoule Hotel in Fayence. Just a great meal and very good value in this lovely hotel which was once a Mill. I would strongly recommend it as every time we have been there it has been great.
Anyway in the days there I was able to paint a few watercolours, quite quick ones in the sketch book which may become larger studio paintings in the future.
Here they are and I hope you like them.
This vision of a small Provence village seems to me the way Provence is, mainly in my imagination maybe! Watercolour 9 inches by 7.
Sunset over the Farm
I get drawn to painting this scene of St Paul de Vence, the iconic perched Provence town
We spent a lovely couple of hours wandering around Vence and having a great Crepe in the Bretagne style Creperie there.
In the hills above Mandelieu is the tiny town of Tanneron. With its great views across the countryside it is also THE place to go to see the Mimosa blossom in February and March and maybe lunch in this nice looking restaurant there. “Cafe Restaurant des Voyageurs”
Our holiday in Mandelieu is never complete without a trip along the Esterel Peninsula coast road to Agay for a Hot Chocolate and a piece of “Tropezienne” cake in “La Mie Adoree”. This view is of the Esterel mountains across the bay near Antheor.
Normally we fly up and down to the South of France but once a year we drive down and try and see a little bit more of France on the journeys.
This year we had a great time on the Riviera and on our way home spent a couple of days at Lake Annecy at the small town of Talloires on the East side of the lake. What a beautiful place lake Annecy is, and why hadn’t we been there before!
I feel sure we will go back, but maybe next time in late spring when it will be quieter.
So as usual here are some of the watercolours painted whilst at the Coast and a few of Lake Annecy too. The town of Annecy is very interesting as well and we went there by Water Taxi from Talloires which was a great way to travel.
So first here are the Lake Annecy paintings. As you know I have taken to painting pen and ink washes very quickly in a sketch book so that I can produce larger paintings later on in the studio.
Lake Annecy from the Park in Annecy. Sketchbook watercolour 19 inches by 8.
The view from Talloires across lake Annecy to Quingt and it’s Castle. Sketch book watercolour 9.5 inches by 8.
The Old Gaol in the Town of Annecy. Sketch book watercolour 9.5 by 8 inches
So now here are some of the watercolours from our time on the Coast
Boats sailing off St Tropez. Sketch book watercolour from photo taken on the Ferry from St Maxime.
Tourettes sur Loup. A more formal watercolour 14 inches by 10.
A Provence Village in the hills. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.
One of my favourite places to paint in France! Port de Peche at St Tropez, well away from the Glitz! Watercolour 14 inches by 10.
Here are some sketch book watercolours of the day we spent in Vence. Vence has a lovely old town well worth visit.
The Town of Correns in Provence. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.
This summer in the UK is proving to be hot and sunny which is great, but before this latest heat wave we were lucky enough to spend 10 days once again in the South of France on the Cote d’Azur.
There the weather too was hot and sunny and the food and wine up to all the usual great standards.
It gave me a chance for quite a lot of watercolour paintings of the area, almost one per day, some from my photos and some from memory too.
I was just trying to capture the light and the summer warmth in that wonderful part of France.
I hope you will enjoy them and of course if you can spend time there do try too one day, you won’t be disappointed.
In the hills not to far away from us is the unspoilt town of Seillans. These two sketches are of the little streets in this very hilly town.
Seillans in Provence . Watercolour 9 by 7
Seillans. Watercolour 9 by 7.
J Class yachts passing Ile St Honorat off the Cannes Coast. Watercolour 10 by 14.
In the summer the Coast is beautiful and the view from the Esterel Coast road across the Iles de Lerin always fascinates me. Here is that view. This road is one of the finest scenic coastal drives in the world!
Occasionally you come across a bay with some fishing boats, an all too rare sight these days so here are a couple of interpretations of those scenes.
Fishing boats of the coast. Watercolours 14 inches by 10.
Sunsets can be amazing, here is quick watercolour of one.
When you drive around Provence the umbrella pine trees seem to pop up everywhere. This is a painting from memory of some not too far from the Coast.
There are some places that we never tire of visiting. For us Saint Paul de Vence is one of them.
St Paul de Vence viewed from the North
Alas it is so popular that it is often teeming with visitors, but at the right time of day the lovely little streets and the town can be enjoyed to it’s full.
The views of the town as you approach it are lovely too and and each time I visit there seems a new aspect to paint a watercolour of.
This visit was no exception so I thought I would look back through previous paintings and gather them together in the blog post dedicated to the town.
Recently a new creperie has opened near to the Church in the town and I can really recommend it. The best crepes that I have ever eaten, prepared in the Normandy way. If you are there, try one, they are delicious!
St Paul is also full of art galleries and shops with items to tempt the tourist as you would expect but somehow they add something to the town and a extra dimension to the lovely architecture and the narrow streets.
Nearby too is the bigger town of Vence , which has a very nice old town to discover too.
There are so many lovely places in this beautiful, and our favourite, part of France.
I hope you will enjoy these paintings of the town and if you haven’t visited St Paul then do so one day. Crowds or not you will enjoy it.
How nice it is to see the sun on daily basis. That was how our week this May was back at our favourite haunt of the Cote d’Azur!
Not very hot but lovely and dry with the sun breaking through nearly all day.
The combination of scenery, the beautiful Esterel Coast, and the mountains of Provence make this a wonderful part of the world.
We even ventured into Cannes where the mayhem of the preparations for the Cannes Film Festival were well underway, but nobody asked for our autogragh!
We weren’t sorry to be leaving before the Festival started but just a short way from Cannes calm reigns and the roads are peacefulful and beautiful in all directions.
Even time for some quick sketches for future, hopefully larger, paintings.
These watercolours are all just 8 by 5 inches in size and quickly painted after taking some photos, or recalling previous Provence scenery.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have in painting them.
If you have read the guide books on another page of this blog you will know that we are very familiar with this enchanting part of France. The local wines, predominantly Rose but also some light and fruity Reds are a great complement to some really good restaurants, some of which we visited again on this trip. If you are ever in Fayence do go to Table d’Yves , one of the finest restaurants we have found in this part of the region.
Happy travelling and if the sun is out where you are enjoy that too!
To start this year I have decided to try out a new idea based on my paintings.
It began when I created to blog dedicated to my mother in law, Sadie back in 2013. That blog was about the Antrim Coast Road in Northern Ireland and it struck me that I might be able to produce a few Travel Guides of various places we know quite well, illustrated with my watercolours. I always photograph my work so they all reside in my Mac.
Apple have produced a great App for Macs that is called iAuthor which allows you to produce books for publishing on the iBook store (for Apple users on iPads and computers etc) or as a pdf that is viewable by all.
The first of these book which is titled Travels with a Brush, Volume 1 – The Cote d’Azur is now available on the ibook store ( search for Cote d’Azur) but is also attached here as a pdf file for anyone to download. (Click on the link at the top of this post).
The books are free, I didn’t think anyone would be inclined to pay for my ramblings but nevertheless I hope you might find the books interesting. The second one, on Ulster in Ireland will be published in month or so.
I will be back to more normal painting posts soon but in the meantime any feedback is always welcome
First of all thanks for looking at this blog, I really enjoy putting some of my paintings here and hope they will encourage you to visit some of these places, or if you already know them to remember them.
I have blogged many times about Provence and the Cote d’Azur. It is a truly beautiful part of the world with sun, sea and mountains, not to mention it’s great food and wine!
One feature of the area, and of course many other areas around the Mediterranean, are the “perched’ villages and towns. They are always very interesting. Some of course are much better known than others. Over the years we have visited quite a lot and they always provide an interesting subject for my watercolours.
I thought therefore that it was about time to collect a number of my watercolours together under this title.
I hope you will like them as a collection and feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun!
Enjoy your travels wherever you may be.
St Paul de Vence
The Grand Fountaine in St Paul de Vence
Rue de Bresc in St Paul de Vence
St Paul de Vence
Bourgainvillia in St Paul
Gourdon commands fabulous position high above the Cot dAzur
Gourdon, Farmhouse on the hill above the town.
Gourdon in the Snow
the route into Gourdon in Winter
Near Lac St Croix is the beautiful Moustiers St Marie
Inside Moustiers St Marie
The Chapel at Moustiers St Marie from the town
Looking up towards Fayence
In the heart of Fayence the Hotel de Ville is an impressive sight.
Just past Fayence is the little town of Seillans
High up in the mountains is the town of Mons en Provence
The fountain in Mons freezes in the winter
By the coast but high above it is the delightful town of Eze.
On the ridge from Vence towards Fayence lies Callian and it’s castle
Callian can be seen clearly from the Terre Blanche Golf course
Anoth view of Callian
A little street in Biot. Biot is famous for its Glass making.
A sunny day in Mougins
Tourrettes sur Loup
The small streets of Tourrettes Sur loupe
One of my first painting,taken from a postcard photo, of Vence