Category Archives: Shoot it sketch it
Sketching on the Antrim Coast (The Causeway Coast)
i have just finished this large watercolour of Fair Head which I am including in this post for you to see.Based on photos and sketches done last week whilst there.
It is painted in mixed media on prepared canvas and is 60 by 30 cms
Currently for sale on Artfinder
I hope it makes a nice Header for this post
We have just returned from a great few days on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.
We were lucky to have very nice weather and enjoyed our stay at the Ballygally Castle Hotel which makes a good base for visits to the spectacular Antrim Coast.
We had not been to the area for 3 years and as we originally came from Northern Ireland many years ago it is always great to return and enjoy the scenery, food and meeting friends and family.
It is also great to be travelling and sketching again!
Armed with only my sketchbook, a Micron 0.2 mm waterproof pent , a few brushes and some paints I managed over the short time to visit and paint a few watercolours which I can now, hopefully turn into some larger watercolours.
My equipment for those interested.
We also visited a couple o places we had not been to before, and enjoyed some new viewing areas that have been constructed along the Coast Road near Carrick-a-Rede and Ballycastle.
So here are the sketches. They were all done very quickly in the notebook ( Volume 11!) which is just 200gsm paper so not quite so easy to lay washes down on.
This first sketch is of Ballygally Bay, with the Hotel on the far right. The headland looks like a human head profile.
The view in the other direction at Ballygally Bay shows the coast further on too and was from our hotel room window.
Every mile of the Coast road as it hugs the sea is spectacular and on the odd occasion it deviates inland the scenes are great too.
Here is the road leading to Waterfoot Bay and Glenariffe, one of the beautiful Antrim Glens.
From just beyond Glenariffe the view back towards Glenariffe Mountain or Lurig as it is often called is quite amazing. Lurig, with a plateau at its peak is so distinctive. This classical U shaped valley is one of the finest anywhere.
Further along the coast is Kinbane castle which today is not accessible but from a previous photo I have painted this sketch to include it. The view from there of Fair Head is spectacular and also from the new viewing point which overlooks at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. All along the coast Scotland can be clearly seen, as it is only 15 miles away at the closest point.
This last sketch of this visit is of Fair Head again but this time from the small road that goes to “Marconi’s Cottage” near to Fair Head and just beyond Ballycastle Golf Course (well worth playing!). The cottage is now a contemporary house but has reputed associations with G Marconi when he was experimenting with radio signals from Northern Ireland to Scotland in the late 19th Century.
Lastly here is a recent larger painting of Whitepark Bay and Rathlin island and one of Fair Head from Ballycastle Beach. Both are 14 inches by 10 in size.
It was so nice to be back of this wonderful part of the UK with arguably one of the finest coastal drives in the world!
PS visit my shop on Artfinder for more Antrim Coast watercolours for sale.
The Delights of Cornwall.
In 1983 we enjoyed a holiday in Crackington Haven in Cornwall. Our children were quite young then and after the sandcastles were built, the swims over, and the games played I decided to have try at a bit of sketching, – I had never tried before. 1 year later I had started painted holiday watercolours.
So here we are in 2021 nearly 38 years later and there have been many watercolours produced since 1973 and a fair few of Cornwall. If you follow this blog you will have seen many of them!
I fact I notice on my stats that over the past year there have been over 9000 views from 76 different countries around the world –Thank you for looking!
These past weeks we have also been enjoying a Rick Stein series on Cornwall on the TV and so these things have brought me to doing a post of some of my Cornwall watercolours, some old, and some new which I hope you will enjoy.
The header is one of St Ives , one of the most famous of Cornish towns, and like many parts of Cornwall a haven for artists.
Toward the most westerly parts of Cornwall is Cape Cornwall and this watercolour tries to capture the Cove and Cape Cornwall from the Kenidjack valley as a storm brews over the sea.
Not far away from there is Priest’s Cove (accessible from the Cape Cornwall Car park) where a few fishing boats still go out to sea.
Also on the North Cornwall coast there are many ruins of Tin and Copper mines , some right at the edge of the precipitous cliffs. Here is a watercolour painted recently of the Crown Engine houses at Botallack Mine.
You can also visit the Levant Mine and beam engine a little further north and see a working Beam Engine there. Amazing for any engineering fans!. After passing or stopping in St Ives the coast will eventually lead you to Hayle and eventually Newquay.
Further on is Bedruthan steps with great coastal views and then Padstow, a great place to have a meal or sit by the quay, as we did, and enjoy a traditional Cornish Pasty. The passenger ferry crosses to Rock but to drive round to Rock and Polzeath the road takes you via Wadebridge.
At Polzeath there is a great beach which is a favourite place for surfers due to the excellent waves coming in from the Atlantic.
And a bit further on the coast is Port Quin and then the famous Port Isaac, well know as the setting for the TV series of Doc Martin.
Further up the North Coast, beyond Crackington Haven is Bude, a larger summer resort again famous for the sandy beaches, and I seem to remember very good ice cream!
Leaving the North coast behind the South Coast of Cornwall is equally appealing, with quaint fishing villages, much history and beautiful coastal scenery.
A few places that I have painted watercolours of are here now and all are well worth a visit if you are there.
St Clements is near to Truro on the River Tresillian. I was introduced to it by another blogger who produces a great Blog about Cornish History and Folklore ( Cornishbirdblog.com The Cornish Bird) and this watercolour is, with permission, from a photo from that blog.
The south coast has so many great places to visit but here is just one real favourite of ours, Mousehole, tricky to park at though!
Lastly for this post about my Cornwall watercolours is a view of St Michael’s Mount, where today there is the choice of ferry or a walk across the Causeway at low tide.
This watercolour tries to capture the scene as people arrive from the last evening ferry.
I have only been able to give you a flavour of the “Delights of Cornwall “here but it is a great County of England to visit. In many ways it is unique and has the most stunning coastal scenery and lovely towns and villages to spend time in..
I hope you will be able to visit there and that we too will once more be able to go there again.
Happy travelling — when you can!
Stay safe and well
Another watercolour of Tuscany – The wonderful San Gimignano
The City of Towers
In my last post I featured a watercolour from San Gimignano, so today I have painted a watercolour sketch of the Piazza del Cisterna, right in the centre of San Gimignano. This Cisterna in the Piazza was originally built in 1273 was enlarged in 1346 and painted by me in 2020!
This watercolour pen and wash sketch is painted across two pages of my Sketch book and measures 24 inches by 8.
I was a little surprised that I had not painted this scene before but by making it a large panorama I have been able to include a lot of this lovely Piazza. The Towers of San Gimignano are so unique and amazing ,”Manhattan of the 13th Century”.
Originally there were over 70 towers but today only 14 of them still exist. Only 6 are in this painting. Some of the Towers are over 150 feet tall.
In this painting I have included an artist, maybe we will be able to get back there before too long to soak up the amazing atmosphere, not to mention the great food, warm welcome and really super wine!
Also I have included a couple of previous paintings of San Gimignano produced whilst visiting there in 2013.
I hope you like them.
I am trying to post much more often that I normally do so that there are frequent new paintings for everyone to look at, and as I am painting a lot more than normal it lets me have an outlet for all my artwork!
Anyway stay safe, and thanks for looking at my blog posts.
All the best.
The Sun is out – and we are in!
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
Bluebells in Kent – Spring is here!
The sun is shining ,the warmth of the Spring has suddenly brought on the Bluebells in the woods in Kent.
Some years the cow parsley masks the Bluebells but not this year, this is a great year for them.
Recently we visited a friend’s beautiful garden near Hawkhurst in Kent and by the pond in their garden was a lovely wood full of bluebells
i couldn’t resist having a go a painting them and here is the result. Bluebells have unique colours ranging from Blue to Violet which is quite a challenge, but no matter the accuracy the memory will remain of that beautiful scene.
As many of you know we also live to play golf and we are lucky that our golf course has woods with bluebells too.
So here is another painting from a year or two back with a scene on the course with bluebells in the woods.
If you do have a chance to get out into the countryside to see the bluebells then do try to go at this time, if not I hope you will enjoy my attempts to capture their beauty.
NB Some other watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at
Scotney Castle, a beautiful spot in Kent
Last week we had the pleasure of a visit from some very good friends from the USA. It was an opportunity to explore some places in the South East of England that they hadn’t visited before.
One of these was Scotney Castle, today a National Trust property quite near to us in the heart of Kent.
It has a fine Victorian house which itself it well worth visiting as it was lived in by the former owner until 2006 and has all the furnishings and items as it was at that time, a time capsule of two hundred years worth of the family’s history.
However the other jewel of Scotney Castle is the ruined castle situated on a small island in the middle of the lake at the heart of the estate. In spring the walk to the Castle and the surrounding area is bursting with Azaleas and Rhododendron bushes of all colours and fine perennial plants and trees.
It is painter’s paradise and has been the subject of my watercolours before.
This visit revealed some new aspects to me and so this watercolour shows both the Castle by the lake and the Victorian House on the hill above.
The second painting from last year shows another aspect of the Castle in spring time.
If you are in Kent do visit Scotney, it is a truly beautiful place.
I hope you enjoy this short post.
At last the sun is out!
This winter it seemed as if the rain would never stop, then late last week and since the weather in the South of England has really improved and the sun has been shining.
It inspired me to get out and go to the Weald of Kent and there, near Horsmonden Church your will find this Springtime scene. I hope you like my interpretation of it!
The Church dedicated to St Margaret is about 2 miles from the Village centre. This is attributed to the centre of the village moving in the 17th Century to where a foundry had been established by John Browne. It was a large employer and the village thus migrated to be nearer the foundry. The foundry closed in 1685, but the village has remained at the Heath.
The term Weald is an old English word for Forest as this area was once heavily forested, even today there are many fine woods and copses across the area.
Anyway I hope wherever you are the weather is fine, we certainly hope it stays fine here and everywhere will get a chance to recover from all that winter rain.
Enjoy your travels
Shoot it, Paint it. A Corner of Sissinghurst in Kent
Last weekend in the beautiful October sunshine we visited Sissinghurst Castle gardens in Kent. It is always a lovely place to visit and it is good to go there in Spring, Summer and Autumn.
We enjoyed a short sit down on a bench in the garden and took a few photos. This one I have now painted a watercolour of..
I have tried to recapture the colours of summer, so excuse the liberties taken!
I hope you like this very short post.
The Blue Danube post has had an update too with a painting of the Charles Bridge in Prague added.
Happy travels to you all!
Shoot it,Sketch it: Ballygally in Northern Ireland
By way of a change I thought I would do a Shoot it, Sketch it Blog.
Recently we stayed at Ballygally on the beautiful North Antrim Coast ( I have blogged about the beauty of this coast before) and while there took the photo below and then I managed to find a little time for a quick watercolour.
You may be able to see that the cliff outline looks so like a face in profile , and I have tried to capture the feature.
I hope you enjoy this somewhat different Blog, inspired by looking at the great artwork on Clouds of Colour!