Category Archives: Travels with a Brush
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!
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
It has been a poor start to the summer in England and so it was great to escape the rain and spend a few days with good friends in a very sunny Sevilla.
Just about 2 1/4 hours from London Sevilla is in the heart of Andalusia in Southern Spain and gets very hot indeed in the height of summer.in June it was around 28 so very pleasant indeed.
We stayed in a very old collection of buildings now a nice hotel called Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia on Calle Santa Maria la Blanca, about 10 minutes walk from the main square where the Alcazar and the huge Cathedral of Seville are. This is one of the Hotel’s many inner courtyards which are open to the sky, but cool on a hot day.
The little streets are interesting in Seville with shops, houses and restaurants and of course Tapas bars. They get very busy late in the evening as eating out is a common thing obviously for the local population.
The main attraction of Seville is the Alcazar some of which is well over a thousand years old.
Evidence of the Romans in aqueducts and the layout of the city are also to be seen.
In between the touring around and eating and drinking there was time for a few quick sketches of some things that we visited and saw. These were all very quick sketches with watercolour that might become the basis for larger watercolours back in the studio.
A guide for the Alcazar is in my mind essential and our’s, Maria, was very knowledgeable and interesting.
Here is the front to the Alcazar where the queue to get in can be found.
Do buy tickets in advance for the Alcazar and the Cathedral as this will avoid the long queues.
Inside the Palace the decoration , much in the Moorish style, is truly fantastic and very well worth seeing and the gardens are extremely beautiful too. After the guided tour we were able to retrace our steps to some of the rooms and to linger in the gardens and have some lunch there.
When you have finished and seen everything inside the Alcazar this is the view as you emerge of The Giralda and the Cathedral.
The Giralda ,once a Moorish tower is adjacent to the enormous Cathedral of Seville and can be part of the entrance ticket. We didn’t climb to the top but even seeing it from below is very impressive.
Of course there are many other sights to see and visit in Seville, the Bullring, the River and the various old quarters of the City.
Also there is the Place d’Espagna built for the 1929 exhibition and it is surrounded by the lovely María Luisa Park.
By the substantial river is the famous tower, Cruceros Torre del Ore, built in the 13th Century.
A nice subject for another small watercolour!
visiting Sevilla involves quite a lot of walking but most things are easily reachable on foot. Taxis are plentiful and reasonable and the trip back to the airport easy to.
Alas now back in the UK where it still seems to be rather changeable weather, maybe the sun will shine soon.
Following on from the Workshop with Herman Pekel I have painted this watercolour of a little row of shops and houses in Burnham Market in West Norfolk that caught my eye when I visited there.
It is a very pretty town with lots of shops and cafes and very nice to stroll about.
This watercolour attempts to incorporate some of the ideas that Herman showed us and is the first that I have done back here in my studio using only hake brushes and some Chinese calighraphy brushes. They are fun to use and help with the dry brush techniques.
I plan to continue to paint in this somewhat bolder style and hope that you will like these results too.
The watercolour is painted on Saunders NOT paper and is 15 inches by 11.
if you are in West Norfolk do vist Burnham Market and Burnham Overy Staithes, and I would highly recommend a stay at the White House Hotel at Sussex Farm too.
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!
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!
Last weekend we enjoyed watching the amazing Master’s Golf on the TV from Augusta. As ever it was fantastic spectacle, and made even more so by Tiger Woods once again winning the Trophy.
While watching I sketched these three small watercolours as the scene of the course with the Azealeas is as always so wonderful to see.
These are simple line and wash watercolours, each one about 9 inches by 8 and on Khadi watercolour paper in the sketchbook.
It could have been one of my ” Places I would like to be” posts and maybe one day we will visit there to see the beauty of this golf course at first hand.
I hope you like them , and if you play golf that the quality of the play from the Professionals will inspire your game too.
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.
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.
Now we are back in the cold of the UK, but with great memories of yet another wonderful trip to Mauritius.