Category Archives: Travels with a Brush
I would like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and Good wishes for the New Year.
I very much appreciate you looking at, and following my blog and for your comments and interest in my watercolours.
Its been a busy year with a lot of new watercolours being created and it’s been exciting to ship quite a lot to homes around the world, where I hope they will be lasting memories of travel and good times.
Winter in the UK has been a wet affair with no snow in my area yet, but maybe we will see some in the next few weeks.
With that in mind I painted this scene a few days ago, of our local golf club and it seems appropriate for this last post of the year.
Enjoy the holidays wherever you are.
Thanks for reading this blog post.
I like to paint my watercolours in a few regular sizes
On travel they are often 10 by 8 inch pen and ink studies that sometimes become larger paintings. Here is a recent example
In the studio or en plein air I like to paint watercolours that are 14 by 10 inches or 16 by 12. For me it a comfortable size and I quite often use Arches 300gsm watercolour paper blocks which are very nice to work with whether indoor or outside.
Again here is recent one
Occasionally I will paint lager paintings in watercolour up to about 25 inches by 20. For me these take a bit more preparation and thought and naturally take longer to do.
So here is recent example of a lager painting recently sent to a customer in the USA. It is of Durnstein on the Danube river and was based on painting and photos taken there a few years ago.
It is 24 inches by 16 inches and was painted on 600gsm Saunders watercolour paper . This thick paper is great to use as it retains the water for long periods and that helps with larger areas of washes.
Here are a few more larger watercolours painted over the last few years
I hope to be painting quite a lot more larger watercolours in the future
Just a quick post with some new and old watercolours of evening skies
Lets start with a very recent watercolour of Rye and one of a scene on the Rhine also painted recently.
And some stormier skies :-
And some calmer Evening to end this post
Happy travelling Everybody!
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!