Category Archives: Watercolours of Mountains
It was great to spend a week visiting friends and family in Northern Ireland and revisiting many great locations there, luckily I was able to fit in a few watercolour sketches along the way!
Readers of this blog will be familiar with how much we enjoy the North Antrim Coast and the spectacular scenery there.
Even the drive from Larne to Portrush is spectacular with the Causeway Coastal Route hugging the coast for so many wonderful miles.
We based ourselves this time in a great house rental in Whiteabbey (Abbeyselfcatering.co.uk) which I would strongly recommend as it’s location, near to Belfast and Carrickfergus is a great touring base for all of Northern ireland.
Whlist in Northern Ireland there wasn’t a lot of time for painting but I did manage a few “en plain air” sketches which are in this blog and were painted during out visits to the areas.
Firstly, The Giants Causeway, sitting on those famous hexagonal stones, and dodging the showers gave me time for couple of quick sketches .
And also the next bay with the amazing rock formations –
It is a busy place and pre-booking is well advised as coach loads of visitors, some from cruise ships, go there to marvel at this natural phenomenon.
Just a few miles further down the road is the famous Carrick -a-Rede rope bridge which is some 98 feet above the rocks below.
Here are two sketches one on cartridge paper which will give you some idea of the Bridge.
In the great seaside town of Ballycastle is one of the finest beaches you will see with the backdrop of the cliff known as Fair Head. This has been one of my favourite subjects over many years and here is a recent quick watercolour and a studio watercolour painted before this visit.
Of course for me a trip to Northern ireland would not be complete without a glimpse of the Mourne Mountains 30 miles south of Belfast. No time for a sketch so here are two studio watercolours of these beautiful mountains above Newcastle and Murlough Bay.
And lastly a semi abstract watercolour of the same scene painted a couple of weeks ago.
This was a short but lovely visit to Northern Ireland with is wonderful scenery, people, food and drink. ( Yes, I did manage a quick stop at the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery in Bushmills to collect some supplies!)
I hope that you will enjoy these sketches and watercolours.
If you would like to see more please download my free Guide Book to Ulster which you will find in the Header to this Blog, or search of for the book on the Apple iBookstore.,where it is also free.
Some of these and many more of my watercolours are for sale on http://www.Artfinder.com/brianswatercolours
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.
Happy New Year!
Well lets hope it is — for us all.
A return to travelling , meeting eveyone, ditching the mask and returning life to normal. It it too much to ask?
Alas it may be but we can only plan and dream, and we do have some plans to look forward to but I wont tempt fate by talking about them yet.
So today a couple of watercolours to welcome the New Year, painted this week between Christmas and New Year of the English Lake District, one of the few places we did manage to go to in 2021.
I was amazed to find that I have a ready painted 18 sketches and watercolours of the region since travelling there in June 2021. I guess that is because we really enjoyed the area, the people and the food there, and the scenery is stunning!
Although in June it was very busy with all of us Staycationers!
These two new watercolours are of Buttermere and the beautiful waterfalls at Aira Force near the shore of Ullswater at Glenridding.
The climb up to the top of the bridge shown in this watercolour is about 150 metres which was for us quite an achievement!
But the circular walk is really a lovely experience and well worth the climb.
The falls drop about 20 metres and the roar is terrific.
The second watercolour is a larger work of Buttermere Lake, still in the Lake Dirsict but a little futher west of Ullswater.
It is very famous for Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks and the area has always been a popular place for painters and walkers with the mountains coming down to the lake.
This is a more traditional watercolour of Buttermere , this time in more Autumn hues and is 50 by 30 cms and is painted on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper, my favourite watercolour medium.
It is for sale on Artfinder as are many of my watercolours.
I was prompted by our lack of recent travel to tally up the Countries that we have visited over many years, and I was surprised to find that it came to 57 different Countries. Mind you as there are over 190 Countries worldwide there is still plenty of scope for more to be added, let us hope we can!
Of those 57, I have painted watercolours and sketches of 45 and many are in this Blog’s archives.
In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy wherever you are.
As we have found over the past two years there are many fabulous places in your own area and Country to see and explore.
Very Best Wishes for 2022
or contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and i will happily take on commissions for watercolours that are special to you!
It is what I really love to do!
Over the past while and both before and since our recent visit to the Lake District I have been painting fairly large watercolours in my studio of the area.
Some are based on the sketches in my previous post but others are from photos of the area.
One, of Scafell Pike has already been sold, but the others are all available, so do contact me if you think one would go well in your home.
Also recently I sold a painting of The Mourne Mountains with all four seasons on the one wide watercolour.
This has encouraged me to try another, This time of Derwentwater and so this is the first of the Studio Watercolours
This next watercolour is an impressionistic watercolour of Buttermere, a beautiful Lake in the area.
Next the sold watercolour of Scafell Pike, quite impressionistic too.
In Ambleside the House on the Bridge is one of the famous sights of the Lake District.
Here as a studio watercolour.
Near Ambleside is the beautiful Langdale Valley and the Langdale Pikes. Here is a watercolour of the scene at dawn as the sun breaks into the valley.
And now Ullswater as the evening sets in
This next watercolour is again of Derwentwater but now in full summer, just as we saw it.
And lastly Stockley Packhorse Bridge
I will continue to paint more watercolours from my sketches in the Studio of the Lake District but this is the work so far.
I do hope you enjoy them , it is a wonderful area to visit and to paint!
Well,it’s seems amazing but we have just had a nice 6 day holiday in the Lake District of England, and with really nice weather too, whilst our home county of Kent was suffering heavy rain and thunderstorms!
The area around Windermere was very busy and fortunately I had pre booked very nice restaurants some of which I have mentioned below.
The visit gave me an opportunity for some watercolour pen and wash sketches and due to the nice weather I was able to paint them “en plein air” which was very enjoyable.
In the next post I will include so more formal studio watercolour paintings of the Lakes but here are the sketches that I have so far completed.
I hope you enjoy looking at them.
Firstly near to Windermere is Ambleside , although we didn’t realise that Ambleside at the lake is a mile or more from the town.
We went there on a Windermere lake cruise but having to wear a mask all the time on the boat was both unpleasant and in my opinion totally unnecessary as we were all distanced and out in the open air!
In Ambleside I managed to sketch the famous House on the Bridge, which is quite extraordinary and dates back to collecting tolls , I believe mainly to do with the sheep trade.
The next day we went to Derwentwater where parking at the Lakeside is a very tricky thing to do, but on the way we spent some time at Ashness Bridge, a very old Packhorse bridge near to Derwentwater.
I was able to two quick sketches of this very picturesque scene one from the South side and one from the North.
The road there is very narrow but there is a National Trust car park thank goodness!
Not far away from Asness bridge is Derwnetwater and there is a lovely walk along the South shore of the lake, with views across the lake to Skiddaw mountain.
I managed to capture this view in this sketch and of course there are many more photos for future paintings.
Our next day was spent at Ullswater after a beautiful mountainous drive from Windermere across the fells.
Ullswater was much quieter and thus more enjoyable for a quiet time sitting and painting by the lake and watching the steamer gliding over the Lake. While at Ullswater we also visited The Airs Force waterfall and felt quite elated that we climbed the 220 feet to get to this marvellous waterfall.I will be doing a sketch of it shortly, as I didn’t carry anything up to the viewing point.
On our final day we spent a few hours on the west shore of Coniston Water and i managed to paint this sketch with the very old Coniston Steamer on the lake.
I have arrived back with lots of ideas for future paintings which will appear on this blog in a while.
In th mean time should you venture to the Lake District I would strongly recommend these restaurants, but do book well ahead!
In Windermere – Francine’s (brilliant) and San Pietro.
In Bowness – Villa Positano (great food and atmosphere)
Beyond Ambleside The Drunken Duck (very good food but more expensive)
I hope you will one day enjoy them.
Happy travelling once again!
Last week I posted about the beautiful Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
It started me thinking that a series of the same panorama for each season might be fun to paint and then I wondered, how about just doing one watercolour with all four seasons in the one painting!
Crazy or Exciting?
Well I decided to have a go today and here is the result, hot as they say , off the press!
It starts from left to right with summer first so that I could include some yachts sailing below a cobalt blue sky. Then comes Autumn with a softer ultramarine and cerulean blue cloudy sky before winter with dark skies and rain and snow landing on the Mourne’s highest peak, Slieve Donard and below it a colder sea foaming up on to the beautiful sandy beach. Lastly we are back to spring with big clouds in a cobalt sky.
I know it’s a bit weird but it was a lot of fine to try to paint and maybe you will like it.
I would love to get your comments.
I have popped it on to Artfinder in case someone really likes it!
I am now thinking of other scenes that might work with this idea so who knows you may see some more.
With our second jab due quite soon and half of the UK now vaccinated seeing friends and family and even some travel is becoming a reality, thank goodness.
It is a fantastic UK vaccine achievement which we all are very proud of and congratulate those who have made it happen – well done!
Stay well and safe
Many many years ago when I lived in Northern Ireland a visit to County Down and the Mourne Mountains was always a treat, whether it was to go to the beautiful beaches, or to play golf at Royal County Down Golf Course or to wander down the Ards Peninsula and see Strangford Lough, no matter where the scenery was alway superb.
The gentle rolling hills, known as Drumlins are a characteristic of the soft and gentle countryside but with the promise in the distance of the Mourne Mountains rising above the busting seaside town of Newcastle.
If you have followed this blog you will have seen my watercolours that try to capture the amazing beauty of the wilder Antrim Coast but County Down is a greener, if that is possible, part of Northern Ireland
I have painted this area quite a lot over the years and so here are some of these watercolours that try to capture the Mourne Mountains.
From as far away as Belfast the mountains are visible even though they are over 30 miles away.
As you approach Dundrum the mountains become even clearer and view from near to Dundrum shows the broad extent of the landscape.
As you approach the mountains a visit to Murlough bay will give you fine views of the coast and the mountains
This famous nature reserve is a really great place to visit.
Here are a couple of watercolours painted from photos taken at that beach
I am indebted to Gerry Judge for allowing me to use two of his fine photos as the basis for the next two watercolours
Firstly the same general scene as above but now at sunset
And secondly an old derelict cottage in the heart of the Mountains
This next watercolour, painted many years ago, is the scene from near Hilltown and was used as a background by a well know Belfast Chef, Alex Greene, in the series on TV “The Great British Menu”. It was exciting to see my watercolour being used by him.
At the foot of the Mourne Mountains lies the town of Newcastle , a busting seaside resort and where the Simna river reaches the sea. Nearby is Tollymore Forest park a marvellous place to visit and to enjoy the woods and forest of the mountain. A walk there will take you to Foley’s Bridge , one of the many Game of Thrones ;coalitions in Northern Ireland.
Lastly here is another watercolour of the Mourne Mountains views painted quite a while ago.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick trip to the Mourners Mountains. If you have never been then do go there to enjoy the great hospitality and scenery of this ;lovely part of the UK.
Stay well and safe
As I sit here in continued lockdown and recall our many and varied travel plans that have all come to nothing, I remember how for the past few years we had planned a short break in the The Lake District of England. To cap it all we now have snow! , not a lot just a few inches but that is enough to cause some travel chaos here, not that we can go anywhere anyway!
Frustrated by not being able to go anywhere or even meet people I resorted this week to guide books and the web for inspiration of the English Lakes and so for the past three days I have painted four watercolours of some of the many places that we would love to visit in and around the area of Cumbria, with its magnificent scenery.
Maybe later this year or next we will be able to visit and enjoy the scenery at first hand.
The Lake District today lies entirely in Cumbria and is home to the highest peaks in England. It covers over 1200 square miles of mountains and lakes.
The highest peak is Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet and this first watercolour tries to capture Scafell Pike and Scafell and the lake before them called Wasdale. With around 20 lakes and many Fells and Peaks the Lake District area is a very popular destination for visitors, hikers, painters, photographers and all outdoor pursuits as well as for it’s good accommodation ,and great food, and a warm welcome.
My second watercolour is of the delightful small town of Ambleside which lies at the Northern end of Lake Windermere and is very famous for the “Bridge House”.
The 17th Century house, originally built to store produce from fields on the far side of the Stock Beck, is one of the most curious and often painted houses in the Lake District.
Other bridge scene in the Lake District, this time of Stockley Bridge in Borrowdale. This very old packhorse bridge is one of many in the Lkae District.
My last watercolour, for now anyway, (there will be more when I can actually go there), is the view across Buttermere which is another popular watercolour artist’s view.
My inspiration here comes from photos and also a wonderful watercolour painting by Edward Wesson, an amazing 20th century English watercolorist who is an inspiration to myself and many artists.
Lockdown has reminded us of how many beautiful places we have to visit in the UK and with International travel some way off, even though we have now had the Covid Vaccine, there will be many places to plan visits to over the next year.
Wherever you are stay safe and well and like us please look forward to travel in the future.
Happy New Year to Everyone, and thanks for reading my Blog!
Let us hope that 2021 turns out better for us all than 2020. I am keeping my fingers crossed!
Alas I doesn’t seem that we will be travelling soon so some virtual travel will have to be the way forward for now.
I painted 116 watercolours during 2020 and I am not planning on stopping this trend for this year.
For many years when I was working I travelled extensively on business and went to Seattle many, many times working with Boeing of various airplanes programmes, most notably the 777. I usually stayed at Bellevue but whenever there was some free weekends I took the opportunity to travel to the coast and the islands or into the Cascade Mountains. The scenery of the Cascades is amazing but the one site that dominates all is that of Mount Rainier. Although 60 miles from Seattle it looms large and is a spectacular site even from a distance.
And so painted from some of the many photos that I took in those days ( I rarely had a sketch book with me) I have any last painted a view of Mount Rainier. This painting shows haw due to it height Mount Rainier keeps a snow covered top all year. It is possible to drive right up to 6000 feet there but this watercolour is from one of the approach roads.
We have visited many mountains over the years and way back in 2003 I painted this sketch of Table Mountain at Capetown in South Africa.
This mountain dominates Capetown even more that Mount Rainier does in Seattle but it is a very amazing site from across the bay.
Also near Capetown are the 12 Apostles Mountain range and here is a painting again from some years ago of these spectacular mountains above Camps Bay in the evening.
Even further away from the UK is New Zealand with some of the most amazing scenery we have ever
Here are just three watercolours, the first of Mount Tongaringo in the North Island and the others from the South Island.
I hope that you have enjoyed this first part of my Mountain Travel Post. I will be adding more on Part 2
Stay safe and well