Category Archives: Watercolours

Pen and Wash sketches of Canterbury

Hi Everbody

It is hardly the weather for outdoor sketching at present here in Kent so here are three quick Pen and Wash watercolours in and around Canterbury in Kent, all done in a few idle moments over the Christmas holidays from photos in my library.

With  them come my Best Wishes for the New Year too!

Regards to all

Brian

A Place, a Painting, a Drink and a Platter. No 5 –The Veneto and Southern Italy!

Hi Everbody

Continuing with this food drink and place theme this post covers my visits to Venice and the Veneto region, and the most  southerly part of Italy, the wonderful, Sicily.

As every region has such great specialities I just can’t cover them all but in these lovely places we have had such great times, drinks and food. And of course that special Italian hospitality and warmth of the people themselves.

 First lets stop off in the VENETO  and VENICE.

Miramare Castle near Trieste. Watercolour 15 inches by 10. The coast in the distance is actually Slovenia!

On the coast towards Trieste stands the lovely Miramare Castle. Commissioned by an Austrian Archduke it is resplendent with beutiful gardens and flowers. It is a truly delightful place to visit and then if you can, travel to Trieste and eat in one of the many restaurants or cafes there by the waterfront. There you can taste the local San Danielle Proscuito with some local Veneto wine. Trieste was the main port of the once Austro Hungarian Empire and didn’t become part of Italy until after the end of First World War in 1918.

VENICE

And so to Venice itself. Oh. what wonderful place, where every corner you turn is a great vista and the back streets and canals are a painters’ paradise.

It has been hard to choose which of my many Venice watercolours to include but the choice of food and drink was easier as one special Restaurant really stood out for me in Venice.

Just off the Riva Degli Schiavoni,  in a small side street called Calle del Pestrin, is the excellent Restaurant  “Corte Sconta” . Great fresh sea food and a very nice place to eat. The Vongole was superb, well worth the walk along the Riva with the spectacular view above and below. More local Veneto wine too, or Prosecco!

Riva deli Schiavoni. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

If you plan to stay on The Riva degli Schiavoni then try the “Locanda Vivaldi” with its traditional Venetian rooms and a great location.

Arriving at the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel by Water Taxi. 15 inches by 10.

This watercolour was painted from a photo taken as we arrived by water taxi to stay there!

In Venice the trip down the Grand Canal is amazing with fine views and if you can visit the Fish Market then do! From there walk back slowly down the side streets until reach the Academia Bridge. All just amazing!

Santa Maria della Salute from the Academia Bridge. Watercolour 12 inches by 9

The Fish Market on the Grand Canal. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

The Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge. Watercolour 10 inches by 15

And so to finish this section on Venice here is St Mark’s Square from a Vaporetto, but don’t forget to buy your ticket before you board!

 

Down South to SICILY

Italy is a Country of so many regions, customs ,food and wine, and the wonderful scenery.

On the Mediterranean’s largest island all of these can be found in abundance.

We have enjoyed Sicily a lot and Taormina is a great place to stay and admire the views and the food and wine. I was first introduced to Pasta Norma there  which was and is great! But also the fresh Ocrobus grilled is superb and this I really did enjoy in Taormina. If you can try the wine  “La Segreta Nero d’Avola” from the Planeta Winery, very nice indeed and available in the UK

From Taormina the sight of Mount Etna steaming , or even erupting is amazing. Try to take trip up to the top if you can and feel the hot earth beneath your feet!

Sunset ,Mount Etna gently smoking from Taormina. Watercolour 14 inches by 8

Here are two more paintings of Sicily too.

The coast at Naxos near Taormina. Watercolour Sketch 9 by 7 inches

Fishing boats at Cefalu on the Northern Coast of Sicily. watercolour 15 by 7 inches

There is so much more to say about Italy but I will leave Rome,Puglia and the Amalfi coast till another time

Happy travelling

Brian

Some of these and many watercolours are for sale  or just to see on my site at 

http://www.Artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

A Place, a Painting, a Drink and a Platter. No 4 –Northern Italy!

Hi Everybody,

For this post in this series on food and drink and scenery we are heading off to Northern Italy, well a few parts of it anyway. In Part two we will visit the Veneto area and Sicily.

Lago di Como

“Just another villa” One of many wonderful vistas by Lake Como! Watercolour 14 inches by 10

Our first stop is  the beautiful Lake Como, a truly magnificent area of Northern Italy.

The sparkling waters of the Lake , which is surrounded by impressive mountains and then by the shore there are many delightful towns and villages.

We most recently stayed in Cernobbio where the town nestles against the southern end if the lake.

One evening we ate in a really very good and ever so friendly restaurant in the town called “Osteria del Beuc”. Amongst a delightful selection of food we enjoyed some great lake perch,lightly pan fried and really great.

We washed it down with some excellent Gavi di Gavi chilled white Italian wine.

It was a memorable evening enjoyed with great friends and we ended it  with a stroll by the lake.

The next day we went in a motor launch along the lake, taking in the sights and lunching at Bellagio, a really lovely town, only rivalled in the area by Varenna.

There are so many great sights along the Lake with many famous gardens and Villas.

Here are some watercolours of Lake Como, a place we look forward to returning to.

Varenna on Lake Como. Watercolour 16 inches by 12

Bellagio, Lake Como

Lake Como, watercolour sketch.

The tiny village of Nesso on Lake Come, split in two by a gorge!  Watercolour sketch

coffee stop In Cernobbio by Lake Como

Tuscany

Just the word Tuscany brings back wonderful memories of holidays spent in the lovely part of Italy.

Evening in Tuscany. Watercolour 18 inches by 9

Everywhere you turn in Tuscany there are great scens to savour, let alone the food and the stunning wine.

It is a region we love from the treasures of Firenza to the towers of San Gimignano it is all very stunning. Not to mention Pas and Sienna to!

One town I have loved to paint in is Lucca with such an iconic oval Piazza surrounded by cafes and restaurants. I am pleased to say that quite a few people around the world have original watercolours, each one different naturally, of this scene.

Just to sit and enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by is enough there to give  you a great sense on calm and pleasure.

Coffe in Lucca, watercolour 14 by 10 inches

The towers of San Gimignano are really quite amazing. Although many have disappeared the are still a lot to admire.

Over 500 years old in many cases they dominate this delightful town with its many restaurants, and even more tourists!

One real food highlight there was a gelato enjoyed in the main Piazza with the towers all around us.

The towers of San Gimignano.watercolour 18 inches by 8

Here are a few more watercolours of Tuscany which i hope you will enjoy.

In the streets of Lucca

Shadows in Lucca

 

In Part Two of this post we will visit Venice, and the adriatic coast before travelling down south to beautiful Sicily

i hope you are enjoying this very selective visit to Italy and much as I am

Happy Travelling

Brian

A place,a Painting, a Drink and a Platter. Number 2 The Côte d’Azur

 

In the first one of this occasional series of posts I remembered visits to Australia.

In this the second of the series it is the turn of The Côte d’Azur and Provence in Southern France.

This spectacular part of the world has always been one of our most favourite destinations with the mountains, sea and a wonderful coast. That is before we even start to think of the food and wine.

For an artist it is also a place of wonderful light and clear air, dazzling azure blue seas and marvellous towns , villages and mountains.

I have painted hundreds of watercolours of the region so it  is tricky to pick a few but here goes.

  1. St Tropez

St Tropez has it all, a bustling harbour filled with huge yachts, tiny streets and many boutiques, markets and crowds in the summer. The best way to get there is on the Ferry from Saint Maxime, the journey alone is great!

This first watercolour shows St Tropez with yachts racing off shore

 

View over St Tropez . Watercolour 14 inches by 7

Away from the busy harbour with the vast yachts is the tiny port of La Ponche.

With a  group of restaurants at the entrance the harbour and beach  has not changed in many years, but alas the fishing fleet is no longer there. We love to have a simple lunch there at a restaurant called La Pasquier et Mazagran of a freshly made omelette and frites, some crusty French baguette and a carafe of lovely local Rosé wine. Inside the Restaurant it is like stepping back in time, or outside on the terrace the shade of the awnings is very welcome.

La Ponche old fishing port at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

2. The Perched Villages and Towns

From Eze via Vence, St Paul de Vence, Bar sur Loup, Toutettes sur Loup, Gourdon, Montaroux, Callian, Tourettes, Fayence,S eillans and on toward Bargemon the Perched villages and townsof this area of Provence are wonderful.

House perched on Cliffs, Narrow winding streets, bars and Restaurants in abundance. Small and large Churches and  fine views across to Cannes ,Nice, and The Esterel peninsula.

There just isn’t time to explore them all now so here are just three for this Post.

1 Gourdon

Gourdon and the view towards the sea. Watercolour sketch 19 inches by 8

Gourdon perches on a cliff edge with its Chateau and intesting shops ,perfume distillery and restaurants.

The road up is steep but wide and the views across to the Esterel and Nice quite amazing..There is good restaurant , La Taverne Provencal, looking over the view where we have enjoyed nice lunches too, and the panini in  a  little cafe on the main street are delicious too. 

2. Fayence

Our favourite restaurant for many years was La Table D’Yves in Fayence but sadly it is now closed.

However Fayence and the area have many nice restaurants and our favourite these days is very good Le Moulin De La  Camandoule which is is really terrific and has a lovely oustside Terrace to enjoy . Great menus especially their vast, and slightly wobbly,  Cheese trolley and Dessert Souffles are all excellent. The view of Fayence from the terrace is lovely. A great place to stop and enjoy Lunch or Dinner. Or stay as they have rooms too.

Fayence from the Moulin de la Camandoule terrace. Watercolour 12 inches by 10

3 Sellians 

The next village to Fayence is Sellians

Very old, with narrow winding streets. We ate some while  ago at a Restaurant called Chez Hugo (chezhugo.fr) where I enjoyed a terrific Squid Bourride. With its flavours of Cumin and Spices, it was a special plate of food. 

So much did I enjoy it that I have developed my own recipe for it!

Rather different but I like it!

Here is the method.

Part boil a handful of new potatoes. 

In an oven proof casserole fry, in olive oil with a pat of butter, sliced Shallots, about 6, with two sticks of chopped celery, 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a tablespoon of cumin, some chilli flakes, a good pinch of salt and coarse black pepper, about 12 turns of the grinder. 

When softened but not too brown add  a large glass of white or rose wine and the same about of good stock,chicken or vegetable.

In another pan fry the medium sized squid, or five small ones,  which has been chopped in bite sized pieces and dusted with flour until just going slightly brown. Add this and the halved potatoes to the casserole and pop in the oven at around 160C. If is seems too dry add a splash of water. Cook for 25 minutes and serve immediately with crunchy bread and very chilled Rosé Wine.  Voila!, Bon Appetit!

With so many great places on the Côte d’Azur to visit I think we may need a return visit later on in this series!

Next time this series will take us to the USA and a few destinations there.

Happy Travelling

Brian

 

 

 

A Place, a Painting, a Drink and a Platter.

Hi Readers

This new occasional series of posts picks out some wonderful places that we have visited in our travels, drinks we have enjoyed there and some memorable meals.

As you know I love to record our travels in watercolour and so this series will feature watercolours painted during those many years of travel.

It will cover a good number of Countries, but we have to start somewhere and so here is the first post in this series , featuring a a few parts of Australia.

Golden Skies at Sydney Harbour Bridge. Watercolour 18 inches by 8

  1. Sydney and Watson’s Bay

Sydney is one of the World’s great destinations. Its location , Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are only a part of the great cultural attractions of this City.
Savour the great wines, enjoy the scene and the food all around the harbour and the City.

However my choice for this first entry is just in the outskirts of Sydney at Watson’s Bay, approached from the Bay on one of the Ferry boats this headland town boasts one of the finest Fish Eateries, Doyles!

Get a balcony table and enjoy the great fish and chips,( we ate Kingfish) enjoy a lovely glass or two of crisp unoaked Australian Chadonnay. The views are great and then reboard the ferry and tour the whole of the Bay.

Watson’s Bay near Sydney. Watercolour 18 inches by 8

2. The Barossa Valley

Many years ago on a visit to Adelaide I had the chance to spend some time in the Wine region of The Barossa Valley. A recent article in the newspaper had me looking back at my notes and photos and this led me to produce this watercolour painting , a Pen and Wash sketch.
The wines in the Barossa Valley are great, some legendary, and on that visit I  enjoyed some Old Vines Shiraz and a great Australian “Barbie” .
Australian bred beef is terrific and we naturally had some wonderful steak and some Kangaroo too. The visits to the Wineries were very good. The scenery all around the region was lovely. I hope  my watercolour captures a small part of this great part of South Australia.

The Barossa Valley. Watercolour Pen and wash Sketch 10 inches by 8

3. The Blue Mountains

Not many hours from Sydney are the beautiful Blue Mountains. A great place to stay and visit with sweeping vistas in all directions. The steepest train ride anywhere too I seem to remember.

We stayed at Katoomba and enjoyed great hospitality and food. One really memorable dinner was in Leura , at a restaurant called Silk’s Brasserie where ate great beef tenderloin and had some of the best food and service possible.

I see it has moved now from Central Leura to Silvermere in Wentworth Falls, it is great to see they are still doing well. And of course our meal was accompanied by a lovely Australian Cabernet Sauvignon!

The Three Sisters Rocks at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Watercolour 18 inches by 9.

Next time we will reminisce about the Cote d’Azur in France.

I hope you have enjoyed this first post of this new series.

Happy travelling

Brian

Watercolours of Scotney Castle in Kent, UK

Azaleas in late May. Watercolour 14 inches by 12. 2022.



Hi Everybody

i really enjoy painting watercolours of Scotney Castle in Kent throughout the year, it is one of my favourite subjects as every time I visit there is something else to see.

The header watercolour is the most recent of a series of watercolours and it tries to capture the intense colours of the Azaleas and Rhododendrons that are so prolific there.

So I have gathered together some of the many watercolours that I have painted over quite  long time and I hope that you will enjoying seeing them.

If you have never been to Scotney do try to get there one day, it is delightful and there is so much to see there.

Firstly two tall watercolours.

 

Rellections at Scotney Castle 2 Wtaercolour 18 inches by 9. 2021

Refections at Scotney Castle Watercolour 18 inches by 8.2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter at Scotney Castle Watercolour 12 by 10 inches 2019

Scotney Castle Reflections 3. Watercolour 14 inches by 9. 2022

Colour at the pond. Scotney Castle 14 by 10 inches. 2020

My first large watercolour of Scotney Castle !6 inches by 12. 2016

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these and that you will return to my Blog soon!

Happy Travelling

Brian

PS. Why not visit my shop at http://www.Artfinder.com/brianswatercolours.

Watercolour Paintings there can be shipped immediately and there is no extra charge for shipping.

Or email me a brian@brianswatercolours.com

 

 

 

Sketching on the Antrim Coast (The Causeway Coast)

UPDATE

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

Hi Everybody

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.

Daniel Smith watercolours in a travel box, Escoda travel brushes, and my 12 by 9 sketchbook.

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.

Towards Glenariffe mountain for Waterfoot Bay

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.

Fair Head and Kinbane castle. In the background is Rathlin island the the Scottish coast.

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.

Fairhead from the road from Ballycastle showing “Marconi’s Cottage site”. Scotland clearly visible on the horizon.

 

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.

Early morning at Whitepark Bay on the Antrim Coast with Rathlin Island nearby. 14 inches by 10 on Arches 300gsm paper

Fair Head from Ballycastle Beach

 

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!

Happy travelling

Brian

PS visit my shop on Artfinder for more Antrim Coast watercolours for sale.

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

Watercolours on Canvas, something new for me

Hi Everyone

By using Daniel Smith Ground it is possible to paint watercolours on stretched canvases , which for me anyway is something new and quite exciting.

So far I have just painted two and I am fairly pleased with the results.

It is quite different to painting on paper and can give a modern approach to hanging watercolours.

I would welcome you feedback on this new approach.

Here is the first one, both are 24 inches by 12 in size so large by my normal standards.

“Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland in the glow of the evening” painted from sketches and photos taken there a few years ago.


And the second on is of Sunset at Blakeney in Norfolk, which is a scene I have painted and sold before.

Again 24 inches by 12

Faversham – A gem in Kent

Hi Everybody

Faversham in Kent is a very old, and historic town well worth a visit.

Mentioned in the Domesday Book and settled for many centuries Faversham was a favoured town as far back as King Stephen in the early 12th century. He  established Faversham Abbey and Faversham has for centuries been an important seaport and market town. Once a centre of the explosives industry and still the home of a major UK brewer , Shepherd Neame

Today Faversham has many charming old houses and a thriving market as well as a Quay where barges and other craft can be seen.

It is favourite place of mine to paint and enjoy the quaintness of the area, including the nearby marshes and the creeks leading out to the Thames Estuary.

It has a fine local Art centre in Creek Creative ( and a very nice cafe too!) and shortly Faversham will be hosting a exhibition called ” Home is a Feeling” at which some of my artworks will be on show along with many items created by local artists and crafts people.

Here is the flyer for it

So today I have included some of my watercolours of Faversham which I hope you will enjoy. If you get a chance do visit Faversham and enjoy the town , it’s Quay and the excellent hostelries and shops to be found there. 

Barges at Standard Quay in Faversham Watercolour 15 inches by 11 on Arches paper

Market day in Faversham. Sketch 11 by 8 inches

Oare Creek near Faversham

A Barge at Hollowshore near Faversham

Faversham Guildhall and Market. Sketch 11 inches by 9

Boatyard at Oare Creek near Faversham. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Evening at Standard Quay. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

I hope you have enjoyed these watercolours of the Faversham area and that you will find the time to visit this very interesting town.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

Travelling again – Touring around Yorkshire

Hi Everybody

I haven’t posted for some weeks now as somehow now that our lockdowns are gone and life is returning to normal, albeit slowly, I have found that we have been quite busy which is great!

However recently we managed to spend  a few days in Yorkshire, based in nice Hotel called Sandburn Hall and from there were were able to make a few visits to various places in the East of the County.

Yorkshire scenery is lovely and the coast is great with various villages and larger towns to explore.

Days spent in York are rewarding too and although it is busy City there is so much to see.

In this post I have included some new watercolours and also some from previous visits to the County. I hope you like them and that they remind you of the area, or inspire you to visit Yorkshire too.

In the south east area of Yorkshire lies Flamborough head, with it’s lighthouse and cliffs. This view is of the bay there from the cliffs .

The Bay at Flamborough Head. Watercolour 46 by 23 cms.

 

Further north is Robin Hood’s Bay, This very pretty village is at the bottom of the cliffs and it  is a steep! walk down to get there. It seems even steeper on the way up.

Many years ago I went to a workshop by Charles Evans, a fine watercolour painter and this painting, more in his style was the result of a great day with him.

Watercolour of Robin Hood’s Bay , painted during a Charles Evans Workshop. 45 by 30 cms.

 

Here are two of my watercolour sketches of Robin Hood’s Bay.

Robin Hood’s Bay. Watercolour and ink sketch 31 by 23 cms.

A side street in Robin Hood’s Bay. Watercolour and ink sketch 23 by 26 cms.

 Even further up the coast is the fishing village of Staithes. This watercolour from last year tries to capture this pretty village, which is once again at the bottom of a very steep hill!

Staithes in North Yorkshire. Watercolour sketch with ink 26 by 23 cms.

Turning inland towards York reveals the varied scenery of Yorkshire, the Moors and then the softer farming countryside as we headed for York. 

No visit to Yorkshire is complete without visits to some of Yorkshire’s Stately homes and this time we were able to visit Castle Howard, Beningborough Hall and Nunnington Hall. 

Unfortunately Castle Howard interior was closed as a film was being shot there, but the garden and grounds are spectacular and so here are two quick sketches of the view across the lake and the gardens near the Castle.

Across the lake at Castle Howrd. Watercolour Sketch with ink. 26 by 23 cms

The view of Castle Howard from on of the flower gardens. Watercolour sketch 24 by 24 cms.

In York there is so much to see and it is a sketchers paradise, but also there are some great Restaurants and Cafes to enjoy. Two are our particular favourites. Rustique, a great French style bistro in Castlegate, and Little Italy in Goodramgate. Both really good and very welcoming. 

Here are a few sketches of York from our previous visit which try to capture the interesting scenes around the City.

York Minster from Low Petergate .

York Castle

“The Shambles” in York

Petergate in York

York Minster from the City Wall.

Finally a trip to Harrogate is always for us a must, with its elegant buildings , beautiful parks, great shopping and above all, Betty’s Tea Rooms!

We were lucky as the queue was only 25 minutes( it can be much  longer!) and as always it was a great coffee, scone and cake event. If you are there do visit this beautiful Tea Room in a very elegant building.

This quick sketch will serve to remind us of a great few days in Yorkshire. 

Betty’s Tea rooms in Harrogate. Sketch 26 by 23 cms.

Wherever you are stay safe and if you are now able to travel again do enjoy it!

Best regards

Brian

ps Don’t forget to post my shop on Artfinder (http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours)for many watercolours that are for sale or contact name about any that you see here or elsewhere on this blog.

 

 

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