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
We spent a delightful afternoon with Alan Colledge, a fine watercolour artist from Kent in England.
We occasionally visit his studio for some tuition on techniques and ideas and it is alway fun and rewarding.
This time was no exception and his information on Pen and Wash was excellent and so with his guidance we produced some watercolours.
Here is the main one that we all did after watching his demonstration. It is of Scotney Castle in Kent. This is a lovely National Trust castle and grounds and in the spring the Azaleas and Rhododendrons are splendid.
You can find Alan Colledge at Art fairs and Craft and Farmers markets across the South of England where he sells his watercolours and greetings cards. This weekend he will be at the Midsummer Fair in Lenham in Kent. It is held at The Tithe Barn, Lenham, Kent ME17 2QD
Alan Colledge’s website is http://www.alancolledge.com
This was a very nice day and quite different from my usual watercolours so thanks to Alan for showing us his approach to this interesting technique.
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.
Some years ago some good friends visited Lake Bled in Slovenia. I have never been there but I really do hope to get there in the next year or two.
They sent me a nice photo taken from the south side of the lake showing the fabulous scenery of the area.
The Island of Bled is in the Lake and it has a Pilgrimage Church, The Assumption of Mary with a 171 foot tower, on it together with a baroque stairway of 99 steps leading up to the Church.
I decided that it would be good to try to paint a watercolour of the scene, so after some research and looking at the area on Google Earth and other sites I started the watercolour.
Then during the process some other friends saw the artwork and said how much they too had enjoyed visiting Lake Bled and could I paint another watercolour of the scene. Yes of course! It is such an enjoyable view that a second painting seemed a very good idea. They are never the same of course , which is just as well, as I never reproduce my watercolours as prints.
These are the two paintings.
A year of two passed and then I had enquiry from the USA for the painting which of course were not available, but again I offered to paint the scene once more.
This I did and the recipient was pleased with the result.
Amazingly not more than a few months later the same thing happened again but this time from a different State in the USA. And so a fourth watercolour of the scene was the result (this one was requested to have darker tones to the lake) and another happy recipient too!
So you see I do think it is about time I actually went there, and painted the scene “en plein air” just for myself.
Just need to get on with the planning!
Happy travelling and painting, and a Happy New Year too!
PS, If you too would like a watercolour of Lake Bled, then just email me at email@example.com