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Kent – The Garden of England. Part 2

Hi Everybody

I part 1 of this series of 3 posts we explored Canterbury and the East and South Coasts of Kent

In Part 2 I am going to start with some famous visitor attractions in Kent and then delve into the Kent countryside.

Leeds castle in Kent

We are vary lucky that there are a number of very famous Places to visit in the County, maybe one of the most famous is Leeds Castle , fairly near to Maidstone . Often described as “The most beautiful Castle in the World” it is undoubtedly a great place to visit and to wander around its extensive grounds. Leeds Castle was probably established in the 9th Century but after being bought by Edward 1st Queen,Eleanor of Castile in 1278 the castle began its long journey to become the Castle we see today. Part of this transformation was done by Henry VIII in 1519, and again extensive changes were made in 1823.

Snow at Leeds Castle

 

 

Leeds Castle can be visitedted throughout the year and is very beautiful in winter when a Christmas Fair is held.

A winter evening at Leeds Castle

 

 

 

 

 

At Bodiam there is another medieval Castle, built when the River Rother was a trading route into the heart of the County. Although mostly a ruin it is a great castle to visit.

Bodiam Castle

Not very far away is Sissinghurst Castle, more of a walled garden that a Castle, it has the most wonderful gardens to see and enjoy. A favourite place for me to sketch and paint at too.

Sissinghurst

In Sissinghusrt Garden

The Ice House at Sissinghurst

As Kent is not a huge County it is a pleasant journey through the Kent Villages and Towns to also visit another wonderful location, Scotney Castle. With its old and new Castles there is lots to see and the Azalea and Rhododenron displays in early Summer are spectacular.

The old ruined castle at Scotney

Scotney Castle in Winter

As you travel around Kent there are many great views and places to see. many may include Oast Houses which I am very fond of as they are quite common in Kent but much less so in other Counties. Originally used to dry hops for beer making today they are mostly residential and often the main farm building around the County.

Here are just a few views of the Kent countyside

Oasts in the Kent countryside

The view towards Horsmonden

Farms in Kent

Across the North Down near Harrietsham

The winter views can be delightful too as being in the East of the UK we do get occasional  snow spells in Winter.

Oasts in the snow in Kent

Horsmonden Church in Winter

As you travel about there are other great places to visit, Ightham Mote is one of them as is Rochester.

Here are a few watercolours of these places.

 

 

Rochester.A watercolour taking us back to 1938 with a Shorts Flying Boat just having taken off.

Igtham Mote

I hope you have enjoyed this second Part about kent

In Part 3 we will return to the coast and to the areas nearer to my home

Stay well and Safe

Brian

Kent – The Garden of England Part 1

Hi Everybody wherever you may be.

All this extra time at home this year has made me realise how fortunate we are to live in the very beautiful County of Kent in the South East of England

So I thought maybe a few posts of some old and new Kentish scenes would hopefully be interesting to my readers.

It isn’t a tour exactly but a rather haphazard wandering of our very fine piece of England. Due to the large number of places(and watercolours!) I would like to include this post will come in Three parts and this is thus Part 1

I was born In Kent rather a long time ago and more by luck than judgement we can back to live in Kent in the 1970’s. It’s a decision that has worked out well for us as a family and it has given us all the benefits of this lovely part of the UK and it’s proximity to Europe too.

Historically Kent has had a big part to play in the development of the UK and this is very true of our first stopping place, Canterbury.

Canterbury is dominated by the magnificent Cathedral and it’s history, especially that of Thomas a Beckett and the Canterbury tales by Chaucer.

It can be seen from all around the City and here are two watercolour sketches, one of the Cathedral and one of St Augustines Abbey.

Canterbury Cathedral from Mercery Lane. Watercolour sketch

It is only a few miles to travel to the North Coast of Kent from Canterbury and from Whitstable there is a long range view toward Reculver,a ruin today but once Roman fort and then an Abbey.

Reculer on the North Kent Coast Water 12 by 10 anches

As you travel further East you come to the seaside town of Margate with sandy beaches.  Here is a watercolour of  a sunset at Margate . Margate was a favourite place to paint for W M Turner. My sunset isn’t quite up to his standard though!. In Margate today there is the excellent Turner Gallery, which is well worth a visit.

 

Sunset at Margate. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

 

Continuing round the Isle of Thanet brings you to Broadstairs and  the white cliffs coast that stretches all to way to Sussex. Here the beaches are sand but as you travel further west the sand changes to shingle.

Broadstairs – Viking Bay. Watercolour 16 inches by 12

 

 

 

Kites flying at Botany Bay, near Broadstairs. Watercolour 14 anches by 10

 

Toward Dover is the North Foreland Lighthouse on top of the cliffs and in Dover itself the view of the Castle from the Harbour spit is gréât.

 

 

North Foreland Lighthouse.Watercolour 14 by 10 anches

Dover Castle from the Harbour. Watercolour

From Dover travelling west now you come to Folkestone and  Hythe and then Hastings. So here to finish Part 1 are few watercolours of Hythe and Hastings.

Fishing boats at Hythe in Kent. One of my first ever watercolours ,over 20 years ago!

Fishing boats on the Stad at Hastings

More fishing boats at Hastings

In Part 2 of this Blog Post we will visit other inland and coastal parts of Kent.
In the meantime I hope you have enjoyed this wander around our fine County of England.

Regards
Brian

My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 1 -“The first 5 weeks in Lockdown”

I expect like me you are just wishing you could go somewhere, ANYWHERE I hear you say!

Well those days will return, but I have been travelling around the Globe quite a bit since the lockdown started.

It is of course Virtual, but by painting watercolours of various place I can almost escape there for a while. By the time I have trawled through old photos to find the one I want to paint the memories of these places come flooding back and the concentration of painting soon transports me to those far away places.

I have been posting these paintings recently so not many new ones but I thought I could put them together as a sort of Journal if only for my own amusement, and I hope yours too!

It all stared sitting in the garden in the lovely April sunshine thinking of all the gardening I should be doing, not to mention sorting out the shed, garage,study etc etc.

A corner of the garden

But soon the travel bug took over.

I had been worrying about a delivery of a variant of this watercolour of Porto in Portugal

to a customer in Toronto when I realised that I had not been to Toronto for a very long time and so the idea of a Skyline painting seemed the thing to do. Don’t ask why, even I don’t know!

Toronto Skyline

One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of Singapore.

Singapore

We had stayed in the Ritz Carlton there the last time we were there and this is the skyline from near there. What a City Singapore is!  I can even taste a spectacular meal we ate one evening there, in very authentic restaurant, of Beef in Black Bean sauce and Beef Rendang!

The trip back to the UK included a quick diversion to Chateau Chalon in the Jura in France. (That thanks to watching Rick Stein on TV). A wonderful area of that equally wonderful country with stunning ,and rather special Wine!

Chateau Chalon in the Jura region of France

And just to make sure the days were fully filled up, a  return visit to Amsterdam, another great place to be.

 

But soon I was back in the UK with view of the Countryside in Kent that I can’t now visit and another view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun bursts through.

The Kentish Countryside

The sun breaking through the clouds

Being back in the UK brought on another attack of the travel bug and a long weekend in Tuscany seemed just the right thing to do. So after a brief stop in Florence to look at the the house located on the Ponte Vecchio —

—I drove into the heart of Tuscany. It has been warm here in Kent and so the warmth of Tuscany seemed just so good.

Basing ourselves near to San Gimignano, as we have done before, gave me some time to enjoy painting some watercolours, first of Piazza della Cisterna in the heart of San Gimignano and then the view from San Gimignano across the wonderful Tuscan landscape.

Piazza dell Cisterna in San Gimignano.

Tuscany

Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!

In the Heart of Lucca in Tuscany

And so the first 5 weeks of Lockdown have let me cover a lot of miles without even stepping outside!

I hope that this Lockdown won’t go on too much longer but if it does my Virtual bags will have to be repacked and put into us again.

Happy Virtual Travelling Everybody!

Stay safe and well too.

Brian

Spring is really arriving!

Hi Everybody

Although we can’t tour around the beautiful County of Kent at present, the Spring is really arriving fast .

We are currently having the most lovely weather and normally I would be off taking photos of the Kent countryside so that back at home I could paint some watercolours of the scenes.

Its fun to paint on location as well but of course that too isn’t possible in the current situation as we sensibly stay home and try to help limit the spread of this horrible virus.

So a quick whizz through some photos and with a bit of artistic licence I can be somewhere in Kent with the Oast houses, Rapeseed  growing in the fields and a few poppies too.

So here is today’s watercolour, trying to capture that scene.  It is out there somewhere!

I hope you like it.

Oast Houses and Rapeseed fields in Kent. Spring has sprung! Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on Arches Cold Pressed paper.

If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.

Stay safe

Brian

“Sunlight on the Pond”

Sunlight on the pond. Watercolour 21.5 inches by 14.5 Version 1. The Original

With windy weather keeping me at home I thought I might paint a larger watercolour of trees and a pond

I woke up with this image whizzing round my head so that seemed a good excuse to have ago.

I do find painting at larger sizes quite challenging and this sheet of Arches paper is 22 inches by 15, and very nice to work with as it holds the water very well for long periods of time.

So here it is and I have added below two more versions of it cropped to different sizes below.

I can’t decide which version I prefer but if you have any thoughts on this I would be delighted to hear them

Just don’t ask where the pond is though!

Happy travelling!

Brian

Version2 cropped to square 13 inches by 13

Version 3. Cropped to 18 inches by 12

Another watercolour of Rye!

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!

Happy travelling

Brian

Rye ,the Harbour and Town in Spring Watercolour 13 inches by 7.

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Bluebells in Kent – Spring is here!

The sun is shining ,the warmth of the Spring has suddenly brought on the Bluebells in the woods in Kent.

Some years the cow parsley masks the Bluebells but not this year, this is a great year for them.

Recently we visited a friend’s beautiful garden near Hawkhurst in Kent and by the pond in their garden was a lovely wood full of bluebells

i couldn’t resist having a go a painting them and here is the result. Bluebells have unique colours ranging from Blue to Violet which is quite a challenge, but no matter the accuracy the memory will remain of that beautiful scene.

Bluebells in Kent

As many of you know we also live to play golf and we are lucky that our golf course has woods with bluebells too.

So here is another painting from a year or two back with a scene on the course with bluebells in the woods.

Bluebells by the 12th green

If you do have a chance to get out into the countryside to see the bluebells then do try to go at this time, if not I hope you will enjoy my attempts to capture their beauty.

Happy travelling

Brian

brian@brianswatercolours.com

NB   Some other watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

and at

https://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/brian_tucker_2

 

A visit to Rye

We ar going to Rye this week to visit some good friends so I thought a quick post of two recent Rye watercolours would be a good idea.

Rye in East Sussex is a great little town, once a smugglers haunt and one of the most picturesque places of the south coast of England

Here are the watercolours

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The Landgate in Rye A Pena and wash watercolour 14 inches by 10

Rye Harbour A watercolour called “THe Catch is In” 10 inches by 14

 

 

Hastings, Past and Present

Hastings in Sussex is a town steeped in history and a delightful place to visit.

The Fishing Industry was once a major activity in the Town and fishing boats still operate from there, and are still  launched from the beach.

One historical feature of Hastings are the “Net Shops”, tall wooden buildings, now enjoying “Listed Status” on the Stade at Hastings.

To learn more about them try this web site ( hastingschronicles.net )which has lots of very interesting details about them, and photos too.

This first quick, 15 minute, sketch shows the Net Stores today with a typical Hastings fishing boat located next to them.

The Net Shops “Black Sheds” on the Stade at Hastings. Watercolour 9 inches by 8.

In the 1960’s and before the number of Fishing boats at Hastings was large and although there are a lot of boats there today they are fewer than once there were.

I particularly like the  older style of boat which is  ideal for my sort of watercolour. They had a particular hull design adapted to being launched from the beach.  This painting is taken from a 1960’s photo and shows two fishing boats pulled up on the shingle beach from which they are launched. 

RX73 was constructed in 1958 in Newhaven, named the ‘Young Flying Fish’ and is now retired as is RX77 named ‘Andina’ was constructed in Newhaven in 1957. Thanks to GH Clarke for this information, and also to Richard.O.Singleton for the original photograph upon which my watercolour is based.

Fishing boast on the Stade at Hastings in the 1960’s. Watercolour 14 inches by 10. From a photograph taken by Richard.O. Singleton.

 

 

Do visit Hastings, there is so much to see and do there.

Happy Travelling

 

September – Variations

During the past few weeks we have been back to the South of France, enjoying there some fabulous September weather and on returning to the UK finding that fine weather here too.

It has given me some time for a variety of subjects, some familiar, some new and some of scenes that I like to paint and hope one day to get it a bit more as I would like it to be.

So I thought I would share these with you , at least you know I have not been idle, even if the finished results aren’t quite as I had hoped!

In France, I found that I had what I thought was a nice pad of watercolour paper, but after finishing this painting I realised that it was not up to the quality I normally use, and so the paper effect isn’t too nice although the subject worked quite well in this format. The painting ,of the Iles de learn off the coast of Cannes, is about 20 inches by 8 so a bit larger than normal.

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Yachts racing by the Iles de Lerin. Watercolour 20 by 8 inches.

Whilst in France we were lucky enough to be in Cannes and St Tropez when some of the largest yachts were in harbour for their regattas.

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“J” Class yachts prepare for the race at St Tropez

I love the shape and lines of the huge “J” Class yachts and so this next painting of them preparing for races in St Tropez is the result. Not often are the St Tropez quay side buildings visible from across the harbour as large motor cruisers usually block the view, but not this time! Whilst in St Tropez we had lunch at Port de Peche and so here is that little harbour at the back of St Tropez, one of my favourite places in the South of France, and one that I have tried to paint on quite a few occasions!

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Port de peach at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Back in the UK I spent a day painting “en plain air” at the Seven Sisters cliffs in East Sussex.

I find it tricky painting outside in the sun but I did manage these two paintings of these spectacular cliffs.img_8459-1

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More recently I have painted this smaller watercolour of Mermaid Street in Rye , also in East Sussex.

The Mermaid Inn, an old Smugglers Tavern, is on the right and whose sign you can see. It has the wonderful inscription outside which reads “Rebuilt in 1407”. Now there is history for you!

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The Mermaid Inn in Rye

I hope you will enjoy these September variations. 

Happy travelling

Brian

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