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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

The English Country Garden

 

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The Garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex. Watercolour 12 inches by 9.

Hi Everyone

It is well know fact that we English people do love our gardens. Maybe its our generally pleasant, moderate climate, or just our love of things in an ordered way, but gardening is a big thing in the UK.

The Cottage border is just one of the things gardeners love to plant and we are lucky in the South East of England to have some very fine gardens to visit and enjoy. They provide the stimulus to improve our own gardens too, although their beauty is a bit beyond most home gardens.

Two amongst the very best in the South East of England are Great Dixter in E.ast Sussex and Sissinghurst in Kent.

Both can be visited throughout the year but in Summer they are really magnificent with wonderful planting and colours.

In each case there is also fine house to look around too but it is the Cottage Borders that are the really great thing about these gardens.

This post has only 2 paintings, one of Sissinghurst painted a couple of years ago and a new painting of Great Dixter.

I do hope you will like them and if you have the chance to visit either then do so!

Sissinghurst gardens

The Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. Watercolour 10 by 7 inches.

Happy travelling

Brian

Have a look at my site on http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours too!

 

Scotney Castle, a beautiful spot in Kent

Hi Everybody

Last week we had the pleasure of a visit from some very good friends from the USA. It was an opportunity to explore some places in the South East of England that they hadn’t visited before.

One of these was Scotney Castle, today a National Trust property quite near to us in the heart of Kent.

It has a fine Victorian house which itself it well worth visiting as it was lived in by the former owner until 2006 and has all the furnishings and items as it was at that time, a time capsule of two hundred years worth of the family’s history.

However the other jewel of Scotney Castle is the ruined castle situated on a small island in the middle of  the lake at the heart of the estate. In spring the walk to the Castle and the surrounding area is bursting with Azaleas and Rhododendron bushes of all colours and fine perennial plants and trees.

It is painter’s paradise and has been the subject of my watercolours before.

This visit revealed some new aspects to me and so this watercolour shows both the Castle by the lake and the Victorian House on the hill above.

The second painting from last year shows another aspect of the Castle in spring time.

If you are in Kent do visit Scotney, it is a truly beautiful place. 

I hope you enjoy this short post.

Happy Travelling!

Brian

 

 

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Scotney castle and the Victorian House in the Spring

Scotney castle

Scotney Castle

 

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