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Spring on the Cote d’Azur

Hi Folks

We have just returned from lovely week with friends in the south of France on the Cote d’Azur.

It is remarkable how advanced all the trees and plants are there at this time of year. The trees are covered in leaves and many roses are in full bloom already. Spring warmth is really noticeable and we had fine weather although some days had a little wind as well as sun.

Two highlights were a trips to Antibes, St Tropez by the St Maxime ferry and a few hours at the Honey Festival in Mouans-Sartoux, a small town about 10 miles from Cannes. There, many honey producers had stalls and were selling their honey, prominently Lavender honey of course as it is Provence after all!

There were also lots of other things to see including the Chateaux, and some fine jazz was being played in the square whilst we sat and enjoyed some coffee.

Only a few paintings on this trip but hopefully you will like them. First of all painting of a yacht sailing past as we approached St Tropez on the ferry. Just little bit of artistic license to get the positioning right of course!

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A yacht sailing off St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

We always seem to visit Antibes to stroll around the walls and visit the markets held there. So once agin a painting of the spring scene from the coast showing Antibes and the mountains behind still with snow on their peaks. I couldn’t resist adding the painter in the foreground just for fun!

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Antibes in the Spring sun.

And lastly a painting of the poppies in the fields in a village in the Provence countryside. Don’t search for the village though as it may not really exist! It was the poppies at a roadside that inspired this painting. Out much earlier that in England they looked so elegant in the sun.

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Poppies in Provence

I hope you enjoy this short post.  

If you are new to my blog please also visit my Guide Book Page above for this region of France, or look for Brian Tucker on the iBook store. They are free!

Happy travelling

Brian

 

Sun, Sea and Sand!

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu in Sicily

Hi Everyone,

Spring is just starting to make an appearance here in Kent in England.

As regular readers of this blog will know I like to paint watercolours from my photos of  seascapes and so I thought a post bringing a few of my Seascapes together might help me look forward to the warmer and  sunnier days to come.

Going through my paintings archive I discovered that there are many such paintings, too many to put here so I have just chosen some that I painted over the past few years. Most of the painting are 14 inches by 10 and painted on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.

Mostly they are places I am familiar with but one or two fit into the category of place I would like to visit as they were gifts or commissions.

I hope you like them!

Brian

Orfordness Lighthouse (Pope)

Fishing Boats at Orfordness Lighthouse

 

Bude in Cornwall

Bude in Cornwall

Balnakeil, Durness(Sleight)

Balnakeil Strand at Durness in Scotland

Paphos Cyprus - Version 2

A beach near Paphos in Cyprus

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The beach at Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.

Sandwood Bay(Sleight)

Sandalwood Bay in the North of Scotland

Vias plage

Vias Plage in the South of France

The 6th Hole at Pine Cliffs

The Golf Course and Beach at Pine Cliffs in the Algarve in Portugal.

The Mourne mountains

The Beach at Murlough Bay and the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland

Maybe I will do second post on the same theme soon but wherever you are enjoy your travels and the coming of Spring

Brian

 

A few days in France

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Hi

We have just spent a few days in the South of France sorting out one or two things at our apartment. With some rainy as well as sunny weather there was just time for couple of watercolours, one from a photo in a newspaper which caught my eye as a basis for a painting and one from an earlier photo of the beach at Juan les Pins. I wish our few days had all been as sunny as the Juan les Pins painting but after all it is February!

I hope you like them both and maybe I will be able to post again soon.

Heres looking forward to Spring

Brian

Juan les Pins

Juan les Pins

A Day in ………. Villifranche sur Mer, on the Cote d’Azur

The Quai at Villefranche

The Quai at Villefranche. Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches Rough paper.

A Very Happy New Year to you all. Thanks for visiting my site.

Sometimes in the winter it is nice to look back to days spent in a particular place.

Scanning through my paintings it struck me that this theme would make an interesting theme for a Post and so here is the first one of what I hope will grow into a series of Posts.

When we visit The South of France our home there is not far from Villefranche, about 40 minutes, so it makes a nice day out and a lovely place to sit on the Quai and have a delightful lunch.

The town has a nice harbour, a fine , and huge castle and is in sheltered bay on the Mediterranean.

It has become a very popular harbour for cruises too, but it is much nicer there when the cruise ships aren’t!

There is a lovely small Church  (Chapelle Saint Pierre) which dates from the 16th Century by the waterfront  The inside of the Church has been decorated by Jean Cocteau after it’s restoration in 1957. Definitely worth a visit  before or after lunch.

Villefranche has thus become quite a favourite spot for me to paint watercolours of and so here are some of the watercolours of some recent visits there.

VilleFranche

Villefranche, walking by the Castle. Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches Rough paper.

From the harbour there is path around the outside, the sea side , of the castle which gives lovely views of the bay and of the Town and Castle.

Across the Bay is the very tiny Port Passable , above which stands the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild,  a beautiful House and Gardens open to the public. Nearby also is the Villa Grecque Kérylos. Both are very well worth the visit.

Port Passable at Villefranche

Port Passable at Villefranche.

There is so much to do in and around Villefranche. Access is easy by car or train and I am sure you will enjoy it just as we do.

Happy travelling!

Holiday in France, A Journey in Watercolours

Hi Everybody

We have just spent a lovely few weeks in France, both in Provence and the Lot et Garonne, and a lot of places in between!

Very hot weather and lovely times with friends and family , at the pool, on the beaches, in the mountains, and visiting some beautiful places as we travelled around.

Now back I can get down to creating a blog of the paintings I managed to fit in during our travels, and I hope you will enjoy looking at them. In such hot weather watercolour paintings becomes a bit tricky and speed is really necessary if the paint is not to dry out too quickly. Of course many photos have yet to make it to watercolours but over the next few months I should be able to produce some more!

The Lot and Garonne is a quiet part of France in the South West, not far from Bordeaux in the Aquitaine region. It has many lovely small towns and villages and wonderful rolling countryside covered in farms and homes. It is popular as a holiday home , or permanent home for many UK people who enjoy the relaxed life style of the region.

In the past we have visited this area quite few times and this time  we once again stayed with some good friends who live there all the time.

I have included a painting in this blog from previous visits to give you flavour of the towns and villages.

Of course our first stop was at our usual haunt on the Cote d’Azur where the temperatures were really high. I managed a few paintings whilst there and these are some of them.

Evening in Haut provence

Evening in Haut Provence. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

A Yacht approaching St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

A Yacht approaching St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Yachta racing at St Tropez

Yachts racing at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

And so to the Lot et Garonne

Quite near where we were staying is the market town of Villeneuve sur Lot.

It has a good position at the river and this watercolour shows the view back towards the town.

Villeneuve sur Lot

Villeneuve sur Lot

Only a few kilometres from Villeneuve is the small village of Pujols en Haut. This is one of the prettiest villages in the region and maybe in all of France. A good place to browse,have coffee and admire the lovely Village. Pujols was sacked many centuries ago which apparently led to the creation of Villeneuve. 

 

Pujols

International banners flying in Pujols en Haut. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

One of the features of the towns in Lot et Garonne is that many are Bastide Towns. They often have a surrounding wall and are laid out in a regular pattern. One such town, and one well worth visiting, is Monpazier, this painting was done on a previous visit but it gives a flavour of the Town Square in the centre of Monpazier.

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The Square in Monpazier. Watercolour 12 by 9 inches.

After visiting Lot et Garonne we returned to Fayence in Provence for another great weekend with friends.

Fayence is a hill town and boasts many fine restaurants nearby. We really love “Temps de Cerise” and “La Table d’Yves” where the food served and the service are just great.

Enjoy your travels

Brian

Eglise Saint Jean Baptiste rises over Fayence in Provence

Fayence. Watercolour 9 inches by 7.

 

 

More Painting in The South of France

Hi Everybody

Painting in the South of France is such a delight!

We had been in Normandy recently but last week we were back in Provence staying on the Cote d’Azur.

The weather was spectacular, hot as the middle of summer, the skies blue, and the sea a shimmering Azur.

So time for some painting!

I wanted to finish a sketch of Honfleur I had started in Normandy but with a Regatta theme. 

Painting watercolours in the lovely heat of Provence means working very quickly as the watercolours dry so quickly! 

Honfeur, the Barge Regatta Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Honfleur, the Barge Regatta.
Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

 

If you are on the Cote d’Azur then lunch on the Quai at Villefranche is a great way to start a holiday.

Sitting in the sun at one of the restaurants by the quay is such a lovely experience. We really like “TRASTEVERE”, where the staff are great and the food excellent.

This painting, from a photo taken that day serves as reminder of that lunch! By the Quai is the little Church decorated inside by Jean Cocteau, do spend some time there as it is a quite remarkable.

The Quai at Villefranche. Watercolour 14 by 10.

The Quai at Villefranche.
Watercolour 14 by 10.

In quiet moments I can sit and paint from reference photos and memories of other visits. This time was no exception and these three paintings come under that category.

The little farm houses and the hills and fields of Provence are a constant inspiration in the bright and clear light of the landscape.

Here are two paintings of the Lavender and Vines of Haut Provence and one of the Iles d’Or, a tiny island with castle tower between Agay and St Raphael on the Esterel peninsula.

Vines and Poppies in haut Provence. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Vines and Poppies in Haut Provence.
Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

The Lavender Farm. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

The Lavender Farm.
Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

Ile d'Or near St Raphael

Ile d’Or near St Raphael. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

This week we had some friends staying with us and so we all took the ferry from St Maxime to St Tropez. The bustle of the main port and the huge yachts and boats is so contrasted by the calm as you walk round the corner to Porte de Peche and the view from the Tour Portalet, which is just at the Harbour.

 

The view from the Tour Portalet at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

The view from the Tour Portalet at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

There are some good places to eat at “Le Ponche”, just 100 yards from the main harbour and the little port is delightful. Try the omelettes at “Le PeS Quiere”, really good!

I love to paint this scene, so as well as the view from Tour Portalet I have included a previous painting of The Porte de Peche too. I hope you enjoy them and visit this quieter part of St. Tropez. 

Porte de Peche at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

Porte de Peche at St Tropez.
Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

New Year on the Cote d’Azur

Hi Everybody,

Digging in the sand at Mandelieu La Napoule

Digging in the sand at Mandelieu La Napoule

We were very fortunate this year to spend New Year in Mandelieu, on the Cote d’Azur. As you all know we really enjoy this lovely part of France.

The weather was really lovely, sunny enough to eat lunch on the terrace and play golf and paint in the sun.

Especially nice too, as our Grandaughter, aged 2,  and her parents were with us which inspired one of the paintings. A quick dig on a lovely sandy beach is something for any time on the year!

We didn’t actually visit Haut Provence this time but I managed to paint a couple of watercolours from older reference photos.

I hope you enjoy these new paintings and that if you know this part of the world it will remind you of it’s beauty ,or if you haven’t yet visited this lovely coast and mountain region get it on your list!

Happy painting, and travelling to you all and may 2015 be a good year!

Brian

 

“Have look at my other site too.”

http://www.brianswatercolours.com

Lavender at the village in Provence

Lavender at the village in Provence

Winter in the mountains of Provence

Winter in the mountains of Provence

Cottage in Haut Provence

Cottage in Haut Provence

 

A Few Days in The Sun!

Hi Everyone

I think by now everyone must know how much we like the South of France, especially the Cote d’Azur.

At the end of November we were able to spend  some time there and for the most part the weather was really lovely, warm enough to eat breakfast and lunch outside on the terrace and at the harbour at Villefranche.

Now back in England the weather is cold and wet and so a little reminder seems in order.

I wasn’t too happy with my quick watercolours but as the sun was out I thought I would share them with you.

If it is sunny where you are then that is very nice but if it is wet, cold or snowy then imagine the warm sun and look forward to next summer.

Happy travelling!

 

Brian

http://www.brianswatercolours.com

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Agay on the Esterel Coast in November afternoon sun.

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St Tropez

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Antibes in November, blue sky and snow on the mountains.

 

Cruising in the Adriatic.

Hi Everbody

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be able to go on an Adriatic Cruise with four very good friends.

Before that we had spent a lovely week in Paris in beautiful weather and it was all very enjoyable. Good food, good wine and above all great company just makes a holiday so terrific.

Ile de la Cite from a river cruise in Paris

Ile de la Cite from a river cruise in Paris

Our cruise departed from Venice and visited Ravenna, famous for it’s wonderful 6th Century Byzantine mosaics, Split where had delightful day visiting Trogir, a World Heritage Town, and Split too.

From there we sailed to Dubrovnik, where we visited the old town but as we had been there before also took a trip to Cavtat, a beautiful small village by the sea. After Dubrovnik we sailed on to Zadar, which has a very historic and lovely old town right by the sea. Our last port of call was Koper in Slovenia, and there we took a tour along the coast to Piran, a really delightful town on a little peninsula into the Adriatic. And then on into the hills to Istrian , where we met the local stall holders and sampled there excellent food, oil and wine. Slovenia seems areally lovely place as was Croatia for our earlier ports of call. Everyone was very friendly and we really enjoyed our very short time in these Countries. Good reason to go back for much longer!

Finally we arrived back in Venice and you can never tire of wandering the little back streets and crossing the many waterways cthat make Venice what it is. Away from the main areas it is often very quiet and peaceful and every corner brings a new and interesting scene. The opportunies to paint are everywhere and it will take me long time to try my hand at some of the photos that I have returned with.

That said there was some time on the cruise for a little sketching and watercolour painting and below are some of my attempts. Often done very quickly, so I hope over the winter to revisit these photos and paint some more reminders of our cruise. For those interested the cruise line was Silverseas and the ship the Spirit. All really lovely!

I hope you enjoy these paintings, and if you have been to these beautiful places that they will serve as a reminder, if you have yet to go there I know you will enjoy the whole area of the Adriatic.

Happy travelling and painting.

Brian

Dubrovnik from our cruise ship

Dubrovnik from our cruise ship

A little beach near Dubrovnik

A little beach near Dubrovnik

Cavtat in Croatia

Cavtat in Croatia

Piran in Slovenia

Piran in Slovenia

The Rialto Bridge in Venice

The Rialto Bridge in Venice

Gondolas in Venice. Painted on a previous visit

Gondolas in Venice. Painted on a previous visit

Just off the Grand Canal in Venice. Painted on a previous visit.

Just off the Grand Canal in Venice. Painted on a previous visit.

Back to the Sun, a week on the Cote d’Azur

Hi Everybody

How nice it is to see the sun on daily basis.   That was how our week this May was back at our favourite haunt of the Cote d’Azur!

Not very hot but lovely and dry with the sun breaking through nearly all day.

The combination of scenery, the beautiful Esterel Coast, and the mountains of Provence make this a wonderful part of the world.

We even ventured into Cannes where the mayhem of the preparations for the Cannes Film Festival were well underway, but nobody asked for our autogragh!

We weren’t sorry to be leaving before the Festival started but just a short way from Cannes calm reigns and the roads are peacefulful and beautiful in all directions.

Even time for some quick sketches for future, hopefully larger, paintings.

These watercolours are all just 8 by 5 inches in size and quickly painted after taking some photos, or recalling previous Provence scenery.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have in painting them.

If you have read the guide books on another page of this blog you will know that we are very familiar with this enchanting part of France.  The local wines, predominantly Rose but also some light and fruity Reds are a great complement to some really good restaurants, some of which we visited again on this trip. If you are ever in Fayence do go to Table d’Yves , one of the finest restaurants we have found in this part of the region.

Happy travelling and if the sun is out where you are enjoy that too!

Brian

Sunset over the Vineyard

Sunset over the Vineyard

Antibes

Antibes

House in Provence

House in Provence

The Esterel Mountains near Agay

The Esterel Mountains near Agay

Lavender fields in Haut Provence

Lavender fields in Haut Provence

Farm and Vineyard

Farm and Vineyard

The Castle at La Napoule

The Castle at La Napoule

Sailing boats off the Esterel Coast

Sailing boats off the Esterel Coast

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