With cold weather in England a week in Madeira sounded great and so we went for the second time to stay at the lovely hotel we stayed at last year, Quinta da Casa Branca. It is a really nice place to stay, with beautiful grounds and fine food and wine.
For me being in Madeira it is a great opportunity to tour about a bit and then paint watercolour sketches of Funchal , and the island.
I only take a 300 gsm sketch book, a small watercolour palette box and half a dozen favourite Escoda brushes. All easy and light to carry.
Some of these sketches are almost new versions of last years watercolours but there are quite a few new vistas and views of some of our favourite spots.
Whilst it wasn’t quite as sunny as last year we did manage to sit by the pool and read and paint, whilst sipping Portuguese wines, and some lovely Madeira wines too.
The old town of Fuchal has a lot of interesting painted doors to see and a lovely squares and a very yellow Fort by the sea! We also enjoyed a tour around the Wine Lodge of Blandy’s Madeira Wine Company. A good tour and of course some tasting as well.
I have included a sketch of the Fort from last year’s visit as now the castle is shrouded in scaffolding and screens.
Along the coast from Funchal the towering cliffs sweep down to the Altantic ocean, this scene is very typical of many views as you travel along the roads near the coast on Madeira.
Here is another coastal view with some of the red rocks that can be seen around the island on show as well.
We didn’t take a trip up to the central mountains as the clouds seemed to covering them , but in a brochure I found in the hotel there was a photo that I wished I had taken so here is my version of this cloudy mountain scene, and to whoever originally took it, my thanks.
I make no apologies for more watercolours of the small town of Camara de Lobos, which is quite near to Funchal.
Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite Madeiran painting spot is such a terrific place to sketch and paint that I have included a few new ones and a a studio watercolour painted after our previous visit.
This watercolour can be found in my shop at http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours and I hope to add some more based on the sketches in the next few weeks.
Madeira is delightful destination from the UK , with no time shift even. Great Portugeuse and Madeira wines, very tasty food and really welcoming people wherever you go. Whats not to like!
We will be back!
QUINTA DA CASA BRANCA
If you are planning a trip to Funchal, in Madeira, then I can very much recommend staying at the Quinta da Casa Branca.(http://www.quintacasabranca.pt)
It is a really lovely hotel with modern and traditional rooms and elegant suites , a fine restaurant , nice pool and very friendly staff. This hotel is quite small by some standards of Madeira hotels. It is a short taxi ride from Funchal , or a hilly walk, and has the most beautiful gardens too. Terrific!
We stayed eight days and enjoyed warm, mostly sunny weather and some nice trips out both in Funchal and around the surrounding areas.
I love relaxing by the pool painting watercolour sketches from the photos that I have taken earlier on a trip out and although these are all quite small pen and wash sketches they are a great reminder of our time there and will serve as a basis for some larger watercolours when home in the studio.
Madeira is about 3.5 hours due south of the UK and is a very popular destination for UK visitors. Funchal, the Capital of Madeira is on the south west coast and enjoys a warm spring like climate nearly all year.
The old town of Funchal has museums, art galleries and lots of old houses and restaurants with vividly painted doors. There is a Castle, St Tiago Fortress, painted in an Ocre/ Yellow colour which really caught my eye.
Madeira is mountainous and the cliffs are never far from the towns. Here is the view from the Funchal promenade by the sea toward the old town and the Castle.
From beyond the castle the view back along Funchal bay and Harbour picks out the intricate design of the Castle turrets and distant hotels.
One of those Hotels is the famous Reid’s Palace Hotel and it is especially noted for it’s excellent Afternoon Tea service on the beautiful Terrace.
Yes !, here we are enjoying our tea, sandwiches. scones and cakes on that Terrace!
Back in the Old Town of Funchal there are some very nice squares to see or sit at for coffee or a glass of Madeira wine maybe, and there is a great fish and fruit market to explore too.
Here is just one of the square near to a lovely , but small Church, “Capelo do Corpo Santo”
On one day we travelled to the nearby fishing village of Camara do Lobos.
This tiny harbour town is famous for the visits made there by Sir Winston Churchill and where he loved to sit and paint.
So I could not resist painting a few watercolour sketches of the harbour and the boats and the nearby cliffs.
The hills behind Camara do Lobos are, like so much of Madeira, crammed with banana trees on which the sweet small bananas that Madeira is famous for hang in huge bunches.
On the outskirts of the town is a view of the massive cliffs that are so typical of the island.
The first one at lunchtime and the second in the evening
Our visit , the first we have made since February 2020, was a great success and we intend to return to Madeira to explore some more of the island.
I haven’t yet painted watercolours of two other places which we visited and very much enjoyed too while we were there.
They were, firstly, the beautiful Botanical Gardens set high above Funchal and secondly the even higher town of Monti with it’s Castle, magnificent gardens and toboggan rides!
If you plan a visit to Madeira you will not be disappointed, we certainly weren’t and will return!
PS My thanks to Quinta da Casa Branca for such an enjoyable stay!
HOT OFF THE PRESS – UPDATE!
I have just finished a new studio watercolour of Camara de Lobos which is now for sale on Artfinder/brianswatercolours.
Check it out , below is a copy of it.