After our whirlwind virtual visits to a load of places around the world here we are back in Kent and enjoying truly wonderful weather and some easing of lockdown.
We are back to golf and can travel about, but staying apart and being careful too!
So this past week I have been painting watercolours of Kent and one of Pinmill too.
It is nice to be painting locally again and enjoying our own lovely scenery and towns.
As readers will know I am very keen on Thames Barges and so here are four watercolours with Barges as their theme. Two of these are at Faversham and the third is near Oare in Kent.
Another favourite place to go and paint is of course Pin Mill in Suffolk where the barges and boats near to the Butt and Oyster Pub are a key part of the scene.
At this time of year, even a little earlier, if possible, a day at Scotney Castle in Kent with its wonderfull old ruined castle and stunning Azaleas and Rhododendrons is always enjoyable. We didn’t make it there this year so the watercolour is a reminder to us to visit there again when we can.
And lastly for now, two very quick sketches of our home town of West Malling. It will be nice to see the shops, cafes,pubs and restaurants reopen soon!
Enjoy any travel you can do!
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.
If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.
Another dreary November day, more rain and not much golf!
We seem to be having a very wet early Winter this year and as the leaves fall into ever increasing piles my mind wandered to all the lovely places that Kent has to offer all year round.
I thought I would see how many watercolour paintings I have produced over the past few years and it seems there are a lot, over 70 in fact and many have been in various posts in the past.
So here is post dedicated to Kent, our home County of England.
I hope you will enjoy seeing some of them.
Lets start in Hastings, such a famous town and still noted for its fishing fleet located on the “Stad”, or beach.
Fishing boats at Hastings
Towards the East are The White Cliffs, Dover and at South Foreland Lighthouse
And further to the East the traditional seaside town of Broadstairs
Nearby on the Isle of Thanet, the most easterly point of Kent, and there we find is Margate, famous for it association with WM Turner.
Towards the Swale and Thames Estuaries is Faversham, a very old town famous for Barges and its old buildings. There are many creeks in this area and boats and barges are often moored there.
Barges and Barge races are common around the Kent coast. Here are couple of watercolours of some barges
Inland lies the great city of Canterbury with its magnificent Cathedral
In spring Kent is famous for the beautiful Blue woods and the rolling countryside around Horsmonden
i have posted before about the famous Oast Houses of the South of England, and Kent especially
Here is just one watercolour
And finally back to winter, no snow yet but will there be some for Christmas?
Well I hope you have enjoyed this quick visit to Kent,The Garden of England,so I will leave you with a final image of Sissinghurst castle and it’s beautiful gardens.
Come and visit Kent sometime, there is so much to see and enjoy.
And so many more watercolours, I may venture to part 2!
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.
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.
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.
NB Some other watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at
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!
Have a look at my site on http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours too!
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.
By way of a diversion I thought I might introduce you to an idea I had some years ago which can add some extra interest to the documenting of your Family History project.
Researching the historical background of your family is fascinating but can produce a lot of data and alas that data, whilst interesting to the researcher, does not make interesting reading for the younger members of your family who may (??) one day, show some interest in all that research. I guess it is not till we all advance in years that the history of our families becomes a bit more interesting anyway!
Just leaving the succeeding generations all the data is unlikely to be a successful strategy so producing some form of booklet or document is most likely to be a more useful hand me down for the future. Paper is not much in fashion these days but a paper book or document, maybe also produced as an eBook as well, is still very likely to stand the test of time.
Even for bloggers like us paper is a good solution for long term storage of all that hard work documenting the past few hundred years.
The heart of your project will probably be the Family Tree but adding narrative to each of the families covered by your research will add some insight of the people in the Tree and their way of life.
I decided that to bring the project even more to life I would include as many photos of the people as I could find but that won’t take you back before the mid or late 1800’s. So to illustrate the histories of the families I decided to add some watercolours of the places they came from, sometimes as they might have been at the time, or just places that they liked to visit. Paintings of the Churches they were married in seemed an obvious choice and where possible the houses they once lived in. Even if these have long been demolished you can sometimes find data to reconstruct the scene, at least to give some context to the narrative. If your narrative can give some insight as to how they lived in years gone by this can be very interesting too.
You will be pleased to know I am not going to bore you with my research data, but here are a few paintings that I have used to illustrate the Family History Book of the 6 major families that it covers.
First of all a couple of Churches painted as near as possible to the way they looked at the time. An earlier generation of my family were married in Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent during the exceptionally cold winter of 1911. This was the year I believe that Niagara Falls froze over too!
In the early 19th Cenury other family members were married in The Churches of Detling (then spelt
Debtling) in Kent and at Boxley Church, also in Kent
In the late 19th century some of my ancestors lived in the middle house below West Malling in Kent. Here I have tried to reconstruct the scene in 1891. He was the local Weights and Measures Inspector, an inserting job, which invloved testing the beer in the local breweries almost every day!
The earliest record that I have so far managed to find is of a wedding in Lenham Church in 1628. I don’t think they had Linseed growing in the fields then but my painting tries to show it anyway!
Lastly some branches of my family and my wife’s family hail from Northern Ireland.
So here is the Church of St Anne in Belfast where a marriage took place in 1869. The Church was demolished in the 1890’s and the fine (and still standing) St Anne’s Cathedral was built on the site.
And lastly we had, and have, close associations with the whole beautiful Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland. This spectacular coastal route has featured in a number of my previous posts. So here is a watercolour of Carrickfergus, the beginning of the Causeway Coastal route and a town with many associations with our families.
I hope you have enjoyed this diversion. Back to more recent travels soon!
Have look at my new page on Oast Houses in Kent.
Regular readers of this blog will know how much we love the south of France, and I seem to post about that area quite a bit.
But this week driving around our native Kent I was reminded how beautiful the countryside is right here , just on our doorstep.
We are lucky to live in this lovely part of the UK with it’s green fields, Oast houses, Castles and Gardens.
With the weather being cold I have been painting some local scenes from photos and looking back at some paintings from the past year or two and so I thought it was about time I shared a little bit of Kent with you all.
Quite nearby we have several fine National Trust properties. Two in particular, Sissinghurst Castle and gardens, and Scotney Castle have exceptional gardens. Each has unique features but they fit in so well to the lovely countryside around them.
Kent has been known as the Garden of England since Tudor times I believe, and it remains a County that produces a lot of soft fruit, apples, pears, cherries and vegetables. The Spring blossom is spectacular but that is for another day.
These watercolours try to capture a little of the beauty of the area. Scotney with its collections of Azaleas, and Sissinghust famous for it’s gardens and colour.
I hope you like these watercolours and enjoy this quick “visit” to Kent.
Happy travelling and painting!
This winter it seemed as if the rain would never stop, then late last week and since the weather in the South of England has really improved and the sun has been shining.
It inspired me to get out and go to the Weald of Kent and there, near Horsmonden Church your will find this Springtime scene. I hope you like my interpretation of it!
The Church dedicated to St Margaret is about 2 miles from the Village centre. This is attributed to the centre of the village moving in the 17th Century to where a foundry had been established by John Browne. It was a large employer and the village thus migrated to be nearer the foundry. The foundry closed in 1685, but the village has remained at the Heath.
The term Weald is an old English word for Forest as this area was once heavily forested, even today there are many fine woods and copses across the area.
Anyway I hope wherever you are the weather is fine, we certainly hope it stays fine here and everywhere will get a chance to recover from all that winter rain.
Enjoy your travels