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Kent – The Garden of England 3, and a quick trip into East Sussex

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series of Posts about Kent we explored the countryside of Kent and some great places visit.

In Part 3 , the final one of this series we will return to some of the coast that we didn’t see in Part 1.

As an artist I am much drawn, excuse the pun, to Faversham and the marshes around that area ,especially Oare and the Creeks there.

So let us start in Faversham at Standard Quay with its sheds, shops, boats and barges.

 

A threatening storm at high tide.Faversham,Standard Quay. Watercolor 16 by 12inches

The rejuvenation of the old town of Faversham has made this very old port an attractive place to visit too.

Here is sketch of the Town centre on market day

Faversham, Market Day. Watercolour pen and wash 10 by 9 inches

From Faversham its is quite nearby to go to Oare and then take the road out to Harty Ferry on the Saxon Shore Way.

A ferry used to go from there across to the Isle of Sheppey, but alas no more. A walk East  along the Saxon Shore way will bring you to the entrance to Oare creek with it boats ,barges and boatyard.

The boatyard at Oare Creek. Watercolour 16 by 12 inches.

If you had travelled to the opposite bank from Faversham the scene is a little different and there, at Hollowshore there is a great pub for a drink and good food, “The Shipwrights Arms”.

Barge at Hollowshore. 14 by 10 inches

Back in Oare the view along the Creek across the marshes offers yet another view of the area.

Oare Creek. Watercolour 20 by 16 inches

So lets move on along the coast to Whitstable and a sketch of the harbour there. Again lots of interesting shops and walks along the shore at Whitstable, nowadays a very popular town to visit , especially for its Beer Festival and abundant seafood, in particular the famous Whitstable Oysters.

Sketch of Whitstable harbour and Fishermens sheds. 10 by 9 inches.

Across Kent to East Sussex finds you able to visit  The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and this well known view is captured on a cold winters day in this watercolour.

The Seven Sisters Cliff in East Sussex. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Hastings is nearby with the fishing boats of on the “Stad”

Fishing Boats at Hastings. Watercolour 16 by 12 inches

Back towards Kent but still in East Sussex is the wonderfully quaint town of Rye

Rye skyline from Romney marsh. Watercolour 14 by 8 inches

In Rye the Landgate entrance to the Town. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

As we come to the end of this series of views of Kent and East Sussex it would be an omission to not include some Bluebells, probably the flower of Kent,  and beautiful in the spring.

Here are two watercolours of them

Bluebell woods. 16 by 12 inches

Bluebells near Hawkhurst. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches

Returning nearer to our home town these two watercolours of Barming’s St Margaret’s Church are somehow very typical of Kent scenes in summer and in the snow.

Poppies in the fields near St Margaret’s Church Watercolour 11 by 7 inches

Evening snow at St Margarets Church. Watercolour 11 by 7 inches

A finally home to West Malling

Two quick sketches of our home town with it many pubs, restaurants and shops.

In West Malling high Street Sketch 9 by 7 inches

West Malling High Street and St Mary the Virgin Church. 9 by 7 inch sketch.

 

I hope you have enjoyed these views of Kent through my watercolours. They have all been great fun to create.

I have recently published on iBooks a Book contains many of these watercolours and it is FREE as a download.

Look for it on Apple iBooks. It can be purchased also from Peecho as a hardback book . You can also download 

a pdf version of the new book here.

Travels with a Brush Kent Vol 3 V2 1

Be safe and happy wherever you are.

Brian

 

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

Week 9 of Lockdown – preparing for coming home!

Mauritius – Paradise Isalnd

HI Everybody

As things appear to improve and Lockdown is easing very slightly it is time to think about travelling home from my virtual journeys.

But first we have to enjoy our few days in Mauritius having got here from Johanesburg.

Mauritius is a very nice holiday location, very friendly people and lovely hotels, good food and excellent local rum too.

Over the years we have enjoyed a good many trips there and never been disappointed, indeed quite the opposite.

These paintings were done earlier this year whilst there and be there will be a lovely way to end our journey, get on the plane and whizz back to England.

Mauritius has really lovely beaches and excellent golf courses, often adjacent to each other. This first painting was done sitting on a loiunger looking out to sea, oh I can feel the warmth even now!

By the beach

There are fishermen everywhere and lots of great little boats to paint all over the island.

  • Fishing boats

     

The Mountains from the Beach

Often  there are views from those beaches to the extraordinary mountains of Mauritius and boulders everywhere indicating it’s violent pre history when the whole large island must have been a continuous series of volcanic eruptions on a colossal scale leaving unusual large basalt mountains all over the island.

So now after a final dip in the sea we must fly home to London and hopefully get ready for a bit more easing of the lockdown!

I will be able to play Golf again!

Yippee!

Stay safe and well and who know maybe in a while we will be really travelling again

Brian

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My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 3 – Weeks 8 and we are still in Lockdown!


Hi Everybody

I am glad that you have been enjoying my virtual travel. It is certainly a lot less expensive than the real thing , but oh, how I yearn for the REAL thing!

Hopefully soon we will be able to travel about if only in the UK and once again meet friends and family.

Anyway you will recall on my previous virtual travel post I was  in New England and Nova Scotia.

Now we are off to South Africa and then on to Mauritius.

It must take about 20 hours to fly from Boston to Capetown but hey ho, here we are in a couple of seconds!

First of all a watercolour painted during an early visit to the wonderful Capetown in South Africa. The warm welcomes, great food, stunning wine and amazing scenery make this a  fabulous place to visit. Lets hope I can get there again soon.

Table Mountain and Capetown, painted in 2003!

And here are two paintings of Boulders bay near Capetown and the delightful penguins.

 

Just having a chat!

Boulders bay and the penguins

 

This week I painted this rather impressionistic painting of The Twelve Apostles Mountains at Camps Bay near Capetown. It hasn’t entirely come out as I had planned (like so many!) but Virtual travel was expecting it so here it is.

Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles Mountains at Dusk

If we now drive 5 hours East of Capetown we find the lovely Knysna and the resort and golf courses of Fancourt, a really lovely place to stay, with superb restaurants in nearby George and  my favourite restaurant in all of South Africa at Wildernesse called “Serendipity”. When in the area make sure you visit it ,you can even stay there too!

Sailing at Knysna

Now we are off over the mountains via Villiersdorp to Beautiful Franschhoek with it wonderful Wineries and scenery. The Franschhoek Pas on the last bit of this longish journey is spectacular.

The wine tours in the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch area, (get a driver don’t take your car!) are just great. Lets stay at The Franschhoek Country Hotel ,a lovely place and so good to be back!

A quick sketch of the scenery around Franschhoek

Back in Capetown for the plane and then a long car journey car to get to the Limpopo Region almost 2 hours north of Pretoria and a visit to the marvellous Legends Resort, Safari Park and Golf Course with the highest Par 3 hole in the World. You have to get a helicopter to the top of this Mountain and the Tee! The green, in the shape of Africa is 400 metres below at the foot of the mountain.

Legends safari park and Golf Resort

The Tribute course at Legends This is their version of the 17th Hole at Sawgrass. Of course I had birdie!

Time to leave Africa and head for Mauritius via Johannesburg. A wonderful Island in the Indian ocean awaits.

But that will be in the next update!

Stay safe

Keep well 

Get ready for more virtual travel soon!

Brian

My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 2 – Weeks 6 and on of the Lockdown.

“It would be nice to be back in Quebec”

Quebec. The Frontenac Hotel from the old town

As we enter Week 6 of the Lockdown I think I will have to get travelling even more.
With so many places already visited and new watercolours to produce over these next weeks I will start Part 2 and then add to it daily or whenever a new watercolour gets created.

We enjoyed a very nice cruise a few years ago from Quebec to Boston and visited many places on the way. But there wasn’t time to go everywhere and some places remain very firmly on our list for further visits to New England,Canadas and Nova Scotia.

Whilst on that trip we saw many lighthouses, there are a lot on the Atlantic coast, and so this watercolour painted yesterday is of the lighthouse on Curtis Island just off the Maine coast at Camden.

The Lighthouse on Curtis Island. Early evening glow. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

We didn’t manage to visit Prince Edward Island on that cruise due to rough weather which was a very great disappointment, but we did pass this lighthouse  on that portion of the cruise.

I

A Lighthouse on the eastern seaboard of Canada.

And one more for good measure, the Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbour.

 Bar Harbour is a lovely town to visit and stay indefinitely a place not to miss.

 

The Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island near Bar Harbor

So this week my theme of  travelling around New England will continue but who knows where I will travel to next!

UPDATE

One place on the Eastern Seaboard of Canada I had hoped to visit this year, as well as Prince Edwards Island is Peggy’s Cove. This delightful small town and harbour is a photographer’s and artist’s haven and so that is why this virtual visit is stopping off there!

I am indebted to Jeffrey Newcomer and his web site http://www.partridgebrookreflections.com for his permission to use one of his images of Peggy’s Cove as the basis of this watercolour. Thanks Jeffrey!

I hope you like this attempt to capture the scene and maybe i can get there in reality one day soon.

 

Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia

Whilst in the are here are two images form previous actual visits to this area.

Firstly a sunset on the St lawrence Estuary. We did see some really spectular sunsets there!  and a watercolour of a really fine schooner off the harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sailing off Halifax

 

 

Sunset on the St lawrence

I would really be happy to be there again too!

More updates in a few more Lockdown days.

Happy virtual travelling!

Stay safe and well

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

Two Watercolours – Different styles

Hi Everybody

Thanks for reading my Blog posts!

This post has just two watercolours, but ~I hope you like the increased frequency of my posts during the Worldwide Pandemic.

One is a pen and wash sketch of some houses located right on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and which is just  10 inches by 7 and another which is much larger at 22 inches by 16.

The Ponte Vecchio is a very unique bridge still retaining the style common in the Middle Ages where houses were built right across the bridges in major European cities.

Very few remain and the Ponte Vecchio is probably the best example today.

Pen and wash is a favourite way  for me to paint and usually they are,  painted in my sketchbook, this painting is no exception.

Houses on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.Pen and wash sketch 10 inches by 7, on Fabriano paper.

However I also like the challenge of larger watercolours, with no pen involved, and this scene is of a view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun breaks through the clouds.

“Shafts of Sunlight.”   Watercolour 22 inches by 16 on Arches 140lb NOT watercolour paper.

 

With the larger painting multiple washes are employed compared to fewer on the sketch of course.

I have developed this style of painting since spending a week last year with the wonderful watercolour painter Herman Pekel and I am very grateful for his help with my technique. Not quite up to his standard through!

We met at Big Sky Arts at The White House Hotel in Norfolk in 2019 , a great location for a really superb watercolour course.

Anyway stay safe and keep well

I will be back to the easel!

Brian

 

 

Another watercolour of Tuscany – The wonderful San Gimignano

The City of Towers

In my last post I featured a watercolour from San Gimignano, so today I have painted a watercolour sketch of the Piazza del Cisterna, right  in the centre of San Gimignano. This Cisterna in the Piazza was originally built in 1273 was enlarged in 1346 and painted by me in 2020!

This watercolour pen and wash sketch is painted across two pages of my Sketch book and measures 24 inches by 8.

Piazza del Cisterna in San Gimignano. Watercolour pen and wash sketch 24 inches by 8, on Fabriano paper.

 

I was a little surprised that I had not painted this scene before but by making it a large panorama I have been able to include a lot of this lovely Piazza.  The Towers of San Gimignano are so unique and amazing ,”Manhattan of the 13th Century”.

Originally there were over 70 towers but today only 14 of them still exist. Only 6 are in this painting. Some of the Towers are over 150 feet tall.

In this painting I have included an artist, maybe we will be able to get back there before too long to soak up the amazing atmosphere, not to mention the great food, warm welcome and really super wine!

Also I have included a couple of previous paintings of San Gimignano produced whilst visiting there in 2013.

I hope you like them.

San Gimignano , The City of Towers from the nearby countryside Watercolour 12 inches by 9.(2013)

 

A styrene in San Gimignano. Watercolour 10 by 9 inches (2013)

I am trying to post much more often that I normally do so that there are frequent new paintings for everyone to look at, and as I am painting a lot more than normal it lets me have an outlet for all my artwork!

Anyway stay safe, and thanks for looking at my blog posts.

All the best.

Brian

Tuscany, Wonderful memories – We will be back!

Hi Everybody

With travel now not possible for the time being anyway,  Tuscany will be very quiet, and we all feel for the awful situation in Italy and well as here in the UK and around the World.

But we will all return to Tuscany with its wonderful Cities and Towns, the Countryside, very friendly  people, and the great food and delicious wine.

Just as soon as we all can, because it is such a magical place to visit and enjoy.

With that in mind I decided yesterday to paint a large watercolour (well for me ) of the sun rising across the Tuscan countryside. Derived partly from photos taken from San Gimignano looking East and other photos taken on our last visit to the area.

Tuscany. Early morning from San Gimignano. Watercolour on Arches Cold pressed paper 19 inches by 8.

Larger watercolours are exciting and challenging and this one has come out fairly well. It is 19 inches by 8 and will look nice mounted and framed I think. Something else to do!

Also here are a couple of very quick sketches, also from photos taken on that last visit to Sienna in Tuscany. These are both of the area away from the Campo in Sienna. There are so many wonderful sights there to paint but these two smaller sketches were also painted very recently whilst at home, sitting in the garden in the sun thinking of Sienna!

Early Lunch in Sienna. Watercolour 11 inches by 8 on Fabriano paper.

The Torre del Mangia Tower in Sienna sennets for the side streets. Watercolour sketch 9 by 6 inches.

In these days of isolation I am very lucky to have such an absorbing pastime of watercolour painting to while away the hours.

Maybe soon we will be able to get back to some golf!

Stay safe wherever you may be and lets all look forward to travel in the future.

All the best

Brian

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