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!
There are fishermen everywhere and lots of great little boats to paint all over the island.
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!
Stay safe and well and who know maybe in a while we will be really travelling again
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.
And here are two paintings of Boulders bay near Capetown and the delightful 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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Get ready for more virtual travel soon!
“It would be nice to be back in Quebec”
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.
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.
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.
So this week my theme of travelling around New England will continue but who knows where I will travel to next!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of 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!
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.
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.
Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Sadly, due to the terrible impact of Covid 19 in the USA and around the World, this year’s Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Course has been cancelled and won’t be played again till 2021. Like all sporting events for both players and spectators this is a very sad situation and all we can do is look forward to the resumption of sport as soon as is possible and the events that will follow.
Each year I like to post a few watercolours of Augusta National Golf Course as it is a place that I would really like to visit, and maybe even play the course! The Azaleas and the trees around the course make it one of the World’s most beautiful Golf Courses.
Maybe one day this will happen but until then I can only look at the phots of it and back videos of former competitions there.
So here a few watercolours painted over the past few years of the very beautiful Augusta course in Georgia.
All were painted from fleeting scenes on the television and a few screen shots.
I hope you will enjoy seeing them and join with me in wishing all golfers around the world “safe times” and of course everybody else too.
Stay safe and we can all look forward to exciting golf tournaments in 2021.
With a walk or sitting in the garden as the only outdoor options possible in these unprecedented times I am pleased to tell you that it has been is a really beautiful weekend here in the South Of England. Warm and sunny , a perfect April day.
Having done the walk, time to enjoy the garden and an opportunity to paint a small watercolour of one corner of it.
Our small Magnolia is flowering nicely this year, it must have liked the wet winter and the warm weather now,as we are too!
i also managed to paint another pen and was sketch of Portrush in Northern Ireland this weekend too. We had visited port rush last year, and it has, over the years, become a very nice, if a it busy, seaside resort with fine beaches and many new restaurants. And of course it is on the fabulous North Antrim Coast which has featured in many posts on this blog before.
This watercolour is of the Inner harbour where many small boats moor and where the quaysides are lined with restaurants. A nice place to stop at after driving all the way up the Causeway Coastal Route.
Stay well and be safe
A good many years ago we spent a few days in the delightful Jura region of France. Good food and beautiful countryside everywhere. One evening, we met by chance, a wine merchant from Belgium and with him were able to visit the world famous Domaine of Jean Macle and family at Château-Chalon.
It was a really wonderful experience tasting the very unusual “Vin Jaune” of the Domaine and seeing their beautiful, but small Domaine. The wine was, I seem to recall, tasted with small pieces of the local Comté cheese, another delicious food from the Jura region.
The Macle family have been making wine in Château-Chalon since 1850 and it is a very unusual wine as the 10 year ageing process gives the wine a very distinctive taste and bouquet. Their small Domaine is around 19 hectares and stretches across the beautiful hills of the Côte de Jura region.
Jean Macle is acknowledged as a true Master of Château Chalon.
After recently watching a television programme by Rick Stein on French cuisine, I was looking back through my photos of our visit to the Jura, when I found a number of photos which have led me to paint this watercolour of the Château Chalon with the vines growing down the hillsides.
It reminds us that this is one of the many beautiful regions of France that we really must try and visit in the next few years.
Our visit there was quite extraordinary experience for which I am most grateful to Jean Macle and his family. I am sure that their wine production will continue for many more generations of their Family.
I hope you like this watercolour, 37 by 28 cms and painted on Arches Cold Pressed watercolour paper.
If you ever get the chance to spend sometime in the Jura, it is really wonderful part of France.