Blog Archives

More views of Venice – Update 2

Evening glow at Santa Maria Della Salute from the Academia bridge in Venice. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.


Hi

I have been asked a few times since my last Venice post where we stayed and from where I took the photos that formed the basis for the paintings.

In fact we stayed at the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel right on the Riva Schiavoni which is just a short walk from St Mark’s Square and the centre of Venice.

We really enjoyed staying there and it is a nice hotel with a lovely roof top terrace.

Many photos were taken from there, some with zoom lenses and they are the basis for a lot of my Venice watercolours.

Of  course when visiting Venice there are great scenes on every corner and there is unlimited subjects for artists. I certainly  hope to be back there painting in the future.

We arrived at the Locanda Vivaldi by water taxi from the airport. Although more expensive that the ferry boats this is such an exciting way to get to the heart of Venice from the airport. We had booked in advance.

This week, looking back again though my photos I found one taken as we arrived and so this is a new painting depicting that moment. A small traghetto  was passing by as we approached too the hotel under the bridge.
So here it this watercolour and a couple of others painted some time ago ,but again from the Riva Schiavoni or nearby

i hope you will enjoy seeing them

stay safe and well

Brian


Arriving by water taxi at the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel in Venice. Watercolour 16 inches by 12.

Arriving at San Marco by Vaporetto Watercolour 15 inches by 11.

 

Gondolas and San Georgio from the Riva Schiavoni

Coffee and Lunch in Lucca in Tuscany

“Coffee in the Piazza”. The Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches 300gsm Paper.

Hi Everybody

Tuscany abounds with wonderful sights and scenery and especially some amazing Cities and Towns.

Right up there is the fabulous town of Lucca.

Its narrow streets, and the marvellous Piazza dell’Anfiteatro where cafes and restaurants abound is only one of the many interesting sites of this very old Town.

To whet your appetite here are two recent watercolours of the places in Lucca,somehwere for coffee and then a stop for lunch

I hope you will enjoy this brief visit to the lovely place.

Enjoy your future travels

Brian

 

“Time for Lunch”. Watercolour of a street in Lucca 10 by 14 inches on Arches paper

The Guinigi Tour in Lucca. Yes, they are Holm Oaks growing on the top of the Tower!. The Tower was built in the 14th Century and is 45 metres high. Watercolour 9 by 13 inches

Out and about – A visit to the Marshes at Oare in Kent

It is very nice to once again be able to get out and about and even spend time sketching in the June sunshine in Kent.

This week I was able to do some sketching at Oare, near Faversham in Kent.

The marshes at Oare are a great wildlife and bird sanctuary and there is a pathway called the Saxon Shore Way that goes all around the coastline.

Where the Oare Creek meets the Faversham Creek is for me a nice place to sit and paint the boats, building and long distance view across Kent towards Faversham and beyond. I wasn’t going to be there long so the sketchbook, brushes and paints and three legged stool were enough equipment to paint a couple of scenes which could then be used to do some larger  studio watercolours.

So here are the two sketches, each about 10 by 9 inches , one a closer detail of the boast and boatyard at the junction of the two Creeks. It was low tide so rather a lot of mud and not much creek!

The Boatyard from Oare Marshes. Sketchbook pen and wash. 10 inches by 9

Low tide at the Boatyard and the scene from Oare Marshes. Sketchbook watercolour, pen and wash. 10 Ickes by 9.

Back home I had started some larger paintings in watercolour of this scene from older photos but my sketches have now helped finish these paintings off for you to see.

The first is from across the creek toward the boatyard with the buildings and the pub there in the background. The second is the same view as the sketches with a glimpse of St Mary’s Church in the centre of Faversham  able to be seen even though it must be about 2 miles away across the flat marshy land.

Barges and boats in Oare Creek. Watercolour 15 inches by 10 on Arches NOT 300gsm paper.

The Boatyard at Oare Creek. Watercolour 15 inches by 10 on Arches NOT 300gsm paper.

And this view you have seen before. A rather impressionistic view from Oare of the creek with some barges moored.

Barges at Oare. Watercolour 15 inches by 10 on Arches NOT 300gsm paper.

Out of interest the two sketches take about 20 minutes each to do so it is fast and furious, but the larger watercolours take me about 2 to 3 hours to complete , albeit with some drying time for the washes.

I hope you enjoy them all.

Where next I wonder?

Stay safe and well

Brian

 

 

 

 

Back in Kent ,Lockdown easing and able to travel around!

Hi Everybody

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.

Early evening in Faversham

Boats near Oare in Kent

Barges at Standard Quay in Faversham

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.

Boats and Barges at the Butt and Oyster in Pinmill.

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.

Cloudy spring day at Scotney Castle

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!

Brian

 

Buildings in West Malling High Street. Sketch book pen and wash.

 

Buildings and The Parish Church in West Malling. Sketch book pen and wash.

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

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