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.
During these days of being at home I am reminded that I had planned soon to go with a group of painters, under the guidance of Alison Cotton, to paint some watercolours in Arlington Bluebell woods near Polegate in East Sussex.
I had been looking forward to the visit, but then had to cancel to Go on a golf trip with friends to the South Of France,which is naturally now not going to happen. Now of course a Watercolour outing like this really no longer possible, at least for this year. Let’s hope I can get there next spring!
Arlington Woods are very famous for their wonderful displays of Bluebells. This, the most English of wild flowers is a wonderful shade of violety blue and has heady and very strong scent. They are very common in Kent and Sussex and have featured in my watercolours before. One of those is also reproduced below.
So today I have painted this watercolour of Arlington Woods which I hope you will enjoy. The watercolour is 16 inches by 9 and is painted on Arches NOT watercolour paper.
This is my favourite paper as it is very nice to paint on and in this case I have used a block of glued edge paper which is also very good for travelling when I can!
I hope you enjoy this painting and like me get a chance one day to visit this beautiful area of the English countryside.
The second watercolour was painted a couple of years ago and is of a small pond and wood near to Hawkhurst in Kent.
So here we are stuck indoors and wishing we were somewhere else!
I thought today a short post of some watercolours, two painted this week, of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a great weekend vacation spot, with lots to see and do and it’s iconic Canals and Buildings are very attractive to the watercolour painter.
So here are four watercolours which try to capture the scenes there.
More to follow I think too as I look back through my photos from vista there a few years ago.
I hope you are staying well and finding lots of things to do.
Life here in the UK is changing daily, and not for the better it seems, as we contend with the Virus.
Not going out is the new phase we are in and as it will last a while we will all be rather frustrated.
Maybe some more time for painting, reading, gardening and hopefully still some golf will now now be our new norm! Travel will have to wait for now.
So today I painted a watercolour of the skyline of Toronto.
After a recent commission from there I thought I should look up Toronto as I had only passed through it years ago when visiting Niagara Falls.
I immediately saw that like a number of other cities it has an impressive skyline and so here is the watercolour.
I have painted a few skylines before and so they are reproduced here. They are enjoyable to do and I like the almost monochrome approach I have used here.
As they are fun to do I think I might do some more, well there is going to be plenty of time over the next few months!
I hope you like these so far,more to follow.
Stay well and Travel will return for us later on.
With windy weather keeping me at home I thought I might paint a larger watercolour of trees and a pond
I woke up with this image whizzing round my head so that seemed a good excuse to have ago.
I do find painting at larger sizes quite challenging and this sheet of Arches paper is 22 inches by 15, and very nice to work with as it holds the water very well for long periods of time.
So here it is and I have added below two more versions of it cropped to different sizes below.
I can’t decide which version I prefer but if you have any thoughts on this I would be delighted to hear them
Just don’t ask where the pond is though!
It seems a long time ago now that we enjoyed a wonderful touring and golfing holiday with great friends in New Zealand.
Wherever you go the scenery is stunning and in both the North Island and in the South Island we saw wonderful sights that will always live in our memory.
Although we do hope to return there I thought recently that based on some of the photos from that trip that I would try and paint a watercolour of Milford Sound early in the morning as the sun burst through the mountains. Milford Sound is one of many fjord in the Soth west corner of New Zealand’s South island. The trip to it is amazing and a boat trip right out to the sea when you are there is a definite “must do”.
The watercolour is 20 by 14 inches and is painted on Arches NOT 300gsm paper, and mainly with Daniel Smith watercolour paints.
Maybe it will hasten our return to this wonderful place that is, alas, so far away from the UK.
I hope you enjoy seeing my effort.
We have just returned from 10 delightful days in Mauritius, staying at the Le Tousserok Shangri-la Resort on the East coast. It is a long way away but the beautiful January weather makes that journey worthwhile.
For us it is a mixture of Sun and Pool and Golf as well when we are there, and The Shangri-La is a great place to stay at. Of course it wouldn’t be a holiday for me without the watercolour kit and so I also get some time for a few watercolours of the sea and the boats and mountains.
I think its the only place that I have ever been to where I can sit on a comfortable lounger at the beach and paint watercolours!
So here are those watercolours, some just sketches in my Sketch Book. This sketch book is a Khadi papers one and very handy on travel. There are also a couple of watercolours that are larger and were painted in the comfort of our balcony.
I hope you like them and this vision of just a little bit of this lovely Indian Ocean island.
Mauritius is an Island formed from huge volcanoes and large Basalt rocks are everywhere. It is also very fertile and Coconut Palms and Sugar cane grow everywhere, making the island very green. You are never very far from the mountains which make for some wonderful scenery.
Everywhere around the coast are many small fishing boats and the fish in the restaurants are very good.
There are fisherman all over the island, some fishing from the shore and some standing for hours waist deep in the sea catching their supper.
We have now visited Mauritius on quite a few occasions and have always enjoyed it there. The people there are delightful and even though it is far away it is so lovely to go there for some seriously good weather in January
I hope you will enjoy this and maybe my other posts on Mauritius and elsewhere .
Have look at my Artfinder site too, maybe something there will catch your eye.
Just a quick post with some new and old watercolours of evening skies
Lets start with a very recent watercolour of Rye and one of a scene on the Rhine also painted recently.
And some stormier skies :-
And some calmer Evening to end this post
Happy travelling Everybody!
Just a few miles off the south coast of England and a 40 minute car ferry ride away from Portsmouth lies The Isle of Wight.
We have just returned from a few days there and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this very picturesque island. It was made even better by some pretty good summer weather, which has been in short supply this summer.
The highlights were our visit to Osborne House, a former holiday home of Quuen Victoria and our trips round the coast and also to Mottistone Manor and it’s beautiful gardens.
Time too for a few watercolours for this Post which I hope you will enjoy.
We had never spent any time on the Isle of Wight so this was a very nice opportunity to see at least some of the island.
We stayed at Ventnor on the south coast and really enjoyed a restaurant there called “Le Tour du Monde”. So good we went there twice! I would recommend it if you are visiting Ventnor.
The journey West from Ventnor goes past some lovely island scenery and great views of the coast. The bay at Freshwater is lovely (painting underway) and the town of Yarmouth was very nice too with a good lunch place by the pier called The Gossip Cafe.
From there is was only a few miles to Mottistone Manor and it’s Gardens. This National Trust place was really lovely and this painting tries to capture is beautiful summer garden and the 16th Century House.
Another trip was to Osborne House, a favourite holiday home for Queen Victoria and Price Albert in the 1840’s and 50’s. There they enjoyed being by the Sea in this Italian revival designed mansion with only 100 staff!
The gardens a very beautiful and the walled garden is a must see there with it’s soft fruit and flowers.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert entertained and enjoyed time away from London until Price Albert’s death in 1861. Many rooms can be visited and the park around the house contains a “Swiss Cottage” which was a playing and learning place for their children. There is a bus can take you down to the beach there where family used to bathe in the sea, and where you can see Queen Victoria’s batheing machine where they could change and be rolled down into the sea!
This view of Osborne House is from the path to the Swiss Cottage.
We also visited Cowes East and West, connected by a Chain car ferry and also went to look at Carisbrooke Castle. A Castle has stood there for over 1000 years but it is most famous as the place where Charles 1st was held before the second Civil war of 1648 and his subsequent loss and then his execution in 1649.
My watercolour shows the very imposing entrance to the Castle.
Our last trip took us to Bembridge, a boat haven on the East coast and to Seaview where their Regatta was underway.
Here is small watercolour of some boats at Bembridge.
So a very enjoyable few days on the Isle of Wight, if you have been I hope you will enjoy these watercolours and if you plan to go maybe they can give you some ideas.
We have just been over to Northern Ireland for two Celebrations.
The first a couple of days at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh to celebrate a couple of notable Birthdays and then to Carrickfergus for a great family Wedding
Both events were really good and the weather was very kind to us too, with sun and warmth as we travelled about.
Just time for a few watercolours and a couple painted before we went as gifts for the Bride and Groom.
Lough Erne is a huge Lough with countless islands and lovely views. We were able to take a boat trip on the Lough and visit Devenish Island with is now ruined and very old Church and Monastery.
At the southerly end of Lower Lough Erne lies the very old and historic town of Enniskillen.
The “Watergate” there is a focal point of the town and this watercolour was painted from photos taken from our boat trip on the Lough.
Around the shores of Lough Erne there are many sights to see and this cottage scene is typical of the scenery.
The Wedding was held in the lovely statley home called Magheramorne House, quite close to Larne and not far from Carrickfergus.
This sketch of Magheramorne House will remind the Bride and Groom of there Wedding day there as they start their new life together in Carrickfergus.
Everybody wishes them All the Best for the Future.
So a very enjoyable week on this beautiful part of the UK, and many more photos to paint in the future