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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.

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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

 

       

The Sun is out – and we are in!

Hi Everybody

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.

A Corner of the Garden. Watercolour 11 inches by 8 on Fabriano paper.

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.

Portrush, the Inner Harbour. Watercolour 11 inches by 8 on Fabriano paper.

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

Brian

 

 

Places I’d like be – Milford Sound in New Zealand

Early morning at Milford Sound 20 inches by 14

Hi All

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.

Happy travelling

Brian

A few days on the Isle of Wight

Hi All

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.

The Garden and house at Mottistone Manor Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arched NOT watercolour paper.

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.

Osborne House Watercolour 9 inches by 7

 

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.

Carisbrooke Castle Watercolour 9 by 7 inches.

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.

Boats at Bembridge Watercolour 9 inches by 7.

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.

Happy travelling

 Brian

UPDATE! Shane Lowry wins The Open at Royal Portrush!

Hi Everybody

Readers of this post will have seen images of my watercolours of the North Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland before.

Shane Lowry the brilliant Irish Golfer has just won The Open Golf on the  Dunluce Links of Royal Portrush Golf Course on that beautiful coast.

Congatulations to Shane and all his team!

The Open was last held there in 1951 and for it to be there  once again is a great achievement of many people over many years.

I could not  help wanting to post some watercolours of the coast of Antrim and to start with a new painting of the 5th Green on the Dunluce links which is right next to the shore. This hole is  next to White Rocks bay and is often called that. It is challenging like the whole course and this weekend I am sure we will all see much excitement on the course from all the world class golfers assembled there.

The 5th Hole on the Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Watercolour 16 inches by 11.

 

But Portrush is only a part of the wonderful coast line that starts in Carrickfergus and stretches all the way to Donegal. Here are selection from the many watercolours that I have painted over the past years. The whole coast is such a delight to visit due to it’s proximity to the sea, the wonder of the Antrim Glens and amazing places like the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and its many excellent golf courses.

Carrickfergus Castle

Sailing off the Antrim Coast near Ballygally

The Antrim Coast near Carnlough

The Antrim Coast at Ballintoy

Fair Head near Ballycastle on the Antrim Coast

The coast from above Cushendun

The Giant’s Causeway at sunset

The Bushmill’s Inn

And when you have seen all the sights you can happily retreat to the Bushmills Inn for great food and drink and good company.

Enjoy watching The Open, I will!

Happy travelling

Brian

The Heat and Beauty of the Cote d’Azur

Fayence ,the view from Le Moulin de la Camandoule

When the sea sparkles on the Côte d’Azur you can tell somehow before you go out that it is HOT. And it certainly was on our recent visit to La Napoule, 37 Celsius in fact most days. Nice to be in a air conditioned hotel and have great air conditioned car too!

However it was a lovely as ever and although just a short trip, there was time in the late afternoons for a few quick Pen and Wash watercolours.

This style works for me on travel and provides some ideas for large watercolours when home in the studio. In fact the next post will be one of these as a larger artwork.

La Napoule is a very nice place to stay and the large Pullman Hotel was very comfortable with a delightful beach to cool off at with a dip in the warm Mediterranean waters.

During our stay there we visited our two most favourite restaurants, both in Fayence; “Le Moulin de la Camandoule” and “Le Table d’Yves”. These are exceptional places to eat at, and both have lovely views of Fayence. Great dinner too with friends at “Freres de la Baie” in Theoule and “Le Brocherie” in La Napoule

So here are the Pen and Ink watercolours, all about 11 by 8 inches but this time painted on Fabriano 300gsm Hot Pressed watercolour paper, as this paper is very nice to use for pen and wash.

I hope you will enjoy them and also that you will be able to spend some time one day on the beautiful Esterel Coast and around the Côte d’Azur

Happy Travelling

Brian

The Castle at La Napoule

The Market in the Centre of old Antibes

 

Iles St Marguerite. Yachts sailing ,seen through the zoom lens!

 

A beach at La Napoule.

Another watercolour of Rye!

I find the East Sussex town of Rye a favourite location for painting my watercolours.

I have done quite a lot and many have appeared on the blog over the years.

So here is another one,Rye from the marshes looking across to the harbour and town.

I hope you like it, it was fun to paint it!

Happy travelling

Brian

Rye ,the Harbour and Town in Spring Watercolour 13 inches by 7.

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Return to the Antrim Coast

This summer we will be back in Northern Ireland for a short holiday and a family wedding. We are very much looking forward to it.

It will be great to be back to a place where so much of my early life was spent and where such great memories abound of people and places.

We will spend some time on the wonderful Antrim Coast and it’s splendid scenery.

Fair Head from Ballycastle Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on 600 gsm watercolour paper.

Recently I painted yet another watercolour of the scene from Ballycastle Strand across to Fair Head and so that triggered me into doing this post which unashamedly uses watercolours painted over the years of this stunning and very scenic part of the world.

If you haven’t downloaded my free guide with watercolours for Ulster then please do so either using the link above or via the iBook store.

This is a much shorter version of some of the paintings from that book.

The Antrim Coast road starts in Belfast but very soon you arrive in Carrickfergus with its great Norman Castle.

Carrickfergus Castle

After passing through Larne the road takes you to  Ballygally where the road is right next to the sea and Scotland seems so nearby across the water.

Yachts sailing off the Antrim Coast

The Coast near Carnlough

 

Watercolour of Ballygally, 11 by 7 inches.

A little bit inland from the coast the remarkable trees near Armoy are a good diversion and if you are a Game of Thrones fan they feature in that programme as The King’s Highway.

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim. The King's Highway in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim.
The King’s Highway in Game of Thrones

On the way visit Ballintoy, and Murlough Bay, also used in that series.

Further along the coast is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and of course the  famous Giants Causway with its incredible hexagonal basalt columns.

 

The Giant’s Causeway at sunset.

 

There is so much more to see on this great Coast so do take the time to visit there.

We will enjoy our next visit and if you can plan a visit to this delightful part of the world which you will enjoy.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

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