Blog Archives

The joy of Pen and Wash watercolours!

 

San Gimignano in Tuscany from one of my sketchbooks

Hi Everybody

I love to paint watercolours, and I have always been fascinated by this medium.

Whilst I get great pleasure  trying to paint big and bold watercolours I often find myself returning to where I started , using a pen and wash technique.

The sheer pleasure of the pen marks casually laid on the paper which may or may not be important later on is such fun and then applying washes of watercolour over it in a not too rigorous edgy manner is very exhilarating.

Maybe I am easily pleased but this process, which has to be pretty speedy, has been the backbone of my watercolours for many years and I hope will continue to be so.

Pen and wash can be in my sketch books, or slightly more formally on  Watercolour paper, I particularly like Arches watercolour blocks which are so great for use when travelling!

Let’s hope we can travel again soon though!

So here are some older and more recent Pen and Wash watercolours which I hope you will enjoy.

These first three were painted just this week from photos of previous visits and that is often how they happen.  When I can in love to sketch on the spot but that is a luxury which I can’t do at present of course.

Two scenes for Yorkshire first

Staithes on the Yorkshire Coast

The village of Robin Hood’s Bay

And now a recent painting of Mousehole in Cornall and one of the River dart in Devon

Mosehole in Cornwall

Greenway Quay on the River Dart in Devon

A few on place in Provence

In St Paul de Vence

At The heart of Vence

Fayence

 

Seillans

And a quick trip into Spain and Portugal

 

Sintra

The Hotel Courtyard in Sevilla

Sevilla Cathedral

 

Salamanca

 

An finally , for now at least, a few of both Canterbury and York

 

Canterbury Cathedral from Mercery Lane

York Minster from the City Wall

The Shambles in York

I hope from these you can see the reason why I enjoy Pen and Wash so much. Immediate , Colourfull and fun to do!

Stay safe and well and maybe this year we may all get to travel again.

Brian

 

Mountains from our Travels. – Part 1

Hi Everybody

Happy New Year to Everyone, and thanks for reading my Blog!

Let us hope that 2021 turns out better for us all than 2020. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Alas I doesn’t seem that we will be travelling soon so some virtual travel will have to be the way forward for now.

I painted 116 watercolours during 2020 and I am not planning on stopping this trend for this year.

For many years when I was working I travelled extensively on business and went to Seattle many, many times working with Boeing of various  airplanes programmes, most notably the 777.  I usually stayed at Bellevue but whenever there was some free weekends I took the opportunity to travel to the coast and the islands or into the Cascade Mountains. The scenery of the Cascades is amazing but the one site that dominates all is that of Mount Rainier. Although 60 miles from Seattle it looms large and is a spectacular site even from a distance.

And so painted from some of  the many photos that I took in those days ( I rarely had a sketch book with me) I have any last painted a view of Mount Rainier. This painting shows haw due to it height Mount Rainier keeps a snow covered top all year. It is possible to drive right up to 6000 feet there but this watercolour is from one of the approach roads.

 

Mount Rainier in the Spring. Watercolour 18 inches by 11 on Arches 300gsm paper.          I hope those little people give it some scale! Mount Rainer is 14411 feet tall and is a very large and active Volcano!

 We have visited many mountains over the years and way back in 2003 I painted this sketch of Table Mountain at Capetown in South Africa.

This mountain dominates Capetown even more that Mount Rainier does in Seattle but it is a very amazing site from across the bay.

Table Mountain in South Africa. Watercolour sketch.

Also near  Capetown are the 12 Apostles Mountain range and here is a painting again from some years ago of these spectacular  mountains above Camps Bay in the evening.

The Twelve Apostle Mountains at Camps Bay in South Africa. Watercolour 14 by 10

Even further away from the UK is New Zealand with some of the most amazing scenery we have ever

Here are just three watercolours, the first of Mount Tongaringo in the North Island and the others from the South Island.

Mount Tongagingo in New Zealand Noth island. A massive dormant Volcano. Sketch 9 inches by 8

Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Sketch 10 by 8 inches.

 

The Amazing Milford Sound at Dawn in New Zealand. Watercolour 18 inches by 12.

I hope that you have enjoyed this first part of my Mountain Travel Post. I will be adding more on Part 2 

Stay safe and well

Brian

Places I would like to be – Norfolk in the UK

Sunset at Hunstanton

Hi Everybody

This will be my last post of 2020 and it will be a year I am sure we will not look back on happily.

There have been many lows but some wonderful highs such as the achievement to create new vaccines so quickly and the care so many have shown to others in such troubled times.

My watercolours have been a wonderful visual journey to get me through these lockdown days and during the year I have painted well over one hundred watercolours of many places around the world as real travel has had to be replaced with fantasy journeys to places that we love or would like to go to.

To all of you who have taken the time to look at these posts, my grateful thanks,  and I hope that as 2021 arrives we can all look forward with more optimism to a better world.

And so it was that over the holidays I was talking to a friend about Norfolk and it spurred me into action to do one of these  “Places I would like to be” posts. I do plan to go there in 2021!!!

With travel a distant memory it would be good to be in Norfolk for it’s lovely countryside, coast, big skies and amazing sunsets. Not to mention the food and yes, Norfolk wine too!

So here are some watercolours painted over the past few years of Norfolk and they will help me and I hope you to reminisce  about or if you don’t know the area to get on to your list!

One of those big Norfolk Skies and  the shore

Let’s start on the coast where the lovely beaches meet the sky

On the North coast lies the picturesque town of Balakeney  famous as one the best places to try crab rolls and sandwiches. Blakeney is apopular harbour town with many boats and yachts moored there ready for the incoming tide.

Here is my watercolour of the harbour, a great place to sit and watch the world go by!

The quay at Blakeney

And one of some boats waiting for the tide

Waiting for the tide

To the east of Blakeney is the pretty little town of Cley Next The Sea, with is equally famous windmill which has been the subject of paintings for over two hundred years.

Here is one of my watercolour but in the style of the very famous watercolourist, Edward Seago whose paintings of the British coast and Europe too are all really wonderful. I really admire his work done in the 20th Century.

Cley windmill in the style of Edward Seago.

And here is another of the Cley Windmill but in my more usual style

Cley windmill pen and wash sketch painted on site.

In 2019 I was lucky to go to a watercolour workshop held at The White House Hotel at Sussex farm, with Herman Pekel, a fantastic Australian watercolour painter and we painted around the Burnham Market area , a very pretty town and with great places to eat and drink too!

These are some of the watercolours I produced during that week with his help and guidance.

Burnham Overy Staithes

Local houses near Burnham Overy Staithes, right opposite the Hero pub with it great food and drink!

The pond at Sussex farm Hotel, The White House, a great place to stay.

Across the Norfolk fields

A Tidal inlet near Thornham

Near Burnham Overy Staithes

Thornham Old Harbour

Boats moored at Wells next The Sea painted on a bench by the coast.

And lastly a dawn seascape at Sctby on the East coast of Norfolk

Dawn at Scratby beach

I am sorry this has been a long post but anyway I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Norfolk and that you have a Very Happy 2021.

Best wishes

Brian

Around Broadstairs in Kent in Watercolour

                            Around Broadstairs in Watercolours

Dawn breaks at Broadstairs. Watercolour 13 inches by 9 on Arches paper.

A couple of years ago a venue for the Sky Arts Landscape painter of the Year competition was Broadstairs in Kent, and I was lucky enough to be selected to paint there on that day.(I didn’t get selected for the final alas though!)

Although we had been to Broadstairs before that from then on I have enjoyed visting this  picturesque seaside town,  and painting watercolours from various photos  and some sketches.

So I have collected a few in this post which I hope will encourage you visit to our sandy beached resorts on the Kent coast.

The watercolour I painted during the Sky Arts completion. Painted over a 4 hour period on the sandy beach, and it was 28c temperature! 17 inches by 12.

On that competition day I had some spare time , especially as it was so hot for painting watercolours. So I did this second monochrome version, which one of the passing judges said he liked, result! 17 inches by 12.

 

A more recent watercolour of Viking bay, trying to capture the incoming tide. 16 by 12 inches

Around the headland is Dumpton Gap bay, where the beach is strewn with large chalk rocks and at times the sea has a milky appearance. 16 inches by 12.

Just North of Broadstairs is Botany Bay and  these next two painting are the views , south and north at the Bay.

Kites flying Botany bay looking South 14 inches by 10

Botany bay looking North. 14 inches by 10.

So there you have a few views of this rather quaint Kentish seaside town with strong associations with Charles Dickens too.

In the mean time Best Wishes for Christmas and let us all hope that 2021 will turn out to be a better year that 2020.

Stay well and safe

Brian

PS. If you would like to buy any of these watercolours of any other from my blog please just contact me at  brian@brianswatercolours.com and I will respond with availability and price very quickly. A good many paintings have already found nice walls to hang on around the world so please check with me. However if already sold I am always happy to paint a new, original and unique version just for you. I don’t sell copies but I can provide Canvas style prints of most of my watercolours.

Payment can then be easily made by PayPal and courier delivery, usually only taking a few days, will follow. Prices will include the shipping to anywhere in the world.

Thanks

Brian

Back in Lockdown! Back to the easel!

Alas as the COVID infection rate has risen in the UK we are, in England, back in a four week lockdown.

At  least the sun is shining and so going out for a walk is pleasant, although alas we can’t play any golf.

so this week I have been busy painting a few new watercolours

During October I was lucky enough to have some paintings in Galleries in Tonbridge, the Artspring Galley, and in the Creek Creative  Gallery in Faversham. They both were featuring artwork created during Lockdown and being involved was very interesting. My thanks to them for letting me be a part of their exhibitions.

I had lots to chose from to supply to them as I had painted over 60 watercolours during that first Lockdown.

So here are  this weeks paintings some of which will be going to a Gallery hopefully in December.

Firstly a watercolour of White Rocks Bay near Portrush in Northern Ireland, on the beautiful Antrim Coast.

I had previously painted this bay as part of a painting and post of the Royal Portrush Golf Course but this watercolour is from just a bit further along the coast at the Bay.

White Rocks Bay on the Antrim Coast. 14 inches by 10

These next three paintings may go to a Gallery in time for Christmas and are quite small compared to my usual watercolours.

They are all A4 size in their white mounts which I have included here.

They were fine and relaxing to paint and so I think I will do a lot more this size.

Ihope you like them

Oare Creek in Nirth Kent near Faversham Watercolour 8 inches by 6.

Canterbury Cathedral from Mercury Lane Watercolour 6 icônes by 8.

Barges at Standard Quay in Faversham. Watercolour 8 inches by 6

So as Lockdown has started again I guess I will be back painting some more watercolours and sending out a new Post

Take  care, stay safe and chill out!

All the Best

Brian

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 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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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