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New Year on the Cote d’Azur

Hi Everybody,

Digging in the sand at Mandelieu La Napoule

Digging in the sand at Mandelieu La Napoule

We were very fortunate this year to spend New Year in Mandelieu, on the Cote d’Azur. As you all know we really enjoy this lovely part of France.

The weather was really lovely, sunny enough to eat lunch on the terrace and play golf and paint in the sun.

Especially nice too, as our Grandaughter, aged 2,  and her parents were with us which inspired one of the paintings. A quick dig on a lovely sandy beach is something for any time on the year!

We didn’t actually visit Haut Provence this time but I managed to paint a couple of watercolours from older reference photos.

I hope you enjoy these new paintings and that if you know this part of the world it will remind you of it’s beauty ,or if you haven’t yet visited this lovely coast and mountain region get it on your list!

Happy painting, and travelling to you all and may 2015 be a good year!

Brian

 

“Have look at my other site too.”

http://www.brianswatercolours.com

Lavender at the village in Provence

Lavender at the village in Provence

Winter in the mountains of Provence

Winter in the mountains of Provence

Cottage in Haut Provence

Cottage in Haut Provence

 

Brrr! It’s Cold outside!

Well folks, here we are in December and it is getting decidedly chilly!

Soon they tell us the snow will arrive. It always makes for interesting watercolour scenes!

So here is post of some Snow Scenes, some new and some from my archives, with just hint of the warm sun that will one day return!

Christmas will soon be here, so my best Wishes to you all and a Happy New Year painting!

We have a few trips planned for 2014 and they will provide watercolours for next years blogs.

Thanks for all your support this year and enjoy these paintings and the coming festivities!

“Yule”ly yours

Brian

First snow in Provence

First snow in Provence

Gourdon in provence in the snow

Gourdon in provence in the snow

The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence

The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence

Rye in Kent at Christmas

Rye in Kent at Christmas

Horsmonden in Kent

Horsmonden in Kent

Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent

Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent

Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey

Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey

St Margaret's Church at Barming in Kent

St Margaret’s Church at Barming in Kent

A village in Kent

A village in Kent

Mount Cook in New Zeeland- Lucky for them it's Summer there now!

Mount Cook in New Zealand- Lucky for them it’s Summer there now!

And so for a bit of sunshine!     This December we were lucky enough to be able to sit on the Quay at Villefranche sur Mere on the Cote d’Azur and enjoy sunshine while we ate lunch. This is the view from there across to Cap Ferrat.

Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

A Weekend in Cornwall

Recently we were able to spend a long weekend in Cornwall, firstly with some good friends in Rock, and then at a lovely hotel at Carbis Bay near St Ives.

Cornwall has the loveliest coast and wonderful little harbours and towns dotted along the spectacular cliffs and bays.

There wasn’t much time to paint but here are the few that I managed to get done both during and since the visit.

You could spend a lifetime exploring the coast of Cornwall, so these few days were great reminder of holidays of many years ago, and an opportunity to enjoy our friends’ company and eat some great food.

If you are going to St Ives do look up the Boskerris Hotel, really very nice indeed.

From a genuine Rick Stein Cornish pasty in Padstow to exceptional food at Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant in Rock this was very enjoyable weekend, and we were fairly lucky with the weather too!

I hope you too like these paintings of the area. I don’t think I can quite get to the standard of the galleries in St Ives but painting these watercolours was great fun.

Enjoy your travels too!

Brian

Port Quin on the North Coast

Port Quin on the North Coast. 11inches by 7

The surfers bay at Polzeath

The surfers bay at Polzeath. 11 inches by 7

St Ives Harbour

St Ives Harbour. 11 inches by 7

Priest's Cove near Lands End

Priest’s Cove near Lands End. 11 inches by 7

A very quick watercolour of St Ives

A very quick watercolour of St Ives. 8 inches by 5

 

 

 

 

 

The Causeway Coastal Route – The Antrim Coast

For family reasons we have been spending  time in Northern Ireland recently.   Sadly this time has seen the recent death of my Mother in Law, Sadie, who was a lovely lady of 85 years.  Sadie  always had great love for the Antrim Coast as it had very special memories for her, especially the area around Drains Bay and The Black Arch.

We will all miss her a great deal, and so this blog is dedicated to Sadie, a very special lady indeed.

These places are special to us too and I hope this blog will encourage you to visit, or if you know the area to enjoy once again the wonderful scenery that is found there.

                                                                          ——————————————————-

The Giants Causeway is world heritage site and a route has been carefully signposted to it from Belfast. This striking rock formation is a magnificent sight , and with the new visitor centre a good place to visit in Northern Ireland

If you start in Belfast the Causeway Coastal route is well signposted and over a day, or two, if you have the time this route takes you along some of Northern Ireland’s fine scenery and one or the World’s great coastal drives.

This series of paintings, some of which go back a few years picks out just few spots on the Coastal journey.

As a starting point Belfast is a fine city but these days one of it’s not to be missed highlights is the new Titanic centre, located in the area once occupied by the huge Harland and Wolff shipyard.

A few hours spent there will be rewarding with its visions of Belfast of old and the history of the ill fated Titanic.

On leaving Belfast via the Causeway Coastal Route the road hugs Belfast Lough and the first major town you will arrive at is Carrickfergus.

Carrickfergus has one of the best preserved Norman castles in the British Isles. It is located next to the harbour. Built by Robert De Courcy in the 12th century it dominates the town.

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

After leaving Carrickfergus the roads turns inland but soon arrives near Whitehead.  Turn off into Whithead and enjoy it painted seafront houses and hotels.

At the northern end of the town there is good coastal path that leads towards Whitehead lighthouse located on the cliff top.

Whitehead lighthouse

Whitehead lighthouse

after leaving Whitehead the roads lads towards Larne,today cross channel port to Scotland. ferries have been going from here for many years.

Follow the Causeway Coastal route signs and the road soon rejoins the sea, and before arriving in Drains Bay you pass through the natural archway across the road known as The Black Arch. Just one of many aptly named landmarks on the coast.

The Black Arch, near Drains Bay

The Black Arch, near Drains Bay

From Drains Bay the road hugs the coast and eventually brings you into Ballygally. The old castle is nowadays a good hotel  and if you park at it and look back at the hill that you have just passed you will see the distinctive features of face profile that the shape of the hill makes. (Zoom into the painting below to see it).  This area of the coast has been inhabited for Neolithic times apparently. You are certainly treading in the steps of history!

Ballygally

Ballygally

Sunset at Ballygally

Sunset at Ballygally

From Ballygally the road continues to be close to the sea, passing through very nice small towns of Carnlough, Glenarm, Glenarriff and on to Cushendall. If time permits turn off at Glenarriff and turn into the beautiful glacial valley you will see there.  Back at the coast you will see that sailing around this whole coast is favourite pastime, almost anywhere you will find yachts off the shore. IMG_1553

As you now head on take the diversion that passes Cushendun and Tor head, stop off whenever you can to admire the cliffs, views and scenery. It is really good at many places. Further along the cost the cliffs are at their highest at Fair Head. If you can go there and walk along the cliffs. If not then from Ballycastle Fair Head can be seen well. Its prominent shape is shown in these paintings

The beach at Ballycastle

The beach at Ballycastle

Fair Head

Fair Head

Ballycastle has great beach and golf course too.   From Ballycastle the road  rises over the hills, but divert off it to Ballintoy and do stop at the headland at Whitepark Bay where the view is really spectacular. If you feel brave stop to at the Carrick a Rede rope bridge, and there walk across to and island above the pounding sea!

Tor Head and Whitepark Bay

Tor Head and Whitepark Bay

From there you will shortly arrive at the Giants Causeway. The new visitor centre is well organised and you can even get a bus to the actual stone formations by the sea. These hexagonal rocks, formed millions of years ago are quite extraordinary. It is rarely calm there so the pounding sea  adds to the drama of the place.

Here are two paintings of the Causeway.

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway

Sunset at the Giant's causeway

Sunset at the Giant’s causeway

The causeway coastal route continue further on to Portrush and beyond, but before setting off further do visit the nice little town of Bushmills. Here are good restaurants and cafes and most importantly the famous Bushmills Distillery. This, the earliest Distillery in the British Isles to be licenced is the home of Bushmills Irish Whiskey. It has a different taste and aroma to Scottish whisky so a tour of the Distillery is a must and a sample at the end of the tour will encourage you to take a bottle or two home!

Before heading to Portrush turn off to Portballintrae. A small seaside resort with a nice harbour. After leaving Portballintrae the road will take you past Dunluce Castle. This ruined castle is perched on the cliff edge and is interesing to explore, but it can be seen well from parking area just past the castle on the Causeway Route, that view is shown below.

Dunluce castle

 At Portrush you will find golden sandy beaches, dunes and a very famous golf course, Royal Portrush, a terrific challenge for any golfer. This seaside resort used to be the summer destination of Belfast folk, although much quieter now it is still a holiday destination. Nearby is Portstewart where you can drive on to the beach and not far inland  is the bustling town of Coleraine . There you can cruise on the River Bann which flows from Lough Neagh, the largest inland lake in the British Isles.

This blog is only a little snapshot of this great coastal drive. If, like us, you are attracted to areas where mountains meet the sea you will really enjoy travelling there. For me there is the benefit of scenes to paint too!

Enjoy your travels

Brian

Perched Villages of Provence

Hello everybody

First of all thanks for looking at this blog, I really enjoy putting some of my paintings here and hope they will encourage you to visit some of these places, or if you already know them to remember them.

I have blogged many times about Provence and the Cote d’Azur.  It is a truly beautiful part of the world with sun, sea and mountains, not to mention it’s great food and wine!

One feature of the area, and of course many other areas around the Mediterranean, are the “perched’ villages and towns. They are always very interesting.   Some of course are much better known than others.   Over the years we have visited quite a lot and they always provide an interesting subject for my watercolours. 

I thought therefore that it was about time to collect a number of my watercolours together under this title.

I hope you will like them as a collection and feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun!

Enjoy your travels wherever you may be.

Brian

St Paul de Vence

St Paul de Vence

The Grand Fountaine in St Paul de Vence

The Grand Fountaine in St Paul de Vence

A street in St Paul de Vence

Rue de Bresc in St Paul de Vence

St Paul de VenceSt Paul de Vence

Bourgainvillia in St Paul

Bourgainvillia in St Paul

Gourdon commands fabulous position high above the Cot dAzur

Gourdon commands fabulous position high above the Cot dAzur

Gourdon, Farmhouse on the hill above the town.

Gourdon, Farmhouse on the hill above the town.

Gourdon in the Snow

Gourdon in the Snow

the route into Gourdon in Winter

the route into Gourdon in Winter

Near Lac St Croix is the beautiful Moustiers St Marie

Near Lac St Croix is the beautiful Moustiers St Marie

Inside Moustiers St Marie

Inside Moustiers St Marie

The Chpel at Moustiers St Marie from the town

The Chapel at Moustiers St Marie from the town

Looking up towards Fayence
Looking up towards Fayence

In the heart of Fayence the Hotel de Ville is amn impressive sight.

In the heart of Fayence the Hotel de Ville is an impressive sight.

Just past Fayence is the little town of Seillans

Just past Fayence is the little town of Seillans

High op in the mountains is the town of Mons en Provence

High up in the mountains is the town of Mons en Provence

The fountain in Mons freezes in the winter

The fountain in Mons freezes in the winter

By the coast but high above it is the delightful town of Eze.

By the coast but high above it is the delightful town of Eze.

On the ridge from Vence towards Fayence lies Callian and it's castle

On the ridge from Vence towards Fayence lies Callian and it’s castle

 Callian can be seen clearly from  the Terre Blanche Golf course

Callian can be seen clearly from the Terre Blanche Golf course

Anoth view of Callian

Anoth view of Callian

A little street in Biot. Biot is famous for its Glass making.

A little street in Biot. Biot is famous for its Glass making.

A sunny day in Mougins
A sunny day in Mougins

Tourrettes sur Loup

Tourrettes sur Loup

The small streets of Tourrettes Sur loupe

The small streets of Tourrettes Sur loupe

One of my first painting,taken from a postcard photo, of Vence

One of my first painting,taken from a postcard photo, of Vence

Rye, In East Sussex

When it comes to beautiful old towns in the UK Rye must be one of the finest. Rye has buildings built in the 14th Century and before and still retains it’s fine character. Rye is one of the Cinque Ports founded by Henry III in the 13th Century.

Once right on the sea it is now a few miles inland but with inlets from the sea reaching up to the town. Nearby is the Military canal, an invasion fortification built in the early 19th century.

The town was once the haunt of smugglers and the Mermaid Inn, rebuilt in 1407 is still a centre of attraction in the town. The town was once fortified but only the Landgate remains of the original four gates to town.

The views of the town, perched on a hill are an invitation to paint, especially when the town silhouette is seen against various skies.

Here are just a few painting of the town painted over the years and some more recently. It will always be a place to return to as it has been subject for many painters over the centuries.

If you haven’t visited then I urge you  to do so one day, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy these watercolours.

Brian

Sunset at Rye, from the Military Canal

Sunset at Rye, from the Military Canal

Fishing boats in Rye Harbour

Fishing boats in Rye Harbour, one of my first attempts at watercolour!

Rye in winter from the marshes Painting at the Landgate, Rye

Escape from the snow

This January we managed to have a few days on the Cote d’Azur , escaping quite lot of snow and disruption tin the UK.

Although even there we had some rain, we also had beautiful sunshine and some welcome warmth.

We spent one day visiting friends in San Remo and Dolce Acqua, just across the border in Italy. The old towns of both are quite amazing. I have included here one painting from our last visit to San Remo in 2011, but the others I managed to do last weekend. Also there is a watercolour of the view from Villefranche across to Port Passable on Cap Ferrat. We love Villefranche where you can sit at the waters edge and enjoy both the view, and a great lunch. If you are ever there do visit the Chapelle St Pierre at the waterfront. Inside there are wonderful murals by Jean Cocteau.

Back now in the UK, the snow is still here and it is a lot colder, maybe spring will arrive soon!

I hope you enjoy these four paintings.

Dolce Acqua, Liguria

Dolce Acqua, Liguria

Port Passable ,Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

Port Passable ,Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

In the old town of San Remo

In the old town of San Remo

 

San Siro, from Via Palma, San Remo

San Siro, from Via Palma, San Remo

 

 

 

 

When the snow comes!

Churches in the Landscape

It is no real surprise that Churches offer the painter a great subject, often as the focal point of a painting.

Looking through some of my watercolours of the past few years there are many with Churches featured in them. The beautiful architecture of Churches and their often prominent locations provides an exciting subject for me in many paintings.

Some of these are painted as they may have been in the past, to help illustrate family history events , whilst others just bring the subject together in a pleasing way (to me anyway!).

I have gathered together in this large post some from my archives of painting from various locations around Europe.

I hope  you enjoy seeing them, I am sure many will have visited them on their own holidays.

October on the Côte d’Azur

Well back in the South of France again, this time in splendid October weather. October is often a great time of year to be in this area, with blue skies and a temperature of 25 C.we ave also been lucky enough to have been invited to a wedding in a beautiful Chateau near Le Muy.

Not a lot of time to paint but here are afew nonetheless. We also managed a quick boat trip from St Maxime to St Tropez. It is the best way to get to St Tropez,avoiding the traffic. Quick lunch in the little back streets of St Tropez and then back to the ferry.

it is so good to enjoy the beautiful weather at this time of year and the Wedding was just terrific!

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