As I sit here in continued lockdown and recall our many and varied travel plans that have all come to nothing, I remember how for the past few years we had planned a short break in the The Lake District of England. To cap it all we now have snow! , not a lot just a few inches but that is enough to cause some travel chaos here, not that we can go anywhere anyway!
Frustrated by not being able to go anywhere or even meet people I resorted this week to guide books and the web for inspiration of the English Lakes and so for the past three days I have painted four watercolours of some of the many places that we would love to visit in and around the area of Cumbria, with its magnificent scenery.
Maybe later this year or next we will be able to visit and enjoy the scenery at first hand.
The Lake District today lies entirely in Cumbria and is home to the highest peaks in England. It covers over 1200 square miles of mountains and lakes.
The highest peak is Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet and this first watercolour tries to capture Scafell Pike and Scafell and the lake before them called Wasdale. With around 20 lakes and many Fells and Peaks the Lake District area is a very popular destination for visitors, hikers, painters, photographers and all outdoor pursuits as well as for it’s good accommodation ,and great food, and a warm welcome.
Scafell and Scafell Pike with Wasdale lake in the foreground. Watercolour 13 inches by 9.5 on Arches Rough Watercolour paper. Available for purchase on Artfinder
My second watercolour is of the delightful small town of Ambleside which lies at the Northern end of Lake Windermere and is very famous for the “Bridge House”.
The 17th Century house, originally built to store produce from fields on the far side of the Stock Beck, is one of the most curious and often painted houses in the Lake District.
The Bridge House in Ambleside, a Pen and Wash Watercolour. 13 inches by 9.5 on Arches Rough watercolour paper. Available for purchase on Artfinder.com/Brianswatercolours
Other bridge scene in the Lake District, this time of Stockley Bridge in Borrowdale. This very old packhorse bridge is one of many in the Lkae District.
My last watercolour, for now anyway, (there will be more when I can actually go there), is the view across Buttermere which is another popular watercolour artist’s view.
My inspiration here comes from photos and also a wonderful watercolour painting by Edward Wesson, an amazing 20th century English watercolorist who is an inspiration to myself and many artists.
Across Buttermere. Watercolour 9.5 by 13 inches on Arches Rough watercolour paper. Also available for sale on Artfinder
Lockdown has reminded us of how many beautiful places we have to visit in the UK and with International travel some way off, even though we have now had the Covid Vaccine, there will be many places to plan visits to over the next year.
Wherever you are stay safe and well and like us please look forward to travel in the future.
Sadly, due to the terrible impact of Covid 19 in the USA and around the World, this year’s Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Course has been cancelled and won’t be played again till 2021. Like all sporting events for both players and spectators this is a very sad situation and all we can do is look forward to the resumption of sport as soon as is possible and the events that will follow.
Each year I like to post a few watercolours of Augusta National Golf Course as it is a place that I would really like to visit, and maybe even play the course! The Azaleas and the trees around the course make it one of the World’s most beautiful Golf Courses.
Maybe one day this will happen but until then I can only look at the phots of it and back videos of former competitions there.
So here a few watercolours painted over the past few years of the very beautiful Augusta course in Georgia.
All were painted from fleeting scenes on the television and a few screen shots.
I hope you will enjoy seeing them and join with me in wishing all golfers around the world “safe times” and of course everybody else too.
Stay safe and we can all look forward to exciting golf tournaments in 2021.
We have just returned from 10 days in Mauritius, we think of it as a paradise island, especially in January when the UK is cold and the weather is so fabulous in Mauritius.
We returned again to the Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort , on the East coast at Trou D’Eau Douce, which we really like, and where as well as great facilities and beaches there is the very challenging Ile au Cerfs Golf Course to play.
I have never played golf anywhere except there that requires a lovely 15 minute boat trip to get to the course, it is really a great experience.
There is something very special about painting watercolours whilst sitting on a sun bed on the beach, but some of these watercolours were done like that from photos or memory as well as painting the scene right there on the beach.
They are all quick works, about 9 inches by 8, (they have to be with such hot sun!) and are in my Khadi Papers travel sketch book. They will provide the basis for larger watercolours to be painted here in the studio now that we are home.
Wherever you look in Mauritius there are little boats moored or sailing out fishing. They provide endless opportunities for sketches even if they were just a fleeting scene viewed as you drive by.
Anyway they were all fun to do and I hope you like them.
Mauritius is such a lovely island with delightful people who are all very friendly and helpful. They have a great multicultural population and although the locals all speak Creole to each other almost everybody speaks both French and English as they are the languages taught in the schools there.
With it’s large rainfall but beautiful sunny weather too it is a very green and lush island where the main crop is sugar cane, which you see everywhere you go and as well as exporting sugar the rum made from it is very good too!
So here are the watercolours from this trip.
Grand Baie on the North Coast
Boats at the beach
Big Mauritian Skies!
A farm by the road
The Ilot Mangenie at Le Touessrok. Secluded and only a boat ride away!
Two boats on the beach
Fisherman on the jetty
Now we are back in the cold of the UK, but with great memories of yet another wonderful trip to Mauritius.
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!
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!
First snow in Provence
Gourdon in provence in the snow
The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence
Rye in Kent at Christmas
Horsmonden in Kent
Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent
Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey
St Margaret’s Church at Barming in Kent
A village in Kent
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.
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!
Port Quin on the North Coast. 11inches by 7
The surfers bay at Polzeath. 11 inches by 7
St Ives Harbour. 11 inches by 7
Priest’s Cove near Lands End. 11 inches by 7
A very quick watercolour of St Ives. 8 inches by 5
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
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.
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!
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.
St Paul de Vence
The Grand Fountaine in St Paul de Vence
Rue de Bresc in St Paul de Vence
St Paul de Vence
Bourgainvillia in St Paul
Gourdon commands fabulous position high above the Cot dAzur
Gourdon, Farmhouse on the hill above the town.
Gourdon in the Snow
the route into Gourdon in Winter
Near Lac St Croix is the beautiful Moustiers St Marie
Inside Moustiers St Marie
The Chapel at Moustiers St Marie from the town
Looking up towards Fayence
In the heart of Fayence the Hotel de Ville is an impressive sight.
Just past Fayence is the little town of Seillans
High up in the mountains is the town of Mons en Provence
The fountain in Mons freezes in the winter
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
Callian can be seen clearly from the Terre Blanche Golf course
Anoth view of Callian
A little street in Biot. Biot is famous for its Glass making.
A sunny day in Mougins
Tourrettes sur Loup
The small streets of Tourrettes Sur loupe
One of my first painting,taken from a postcard photo, of Vence
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.
Sunset at Rye, from the Military Canal
Fishing boats in Rye Harbour, one of my first attempts at watercolour!
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!