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!
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!
And one of some boats 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.
And here is another of the Cley Windmill but in my more usual style
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.
And lastly a dawn seascape at Sctby on the East coast of Norfolk
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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”.
Back in Oare the view along the Creek across the marshes offers yet another view of the area.
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.
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.
Hastings is nearby with the fishing boats of on the “Stad”
Back towards Kent but still in East Sussex is the wonderfully quaint town of Rye
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
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.
A finally home to West Malling
Two quick sketches of our home town with it many pubs, restaurants and shops.
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.
Be safe and happy wherever you are.
Although we can’t tour around the beautiful County of Kent at present, the Spring is really arriving fast .
We are currently having the most lovely weather and normally I would be off taking photos of the Kent countryside so that back at home I could paint some watercolours of the scenes.
Its fun to paint on location as well but of course that too isn’t possible in the current situation as we sensibly stay home and try to help limit the spread of this horrible virus.
So a quick whizz through some photos and with a bit of artistic licence I can be somewhere in Kent with the Oast houses, Rapeseed growing in the fields and a few poppies too.
So here is today’s watercolour, trying to capture that scene. It is out there somewhere!
I hope you like it.
If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.
This winter it seemed as if the rain would never stop, then late last week and since the weather in the South of England has really improved and the sun has been shining.
It inspired me to get out and go to the Weald of Kent and there, near Horsmonden Church your will find this Springtime scene. I hope you like my interpretation of it!
The Church dedicated to St Margaret is about 2 miles from the Village centre. This is attributed to the centre of the village moving in the 17th Century to where a foundry had been established by John Browne. It was a large employer and the village thus migrated to be nearer the foundry. The foundry closed in 1685, but the village has remained at the Heath.
The term Weald is an old English word for Forest as this area was once heavily forested, even today there are many fine woods and copses across the area.
Anyway I hope wherever you are the weather is fine, we certainly hope it stays fine here and everywhere will get a chance to recover from all that winter rain.
Enjoy your travels
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.
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!
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
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!
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 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!
Enjoy your travels
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.