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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

 

Spring is really arriving!

Hi Everybody

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.

Oast Houses and Rapeseed fields in Kent. Spring has sprung! Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on Arches Cold Pressed paper.

If the weather is nice with you, enjoy it too.

Stay safe

Brian

At last the sun is out!

Horsmonden Church and oasts in the Weald Watercolour 11inches by 6.5

Horsmonden Church and Oasts in the Weald
Watercolour 11 inches by 6.5

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

Brian

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.

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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

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

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