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Cambridge and Ely sketches and large watercolours too!

Hi Everybody

We have just had a couple of days in Cambridge and a lovely afternoon in Ely.

Ely is a delightful City with a truly magnificent Cathedral and right next to it there it a great cafe called Julia’s Tea room, very nice soup and scones for lunch!

The whole city is very nice with walks and old houses, including Oliver Cromwell’s to see.

So just a couple of quick sketches to turn into larger watercolours back in the studio.

Ely Cathedral from outside the City. Pen and watercolour sketch 9 by 7 inches. Another view from the river. The Cathedral dominates the City from every angle!


It turned out to our surprise that it was Cambridge Half Marathon weekend , and no I wasn’t entered! It was a bit disruptive and due to COVID or just making life easy many Colleges were closed to visitors which was a great shame. However we were able to visit Kings College and King’s College Chapel which is fantastic with such amazing stained glass windows and a rich history. There are so many great sights outside of the Colleges too so we enjoyed outr time there.

Here are two sketches , one of King’s College and Chapel and a view along the River Cam with some inevitable punters gliding along.

Pen and watercolour sketch of King’s College from the river bank. And a view from one of the many bridges of Colleges’s and Punts.

 


We also has a superb dinner in a family run Italian restaurant right by the river edge called Mimosa. Really superb and they made us so welcome. A great find. Good Tapas lunch too in La Raza on Rose Crescent. The best meat balls bravas I have ever had!

Since returning I have painted two larger watercolours and so here they are. They don’t fit very well with the Cambridge and Ely theme but I have really enjoyed painting something a bit bigger and  bolder than normal.

Firstly a view of the Norfolk Broads called “Big sky over the Broads” Large, by my standards, at 21 inches by 9 and another of a view across the North Downs in Kent in the summer, bright fields and another big sky. Also large and bold!

I hope you like them

A large watercolour 21 inches by 9 on Arches paper. “Big sky over the Norfolk Broads”

Across the North Downs in Kent in high summer. Watercolour 21 inches by 9.

They are both on Artfinder (www.artfinder.com/Brianswatercolours)  if you think you would like to hang them in your home!

Now with a third jab received travel seems a bit nearer, let’s hope so!

Do stay safe and well

Brian

The Lake District – Studio Watercolours

Hi Everbody

Over the past while and both before and since our recent visit to the Lake District I have been painting fairly large watercolours in my studio of the area.

Some are based on the sketches in my previous post but others are from photos of the area.

One, of Scafell Pike has already been sold, but the others are all available, so do contact me if you think one would go well in your home.

Also recently I sold a painting of The Mourne Mountains with all four seasons on the one wide watercolour.

This has encouraged me to try another, This time of Derwentwater and so this is the first of the Studio Watercolours

Four seasons at Derwentwater, in the Lake District. Watercolour 45 by 20 cms on Arches 300gsm watercolour Paper.

This next watercolour is an impressionistic watercolour of Buttermere, a beautiful Lake in the area.

Buttermere. Watercolour on Arches paper . 33 by 23 cms.

Next the sold watercolour of Scafell Pike, quite impressionistic too.

Scafell Pike in the Lakes. Watercolour on Arches paper 34 by 23 cms.

In Ambleside the House on the Bridge is one of the famous sights of the Lake District.

Here as a studio watercolour.

The House on the Bridge in Ambleside. Watercolour 34 cms by 23.

Near Ambleside is the beautiful Langdale Valley and the Langdale Pikes. Here is a watercolour of the scene at dawn as the sun breaks into the valley.

The Langdale Pikes and Valley at Dawn. Watercolour 42 cms by 30 on Arches paper.

And now Ullswater as the evening sets in

Sunset in the Lakes. Watercolour 45 by 20 cms

This next watercolour is again of Derwentwater but now in full summer, just as we saw it.

Reflection at Derwentwater. Watercolour 54 by 25 cms.On Arches watercolour 300gsm paper. The largest of this series of watercolours.

And lastly Stockley Packhorse Bridge

Stockley Bridge in the Lake District. Watercolour 34 by 23 cms on Arches paper.

I will continue to paint more watercolours from my sketches in the Studio of the Lake District but this is the work so far.

I do hope you enjoy them , it is a wonderful area to visit and to paint!

Happy travelling!

Brian

 

Sketching in The Lake District


Hi Everbody

Well,it’s seems amazing but we have just had a nice 6 day holiday in the Lake District of England, and with really nice weather too, whilst our home county of Kent was suffering heavy rain and thunderstorms!

The area around Windermere was very busy and fortunately I had pre booked very nice restaurants some of which I have mentioned below.

The visit gave me an opportunity for some watercolour pen and wash sketches and due to the nice weather I was able to paint them “en plein air” which was very enjoyable.

In the next post I will include so more formal studio watercolour  paintings of the Lakes but here are the sketches that I have so far completed.
I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Firstly near to Windermere is Ambleside , although we didn’t realise that Ambleside at the lake is a mile or more from the town.

We went there on a Windermere lake cruise but having to wear a mask all the time on the boat was both unpleasant and in my opinion totally unnecessary as we were all distanced and out in the open air!

The House on the bridge in Ambleside.Sketch, pen and wash 10 inches by 9

In Ambleside I managed to sketch the famous House on the Bridge, which is quite extraordinary and dates back to collecting tolls , I believe mainly to do with the sheep trade.

The next day we went to Derwentwater where parking at the Lakeside is a very tricky thing to do, but on the way we spent some time at Ashness Bridge, a very old Packhorse bridge near to Derwentwater.

I was able to two quick sketches of this very picturesque scene one from the South side and one from the North.

Ashness packhorse Bridge looking South

The road there is very narrow but there is a National  Trust car park thank goodness!

Ashness Packhorse bridge looking North

Not far away from Asness bridge is Derwnetwater and there is a lovely walk along the South shore of the lake, with views across the lake to Skiddaw mountain.

I managed to capture this view in this sketch and of course there are many more photos for future paintings.

Derwentwater with Skiddaw Mountain in the distance. Sketch, pen and wash 10 inches by 9

Our next day was spent at Ullswater after a beautiful mountainous drive from Windermere across the fells.

Ullswater was much quieter and thus more enjoyable for a quiet time sitting and painting by the lake and watching the steamer gliding over the Lake. While at Ullswater we also visited The Airs Force waterfall and felt quite elated that we climbed the 220 feet to get to this marvellous waterfall.I will be doing a sketch of it shortly, as I didn’t carry anything up to the viewing point.

Ullswater. Sketch, pen and wash 20 inches by 9

On our final day we spent a few hours on the west shore of Coniston Water and i managed to paint this sketch with the very old Coniston Steamer on the lake.

Coniston Water. Sketch, pen and wash 20 inches by 9

I have arrived back with lots of ideas for future paintings which will appear on this blog in a while.

In th mean time should you venture to the Lake District I would strongly recommend these restaurants, but do book well ahead!

In Windermere – Francine’s (brilliant) and San Pietro.

In Bowness – Villa Positano (great food and atmosphere)

Beyond Ambleside The Drunken Duck (very good food but more expensive) 

I hope you will one day enjoy them.

Happy travelling once again!

Brian

A few recent watercolours, Summer is here!

Hi Everybody,

With no travel outside of the UK really possible for us yet I have been painting a few watercolours of places that I love or would like be going too.

Firstly a watercolour pen and wash sketch of Polpero in Cornwall, somewhere we have been to, but,  I am  indebted to “The Hungry Travellers Blog” (https://www.thehungrytravellers.blog) for their permission to use the photograph from which this watercolour is based. I like the verticality of the buildings that they captured in the photo.

Polpero in Cornwall. Watercolour sketch 10 inches by 9.

Next two recent commissions of Tuscany and Umbria. I have painted these scenes before but I do love to paint scenes like these again and again! Of course they are always a bit different.

Lucca in Tuscany. Watercolour on Arches paper. 18 inches by 8.

A view of evening in Umbria. Watercolour on Arches paper. 18 inches by 8.

The Lake District of England is very spectacular and so here is recent watercolour of Derwentwater there. 

Derwentwater in The Lake District. Watercolour on Arches 19 by 9 inches

 

A quiet day in Venice. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Again and again I love to try to capture Venetian scenes and this one, quite near to the Rialto Bridge is a view that I love with the Church tower adding height to the waterfront view.

Lastly two more views of Engalnd

This first one is  a view across the Suffolk Fens  and the second of a farm and Oast Houses in Kent. I hope you like them.

Across the Fens. Watercolour 16 inches by 12.

Oasts and Farm in kent. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Maybe soon some real travel will let me post some “plein air” watercolours.

In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy the summer if it is that time of year for you.

Best regards to all

Brian

PS Don’t forget if you see a watercolour here you would like to buy or commission a similar version just email me at – 

brian@brianswatercolours.com

Tall and Thin, Watercolours in a vertical format.

Hi Everybody

One kind reader remarked that a recent one of my posted watercolours seemed a bit of a departure from my normal style, and that was so although now and again I do like to paint tall watercolours rather than the more common Landscape format I usually use.

This format seems to me to  lead me to a  to a “wet into wet”, reflection style and so here I have gathered some together for you to have look at.

Some recent and some not so recent but all a bit different.

The first one , painted very recently is of the beautiful Scotney Castle , here in Kent in the UK. At the bottom of a valley, often covered in late spring with a lot of Rhododendrons and Azealeas blooms  lies the old Castle and Folly.

It is a subject I do like to paint and we do visit there quite often

Scotney Castle . Watercolour, 52 cms by 22 on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.

Here are three watercolours with a common theme.

The Pond,1,2 and 3 All about 50 by 20 cms.

 

The Pond 1

The Pond 2

 

 

 

 

 

The Pond 3

This watercolour was inspired  by a painting session with a local friend who had photographed this spot whilst in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

A Scottish river in Winter. Watercolour 50 by 30 cms

 

Some years ago we voted Portofino in Italy and this was painted from sjhetches and phots of that visit. The colourful buildings and the tranquil bay just seemed to fit this aspect ratio.

Portofino in Italy. Watercolour on Arches paper 55 by 20 cms.

 

This last watercolour is purely from the imagination and an exercise in a bright focal point in a watercolour.

Sunlight on the Pond

 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these watercolours in a somewhat different aspect ration to my normal landscape mode.

Stay safe and well 

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new idea- Crazy or exciting?

Hi Everybody

Last week I posted about the beautiful Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.

It started me thinking that a series of the same panorama for each season might be fun to paint and then I wondered, how about just doing one watercolour with all four seasons in the one painting!

Crazy or Exciting?

Well I decided to have a go today and here is the result, hot as they say , off the press!

It starts from left to right with summer first so that I could include some yachts sailing below a cobalt blue sky. Then comes Autumn with a softer ultramarine and cerulean blue cloudy sky before winter with dark skies and rain and snow landing on the Mourne’s highest peak, Slieve Donard and below it a colder sea foaming up on to the beautiful sandy beach. Lastly we are back to spring with big clouds in a cobalt sky.

I know it’s a bit weird but it was a lot of fine to try to paint and maybe you will like it.

I would love to get your comments.

I have popped it on to Artfinder in case someone really likes it!

I am now thinking of other scenes that might work with this idea so who knows you may see some more.

With our second jab due quite soon and half of the UK now vaccinated seeing friends and family and even some travel is becoming a reality, thank goodness.

It is a fantastic UK vaccine achievement which we all are very proud of and congratulate those who have made it happen – well done!

Stay well and safe

Brian

 

Four Seasons in one watercolour. Summer,Autumn, Winter and Spring Watercolour on Arches paper 54 cms by 25.

 

Summer

 

Autumn

 

Winter

 

Spring

Two new Sunset Skylines, and the Great Wall too!

Hi Everybody

In the first lockdown I painted quite a few skyline watercolours and recently I had a discussion which has resulted in the creation of two more watercolours with sunsets and the skyline.

I really do enjoy these type of watercolours which are 45 by 19 cms in size to try to get the panorama of the cities.

So here they are and as we start to see the easing of our UK lockdown we may even be able to think more about some travel once again.

Firstly Singapore which is continually changing and is such a terrific place to visit.

I recall that we ate on the top of the Marina Bay Sands building, the one that looks like a ship on three 57 storey towers. Quite an experience.

Singapore with a magical pink sunset. Watercolour 45.5 cms by 19Secondly Kuala Lumpur, an astounding Asian Capital City ,once again in the early evening.

Kuala Lumpur in the early evening.watercolour 45.5 by 19 cms.Both of these are for sale for £180 each with free shipping.

contact me for details at brian@brianswatercolours.com

 

Just for fun last week I had a look through some photos of the Great Wall of China which we visited in 2007, how time flies.
We had such a wonderful time there with some great US friends and also managed to go to see the Terracotta Warriors at Xian and visit Shanghai too.

Surprisingly I hadn’t sketched the Great Wall when we were there so I decided to paint two pen and was watercolours last week.

So here  they are, they are both about 27 by 24 cms

The Great Wall of China, just a small part! Watercolour pen and was sketch

Another part of the Great Wall Watercolour pen and wash sketch I hope you will enjoy this short post and that you keep well and optimistic for the future!

Brian

Places I would like to be – The Lake District of England.

Hi Everybody

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.

Stockley Pack Horse Bridge . 18th Century. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

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.

Best regards

Brian

The Delights of Cornwall.

St Ives Harbour in Cornwall.

Hi Everybody

In 1983 we enjoyed a holiday in Crackington Haven in Cornwall. Our children were quite young then and after the sandcastles were built, the swims over, and the games played I decided to have try at a bit of sketching,  –   I had never tried before. 1 year later I had started painted holiday watercolours.

So here we are in 2021 nearly 38 years later and there have been many watercolours produced since 1973 and a fair few of Cornwall. If you follow this blog you will have seen  many of them!

I fact I notice on my stats that over the past year there have been over 9000 views from 76 different countries around the world  –Thank you for looking!

These past weeks we have also been enjoying  a Rick Stein series on Cornwall  on the TV and so these things have brought me to doing a post of some of my Cornwall watercolours, some old, and some new which I hope you will enjoy.

The header is one of St Ives , one of the most famous of Cornish towns, and like many parts of Cornwall a haven for artists.

Toward the most westerly parts of Cornwall  is Cape Cornwall and this watercolour tries to capture the Cove and Cape Cornwall from the Kenidjack valley as a storm brews over the sea.

Storm Rising at Cape Cornwall

Not far away from there is Priest’s Cove (accessible from the Cape Cornwall Car park) where a few fishing boats still go out to sea.

Priest’s Cove near Cape Cornwall

Also on the North Cornwall coast there are many ruins of Tin and Copper mines , some right at the edge of the precipitous cliffs. Here is a watercolour painted recently of the Crown Engine houses at Botallack Mine.

Stormy seas at Bottalack Mine

You can also visit the Levant Mine and beam engine a little further north and see a working Beam Engine there. Amazing for any engineering fans!.  After passing or stopping in St Ives the coast will eventually lead you to Hayle and eventually Newquay.

Further on is Bedruthan steps with great coastal views and then Padstow, a great place to have a meal or sit by the quay, as we did,  and enjoy a traditional Cornish Pasty. The passenger ferry crosses to Rock but to drive round to Rock and Polzeath the road takes you via Wadebridge.

At Polzeath there is a  great beach which is a favourite place for surfers due to the excellent waves coming in from the Atlantic.

Polzeath Beach, popular with surfers!

And a bit further on the coast is Port Quin and then the famous Port Isaac, well know as the setting for the TV series of Doc Martin.

Port Quin

A new impressionistic watercolour of Port Isaac, TV viewers will know it as Port Wenn.

Further up the North Coast, beyond Crackington Haven  is Bude, a larger summer resort again famous for the sandy beaches, and I seem to remember very good ice cream!

Bude

Leaving the North coast behind the South Coast of Cornwall is equally appealing, with quaint fishing villages, much history and beautiful coastal scenery.

A few places that I have painted watercolours of are here now and all are well worth a visit if you are there.

St Clements is near to Truro on the River Tresillian. I was introduced to it by another blogger who produces a great Blog about Cornish History and Folklore  ( Cornishbirdblog.com   The Cornish Bird) and this watercolour is, with permission, from a photo from that blog.

The village of St Clements near Truro

The south coast has so many great places to visit but here is just one real favourite of ours, Mousehole, tricky to park at though!

Recent watercolour from photos of Mousehole on the Cornish Coast

Lastly for this post about my Cornwall watercolours is a view of St Michael’s Mount, where today there is the choice of ferry or a walk across the Causeway at low tide.

This watercolour tries to capture the scene as people arrive from the last evening ferry.

“Arriving on the last ferry”.  St Michael’s Mount near Marazion on the South Cornwall Coast

 

I have only been able to give you a flavour of the “Delights of Cornwall “here but it is a great County of England to visit. In many ways it is unique and has the most stunning coastal scenery and lovely towns and villages to spend time in..

I hope you will be able to visit there and that we too will once more be able to go there again.

Happy travelling — when you can!

Stay safe and well

Brian

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

 

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