Hi Everybody wherever you may be.
All this extra time at home this year has made me realise how fortunate we are to live in the very beautiful County of Kent in the South East of England
So I thought maybe a few posts of some old and new Kentish scenes would hopefully be interesting to my readers.
It isn’t a tour exactly but a rather haphazard wandering of our very fine piece of England. Due to the large number of places(and watercolours!) I would like to include this post will come in Three parts and this is thus Part 1
I was born In Kent rather a long time ago and more by luck than judgement we can back to live in Kent in the 1970’s. It’s a decision that has worked out well for us as a family and it has given us all the benefits of this lovely part of the UK and it’s proximity to Europe too.
Historically Kent has had a big part to play in the development of the UK and this is very true of our first stopping place, Canterbury.
Canterbury is dominated by the magnificent Cathedral and it’s history, especially that of Thomas a Beckett and the Canterbury tales by Chaucer.
It can be seen from all around the City and here are two watercolour sketches, one of the Cathedral and one of St Augustines Abbey.
It is only a few miles to travel to the North Coast of Kent from Canterbury and from Whitstable there is a long range view toward Reculver,a ruin today but once Roman fort and then an Abbey.
Continuing round the Isle of Thanet brings you to Broadstairs and the white cliffs coast that stretches all to way to Sussex. Here the beaches are sand but as you travel further west the sand changes to shingle.
Toward Dover is the North Foreland Lighthouse on top of the cliffs and in Dover itself the view of the Castle from the Harbour spit is gréât.
From Dover travelling west now you come to Folkestone and Hythe and then Hastings. So here to finish Part 1 are few watercolours of Hythe and Hastings.
Views of Venice
Some few years ago we visited Venice with friends and stayed in the delightful Locanda Vivaldi Hotel, situated on the Riva Schiavoni.
It has a great location and the views from the roof terrace are really lovely both of the Riva Schiavoni and the Church of Santa Maria della Sallute and also across to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
i have been revisiting my photos taken from there and in doing so have painted two new watercolours of the views from the terrace, plus I have added to this post some previous watercolours also inspired by the scenes from that Rooftop terrace.
I love Venice and the amazing scenes at every corner you turn, and so I hope you like these few watercolours too.
Most of these watercolours are currently for sale on Artfinder if you are interested in purchasing one.
Happy Travelling and stay safe and well
Tuscany abounds with wonderful sights and scenery and especially some amazing Cities and Towns.
Right up there is the fabulous town of Lucca.
Its narrow streets, and the marvellous Piazza dell’Anfiteatro where cafes and restaurants abound is only one of the many interesting sites of this very old Town.
To whet your appetite here are two recent watercolours of the places in Lucca,somehwere for coffee and then a stop for lunch
I hope you will enjoy this brief visit to the lovely place.
Enjoy your future travels
It is very nice to once again be able to get out and about and even spend time sketching in the June sunshine in Kent.
This week I was able to do some sketching at Oare, near Faversham in Kent.
The marshes at Oare are a great wildlife and bird sanctuary and there is a pathway called the Saxon Shore Way that goes all around the coastline.
Where the Oare Creek meets the Faversham Creek is for me a nice place to sit and paint the boats, building and long distance view across Kent towards Faversham and beyond. I wasn’t going to be there long so the sketchbook, brushes and paints and three legged stool were enough equipment to paint a couple of scenes which could then be used to do some larger studio watercolours.
So here are the two sketches, each about 10 by 9 inches , one a closer detail of the boast and boatyard at the junction of the two Creeks. It was low tide so rather a lot of mud and not much creek!
Back home I had started some larger paintings in watercolour of this scene from older photos but my sketches have now helped finish these paintings off for you to see.
The first is from across the creek toward the boatyard with the buildings and the pub there in the background. The second is the same view as the sketches with a glimpse of St Mary’s Church in the centre of Faversham able to be seen even though it must be about 2 miles away across the flat marshy land.
And this view you have seen before. A rather impressionistic view from Oare of the creek with some barges moored.
Out of interest the two sketches take about 20 minutes each to do so it is fast and furious, but the larger watercolours take me about 2 to 3 hours to complete , albeit with some drying time for the washes.
I hope you enjoy them all.
Where next I wonder?
Stay safe and well
After our whirlwind virtual visits to a load of places around the world here we are back in Kent and enjoying truly wonderful weather and some easing of lockdown.
We are back to golf and can travel about, but staying apart and being careful too!
So this past week I have been painting watercolours of Kent and one of Pinmill too.
It is nice to be painting locally again and enjoying our own lovely scenery and towns.
As readers will know I am very keen on Thames Barges and so here are four watercolours with Barges as their theme. Two of these are at Faversham and the third is near Oare in Kent.
Another favourite place to go and paint is of course Pin Mill in Suffolk where the barges and boats near to the Butt and Oyster Pub are a key part of the scene.
At this time of year, even a little earlier, if possible, a day at Scotney Castle in Kent with its wonderfull old ruined castle and stunning Azaleas and Rhododendrons is always enjoyable. We didn’t make it there this year so the watercolour is a reminder to us to visit there again when we can.
And lastly for now, two very quick sketches of our home town of West Malling. It will be nice to see the shops, cafes,pubs and restaurants reopen soon!
Enjoy any travel you can do!
As things appear to improve and Lockdown is easing very slightly it is time to think about travelling home from my virtual journeys.
But first we have to enjoy our few days in Mauritius having got here from Johanesburg.
Mauritius is a very nice holiday location, very friendly people and lovely hotels, good food and excellent local rum too.
Over the years we have enjoyed a good many trips there and never been disappointed, indeed quite the opposite.
These paintings were done earlier this year whilst there and be there will be a lovely way to end our journey, get on the plane and whizz back to England.
Mauritius has really lovely beaches and excellent golf courses, often adjacent to each other. This first painting was done sitting on a loiunger looking out to sea, oh I can feel the warmth even now!
There are fishermen everywhere and lots of great little boats to paint all over the island.
Often there are views from those beaches to the extraordinary mountains of Mauritius and boulders everywhere indicating it’s violent pre history when the whole large island must have been a continuous series of volcanic eruptions on a colossal scale leaving unusual large basalt mountains all over the island.
So now after a final dip in the sea we must fly home to London and hopefully get ready for a bit more easing of the lockdown!
I will be able to play Golf again!
Stay safe and well and who know maybe in a while we will be really travelling again
I am glad that you have been enjoying my virtual travel. It is certainly a lot less expensive than the real thing , but oh, how I yearn for the REAL thing!
Hopefully soon we will be able to travel about if only in the UK and once again meet friends and family.
Anyway you will recall on my previous virtual travel post I was in New England and Nova Scotia.
Now we are off to South Africa and then on to Mauritius.
It must take about 20 hours to fly from Boston to Capetown but hey ho, here we are in a couple of seconds!
First of all a watercolour painted during an early visit to the wonderful Capetown in South Africa. The warm welcomes, great food, stunning wine and amazing scenery make this a fabulous place to visit. Lets hope I can get there again soon.
And here are two paintings of Boulders bay near Capetown and the delightful penguins.
This week I painted this rather impressionistic painting of The Twelve Apostles Mountains at Camps Bay near Capetown. It hasn’t entirely come out as I had planned (like so many!) but Virtual travel was expecting it so here it is.
If we now drive 5 hours East of Capetown we find the lovely Knysna and the resort and golf courses of Fancourt, a really lovely place to stay, with superb restaurants in nearby George and my favourite restaurant in all of South Africa at Wildernesse called “Serendipity”. When in the area make sure you visit it ,you can even stay there too!
Now we are off over the mountains via Villiersdorp to Beautiful Franschhoek with it wonderful Wineries and scenery. The Franschhoek Pas on the last bit of this longish journey is spectacular.
The wine tours in the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch area, (get a driver don’t take your car!) are just great. Lets stay at The Franschhoek Country Hotel ,a lovely place and so good to be back!
Back in Capetown for the plane and then a long car journey car to get to the Limpopo Region almost 2 hours north of Pretoria and a visit to the marvellous Legends Resort, Safari Park and Golf Course with the highest Par 3 hole in the World. You have to get a helicopter to the top of this Mountain and the Tee! The green, in the shape of Africa is 400 metres below at the foot of the mountain.
Time to leave Africa and head for Mauritius via Johannesburg. A wonderful Island in the Indian ocean awaits.
But that will be in the next update!
Get ready for more virtual travel soon!
I expect like me you are just wishing you could go somewhere, ANYWHERE I hear you say!
Well those days will return, but I have been travelling around the Globe quite a bit since the lockdown started.
It is of course Virtual, but by painting watercolours of various place I can almost escape there for a while. By the time I have trawled through old photos to find the one I want to paint the memories of these places come flooding back and the concentration of painting soon transports me to those far away places.
I have been posting these paintings recently so not many new ones but I thought I could put them together as a sort of Journal if only for my own amusement, and I hope yours too!
It all stared sitting in the garden in the lovely April sunshine thinking of all the gardening I should be doing, not to mention sorting out the shed, garage,study etc etc.
But soon the travel bug took over.
I had been worrying about a delivery of a variant of this watercolour of Porto in Portugal
to a customer in Toronto when I realised that I had not been to Toronto for a very long time and so the idea of a Skyline painting seemed the thing to do. Don’t ask why, even I don’t know!
One thing leads to another and so suddenly I found myself seeing once again the Skyline of Singapore.
We had stayed in the Ritz Carlton there the last time we were there and this is the skyline from near there. What a City Singapore is! I can even taste a spectacular meal we ate one evening there, in very authentic restaurant, of Beef in Black Bean sauce and Beef Rendang!
The trip back to the UK included a quick diversion to Chateau Chalon in the Jura in France. (That thanks to watching Rick Stein on TV). A wonderful area of that equally wonderful country with stunning ,and rather special Wine!
And just to make sure the days were fully filled up, a return visit to Amsterdam, another great place to be.
But soon I was back in the UK with view of the Countryside in Kent that I can’t now visit and another view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun bursts through.
Being back in the UK brought on another attack of the travel bug and a long weekend in Tuscany seemed just the right thing to do. So after a brief stop in Florence to look at the the house located on the Ponte Vecchio —
—I drove into the heart of Tuscany. It has been warm here in Kent and so the warmth of Tuscany seemed just so good.
Basing ourselves near to San Gimignano, as we have done before, gave me some time to enjoy painting some watercolours, first of Piazza della Cisterna in the heart of San Gimignano and then the view from San Gimignano across the wonderful Tuscan landscape.
Luckily there was time to return to Lucca. A real gem of a City in Tuscany and a painters paradise!
And so the first 5 weeks of Lockdown have let me cover a lot of miles without even stepping outside!
I hope that this Lockdown won’t go on too much longer but if it does my Virtual bags will have to be repacked and put into us again.
Happy Virtual Travelling Everybody!
Stay safe and well too.
Thanks for reading my Blog posts!
This post has just two watercolours, but ~I hope you like the increased frequency of my posts during the Worldwide Pandemic.
One is a pen and wash sketch of some houses located right on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and which is just 10 inches by 7 and another which is much larger at 22 inches by 16.
The Ponte Vecchio is a very unique bridge still retaining the style common in the Middle Ages where houses were built right across the bridges in major European cities.
Very few remain and the Ponte Vecchio is probably the best example today.
Pen and wash is a favourite way for me to paint and usually they are, painted in my sketchbook, this painting is no exception.
However I also like the challenge of larger watercolours, with no pen involved, and this scene is of a view across the Oxfordshire countryside as the sun breaks through the clouds.
With the larger painting multiple washes are employed compared to fewer on the sketch of course.
I have developed this style of painting since spending a week last year with the wonderful watercolour painter Herman Pekel and I am very grateful for his help with my technique. Not quite up to his standard through!
We met at Big Sky Arts at The White House Hotel in Norfolk in 2019 , a great location for a really superb watercolour course.
Anyway stay safe and keep well
I will be back to the easel!