Blog Archives

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

The Sun is out – and we are in!

Hi Everybody

With a walk or sitting in the garden as the only outdoor options possible in these unprecedented times I am pleased to tell you that it has been is a really beautiful weekend here in the South Of England. Warm and sunny , a perfect April day.

Having done the walk, time to enjoy the garden and an opportunity to paint a small watercolour of one corner of it.

A Corner of the Garden. Watercolour 11 inches by 8 on Fabriano paper.

Our small Magnolia is flowering nicely this year, it must have liked the wet winter and the warm weather now,as we are too!

i also managed to paint another pen and was sketch of Portrush in Northern Ireland this weekend too. We had visited port rush last year, and it  has, over the years, become a very nice, if a it busy, seaside resort with fine beaches and many new restaurants. And of course it is on the fabulous North Antrim Coast which has featured in many posts on this blog before.

Portrush, the Inner Harbour. Watercolour 11 inches by 8 on Fabriano paper.

This watercolour is of the Inner harbour where many small boats moor and where the quaysides are lined with restaurants. A nice place to stop at after driving all the way up the Causeway Coastal Route.

Stay well and be safe

Brian

 

 

An Extraordinary Wine Experience in the Jura.

Hi Everybody

A good many years ago we spent a few days in the delightful Jura region of France. Good food and beautiful countryside everywhere. One evening, we met by chance, a wine merchant from Belgium and with him were able to visit the world famous Domaine of Jean Macle and family at Château-Chalon.

It was a really wonderful experience tasting the very unusual “Vin Jaune” of the Domaine and seeing their beautiful, but small Domaine. The wine was, I seem to recall, tasted with small pieces of the local Comté cheese, another delicious food from the Jura region.

The Macle family have been making wine in Château-Chalon since 1850 and it is a very unusual wine as the  10 year ageing process gives  the wine a very distinctive taste and bouquet. Their small Domaine is around 19 hectares and stretches across the beautiful hills of the Côte de Jura region.

Jean Macle is acknowledged as a true Master of Château Chalon.

After recently watching a television programme by Rick Stein on French cuisine, I was looking back through my photos of our visit to the Jura, when I found a number of photos which have led me to paint this watercolour of the Château Chalon  with the vines growing down the hillsides.

It reminds us that this is one of the many beautiful regions of France that we really must try and visit in the next few years.

Our visit there was quite extraordinary experience for which  I am most grateful to Jean Macle and his family. I am sure that their wine production will continue for many more generations of their Family.

I hope you like this watercolour, 37 by 28 cms and painted on Arches Cold Pressed watercolour paper.

If you ever get the chance to spend sometime in the Jura, it is really wonderful part of France.

Happy travelling

Brian

The Town of Château-Chalon in the Jura region of France. Watercolour 37 by 28 cms on Arches paper.

Memories – Watercolours of Amsterdam – UPDATE

Hi Everbody

So here we are stuck indoors and wishing we were somewhere else!

I thought today a short post of some watercolours, two painted this week, of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great weekend vacation spot, with lots to see and do and it’s iconic Canals and Buildings are very attractive to the watercolour painter.

So here are four watercolours which try to capture the scenes there.

More to follow I think too as I look back through my photos from vista there a few years ago.

I hope you are staying well and finding lots of things to do.

Yours

Brian

Amsterdam, The Canal with Seven Bridges. Watercolour 12 by 9 inches

 

Amsterdam, Pen and Wash 10 inches by 6.6

Amsterdam, Pen and Wash 10 inches by 6.6

Amsterdam, Pen and Wash 9 inches by 7

“Sunlight on the Pond”

Sunlight on the pond. Watercolour 21.5 inches by 14.5 Version 1. The Original

With windy weather keeping me at home I thought I might paint a larger watercolour of trees and a pond

I woke up with this image whizzing round my head so that seemed a good excuse to have ago.

I do find painting at larger sizes quite challenging and this sheet of Arches paper is 22 inches by 15, and very nice to work with as it holds the water very well for long periods of time.

So here it is and I have added below two more versions of it cropped to different sizes below.

I can’t decide which version I prefer but if you have any thoughts on this I would be delighted to hear them

Just don’t ask where the pond is though!

Happy travelling!

Brian

Version2 cropped to square 13 inches by 13

Version 3. Cropped to 18 inches by 12

30 Degrees, hot sun in January-Whats not to like! -Mauritius in 2020

The view from the Lounger at Le Tousserok beach. Sketchbook watercolour 9 inches by 8.

Hi Everybody

We have just returned from 10 delightful days in Mauritius, staying at the Le Tousserok Shangri-la Resort on the East coast. It is a long way away but the beautiful January weather makes that journey worthwhile.

For us it is a mixture of Sun and Pool and Golf as well when we are there, and The Shangri-La is a great place to stay at. Of course it wouldn’t be a holiday for me without the watercolour kit and so I also get some time for a few watercolours of the sea and the boats and mountains.

I think its the only place that I have ever been to where I can sit on a comfortable lounger at the beach and paint watercolours!

So here are those watercolours, some just sketches in my Sketch Book. This sketch book is a Khadi papers one and very handy on travel. There are also a couple of watercolours that are larger and were painted in the comfort of our balcony.

I hope you like them and this vision of just a little bit of this lovely Indian Ocean island.

Mauritius is an Island formed from huge volcanoes and large Basalt rocks are everywhere. It is also very fertile and Coconut Palms and Sugar cane grow everywhere, making the island very green. You are never very far from the mountains which make for some wonderful scenery.

“The Mountains by the sea”. Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches paper.

Everywhere around the coast are many small fishing boats and the fish in the restaurants are very good.

“Fishing boats and a shack by the beach”. Sketchbook watercolour 9 by 8 inches on Khadi paper.

“Yachts at Sunrise”. Sketchbook watercolour 9 inches by 8.

There are fisherman all over the island, some fishing from the shore and some standing for hours waist deep in the sea catching their supper.

“Fishermen and boats by the sea”. Sketchbook pen and Ink watercolour 9 inches by 8.

“Boats at the shore”. Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches watercolour paper.

We have now visited Mauritius on quite a few occasions and have always enjoyed it there. The people there are delightful and even though it is far away it is so lovely to go there for some seriously good weather in January 

I hope you will enjoy this and maybe my other posts on Mauritius and elsewhere .

Have look at my Artfinder site too, maybe something there will catch your eye.

http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours

Happy travelling

Brian

The Heat and Beauty of the Cote d’Azur

Fayence ,the view from Le Moulin de la Camandoule

When the sea sparkles on the Côte d’Azur you can tell somehow before you go out that it is HOT. And it certainly was on our recent visit to La Napoule, 37 Celsius in fact most days. Nice to be in a air conditioned hotel and have great air conditioned car too!

However it was a lovely as ever and although just a short trip, there was time in the late afternoons for a few quick Pen and Wash watercolours.

This style works for me on travel and provides some ideas for large watercolours when home in the studio. In fact the next post will be one of these as a larger artwork.

La Napoule is a very nice place to stay and the large Pullman Hotel was very comfortable with a delightful beach to cool off at with a dip in the warm Mediterranean waters.

During our stay there we visited our two most favourite restaurants, both in Fayence; “Le Moulin de la Camandoule” and “Le Table d’Yves”. These are exceptional places to eat at, and both have lovely views of Fayence. Great dinner too with friends at “Freres de la Baie” in Theoule and “Le Brocherie” in La Napoule

So here are the Pen and Ink watercolours, all about 11 by 8 inches but this time painted on Fabriano 300gsm Hot Pressed watercolour paper, as this paper is very nice to use for pen and wash.

I hope you will enjoy them and also that you will be able to spend some time one day on the beautiful Esterel Coast and around the Côte d’Azur

Happy Travelling

Brian

The Castle at La Napoule

The Market in the Centre of old Antibes

 

Iles St Marguerite. Yachts sailing ,seen through the zoom lens!

 

A beach at La Napoule.

Last weekend at the Master Golf

The 12th green at Augusta National Golf Club

Last weekend we enjoyed watching the amazing Master’s Golf on the TV from Augusta. As ever it was fantastic spectacle, and made even more so by Tiger Woods once again winning the Trophy.

While watching I sketched these three small watercolours as the scene of the course with the Azealeas is as always so wonderful to see. 

These are simple line and wash watercolours, each one about 9 inches by 8 and on Khadi watercolour paper in the sketchbook.

It could have been one of my ” Places I would like to be” posts and maybe one day we will visit there to see the beauty of this golf course at first hand.

I hope you like them , and if you play golf that the quality of the play from the Professionals will inspire your game too.

Happy travelling

Brian

The 16th Hole at Augusta national, known as “Red Bud”

The 12th Green at Augusta National Golf Course, viewed from the Tee.

Return to the Antrim Coast

This summer we will be back in Northern Ireland for a short holiday and a family wedding. We are very much looking forward to it.

It will be great to be back to a place where so much of my early life was spent and where such great memories abound of people and places.

We will spend some time on the wonderful Antrim Coast and it’s splendid scenery.

Fair Head from Ballycastle Watercolour 16 inches by 12 on 600 gsm watercolour paper.

Recently I painted yet another watercolour of the scene from Ballycastle Strand across to Fair Head and so that triggered me into doing this post which unashamedly uses watercolours painted over the years of this stunning and very scenic part of the world.

If you haven’t downloaded my free guide with watercolours for Ulster then please do so either using the link above or via the iBook store.

This is a much shorter version of some of the paintings from that book.

The Antrim Coast road starts in Belfast but very soon you arrive in Carrickfergus with its great Norman Castle.

Carrickfergus Castle

After passing through Larne the road takes you to  Ballygally where the road is right next to the sea and Scotland seems so nearby across the water.

Yachts sailing off the Antrim Coast

The Coast near Carnlough

 

Watercolour of Ballygally, 11 by 7 inches.

A little bit inland from the coast the remarkable trees near Armoy are a good diversion and if you are a Game of Thrones fan they feature in that programme as The King’s Highway.

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim. The King's Highway in Game of Thrones

The Dark Hedges near Armoy. Co Antrim.
The King’s Highway in Game of Thrones

On the way visit Ballintoy, and Murlough Bay, also used in that series.

Further along the coast is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and of course the  famous Giants Causway with its incredible hexagonal basalt columns.

 

The Giant’s Causeway at sunset.

 

There is so much more to see on this great Coast so do take the time to visit there.

We will enjoy our next visit and if you can plan a visit to this delightful part of the world which you will enjoy.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

10 Days on Paradise Island!

Mount Bambous from The East Coast of Mauritius

Hi All

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.

Happy travelling!

Brian

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