Blog Archives

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

 

Mountains from our Travels. – Part 1

Hi Everybody

Happy New Year to Everyone, and thanks for reading my Blog!

Let us hope that 2021 turns out better for us all than 2020. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Alas I doesn’t seem that we will be travelling soon so some virtual travel will have to be the way forward for now.

I painted 116 watercolours during 2020 and I am not planning on stopping this trend for this year.

For many years when I was working I travelled extensively on business and went to Seattle many, many times working with Boeing of various  airplanes programmes, most notably the 777.  I usually stayed at Bellevue but whenever there was some free weekends I took the opportunity to travel to the coast and the islands or into the Cascade Mountains. The scenery of the Cascades is amazing but the one site that dominates all is that of Mount Rainier. Although 60 miles from Seattle it looms large and is a spectacular site even from a distance.

And so painted from some of  the many photos that I took in those days ( I rarely had a sketch book with me) I have any last painted a view of Mount Rainier. This painting shows haw due to it height Mount Rainier keeps a snow covered top all year. It is possible to drive right up to 6000 feet there but this watercolour is from one of the approach roads.

 

Mount Rainier in the Spring. Watercolour 18 inches by 11 on Arches 300gsm paper.          I hope those little people give it some scale! Mount Rainer is 14411 feet tall and is a very large and active Volcano!

 We have visited many mountains over the years and way back in 2003 I painted this sketch of Table Mountain at Capetown in South Africa.

This mountain dominates Capetown even more that Mount Rainier does in Seattle but it is a very amazing site from across the bay.

Table Mountain in South Africa. Watercolour sketch.

Also near  Capetown are the 12 Apostles Mountain range and here is a painting again from some years ago of these spectacular  mountains above Camps Bay in the evening.

The Twelve Apostle Mountains at Camps Bay in South Africa. Watercolour 14 by 10

Even further away from the UK is New Zealand with some of the most amazing scenery we have ever

Here are just three watercolours, the first of Mount Tongaringo in the North Island and the others from the South Island.

Mount Tongagingo in New Zealand Noth island. A massive dormant Volcano. Sketch 9 inches by 8

Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Sketch 10 by 8 inches.

 

The Amazing Milford Sound at Dawn in New Zealand. Watercolour 18 inches by 12.

I hope that you have enjoyed this first part of my Mountain Travel Post. I will be adding more on Part 2 

Stay safe and well

Brian

Places I would like to be – Norfolk in the UK

Sunset at Hunstanton

Hi Everybody

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!

One of those big Norfolk Skies and  the shore

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!

The quay at Blakeney

And one of some boats waiting for the tide

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.

Cley windmill in the style of Edward Seago.

And here is another of the Cley Windmill but in my more usual style

Cley windmill pen and wash sketch painted on site.

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.

Burnham Overy Staithes

Local houses near Burnham Overy Staithes, right opposite the Hero pub with it great food and drink!

The pond at Sussex farm Hotel, The White House, a great place to stay.

Across the Norfolk fields

A Tidal inlet near Thornham

Near Burnham Overy Staithes

Thornham Old Harbour

Boats moored at Wells next The Sea painted on a bench by the coast.

And lastly a dawn seascape at Sctby on the East coast of Norfolk

Dawn at Scratby beach

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.

Best wishes

Brian

Around Broadstairs in Kent in Watercolour

                            Around Broadstairs in Watercolours

Dawn breaks at Broadstairs. Watercolour 13 inches by 9 on Arches paper.

A couple of years ago a venue for the Sky Arts Landscape painter of the Year competition was Broadstairs in Kent, and I was lucky enough to be selected to paint there on that day.(I didn’t get selected for the final alas though!)

Although we had been to Broadstairs before that from then on I have enjoyed visting this  picturesque seaside town,  and painting watercolours from various photos  and some sketches.

So I have collected a few in this post which I hope will encourage you visit to our sandy beached resorts on the Kent coast.

The watercolour I painted during the Sky Arts completion. Painted over a 4 hour period on the sandy beach, and it was 28c temperature! 17 inches by 12.

On that competition day I had some spare time , especially as it was so hot for painting watercolours. So I did this second monochrome version, which one of the passing judges said he liked, result! 17 inches by 12.

 

A more recent watercolour of Viking bay, trying to capture the incoming tide. 16 by 12 inches

Around the headland is Dumpton Gap bay, where the beach is strewn with large chalk rocks and at times the sea has a milky appearance. 16 inches by 12.

Just North of Broadstairs is Botany Bay and  these next two painting are the views , south and north at the Bay.

Kites flying Botany bay looking South 14 inches by 10

Botany bay looking North. 14 inches by 10.

So there you have a few views of this rather quaint Kentish seaside town with strong associations with Charles Dickens too.

In the mean time Best Wishes for Christmas and let us all hope that 2021 will turn out to be a better year that 2020.

Stay well and safe

Brian

PS. If you would like to buy any of these watercolours of any other from my blog please just contact me at  brian@brianswatercolours.com and I will respond with availability and price very quickly. A good many paintings have already found nice walls to hang on around the world so please check with me. However if already sold I am always happy to paint a new, original and unique version just for you. I don’t sell copies but I can provide Canvas style prints of most of my watercolours.

Payment can then be easily made by PayPal and courier delivery, usually only taking a few days, will follow. Prices will include the shipping to anywhere in the world.

Thanks

Brian

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

A new painting for December 2020.  “A cold walk on a Winters Day” Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

A walk in the snow

Hi Everybody

I am always most amused when the weather forecasters give us long term predictions and this year is no exception. Apparently we will always get less snow in the future. Aha! I think they said that in 1987 when we had the Great Storm in England followed by 3 feet of snow that lasted weeks and weeks, closed schools and businesses and was a lot of fun for some!

So I am not holding my breath, but as I look out on a dreary, foggy December day here in Kent I do wonder if a bit of snow might liven things up a bit, at least that would be a better reason for huddling round the fire than Covid!

Thus I am thinking that I will preempt the now inevitable snow ( now that the forecasters say we might not have any!!) by putting some of some Kent and Sussex winter scenes that I have painted watercolours of in the past and maybe then I can settle down at the easel to paint a couple of new wintry scenes as well for a follow up Christmas time blog.

Here then are a selection from what turns out to be about 23 watercolours to chose from.

Horsmonden in Kent

Leeds Castle in Kent in the snow

Kentish Oasts in the snow

The Mill pond at Wateringbury

 

Rye from the marshes on a cold winters day.

West Malling in Kent

 

Horsmonden again!

So there you are ,will we get any snow this year? Might be fun!

Best regards ‘to everyone

Brian

Three New Watercolours – Cornwall, County Down and Northumberland

Hi Everybody

I am always on the lookout for interesting scenes to paint as watercolours and although most of my watercolours use photos that I have taken , occasionally I see a photo that I would like to have a go at painting too.

This has happened twice this week and with time available due to the lock down  I was lucky enough to get the permission’s of the two photographers to paint these watercolours. I am indebted for their permissions.

The first one is of a small town in Cornwall, called St Clements, which is near Falmouth.

I saw the image on a blog that I always enjoy reading called  Cornishbirdblog.

http://www.cornishbirdblog.com

Even if you don’t live in Cornwall, and I don’t, I would recommend it as it is always interesting to read.

So here is my version of a photo of St Clements and I do hope to visit there one day.

Watercolour of St Clements in Cornwall. 15 inches by 11 on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper

The second one is of a place I do know well, The Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland.
I have painted quite a few watercolours of the area before but an evening photo taken by Gerry Judge really caught my eye and so here is my watercolour interpretation of it.

You can see Gerry’s excellent photos at Gerry Judge Photography and I am very grateful for his permission to use the photo as a basic reference for  this watercolour

 

 

The Mountains of Mourne from Murlough Bay at evening.                                       Watercolour 22 inches by 14 on Saunders 300gsm watercolour paper

And lastly a watercolour from one of my own photographs, this time of Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland where we enjoyed a short break a couple of years ago. I have tried again to capture that early evening scene of calm waters and an interesting sky.

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. Watercolour 22 inches by 14 on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper.

With several more weeks of this current Lockdown still to go I hope to paint quite a few more watercolours

I hope you will enjoy these two anyway.

 

Stay well and safe

Regards

Brian

 

PS If you have a photo of a favourite place that you would like a watercolour of, please email me at

brian@brianwaterecolours.com

and send me the photo for an immediate quotation. Turnaround times are very quick, prices include shipping, and many people have been pleased with their new watercolour.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Kent – The Garden of England. Part 2

Hi Everybody

I part 1 of this series of 3 posts we explored Canterbury and the East and South Coasts of Kent

In Part 2 I am going to start with some famous visitor attractions in Kent and then delve into the Kent countryside.

Leeds castle in Kent

We are vary lucky that there are a number of very famous Places to visit in the County, maybe one of the most famous is Leeds Castle , fairly near to Maidstone . Often described as “The most beautiful Castle in the World” it is undoubtedly a great place to visit and to wander around its extensive grounds. Leeds Castle was probably established in the 9th Century but after being bought by Edward 1st Queen,Eleanor of Castile in 1278 the castle began its long journey to become the Castle we see today. Part of this transformation was done by Henry VIII in 1519, and again extensive changes were made in 1823.

Snow at Leeds Castle

 

 

Leeds Castle can be visitedted throughout the year and is very beautiful in winter when a Christmas Fair is held.

A winter evening at Leeds Castle

 

 

 

 

 

At Bodiam there is another medieval Castle, built when the River Rother was a trading route into the heart of the County. Although mostly a ruin it is a great castle to visit.

Bodiam Castle

Not very far away is Sissinghurst Castle, more of a walled garden that a Castle, it has the most wonderful gardens to see and enjoy. A favourite place for me to sketch and paint at too.

Sissinghurst

In Sissinghusrt Garden

The Ice House at Sissinghurst

As Kent is not a huge County it is a pleasant journey through the Kent Villages and Towns to also visit another wonderful location, Scotney Castle. With its old and new Castles there is lots to see and the Azalea and Rhododenron displays in early Summer are spectacular.

The old ruined castle at Scotney

Scotney Castle in Winter

As you travel around Kent there are many great views and places to see. many may include Oast Houses which I am very fond of as they are quite common in Kent but much less so in other Counties. Originally used to dry hops for beer making today they are mostly residential and often the main farm building around the County.

Here are just a few views of the Kent countyside

Oasts in the Kent countryside

The view towards Horsmonden

Farms in Kent

Across the North Down near Harrietsham

The winter views can be delightful too as being in the East of the UK we do get occasional  snow spells in Winter.

Oasts in the snow in Kent

Horsmonden Church in Winter

As you travel about there are other great places to visit, Ightham Mote is one of them as is Rochester.

Here are a few watercolours of these places.

 

 

Rochester.A watercolour taking us back to 1938 with a Shorts Flying Boat just having taken off.

Igtham Mote

I hope you have enjoyed this second Part about kent

In Part 3 we will return to the coast and to the areas nearer to my home

Stay well and Safe

Brian

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