Just a few miles off the south coast of England and a 40 minute car ferry ride away from Portsmouth lies The Isle of Wight.
We have just returned from a few days there and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this very picturesque island. It was made even better by some pretty good summer weather, which has been in short supply this summer.
The highlights were our visit to Osborne House, a former holiday home of Quuen Victoria and our trips round the coast and also to Mottistone Manor and it’s beautiful gardens.
Time too for a few watercolours for this Post which I hope you will enjoy.
We had never spent any time on the Isle of Wight so this was a very nice opportunity to see at least some of the island.
We stayed at Ventnor on the south coast and really enjoyed a restaurant there called “Le Tour du Monde”. So good we went there twice! I would recommend it if you are visiting Ventnor.
The journey West from Ventnor goes past some lovely island scenery and great views of the coast. The bay at Freshwater is lovely (painting underway) and the town of Yarmouth was very nice too with a good lunch place by the pier called The Gossip Cafe.
From there is was only a few miles to Mottistone Manor and it’s Gardens. This National Trust place was really lovely and this painting tries to capture is beautiful summer garden and the 16th Century House.
Another trip was to Osborne House, a favourite holiday home for Queen Victoria and Price Albert in the 1840’s and 50’s. There they enjoyed being by the Sea in this Italian revival designed mansion with only 100 staff!
The gardens a very beautiful and the walled garden is a must see there with it’s soft fruit and flowers.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert entertained and enjoyed time away from London until Price Albert’s death in 1861. Many rooms can be visited and the park around the house contains a “Swiss Cottage” which was a playing and learning place for their children. There is a bus can take you down to the beach there where family used to bathe in the sea, and where you can see Queen Victoria’s batheing machine where they could change and be rolled down into the sea!
This view of Osborne House is from the path to the Swiss Cottage.
We also visited Cowes East and West, connected by a Chain car ferry and also went to look at Carisbrooke Castle. A Castle has stood there for over 1000 years but it is most famous as the place where Charles 1st was held before the second Civil war of 1648 and his subsequent loss and then his execution in 1649.
My watercolour shows the very imposing entrance to the Castle.
Our last trip took us to Bembridge, a boat haven on the East coast and to Seaview where their Regatta was underway.
Here is small watercolour of some boats at Bembridge.
So a very enjoyable few days on the Isle of Wight, if you have been I hope you will enjoy these watercolours and if you plan to go maybe they can give you some ideas.
We have just been over to Northern Ireland for two Celebrations.
The first a couple of days at the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh to celebrate a couple of notable Birthdays and then to Carrickfergus for a great family Wedding
Both events were really good and the weather was very kind to us too, with sun and warmth as we travelled about.
Just time for a few watercolours and a couple painted before we went as gifts for the Bride and Groom.
Lough Erne is a huge Lough with countless islands and lovely views. We were able to take a boat trip on the Lough and visit Devenish Island with is now ruined and very old Church and Monastery.
At the southerly end of Lower Lough Erne lies the very old and historic town of Enniskillen.
The “Watergate” there is a focal point of the town and this watercolour was painted from photos taken from our boat trip on the Lough.
Around the shores of Lough Erne there are many sights to see and this cottage scene is typical of the scenery.
The Wedding was held in the lovely statley home called Magheramorne House, quite close to Larne and not far from Carrickfergus.
This sketch of Magheramorne House will remind the Bride and Groom of there Wedding day there as they start their new life together in Carrickfergus.
Everybody wishes them All the Best for the Future.
So a very enjoyable week on this beautiful part of the UK, and many more photos to paint in the future
Readers of this post will have seen images of my watercolours of the North Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland before.
Shane Lowry the brilliant Irish Golfer has just won The Open Golf on the Dunluce Links of Royal Portrush Golf Course on that beautiful coast.
Congatulations to Shane and all his team!
The Open was last held there in 1951 and for it to be there once again is a great achievement of many people over many years.
I could not help wanting to post some watercolours of the coast of Antrim and to start with a new painting of the 5th Green on the Dunluce links which is right next to the shore. This hole is next to White Rocks bay and is often called that. It is challenging like the whole course and this weekend I am sure we will all see much excitement on the course from all the world class golfers assembled there.
But Portrush is only a part of the wonderful coast line that starts in Carrickfergus and stretches all the way to Donegal. Here are selection from the many watercolours that I have painted over the past years. The whole coast is such a delight to visit due to it’s proximity to the sea, the wonder of the Antrim Glens and amazing places like the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and its many excellent golf courses.
And when you have seen all the sights you can happily retreat to the Bushmills Inn for great food and drink and good company.
Enjoy watching The Open, I will!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now we are back in the cold of the UK, but with great memories of yet another wonderful trip to Mauritius.
Some years ago some good friends visited Lake Bled in Slovenia. I have never been there but I really do hope to get there in the next year or two.
They sent me a nice photo taken from the south side of the lake showing the fabulous scenery of the area.
The Island of Bled is in the Lake and it has a Pilgrimage Church, The Assumption of Mary with a 171 foot tower, on it together with a baroque stairway of 99 steps leading up to the Church.
I decided that it would be good to try to paint a watercolour of the scene, so after some research and looking at the area on Google Earth and other sites I started the watercolour.
Then during the process some other friends saw the artwork and said how much they too had enjoyed visiting Lake Bled and could I paint another watercolour of the scene. Yes of course! It is such an enjoyable view that a second painting seemed a very good idea. They are never the same of course , which is just as well, as I never reproduce my watercolours as prints.
These are the two paintings.
A year of two passed and then I had enquiry from the USA for the painting which of course were not available, but again I offered to paint the scene once more.
This I did and the recipient was pleased with the result.
Amazingly not more than a few months later the same thing happened again but this time from a different State in the USA. And so a fourth watercolour of the scene was the result (this one was requested to have darker tones to the lake) and another happy recipient too!
So you see I do think it is about time I actually went there, and painted the scene “en plein air” just for myself.
Just need to get on with the planning!
Happy travelling and painting, and a Happy New Year too!
PS, If you too would like a watercolour of Lake Bled, then just email me at email@example.com
It was a fairly quick trip this time but the weather was fantastic
Mid 30s so in between sorting out a few things we were able to relax and enjoy the sun,the wine and some great meals out with friends and ourselves
I can’t recommend The Camandoule and Table D’Yves highly enough if you are in the Fayence area, they are both great restaurants and always worth the visit.
As always when we are away there was some time for quick sketches in my sketch book, now at volume 3!
Here they are and I do hope you like them
This really quick painting of watercolours appeals to me a lot as I can travel light and paint quickly even in the hot sun.
Plenty of time in the studio for larger artworks for the web sites too, when we are back home.
When we are in StTropez I am alway transported to the town as it was in the early part of the 20th Century. Here I have tried to recreate that scene,so different from today, but it must have been an amazing sight to early 20th Century painters when they went there for the first time.
Lastly a scene in;the heart of St Paul de Vence, the little but very famous hill village on the Cote d’Azur. Full of art studios and galleries there is a lovely view at every corner,and this is just one of them.
So a busy week but a few watercolours too.
Do go to the Cote d’Azur, it is one of the really special places in the world and always rewarding to visit.
if you have enjoyed seeing these sketches do go to my site on Artfinder
The sun is shining ,the warmth of the Spring has suddenly brought on the Bluebells in the woods in Kent.
Some years the cow parsley masks the Bluebells but not this year, this is a great year for them.
Recently we visited a friend’s beautiful garden near Hawkhurst in Kent and by the pond in their garden was a lovely wood full of bluebells
i couldn’t resist having a go a painting them and here is the result. Bluebells have unique colours ranging from Blue to Violet which is quite a challenge, but no matter the accuracy the memory will remain of that beautiful scene.
As many of you know we also live to play golf and we are lucky that our golf course has woods with bluebells too.
So here is another painting from a year or two back with a scene on the course with bluebells in the woods.
If you do have a chance to get out into the countryside to see the bluebells then do try to go at this time, if not I hope you will enjoy my attempts to capture their beauty.
NB Some other watercolours can be seen on my shop sites at
This month just one painting, although a bit larger than normal in size.
This watercolour was painted from photos taken when I was last in Portofino a couple of years ago but the light on the water then lingers often in my mind which inspired this recent watercolour.
The painting is 19 inches by 7.5 to give plenty of room for the reflections of the buildings and boats in the bay.
I hope you like it and if you haven’t been to this area of Italy then get planning!
PS. Although this painting has been sold there are many more in my shop at
maybe there you will see just the item for your home or as a gift.