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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

Kent – The Garden of England Part 1

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.

Canterbury Cathedral from Mercery Lane. Watercolour sketch

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.

Reculer on the North Kent Coast Water 12 by 10 anches

As you travel further East you come to the seaside town of Margate with sandy beaches.  Here is a watercolour of  a sunset at Margate . Margate was a favourite place to paint for W M Turner. My sunset isn’t quite up to his standard though!. In Margate today there is the excellent Turner Gallery, which is well worth a visit.

 

Sunset at Margate. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

 

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.

Broadstairs – Viking Bay. Watercolour 16 inches by 12

 

 

 

Kites flying at Botany Bay, near Broadstairs. Watercolour 14 anches by 10

 

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.

 

 

North Foreland Lighthouse.Watercolour 14 by 10 anches

Dover Castle from the Harbour. Watercolour

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.

Fishing boats at Hythe in Kent. One of my first ever watercolours ,over 20 years ago!

Fishing boats on the Stad at Hastings

More fishing boats at Hastings

In Part 2 of this Blog Post we will visit other inland and coastal parts of Kent.
In the meantime I hope you have enjoyed this wander around our fine County of England.

Regards
Brian

More views of Venice – Update 2

Evening glow at Santa Maria Della Salute from the Academia bridge in Venice. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.


Hi

I have been asked a few times since my last Venice post where we stayed and from where I took the photos that formed the basis for the paintings.

In fact we stayed at the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel right on the Riva Schiavoni which is just a short walk from St Mark’s Square and the centre of Venice.

We really enjoyed staying there and it is a nice hotel with a lovely roof top terrace.

Many photos were taken from there, some with zoom lenses and they are the basis for a lot of my Venice watercolours.

Of  course when visiting Venice there are great scenes on every corner and there is unlimited subjects for artists. I certainly  hope to be back there painting in the future.

We arrived at the Locanda Vivaldi by water taxi from the airport. Although more expensive that the ferry boats this is such an exciting way to get to the heart of Venice from the airport. We had booked in advance.

This week, looking back again though my photos I found one taken as we arrived and so this is a new painting depicting that moment. A small traghetto  was passing by as we approached too the hotel under the bridge.
So here it this watercolour and a couple of others painted some time ago ,but again from the Riva Schiavoni or nearby

i hope you will enjoy seeing them

stay safe and well

Brian


Arriving by water taxi at the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel in Venice. Watercolour 16 inches by 12.

Arriving at San Marco by Vaporetto Watercolour 15 inches by 11.

 

Gondolas and San Georgio from the Riva Schiavoni

Views of Venice

                                                                            Views of Venice

“Threatening clouds over Venice”        The view from the rooftop terrace of the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel in Venice. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Hi Everybody

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

Brian

A closer view of Chiesa Santa Maria della Salute. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

The Church of San Giorgio Maddiore across the lagoon from the Riva Schiavoni. Watercolour 16 by 12inches.

Evening in Venice. Watercolour 16 by 12 inches

Coffee and Lunch in Lucca in Tuscany

“Coffee in the Piazza”. The Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca Watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches 300gsm Paper.

Hi Everybody

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

Brian

 

“Time for Lunch”. Watercolour of a street in Lucca 10 by 14 inches on Arches paper

The Guinigi Tour in Lucca. Yes, they are Holm Oaks growing on the top of the Tower!. The Tower was built in the 14th Century and is 45 metres high. Watercolour 9 by 13 inches

Out and about – A visit to the Marshes at Oare in Kent

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!

The Boatyard from Oare Marshes. Sketchbook pen and wash. 10 inches by 9

Low tide at the Boatyard and the scene from Oare Marshes. Sketchbook watercolour, pen and wash. 10 Ickes by 9.

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.

Barges and boats in Oare Creek. Watercolour 15 inches by 10 on Arches NOT 300gsm paper.

The Boatyard at Oare Creek. Watercolour 15 inches by 10 on Arches NOT 300gsm paper.

And this view you have seen before. A rather impressionistic view from Oare of the creek with some barges moored.

Barges at Oare. Watercolour 15 inches by 10 on Arches NOT 300gsm paper.

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

Brian

 

 

 

 

Back in Kent ,Lockdown easing and able to travel around!

Hi Everybody

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.

Early evening in Faversham

Boats near Oare in Kent

Barges at Standard Quay in Faversham

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.

Boats and Barges at the Butt and Oyster in Pinmill.

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.

Cloudy spring day at Scotney Castle

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!

Brian

 

Buildings in West Malling High Street. Sketch book pen and wash.

 

Buildings and The Parish Church in West Malling. Sketch book pen and wash.

Week 9 of Lockdown – preparing for coming home!

Mauritius – Paradise Isalnd

HI Everybody

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!

By the beach

There are fishermen everywhere and lots of great little boats to paint all over the island.

  • Fishing boats

     

The Mountains from the Beach

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!

Yippee!

Stay safe and well and who know maybe in a while we will be really travelling again

Brian

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My Virtual Travel Journal – Part 3 – Weeks 8 and we are still in Lockdown!


Hi Everybody

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.

Table Mountain and Capetown, painted in 2003!

And here are two paintings of Boulders bay near Capetown and the delightful penguins.

 

Just having a chat!

Boulders bay and the 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.

Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles Mountains at Dusk

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!

Sailing at Knysna

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!

A quick sketch of the scenery around Franschhoek

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.

Legends safari park and Golf Resort

The Tribute course at Legends This is their version of the 17th Hole at Sawgrass. Of course I had birdie!

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!

Stay safe

Keep well 

Get ready for more virtual travel soon!

Brian

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