After what seems far to long, due to you know what, we have just returned from a lovely holiday in France with much of our time spent back on the fabulous Cote d’Azur.
Driving through France in June in very hot weather was very beautiful with the Flowers, Lavender fields, Countryside and Mountains all sparkling in the Summer Sun.
Overnight in Vienne , about 10 miles south of Lyon, was an opportunity to eat in a local Restaurant ,Le Bar a Vins des Saveurs which was very enjoyable and worth seeking out. It is near the Roman Pyramid , quite spectacular ,a Roman column in a town of many Roman ruins.
From Vienne we set off for The Cote d’Azur and on the way passed many fields of lavender and the hills and farms of the Rhone Valley
Here are two larger watercolours of that route
Our destination was Miramar, just outside Theoule on the Esterel coast and about 12 miles from Cannes.
This is the view from our terrace of the bay at Miramar, tranquil sea, and the red rocks so prominent on this part of the coast. And hot too, every day over 30 C!
We love to travel on this spectacular coast road and this next painting is of the beach at Agay, quite near to San Raphael. Hot again!
It would really not be a visit to the Cote d”Azur for us without wandering around Antibes. This lovely old, yet busy, coastal town is a great place to wander.
The view of Antibes from the nearby bay is a very famous one painted by me and many others over the years. This is a new version.
This little Antibes street caught my eye as we walked around.
We moved for a few days to new accommodation near Mougins, another pretty hill village north of Cannes. From there the view of the mountains is great, here is quick sketch of the scene from the walls of Mougins.
The centre of Mougins with it’s many restaurants, cafes and houses is a delight to wander around. Here is sketch from a welcome seat in the shade
One of our favourite places in the area north of Mougins is the spectacular hill village of Gourdon. Small but always worth a visit. This is a watercolour from a few years ago which gives an impression of the position of this amazing perched village.
Up in the mountains this cottage farm gave me an idea for quick sketch of the typical Provence scene
Whilst at Mougins we played some golf , even though it was very hot!. From the Course the view of the houses and hills nearby, gives, I hope and idea of the local scenery.
Our return journey to the UK was via the lovely lake side town of Aix les Bains and there the beautiful Lac de Bourget. From a boat trip on the lake this watercolour seemed appropriate for the final watercolour for this post.
Of course I have come home with many photos and ideas for more watercolours of France and our great holiday. I will post those when I have managed to do a few more.
We will never tire of the Cote d’Azur, one the world’s most wonderful holiday destinations. If you know it well I hope these will be a reminder of it, if you haven’t been there, then GO!
i have just finished this large watercolour of Fair Head which I am including in this post for you to see.Based on photos and sketches done last week whilst there.
It is painted in mixed media on prepared canvas and is 60 by 30 cms
Currently for sale on Artfinder
I hope it makes a nice Header for this post
We have just returned from a great few days on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.
We were lucky to have very nice weather and enjoyed our stay at the Ballygally Castle Hotel which makes a good base for visits to the spectacular Antrim Coast.
We had not been to the area for 3 years and as we originally came from Northern Ireland many years ago it is always great to return and enjoy the scenery, food and meeting friends and family.
It is also great to be travelling and sketching again!
Armed with only my sketchbook, a Micron 0.2 mm waterproof pent , a few brushes and some paints I managed over the short time to visit and paint a few watercolours which I can now, hopefully turn into some larger watercolours.
My equipment for those interested.
We also visited a couple o places we had not been to before, and enjoyed some new viewing areas that have been constructed along the Coast Road near Carrick-a-Rede and Ballycastle.
So here are the sketches. They were all done very quickly in the notebook ( Volume 11!) which is just 200gsm paper so not quite so easy to lay washes down on.
This first sketch is of Ballygally Bay, with the Hotel on the far right. The headland looks like a human head profile.
The view in the other direction at Ballygally Bay shows the coast further on too and was from our hotel room window.
Every mile of the Coast road as it hugs the sea is spectacular and on the odd occasion it deviates inland the scenes are great too.
Here is the road leading to Waterfoot Bay and Glenariffe, one of the beautiful Antrim Glens.
From just beyond Glenariffe the view back towards Glenariffe Mountain or Lurig as it is often called is quite amazing. Lurig, with a plateau at its peak is so distinctive. This classical U shaped valley is one of the finest anywhere.
Further along the coast is Kinbane castle which today is not accessible but from a previous photo I have painted this sketch to include it. The view from there of Fair Head is spectacular and also from the new viewing point which overlooks at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. All along the coast Scotland can be clearly seen, as it is only 15 miles away at the closest point.
This last sketch of this visit is of Fair Head again but this time from the small road that goes to “Marconi’s Cottage” near to Fair Head and just beyond Ballycastle Golf Course (well worth playing!). The cottage is now a contemporary house but has reputed associations with G Marconi when he was experimenting with radio signals from Northern Ireland to Scotland in the late 19th Century.
Lastly here is a recent larger painting of Whitepark Bay and Rathlin island and one of Fair Head from Ballycastle Beach. Both are 14 inches by 10 in size.
It was so nice to be back of this wonderful part of the UK with arguably one of the finest coastal drives in the world!
PS visit my shop on Artfinder for more Antrim Coast watercolours for sale.
Happy New Year!
Well lets hope it is — for us all.
A return to travelling , meeting eveyone, ditching the mask and returning life to normal. It it too much to ask?
Alas it may be but we can only plan and dream, and we do have some plans to look forward to but I wont tempt fate by talking about them yet.
So today a couple of watercolours to welcome the New Year, painted this week between Christmas and New Year of the English Lake District, one of the few places we did manage to go to in 2021.
I was amazed to find that I have a ready painted 18 sketches and watercolours of the region since travelling there in June 2021. I guess that is because we really enjoyed the area, the people and the food there, and the scenery is stunning!
Although in June it was very busy with all of us Staycationers!
These two new watercolours are of Buttermere and the beautiful waterfalls at Aira Force near the shore of Ullswater at Glenridding.
The climb up to the top of the bridge shown in this watercolour is about 150 metres which was for us quite an achievement!
But the circular walk is really a lovely experience and well worth the climb.
The falls drop about 20 metres and the roar is terrific.
The second watercolour is a larger work of Buttermere Lake, still in the Lake Dirsict but a little futher west of Ullswater.
It is very famous for Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks and the area has always been a popular place for painters and walkers with the mountains coming down to the lake.
This is a more traditional watercolour of Buttermere , this time in more Autumn hues and is 50 by 30 cms and is painted on Arches 300 gsm watercolour paper, my favourite watercolour medium.
It is for sale on Artfinder as are many of my watercolours.
I was prompted by our lack of recent travel to tally up the Countries that we have visited over many years, and I was surprised to find that it came to 57 different Countries. Mind you as there are over 190 Countries worldwide there is still plenty of scope for more to be added, let us hope we can!
Of those 57, I have painted watercolours and sketches of 45 and many are in this Blog’s archives.
In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy wherever you are.
As we have found over the past two years there are many fabulous places in your own area and Country to see and explore.
Very Best Wishes for 2022
or contact me at
email@example.com and i will happily take on commissions for watercolours that are special to you!
It is what I really love to do!
We have just had a couple of days in Cambridge and a lovely afternoon in Ely.
Ely is a delightful City with a truly magnificent Cathedral and right next to it there it a great cafe called Julia’s Tea room, very nice soup and scones for lunch!
The whole city is very nice with walks and old houses, including Oliver Cromwell’s to see.
So just a couple of quick sketches to turn into larger watercolours back in the studio.
It turned out to our surprise that it was Cambridge Half Marathon weekend , and no I wasn’t entered! It was a bit disruptive and due to COVID or just making life easy many Colleges were closed to visitors which was a great shame. However we were able to visit Kings College and King’s College Chapel which is fantastic with such amazing stained glass windows and a rich history. There are so many great sights outside of the Colleges too so we enjoyed outr time there.
Here are two sketches , one of King’s College and Chapel and a view along the River Cam with some inevitable punters gliding along.
We also has a superb dinner in a family run Italian restaurant right by the river edge called Mimosa. Really superb and they made us so welcome. A great find. Good Tapas lunch too in La Raza on Rose Crescent. The best meat balls bravas I have ever had!
Since returning I have painted two larger watercolours and so here they are. They don’t fit very well with the Cambridge and Ely theme but I have really enjoyed painting something a bit bigger and bolder than normal.
Firstly a view of the Norfolk Broads called “Big sky over the Broads” Large, by my standards, at 21 inches by 9 and another of a view across the North Downs in Kent in the summer, bright fields and another big sky. Also large and bold!
I hope you like them
They are both on Artfinder (www.artfinder.com/Brianswatercolours) if you think you would like to hang them in your home!
Now with a third jab received travel seems a bit nearer, let’s hope so!
Do stay safe and well
Faversham in Kent is a very old, and historic town well worth a visit.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book and settled for many centuries Faversham was a favoured town as far back as King Stephen in the early 12th century. He established Faversham Abbey and Faversham has for centuries been an important seaport and market town. Once a centre of the explosives industry and still the home of a major UK brewer , Shepherd Neame
Today Faversham has many charming old houses and a thriving market as well as a Quay where barges and other craft can be seen.
It is favourite place of mine to paint and enjoy the quaintness of the area, including the nearby marshes and the creeks leading out to the Thames Estuary.
It has a fine local Art centre in Creek Creative ( and a very nice cafe too!) and shortly Faversham will be hosting a exhibition called ” Home is a Feeling” at which some of my artworks will be on show along with many items created by local artists and crafts people.
Here is the flyer for it
So today I have included some of my watercolours of Faversham which I hope you will enjoy. If you get a chance do visit Faversham and enjoy the town , it’s Quay and the excellent hostelries and shops to be found there.
I hope you have enjoyed these watercolours of the Faversham area and that you will find the time to visit this very interesting town.
Over the past while and both before and since our recent visit to the Lake District I have been painting fairly large watercolours in my studio of the area.
Some are based on the sketches in my previous post but others are from photos of the area.
One, of Scafell Pike has already been sold, but the others are all available, so do contact me if you think one would go well in your home.
Also recently I sold a painting of The Mourne Mountains with all four seasons on the one wide watercolour.
This has encouraged me to try another, This time of Derwentwater and so this is the first of the Studio Watercolours
This next watercolour is an impressionistic watercolour of Buttermere, a beautiful Lake in the area.
Next the sold watercolour of Scafell Pike, quite impressionistic too.
In Ambleside the House on the Bridge is one of the famous sights of the Lake District.
Here as a studio watercolour.
Near Ambleside is the beautiful Langdale Valley and the Langdale Pikes. Here is a watercolour of the scene at dawn as the sun breaks into the valley.
And now Ullswater as the evening sets in
This next watercolour is again of Derwentwater but now in full summer, just as we saw it.
And lastly Stockley Packhorse Bridge
I will continue to paint more watercolours from my sketches in the Studio of the Lake District but this is the work so far.
I do hope you enjoy them , it is a wonderful area to visit and to paint!
Well,it’s seems amazing but we have just had a nice 6 day holiday in the Lake District of England, and with really nice weather too, whilst our home county of Kent was suffering heavy rain and thunderstorms!
The area around Windermere was very busy and fortunately I had pre booked very nice restaurants some of which I have mentioned below.
The visit gave me an opportunity for some watercolour pen and wash sketches and due to the nice weather I was able to paint them “en plein air” which was very enjoyable.
In the next post I will include so more formal studio watercolour paintings of the Lakes but here are the sketches that I have so far completed.
I hope you enjoy looking at them.
Firstly near to Windermere is Ambleside , although we didn’t realise that Ambleside at the lake is a mile or more from the town.
We went there on a Windermere lake cruise but having to wear a mask all the time on the boat was both unpleasant and in my opinion totally unnecessary as we were all distanced and out in the open air!
In Ambleside I managed to sketch the famous House on the Bridge, which is quite extraordinary and dates back to collecting tolls , I believe mainly to do with the sheep trade.
The next day we went to Derwentwater where parking at the Lakeside is a very tricky thing to do, but on the way we spent some time at Ashness Bridge, a very old Packhorse bridge near to Derwentwater.
I was able to two quick sketches of this very picturesque scene one from the South side and one from the North.
The road there is very narrow but there is a National Trust car park thank goodness!
Not far away from Asness bridge is Derwnetwater and there is a lovely walk along the South shore of the lake, with views across the lake to Skiddaw mountain.
I managed to capture this view in this sketch and of course there are many more photos for future paintings.
Our next day was spent at Ullswater after a beautiful mountainous drive from Windermere across the fells.
Ullswater was much quieter and thus more enjoyable for a quiet time sitting and painting by the lake and watching the steamer gliding over the Lake. While at Ullswater we also visited The Airs Force waterfall and felt quite elated that we climbed the 220 feet to get to this marvellous waterfall.I will be doing a sketch of it shortly, as I didn’t carry anything up to the viewing point.
On our final day we spent a few hours on the west shore of Coniston Water and i managed to paint this sketch with the very old Coniston Steamer on the lake.
I have arrived back with lots of ideas for future paintings which will appear on this blog in a while.
In th mean time should you venture to the Lake District I would strongly recommend these restaurants, but do book well ahead!
In Windermere – Francine’s (brilliant) and San Pietro.
In Bowness – Villa Positano (great food and atmosphere)
Beyond Ambleside The Drunken Duck (very good food but more expensive)
I hope you will one day enjoy them.
Happy travelling once again!
With no travel outside of the UK really possible for us yet I have been painting a few watercolours of places that I love or would like be going too.
Firstly a watercolour pen and wash sketch of Polpero in Cornwall, somewhere we have been to, but, I am indebted to “The Hungry Travellers Blog” (https://www.thehungrytravellers.blog) for their permission to use the photograph from which this watercolour is based. I like the verticality of the buildings that they captured in the photo.
Next two recent commissions of Tuscany and Umbria. I have painted these scenes before but I do love to paint scenes like these again and again! Of course they are always a bit different.
The Lake District of England is very spectacular and so here is recent watercolour of Derwentwater there.
Again and again I love to try to capture Venetian scenes and this one, quite near to the Rialto Bridge is a view that I love with the Church tower adding height to the waterfront view.
Lastly two more views of Engalnd
This first one is a view across the Suffolk Fens and the second of a farm and Oast Houses in Kent. I hope you like them.
Maybe soon some real travel will let me post some “plein air” watercolours.
In the mean time stay safe and well and enjoy the summer if it is that time of year for you.
Best regards to all
PS Don’t forget if you see a watercolour here you would like to buy or commission a similar version just email me at –
One kind reader remarked that a recent one of my posted watercolours seemed a bit of a departure from my normal style, and that was so although now and again I do like to paint tall watercolours rather than the more common Landscape format I usually use.
This format seems to me to lead me to a to a “wet into wet”, reflection style and so here I have gathered some together for you to have look at.
Some recent and some not so recent but all a bit different.
The first one , painted very recently is of the beautiful Scotney Castle , here in Kent in the UK. At the bottom of a valley, often covered in late spring with a lot of Rhododendrons and Azealeas blooms lies the old Castle and Folly.
It is a subject I do like to paint and we do visit there quite often
Here are three watercolours with a common theme.
The Pond,1,2 and 3 All about 50 by 20 cms.
This watercolour was inspired by a painting session with a local friend who had photographed this spot whilst in Scotland.
Some years ago we voted Portofino in Italy and this was painted from sjhetches and phots of that visit. The colourful buildings and the tranquil bay just seemed to fit this aspect ratio.
This last watercolour is purely from the imagination and an exercise in a bright focal point in a watercolour.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing these watercolours in a somewhat different aspect ration to my normal landscape mode.
Stay safe and well
Last week I posted about the beautiful Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
It started me thinking that a series of the same panorama for each season might be fun to paint and then I wondered, how about just doing one watercolour with all four seasons in the one painting!
Crazy or Exciting?
Well I decided to have a go today and here is the result, hot as they say , off the press!
It starts from left to right with summer first so that I could include some yachts sailing below a cobalt blue sky. Then comes Autumn with a softer ultramarine and cerulean blue cloudy sky before winter with dark skies and rain and snow landing on the Mourne’s highest peak, Slieve Donard and below it a colder sea foaming up on to the beautiful sandy beach. Lastly we are back to spring with big clouds in a cobalt sky.
I know it’s a bit weird but it was a lot of fine to try to paint and maybe you will like it.
I would love to get your comments.
I have popped it on to Artfinder in case someone really likes it!
I am now thinking of other scenes that might work with this idea so who knows you may see some more.
With our second jab due quite soon and half of the UK now vaccinated seeing friends and family and even some travel is becoming a reality, thank goodness.
It is a fantastic UK vaccine achievement which we all are very proud of and congratulate those who have made it happen – well done!
Stay well and safe