Category Archives: France
This summer in the UK is proving to be hot and sunny which is great, but before this latest heat wave we were lucky enough to spend 10 days once again in the South of France on the Cote d’Azur.
There the weather too was hot and sunny and the food and wine up to all the usual great standards.
It gave me a chance for quite a lot of watercolour paintings of the area, almost one per day, some from my photos and some from memory too.
I was just trying to capture the light and the summer warmth in that wonderful part of France.
I hope you will enjoy them and of course if you can spend time there do try too one day, you won’t be disappointed.
In the hills not to far away from us is the unspoilt town of Seillans. These two sketches are of the little streets in this very hilly town.
Seillans in Provence . Watercolour 9 by 7
In the summer the Coast is beautiful and the view from the Esterel Coast road across the Iles de Lerin always fascinates me. Here is that view. This road is one of the finest scenic coastal drives in the world!
Occasionally you come across a bay with some fishing boats, an all too rare sight these days so here are a couple of interpretations of those scenes.
Sunsets can be amazing, here is quick watercolour of one.
When you drive around Provence the umbrella pine trees seem to pop up everywhere. This is a painting from memory of some not too far from the Coast.
Happy New Year everybody.
This year we spent New Year and the week around it at Mandelieu on the Cote d’Azur.
Although cold at night the days were warm in the sun and the delight at being to eat lunch outside, or even at restaurants on the beach in January is great.
I had set a goal of painting a watercolour every day but didn’t quite manage that but here are the five that I did complete in the week.
We didn’t visit all these places and some scenes are from photos, the web and our previous travels but some are the scenes just as they were last week.
Firstly two paintings of lavender fields in Provence.
One of the most striking things about the area around Mandelieu and Tanneron are the hillsides that are covered in early spring by Mimosa trees in bloom. The fantastic bright yellow flowers are such a great sight so early in the year. Last week around Tanneron especially there were many trees in bloom.
This painting with lots of artistic licence tries to depict a village in the hills with the Mimosa trees in flower.
The road from Cannes to St Raphael is one of the great coastal routes of the World. Do drive along it if you get the chance. With such nice lunchtime weather eating our lunch outside at Agay and Theoule was great fun. At Theoule we sat right by the waters edge at the Marco Polo Restaurant enjoying fresh Turbot in the sunshine.
This was the view of the Ice de St Honorat, (albeit a little bit enlarged!)
Quite nearby is the town of Vence, often famous for its sister town St Paul de Vence. However over the past few years much work has been done to the centre of the Old Town of Vence and it is now a lovely place for a stroll. There is a fine , but small Cathedral and quite a few restaurants and cafes to enjoy too.
This painting is of the a square in the Old Town which I hope you will enjoy.
It was a great week in the area and so nice to enjoy some winter sunshine, excellent restaurant food, great wines and good company.
All the best for 2017
PS. Some of these watercolours will be soon be for sale on http://www.Artfinder.com. (search for brianswatercolours)
During the past few weeks we have been back to the South of France, enjoying there some fabulous September weather and on returning to the UK finding that fine weather here too.
It has given me some time for a variety of subjects, some familiar, some new and some of scenes that I like to paint and hope one day to get it a bit more as I would like it to be.
So I thought I would share these with you , at least you know I have not been idle, even if the finished results aren’t quite as I had hoped!
In France, I found that I had what I thought was a nice pad of watercolour paper, but after finishing this painting I realised that it was not up to the quality I normally use, and so the paper effect isn’t too nice although the subject worked quite well in this format. The painting ,of the Iles de learn off the coast of Cannes, is about 20 inches by 8 so a bit larger than normal.
Whilst in France we were lucky enough to be in Cannes and St Tropez when some of the largest yachts were in harbour for their regattas.
I love the shape and lines of the huge “J” Class yachts and so this next painting of them preparing for races in St Tropez is the result. Not often are the St Tropez quay side buildings visible from across the harbour as large motor cruisers usually block the view, but not this time! Whilst in St Tropez we had lunch at Port de Peche and so here is that little harbour at the back of St Tropez, one of my favourite places in the South of France, and one that I have tried to paint on quite a few occasions!
Back in the UK I spent a day painting “en plain air” at the Seven Sisters cliffs in East Sussex.
More recently I have painted this smaller watercolour of Mermaid Street in Rye , also in East Sussex.
The Mermaid Inn, an old Smugglers Tavern, is on the right and whose sign you can see. It has the wonderful inscription outside which reads “Rebuilt in 1407”. Now there is history for you!
I hope you will enjoy these September variations.
We have just returned from lovely week with friends in the south of France on the Cote d’Azur.
It is remarkable how advanced all the trees and plants are there at this time of year. The trees are covered in leaves and many roses are in full bloom already. Spring warmth is really noticeable and we had fine weather although some days had a little wind as well as sun.
Two highlights were a trips to Antibes, St Tropez by the St Maxime ferry and a few hours at the Honey Festival in Mouans-Sartoux, a small town about 10 miles from Cannes. There, many honey producers had stalls and were selling their honey, prominently Lavender honey of course as it is Provence after all!
There were also lots of other things to see including the Chateaux, and some fine jazz was being played in the square whilst we sat and enjoyed some coffee.
Only a few paintings on this trip but hopefully you will like them. First of all painting of a yacht sailing past as we approached St Tropez on the ferry. Just little bit of artistic license to get the positioning right of course!
We always seem to visit Antibes to stroll around the walls and visit the markets held there. So once agin a painting of the spring scene from the coast showing Antibes and the mountains behind still with snow on their peaks. I couldn’t resist adding the painter in the foreground just for fun!
And lastly a painting of the poppies in the fields in a village in the Provence countryside. Don’t search for the village though as it may not really exist! It was the poppies at a roadside that inspired this painting. Out much earlier that in England they looked so elegant in the sun.
I hope you enjoy this short post.
If you are new to my blog please also visit my Guide Book Page above for this region of France, or look for Brian Tucker on the iBook store. They are free!
We have just spent a few days in the South of France sorting out one or two things at our apartment. With some rainy as well as sunny weather there was just time for couple of watercolours, one from a photo in a newspaper which caught my eye as a basis for a painting and one from an earlier photo of the beach at Juan les Pins. I wish our few days had all been as sunny as the Juan les Pins painting but after all it is February!
I hope you like them both and maybe I will be able to post again soon.
Heres looking forward to Spring
We have just spent a lovely few weeks in France, both in Provence and the Lot et Garonne, and a lot of places in between!
Very hot weather and lovely times with friends and family , at the pool, on the beaches, in the mountains, and visiting some beautiful places as we travelled around.
Now back I can get down to creating a blog of the paintings I managed to fit in during our travels, and I hope you will enjoy looking at them. In such hot weather watercolour paintings becomes a bit tricky and speed is really necessary if the paint is not to dry out too quickly. Of course many photos have yet to make it to watercolours but over the next few months I should be able to produce some more!
The Lot and Garonne is a quiet part of France in the South West, not far from Bordeaux in the Aquitaine region. It has many lovely small towns and villages and wonderful rolling countryside covered in farms and homes. It is popular as a holiday home , or permanent home for many UK people who enjoy the relaxed life style of the region.
In the past we have visited this area quite few times and this time we once again stayed with some good friends who live there all the time.
I have included a painting in this blog from previous visits to give you flavour of the towns and villages.
Of course our first stop was at our usual haunt on the Cote d’Azur where the temperatures were really high. I managed a few paintings whilst there and these are some of them.
And so to the Lot et Garonne
Quite near where we were staying is the market town of Villeneuve sur Lot.
It has a good position at the river and this watercolour shows the view back towards the town.
Only a few kilometres from Villeneuve is the small village of Pujols en Haut. This is one of the prettiest villages in the region and maybe in all of France. A good place to browse,have coffee and admire the lovely Village. Pujols was sacked many centuries ago which apparently led to the creation of Villeneuve.
One of the features of the towns in Lot et Garonne is that many are Bastide Towns. They often have a surrounding wall and are laid out in a regular pattern. One such town, and one well worth visiting, is Monpazier, this painting was done on a previous visit but it gives a flavour of the Town Square in the centre of Monpazier.
After visiting Lot et Garonne we returned to Fayence in Provence for another great weekend with friends.
Fayence is a hill town and boasts many fine restaurants nearby. We really love “Temps de Cerise” and “La Table d’Yves” where the food served and the service are just great.
Enjoy your travels
Painting in the South of France is such a delight!
We had been in Normandy recently but last week we were back in Provence staying on the Cote d’Azur.
The weather was spectacular, hot as the middle of summer, the skies blue, and the sea a shimmering Azur.
So time for some painting!
I wanted to finish a sketch of Honfleur I had started in Normandy but with a Regatta theme.
Painting watercolours in the lovely heat of Provence means working very quickly as the watercolours dry so quickly!
If you are on the Cote d’Azur then lunch on the Quai at Villefranche is a great way to start a holiday.
Sitting in the sun at one of the restaurants by the quay is such a lovely experience. We really like “TRASTEVERE”, where the staff are great and the food excellent.
This painting, from a photo taken that day serves as reminder of that lunch! By the Quai is the little Church decorated inside by Jean Cocteau, do spend some time there as it is a quite remarkable.
In quiet moments I can sit and paint from reference photos and memories of other visits. This time was no exception and these three paintings come under that category.
The little farm houses and the hills and fields of Provence are a constant inspiration in the bright and clear light of the landscape.
Here are two paintings of the Lavender and Vines of Haut Provence and one of the Iles d’Or, a tiny island with castle tower between Agay and St Raphael on the Esterel peninsula.
This week we had some friends staying with us and so we all took the ferry from St Maxime to St Tropez. The bustle of the main port and the huge yachts and boats is so contrasted by the calm as you walk round the corner to Porte de Peche and the view from the Tour Portalet, which is just at the Harbour.
There are some good places to eat at “Le Ponche”, just 100 yards from the main harbour and the little port is delightful. Try the omelettes at “Le PeS Quiere”, really good!
I love to paint this scene, so as well as the view from Tour Portalet I have included a previous painting of The Porte de Peche too. I hope you enjoy them and visit this quieter part of St. Tropez.
Our travel recently has been a bit hectic and May has seen us spend two lovely weekends in two very different places.
First of all we spent a few days in Northern Ireland catching up with family and friends.
Some time too for touring around and just a few hours to create two watercolours.
Firstly we visited a very nice Farm shop and cafe in Hollywood called McKees, and from there we had a lovely view of Scrabo Tower and the Mourne mountains.
I could not resist trying to reproduce the scene in this watercolour.
Another day saw us travelling to Newcastle, right next door to the Mourne Mountains. Just north of Newcastle is Murlough Bay and in this nature reserve there are lovely walks that take you down to the sea. This watercolour is that view, the beach and the Mourne mountains sweeping down to the sea.
With many more photos taken over the weekend I now have lots of ideas for more paintings, and an update to my Ulster guide book.
Just one week later we were off to the coast of Normandy in France with some friends. Our main aim was to view the Landing Beaches, Museums and Cemetries associated with the Normandy landings of June 1944. The invasion of France in 1944 heralded the final winning phase of the war in Europe which ended 70 years ago. The sacrifice and endeavour of the brave soldiers, sailors and airman can be felt as you walk and visit the sights in this area.
We managed to see a lot in a few days and enjoyed Normandy, it’s people, food, cider and scenery.
So just two watercolours so far but more to follow as we managed a visit to Honfleur as we travelled back to Calais and the Channel Tunnel.
From the beach at Arromanches you can still see the mannificent artifical harbour created in June 1944 and some of these colosal structures are shown in the painting.
Inland just a few miles away is Bayeux, famous for the Tapestry but a really lovely town with a wonderful Cathedral.
This mill wheel and the river are in the heart of Bayeux with a view across to the Cathedral.
If you ever can, do visit Normandy and the landing beaches. They are amazing memories of a crucial time in the ending of World War 2.
Readers of this blog will know how much we like to spend time in Mandelieu, near Cannes on the Cote d’Azur
The past couple of weeks there have, as always, been great and warm enough to sit outside on our terrace and eat our breakfasts and lunches. How nice to do this in April!
Visits there always give me some time for painting watercolours, either on the spot,or from new photos from our daily jaunts or from reference photos from the past few years.
This holiday was no exception and so here are the paintings that I managed to do on this trip.
Nearby to us is the hill top town of Cagnes and close by is the former home of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Renoir lived and worked there in the 19th and 20th centuries until his death in 1919. It is lovely place to visit and there is real sense of his love of the house and it’s gardens and views. There are number of his paintings and sculptures on display and many photos too.
This painting is the view from the bedroom of Alice Renoir, his wife, looking across to Cagnes.
This watercolour is 14″ by 10″ on Arches rough paper. All these paintings are this size as I use an Arches glued edge pad when travelling mostly.
As we travel into the hills and mountains of Provence there are many rural scenes that I love to paint. Usually they are a mixture of reality and composites of several photos and these two watercolours fall into that category.
Really nearby us is the seaside town of Mandelieu – La Napoule. It has large marina with many yachts and boats moored there of all sizes. From the marina there is a good view of The Castle, which today is an art gallery and a nice place to visit.
From nearby Theoule there are fine views across to Cannes and the Iles de Lerin. The second of these, St Honorat is seen in this painting , painted from a zoomed photo of the island, taken from Theoule.
Further East of Cannes is Antibes. I love to paint at Antibes and this particular painting is of the large Fortress which guards the harbour, Fort Carré, with some of the many moored yachts in the harbour.
Its seems that we often take the ferry from St Maxime to St Tropez for lunch, and a wander round the old part of the town. I love to paint the small unspoilt harbour at le Ponche, Port de Pêche, and our recent trip was no exception to this. So here is another view of Port de Pêche, just a few minutes walk from the bustling and glitzy harbour on the main front at St Tropez.
I hope you enjoy these paintings from the land of warm sun and beautiful scenery, it is such a nice place to be!
Happy travelling and Painting!