Category Archives: Villages in 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)
Summer on the Cote d’Azur, wonderful, hot, busy and just delightful!
The whole area of Provence is such a beautiful part of the world, with great food, excellent Rose wine and just terrific weather. The sea, the sand, the mountains just make me want to paint and this summer I have managed quite few. Not all totally successful but here they are , and I hope you will enjoy having a look at them.
Firstly St Paul de Vence, always busy with tourists but it is interesting to walk through the narrow streets and go into the art galleries.
The second painting is a scene of cafe life in a Provence town as the restaurants come to life in the early evening.
Off the coast of Cannes is the Ile de Lerins, this painting, from a zoomed photo, shows the Abbey on the island where there is a lot of boating activity. It is about a 15 minute boat journey to the island.
I do like to paint yachts at sea and although the sea in watercolour is still a challenge for me here is a watercolour painted whilst in Provence.
The mountains of Haut Provence are always an inspiration, here are two paintings from our holiday, although the scenes are not entirely factual!
For the first time in many years we went to Port Grimaud. This old style but 1960’s marina centred town is an interesting place with lots of Provencal inspired houses around the marina. Could resist a quick painting with our grandkids and family in the little green boat!
Sometimes change of style is worth an experiment, so this last watercolour is a little different from the usual.
I hope that you have enjoyed this and the other paintings in this post. It was so great to be back on the Cote d’Azur!
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.
We were very fortunate this year to spend New Year in Mandelieu, on the Cote d’Azur. As you all know we really enjoy this lovely part of France.
The weather was really lovely, sunny enough to eat lunch on the terrace and play golf and paint in the sun.
Especially nice too, as our Grandaughter, aged 2, and her parents were with us which inspired one of the paintings. A quick dig on a lovely sandy beach is something for any time on the year!
We didn’t actually visit Haut Provence this time but I managed to paint a couple of watercolours from older reference photos.
I hope you enjoy these new paintings and that if you know this part of the world it will remind you of it’s beauty ,or if you haven’t yet visited this lovely coast and mountain region get it on your list!
Happy painting, and travelling to you all and may 2015 be a good year!
“Have look at my other site too.”
I think by now everyone must know how much we like the South of France, especially the Cote d’Azur.
At the end of November we were able to spend some time there and for the most part the weather was really lovely, warm enough to eat breakfast and lunch outside on the terrace and at the harbour at Villefranche.
Now back in England the weather is cold and wet and so a little reminder seems in order.
I wasn’t too happy with my quick watercolours but as the sun was out I thought I would share them with you.
If it is sunny where you are then that is very nice but if it is wet, cold or snowy then imagine the warm sun and look forward to next summer.
There are some places that we never tire of visiting. For us Saint Paul de Vence is one of them.
Alas it is so popular that it is often teeming with visitors, but at the right time of day the lovely little streets and the town can be enjoyed to it’s full.
The views of the town as you approach it are lovely too and and each time I visit there seems a new aspect to paint a watercolour of.
This visit was no exception so I thought I would look back through previous paintings and gather them together in the blog post dedicated to the town.
Recently a new creperie has opened near to the Church in the town and I can really recommend it. The best crepes that I have ever eaten, prepared in the Normandy way. If you are there, try one, they are delicious!
St Paul is also full of art galleries and shops with items to tempt the tourist as you would expect but somehow they add something to the town and a extra dimension to the lovely architecture and the narrow streets.
Nearby too is the bigger town of Vence , which has a very nice old town to discover too.
There are so many lovely places in this beautiful, and our favourite, part of France.
I hope you will enjoy these paintings of the town and if you haven’t visited St Paul then do so one day. Crowds or not you will enjoy it.
How nice it is to see the sun on daily basis. That was how our week this May was back at our favourite haunt of the Cote d’Azur!
Not very hot but lovely and dry with the sun breaking through nearly all day.
The combination of scenery, the beautiful Esterel Coast, and the mountains of Provence make this a wonderful part of the world.
We even ventured into Cannes where the mayhem of the preparations for the Cannes Film Festival were well underway, but nobody asked for our autogragh!
We weren’t sorry to be leaving before the Festival started but just a short way from Cannes calm reigns and the roads are peacefulful and beautiful in all directions.
Even time for some quick sketches for future, hopefully larger, paintings.
These watercolours are all just 8 by 5 inches in size and quickly painted after taking some photos, or recalling previous Provence scenery.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have in painting them.
If you have read the guide books on another page of this blog you will know that we are very familiar with this enchanting part of France. The local wines, predominantly Rose but also some light and fruity Reds are a great complement to some really good restaurants, some of which we visited again on this trip. If you are ever in Fayence do go to Table d’Yves , one of the finest restaurants we have found in this part of the region.
Happy travelling and if the sun is out where you are enjoy that too!
Happy New Year to you all!
To start this year I have decided to try out a new idea based on my paintings.
It began when I created to blog dedicated to my mother in law, Sadie back in 2013. That blog was about the Antrim Coast Road in Northern Ireland and it struck me that I might be able to produce a few Travel Guides of various places we know quite well, illustrated with my watercolours. I always photograph my work so they all reside in my Mac.
Apple have produced a great App for Macs that is called iAuthor which allows you to produce books for publishing on the iBook store (for Apple users on iPads and computers etc) or as a pdf that is viewable by all.
The first of these book which is titled Travels with a Brush, Volume 1 – The Cote d’Azur is now available on the ibook store ( search for Cote d’Azur) but is also attached here as a pdf file for anyone to download. (Click on the link at the top of this post).
The books are free, I didn’t think anyone would be inclined to pay for my ramblings but nevertheless I hope you might find the books interesting. The second one, on Ulster in Ireland will be published in month or so.
I will be back to more normal painting posts soon but in the meantime any feedback is always welcome