Category Archives: Watercolours
Each year we go on a long weekend trip with some very good friends of long standing. Previously we have been to Ypres, Normandy and Amsterdam and in every location we have had really great weekends.
This year our trip was to York, and we all had a really good time in this very interesting City.
It coincided with some Birthday celebrations for me, a rather big number too!, which added to our fun there. (Thanks friends for the card presents and good wishes!)
It was great to celebrate with such good friends, but in amongst the sightseeing, eating , and drinking I have managed to produce 5 sketch book watercolours which I hope you will enjoy.
York is steeped in history and the City centre is dominated by the wonderful York Minster Cathedral. Nearly are little streets, in an area called The Shambles with excellent restaurants and cafes and shops too.
We visited the very good Jorvik centre with it “time traveller ride” back to the Viking settlement in York, and also the York Castle Museum which contains a reproduction of a street and houses and shops of the Victorian era and many other exhibits too.
We enjoyed the food tin York too and went to two very good restaurants which I have no hesitation in recommending. “Rustique” was outstanding as was “Little Italy”. The staff in both restaurants made our party of 8 very welcome indeed.
We stayed at The Grange Hotel and that was very good too.
So here are those small watercolours produced in between visits and meals over the weekend.
If you haven’t been to York then do so as it has so many great things to offer a visitor, many of which we didn’t manage to fit in on this trip, so we have many reasons to return.
If you do know York then I hope these watercolours will be a good reminder of this fascinating City.
I hope you have enjoyed these quick sketches of great weekend in York.
Hastings in Sussex is a town steeped in history and a delightful place to visit.
The Fishing Industry was once a major activity in the Town and fishing boats still operate from there, and are still launched from the beach.
One historical feature of Hastings are the “Net Shops”, tall wooden buildings, now enjoying “Listed Status” on the Stade at Hastings.
To learn more about them try this web site ( hastingschronicles.net )which has lots of very interesting details about them, and photos too.
This first quick, 15 minute, sketch shows the Net Stores today with a typical Hastings fishing boat located next to them.
In the 1960’s and before the number of Fishing boats at Hastings was large and although there are a lot of boats there today they are fewer than once there were.
I particularly like the older style of boat which is ideal for my sort of watercolour. They had a particular hull design adapted to being launched from the beach. This painting is taken from a 1960’s photo and shows two fishing boats pulled up on the shingle beach from which they are launched.
RX73 was constructed in 1958 in Newhaven, named the ‘Young Flying Fish’ and is now retired as is RX77 named ‘Andina’ was constructed in Newhaven in 1957. Thanks to GH Clarke for this information, and also to Richard.O.Singleton for the original photograph upon which my watercolour is based.
Do visit Hastings, there is so much to see and do there.
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.
If like me you have been avidly watching The Players Golf Championship at Sawgrass this pas weekend then you will know all about the famous 17th Hole.
Congratulations to SW Kim on his win and to Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen on coming joint 2nd – great achievements.
Alas I have never been to Sawgrass but if you have ever been golfing in South Africa and have visited Legends Golf and Safari in the Limpopo region then you will recognise this replica hole there with the Entabeni mountains in the background.
Legends Golf and Safari is a remarkable place with a large game park, home to the Big 5, and a signature Championship Golf course. But maybe it is best know for it’s Par 3 hole, “The 19th” , the highest I think in the world , where to play it you have to go up to the Tee in a helicopter and then the green is 400 metres below you and is in the shape of Africa. It is amazing!
We have been lucky to have been there twice and once for the Wedding of our friend’s, and great golfers, Ian and Lynnette which held on top of the mountain by the 19th Tee! A World First and a magical experience.
Have a look at their website. legendhospitality.co.za/
Here is another watercolour of the Mountain from the Lodges at Hanglip, a wonderful place to stay in the Resort.
Golf and Holidays in South Africa are wonderful experiences, if you have been then great, if not get it on the list!!
About an hour from us here in Kent is the lovely old Town of Rye, which is in East Sussex.
Several hundred years ago it was nearer the sea but today it is a few miles inland with river access to the English Channel.
We love to walk round Rye’s quaint streets and buildings and enjoy afternoon tea or lunch there.
Thus it is no surprise that I seem to have painted quite a few watercolours of the Town and the area, some of which I have sold to other folk who also love the town of Rye.
So here are some of my watercolours for you to look at. If you haven’t visited Rye then do so in the future but if like us it is a place that you too enjoy then I hope these paintings will have good memories for you.
The skyline of Rye on it’s small hill fascinates me and the views, from a few different vantage points have been the subject of quite a few paintings.
Here are some.
The Town was once surrounded by a wall and the main entrance to the Town goes through the Landgate.
Here are two painting of that scene, one with some chap like me painting, and another on a snowy day. Unless you are up very early the scene today is spoilt by parked cars, but somehow I managed not to include them!
Inside the oldest part of Rye you will find Mermaid Street with the very old Mermaid Inn. Even if you are not staying there or eating at it do go in and look around. It is quite amazing and the sign outside says “Rebuilt in 1407”. This Inn, once a smugglers haunt is show in this next painting.
Walk down Mermaid street on the old cobbles and read the names of the houses, they too are very intesting.
Rye has an old Castle ,Ypres Tower, with a museum, and a fine Norman Church of St Mary’s. The keen visitor can go to the top of the Church Tower for fine views of the Town and the countryside.
Next to the Church is The Old Vicarage, a lovely old building next to the fascinating Graveyard. Around you are many old and delightful houses and nearby is Lamb house that Henry James once owned, and which can be visited on some days.
Here is The Old Vicarage
There is so much to see you may never leave, but if you do then drive out of the town towards Wichelsea which is another wonderful old Town to visit. On the way you can , if you feel energetic enough, walk to Camber Castle which is nowadays isolated in the fields near Rye. Built in the time of Henry VIII its ruins are interesting and afford more views back towards Rye, as seen in this painting.
The whole area of East Sussex is very interesting with big sandy beaches at Camber Sands and the Military Canal leading to Hythe, and awealth of history round every corner. I hope you will enjoy these paintings.
All those years ago when I started painting watercolours from our travels around the world I found that small paintings were the thing to try.
Today I still enjoy quick and quite small paintings, even the odd postcard to friends.
Generally my paintings are 12 by 10 or 14 by 10 inches, as that does work for travel very well , and recently I have bought an A4 KHADI watercolour sketchbook for our next few trips.
But recently I wanted to try something just a bit larger, and a little more impressionistic. So I decided to go back to a photo taken a while ago of Florence and this watercolour, 20 inches by 14 is the result.
I am not entirely happy with it , I had a vision in my mind of the finished article which hasn’t quite occurred but I thought I would share it with you.
This view of Florence has thousands of roofs, so the idea was to leave those purely impressionistic whilst highlighting the Duomo and nearby major landmarks.
I hope you find it interesting, and back to more travel paintings in a little while.
I have recently updated my two Travel Guide Books which you can download as FREE pdf files from a page on this Blog.
They are for The Cote d’Azur and The North of Ireland.
I hope you will enjoy them!
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.
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!