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.
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 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
A Very Happy New Year to you all. Thanks for visiting my site.
Sometimes in the winter it is nice to look back to days spent in a particular place.
Scanning through my paintings it struck me that this theme would make an interesting theme for a Post and so here is the first one of what I hope will grow into a series of Posts.
When we visit The South of France our home there is not far from Villefranche, about 40 minutes, so it makes a nice day out and a lovely place to sit on the Quai and have a delightful lunch.
The town has a nice harbour, a fine , and huge castle and is in sheltered bay on the Mediterranean.
It has become a very popular harbour for cruises too, but it is much nicer there when the cruise ships aren’t!
There is a lovely small Church (Chapelle Saint Pierre) which dates from the 16th Century by the waterfront The inside of the Church has been decorated by Jean Cocteau after it’s restoration in 1957. Definitely worth a visit before or after lunch.
Villefranche has thus become quite a favourite spot for me to paint watercolours of and so here are some of the watercolours of some recent visits there.
From the harbour there is path around the outside, the sea side , of the castle which gives lovely views of the bay and of the Town and Castle.
Across the Bay is the very tiny Port Passable , above which stands the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a beautiful House and Gardens open to the public. Nearby also is the Villa Grecque Kérylos. Both are very well worth the visit.
There is so much to do in and around Villefranche. Access is easy by car or train and I am sure you will enjoy it just as we do.
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.
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!
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.
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