Blog Archives

Hastings, Past and Present

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.

The Net Shops “Black Sheds” on the Stade at Hastings. Watercolour 9 inches by 8.

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.

Fishing boast on the Stade at Hastings in the 1960’s. Watercolour 14 inches by 10. From a photograph taken by Richard.O. Singleton.

 

 

Do visit Hastings, there is so much to see and do there.

Happy Travelling

 

The Town of Rye in East Sussex

Sunset at Rye

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.

Storm over Rye

Winter’s afternoon at Rye

Walkers in the snow

Winter evening at Rye

 

 

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.

The Mermaid in in Mermaid Street, Rye.

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.

Rye in the distance at Camber Castle.

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.

Happy travelling

Brian

My Watercolour Highlights of 2016

Happy Christamas and Best Wishes for 2017!

It has been a great year for us and I hope you too have enjoyed the Year and also this blog.

Retired life is good and our now 4 Grandchildren and their parents are a continuous joy.

In this post I am revisiting some of my favourite watercolours of this year, which have originated in our travels around the World and visits around the UK. I have picked just seventeen, from around 50 paintings completed in the year.

Here is a reprise which I hope you will enjoy. For me this indulgent post is such a great reminder of the year.

I hope that you enjoy the Season and the New Year.

Many thanks for reading my blog, it is your responses and views that make it such fun.

All the best

Brian

January  — Crillon-Le-Brave in Provence

Although we travel a lot in Provence we have yet to visit Crillon, maybe in 2017. A bit of artistic licence in this painting!

Crillon Le Brave

February. The joy of some winter sun in Mauritius and the fun of painting while lying on a lounger at the beach at Le Touessrok Shangi La Hotel!

The Beach at Le Touessrok Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

The Beach at Le Touessrok Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

March.  Painting at home a favourite view from our many visits to Northern Ireland. Fair Head on the Antrim coast seen from the beach at Ballycastle.

Fair Head

April.

Near us in Kent is Rochester and the River Medway. This painting is a “time travel” painting taking us back to 1937 (even before my time!) when the Sunderland Flying boats were being built at Rochester. So here is a Short’s Sunderland flying boat over Rochester.

Rochester in 1937

May

With memories of a great weekend in Amsterdam with friends still fresh in my mind I finished these two paintings of  this fine and fascinating city.IMG_2653

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June

With the arrival of our new granddaughter in May local-ish travel led us to Malden in Essex. This painting , a new size for me is 19 inches by 8, but suits the scene quite well.

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July

Back in France and a chance to paint in the sun , from sketches and photos. The trip from St Maxime by boat to St Tropez is the best way to get there. Lunch at the Mazarin under the green awning and then a painting of this quiet back water of St Tropez. A delightful day out!

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August

More paintings in Provence An evening scene and big J Class yachts in St Tropez harbour.

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September

Two paintings for friends this month, one of Great Dixter in Sussex, and the second of J Class yachts sailing off the Isle of Wight. I am glad they liked them!

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J Class yachts racing at the Isle of Wight David and meg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October

A visit to Rye inspired this painting of Camber castle, built in the time of Henry VIII but now just a ruin. Rye in the background. Also locally the beautiful Leeds Castle here in KentCamber castle

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November

I like to read the excellent Bernard Cornwell historical fiction books, some of which feature Bebanburg Castle,now Bamburg Castle. Again in the wider format to highlight the vast beach and sky!Bamburgh castle

 

December

This month I have been painting some scenes of Venice from my photos and a painting from a photo taken by Mitch Zeissler ( thanks for the permission, Mitch) showing the Mission Mountains of Montana, which was the subject of my previous post.Della salute

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It has been a busy year painting ( and these are only some!) so I do hope you have enjoyed looking at some of my 2016 efforts.

Seasons greetings and Best wishes for 2017

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

September – Variations

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.

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Yachts racing by the Iles de Lerin. Watercolour 20 by 8 inches.

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.

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“J” Class yachts prepare for the race at St Tropez

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!

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Port de peach at St Tropez. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Back in the UK I spent a day painting “en plain air” at the Seven Sisters cliffs in East Sussex.

I find it tricky painting outside in the sun but I did manage these two paintings of these spectacular cliffs.img_8459-1

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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!

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The Mermaid Inn in Rye

I hope you will enjoy these September variations. 

Happy travelling

Brian

The English Country Garden

 

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The Garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex. Watercolour 12 inches by 9.

Hi Everyone

It is well know fact that we English people do love our gardens. Maybe its our generally pleasant, moderate climate, or just our love of things in an ordered way, but gardening is a big thing in the UK.

The Cottage border is just one of the things gardeners love to plant and we are lucky in the South East of England to have some very fine gardens to visit and enjoy. They provide the stimulus to improve our own gardens too, although their beauty is a bit beyond most home gardens.

Two amongst the very best in the South East of England are Great Dixter in E.ast Sussex and Sissinghurst in Kent.

Both can be visited throughout the year but in Summer they are really magnificent with wonderful planting and colours.

In each case there is also fine house to look around too but it is the Cottage Borders that are the really great thing about these gardens.

This post has only 2 paintings, one of Sissinghurst painted a couple of years ago and a new painting of Great Dixter.

I do hope you will like them and if you have the chance to visit either then do so!

Sissinghurst gardens

The Garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. Watercolour 10 by 7 inches.

Happy travelling

Brian

Have a look at my site on http://www.artfinder.com/brianswatercolours too!

 

Brrr! It’s Cold outside!

Well folks, here we are in December and it is getting decidedly chilly!

Soon they tell us the snow will arrive. It always makes for interesting watercolour scenes!

So here is post of some Snow Scenes, some new and some from my archives, with just hint of the warm sun that will one day return!

Christmas will soon be here, so my best Wishes to you all and a Happy New Year painting!

We have a few trips planned for 2014 and they will provide watercolours for next years blogs.

Thanks for all your support this year and enjoy these paintings and the coming festivities!

“Yule”ly yours

Brian

First snow in Provence

First snow in Provence

Gourdon in provence in the snow

Gourdon in provence in the snow

The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence

The Frozen Fountain at Mons in Provence

Rye in Kent at Christmas

Rye in Kent at Christmas

Horsmonden in Kent

Horsmonden in Kent

Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent

Snow at Leeds Castle in Kent

Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey

Kent, Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey

St Margaret's Church at Barming in Kent

St Margaret’s Church at Barming in Kent

A village in Kent

A village in Kent

Mount Cook in New Zeeland- Lucky for them it's Summer there now!

Mount Cook in New Zealand- Lucky for them it’s Summer there now!

And so for a bit of sunshine!     This December we were lucky enough to be able to sit on the Quay at Villefranche sur Mere on the Cote d’Azur and enjoy sunshine while we ate lunch. This is the view from there across to Cap Ferrat.

Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

Cap Ferrat from Villefranche

Rye, In East Sussex

When it comes to beautiful old towns in the UK Rye must be one of the finest. Rye has buildings built in the 14th Century and before and still retains it’s fine character. Rye is one of the Cinque Ports founded by Henry III in the 13th Century.

Once right on the sea it is now a few miles inland but with inlets from the sea reaching up to the town. Nearby is the Military canal, an invasion fortification built in the early 19th century.

The town was once the haunt of smugglers and the Mermaid Inn, rebuilt in 1407 is still a centre of attraction in the town. The town was once fortified but only the Landgate remains of the original four gates to town.

The views of the town, perched on a hill are an invitation to paint, especially when the town silhouette is seen against various skies.

Here are just a few painting of the town painted over the years and some more recently. It will always be a place to return to as it has been subject for many painters over the centuries.

If you haven’t visited then I urge you  to do so one day, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy these watercolours.

Brian

Sunset at Rye, from the Military Canal

Sunset at Rye, from the Military Canal

Fishing boats in Rye Harbour

Fishing boats in Rye Harbour, one of my first attempts at watercolour!

Rye in winter from the marshes Painting at the Landgate, Rye

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