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

 

10 days on the Cote d’Azur

The Town of Correns in Provence. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

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

Seillans. Watercolour 9 by 7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J Class yachts passing Ile St Honorat off the Cannes Coast. Watercolour 10 by 14.

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.

Fishing boats of the coast. Watercolours 14 inches by 10.

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.

Umbrella Pine trees ,Watercolour 14 inches by 10

 

Happy travelling 

Brian

 

The 17th Hole at Sawgrass?, no wait, this is at “Legends” in South Africa!

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!!

Happy travelling

Brian

 

Iberian Encounters – A cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona.

Almost every year we take a cruise with some very good friends from the USA.

This years cruise had been planned for a while and took us from Lisbon in Portugal around the Iberian Peninsula to Barcelona in Spain.

With interesting ports of call along the way and really good weather we all got a little taste of Portugal and Spain and thus  lots more ideas for visits to both Countries.

I have taken to travelling with a smaller sketch book recently so most of these very quick paintings are about 24 by 20 cms, and are intended as the basis of larger paintings in the future. These sketch books made by Khadi papers are nice to use with pen and ink and some watercolour. I am enjoying using them for travel. Most of the watercolours are from my own photos and one or two are from images found in brochures along the way.

Lisbon was our starting point and we had a couple of days there before embarking to enjoy this very interesting city.

One evening in Lisbon we ate in a really great restaurant called “Lisboa a Noite”. It isn’t far from the Gloria or Santa Justa elevators but hard to find. Maybe take a taxi! Well worth the visit.

It is pretty hilly in Lisbon! If a local tells you you can walk somewhere in 20 minutes take a taxi, as a local’s  20 minutes  is a lot longer if you are not used to steep hills!!

Belem Tower

The trams are great to watch in Lisbon, however rather overcrowded and slow but fine nevertheless. We took the tram to Belem Tower and the Monastery there, and very importantly went to the Cafe called Pasteis de Belem for their fantastic custard tarts. Really delicious.

The Number 28 tram on its way to Lisbon Castle

A Tram on one of the funicular sections of the Old Town

In the centre of Lisbon the streets are often very steep and this painting shows a tram on one of them. I hope to do many more tram paintings from all the photos that I took.

After sailing from Lisbon we arrived the next day at Portimao. Portimao is a large and very popular beach resort in summer, but for us it meant a trip to the very old and lovely town of Selves.

The Old Town of Selves

With a  castle at the top it is a delight to walk around and  also has a good museum. This view is from the lower town up to the Castle. Just across from our ship we could see the castle at Ferraguda, but we didn’t have time for a visit though. However just time for a quick watercolour .

Ferraguda Castle near Portimao

From Portimao we sailed on to Cadiz in Spain.

The old town of Cadiz is very walkable and flat! It is very interesting too with a great market and a wonderful Cathedral and nearby Church with Processional items that are really amazing.

At the edge of the City the walk way by the sea offers great views. Here are three paintings of Cadiz, painted when back on the ship.

Cadiz Cathedral from the promenade.

The Playa de la Caleta offers fine views both by day and as the sun sets.

Playa de la Caleta looking south.

Playa de la Caleta as the sun sets

Our next port of call was Gibraltar but alas mist shrouded the Rock all day so no paintings there! However the caves on the Rock and the Town are very interesting and the history of Gibraltar is fascinating. I am not sure about the Barbary apes though!

From there we sailed to Malaga where our priority was to revisit tThe Alhambra Place in Granada. This time we had guide which was great as there is so much to see and hear about. This view tries to show the Alhambra with the mountains behind. Even in April they are snow capped.

The Alhambra place in Granada

After a stop at Cartagena the next day where the Roman amphitheatre is spectacular, we next went on to Ibiza. We hadn’t been there since 1971, but luckily despite major changes to the island the Old Town hasn’t changed and so these two paintings were the result.

Ibiza Old Town

 

The view from the top of Ibiza Old Town

Our next stop was Valencia where the Old town was really lovely. This spectacular city needed much more time that we had on a cruise and so it’s a place to revisit one day, not only to see the Old Town but also the new and amazing new buildings there. It is a beautiful City.

Our final destinions was Barcelona and visits to Gaudi a designed Church, and Houses as well as the truly amazing Sagrada Familia. They say it will be finished in 2027,  they will have to be busy as it is truly huge!

I am still trying to plan a larger painting of the Sagrad Familia  but that will have to be for another time.

So the end of a great cruise and a lovely time with such good friends.

I hope you have enjoyed these little encounters with the Iberian Peninsula

Till next time, happy travelling

Brian

 

Escape to the Sun – South Africa and Mauritius

The beach at Wilderness on the Garden Route. watercolour 14 inches by 7.

While the chills of February continued in the UK we have been lucky enough to have been travelling , and mainly golfing, with great friends, in South Africa and then relaxing, with a bit more golf in Mauritius.

The weather, the food, the wine and the people were all fantastic and we all had a great time.

Now you can’t golf all day so I have had a few hours to paint some quick watercolours along the way. For the first time in many years I decided to take little sketch book of 9 inches by 7 watercolour paper to do most of the paintings. The book, made by Khadi Papers proved ideal and not too large to use sitting on the beach too! The larger painting are 14 by 10 on Arches Cold pressed paper.

So here are the best of the  paintings that I produced over the two and a half weeks away and I do hope you will enjoy seeing them. They were fun to produce, often only taking 30 minutes of so. You can see that in some of them!

First of all we were at a lovely Golfing hotel called Fancourt near George on the Garden Route in South Africa. A very nice place to stay and three lovely courses, so we played 5 times there.

In George and in Wilderness on the coast we found stunning restaurants. The Town House in George, probably the best steak I have ever eaten! The Fat fish in George, really good fresh fish and super wine, and maybe the best restaurant I have ever eaten in in our 4 visits to South Africa. It is called Serendipity it is in Wilderness on the coast. Truly magnificent and hosted by the most delightful  Rudolf and Lizelle! Go there is you can!!

Enough of food, here are some watercolours.

The Golf courses provide lovely views of the Outeniqua mountains  so here are my interpretations.

Early sunset at Outeniqua

 

Two holes, 5th Green and 14th Fairway on the Montagu Golf Course at Fancourt

 

The Heads at Knysna  on the Garden Route

 

Boats sailing in the lagoon at Knysna. Watercolour 14 inches by 10

After a week golfing at Fancourt we then drove to Franschheok for a few days before flying on to Mauritius.

Franschheok is a delightful town and in the heart of the wine region of South Africa. We did some tasting, and too much swallowing, the highlight being the small but beautiful Vineyard of Stonybrook. Again lovely meals in Franschheok where all the restaurants we tried were really good. (Ryan’s Kitchen, Grande Provence, and Monneaux)

So time for a few more watercolour paintings there too.

The immense mountains that surround Franschheok. Watercolour 14 by 10 inches.

 

Vineyard and Mountains at Franschheok

And so on to Mauritius. The climate in Mauritius is delightful, hot , sometimes sultry and warm seas to swim in. Once again we stayed at the Shangri-La Le Touessrok which has access to the Bernhard Langer designed Golf Course -Ile Aux Cerfs.

These watercolours were produced there, painted exclusively whist lying on a sunbed!

These sketchbook watercolours painted there from photos or memory.

Boats sailing on the East Coast of Mauritius

Sunset

More yachts sailing!

 

 

 

Yachts on the horizon

And so back home to the UK, but wait , in the meantime Spring has arrived in Kent, how good is that!

Happy Travelling

Brian

 

 

Back to Venice – I wish!

Sitting here in the UK in what is now rather dreary weather, too wet for golf and my mind turns to Venice!

We have been lucky enough to have visited Venice on a few occasions and each time there is some magical new sight to see.

So going back through the many photos I have taken there I realised I have never attempted to paint a watercolour of Saint Mark’s Square, “Piazza San Marco”. So yesterday I decided to have go at it.

Once when we were there there was a bit of flooding in the Square which does happen quite often so I have tried to convey that in this watercolour. I thought I had better say that in case you didn’t notice!

I hope you enjoy looking at it and just to set the scene here are two fairly recent paintings of The Rialto Bridge and The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute as well.

Ah, Venice, oh to be there now sipping a cocktail in Harry’s bar!

Happy travelling

Brian

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Piazza San Marco -A watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches Rough 300gsm paper

Della salute

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute on the Grand Canal Venice from the Academia bridge. A watercolour 14 inches by 10 on Arches 300gsm paper.

The Rialto

The Rialto bridge on the Grand Canal in Venice. A Watercolour on Arches 300gsm paper.

Painting a little bigger!

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.

Happy Travelling

Brianp1000237

 

 

 

 

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! – A week in Provence and the Cote d’Azur

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. 

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Lavender fields in Provence. Watercolour, 14 inches by 10.

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Cottage with lavender. Watercolour, 14 inches by 10.

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.

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Mimosa trees in flower in the hills near Tanneron. Watercolour, 14 inches by 10.

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!)

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Ile de St Honorat from Theoule sur Mer, on the Esterel coast. Watercolour, 16 inches by 12.

 

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.

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In the Old town of Vence. Watercolour 10 inches by 10.

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

Happy travelling

Brian

PS. Some of these watercolours will be soon be for sale on http://www.Artfinder.com. (search for brianswatercolours)

Places I would really like to visit – An occasional series of Watercolours. Mount Calowahcan — Mission Mountains, Montana.

Hi there,

The vast plains and mountains in the centre of the USA have always fascinated me. In my many visits to the USA I flew over many areas like this  but alas did not have much time to vist them in person.

Recently a Photographer and fellow Blogger, Mitch Zeissler, published this great photograph of Mount Calowahcan in Montana.

20161008_img_0408-2

You really should go and see his excellent photos at his Blog http://www.exploratorius.us  – they are always inspiring and interesting.

Mitch has kindly allowed me to “borrow” his photo as the subject of this Post, one of a series on “Places that I would really like to Visit” . Thanks Mitch!

I hope you like it, maybe I will get there one day!

img_3178

Mount Calowahcan –Mission Mountains,Montana, by permission of Mitch Zeissler. Watercolour 18 inches by 7 painted on Hahnemuhle 450 matt watercolour paper.

 

Happy Travelling

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

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