Escaping the British winter if only for a short time is always part of our plan!
We had never visited Tenerife before so the lure of sun and good golf brought us to the Abama Resort in Tenerife
In fact the weather was perfect for golf and warm enough to enjoy time lazing by the pools.
We even managed some touring about on Tenerife to get a feel for some of the island and it’s scenery.
Tenerife is dominated by the Volcano, Mount Teide although there hasn’t been a significant eruption for over a hundred years.
Tenerife is very mountainous and to get to the North of the island we had to go over a 3800 foot pass with its very, very windy roads. The cliffs at Los Gigantes are spectacular and big as their name suggests and they sweep down to the sea from the mountain range that we travelled over to go to Garachico and the North.
In amongst the golf and relaxation there was time to paint a few watercolours in the sketch book which is now my favourite medium when travelling. A quick pen and ink sketch followed by some watercolour washes gives me a good record of a place or landscape. Of course the plan is to paint larger watercolours at home. However the sketches work pretty well for the blog.
The Abama golf course is also very hilly and challenging with unforgiving greensand very fast greens to make it even harder. Luckily eveybody uses a buggy as walking the course would tire a mountain goat!.
Our trip to the north and especially the little town of Garachico yielded a very pleasant lunch experience in a little family restaurant called “Candelaria” in Garachico. Their home made bread and enjoyable menu and owners made the lunch great. If you are ever there do go and find it and try it, it was really nice. It is at the back of the town about 100 metres from the main Square
Our time in Tenerife was brief but enjoyable and we did find the sun!
Hi Everybody, — “Happy New Year”
After a lovely Christmas time in the UK with the family it was nice to spend the New Year on the Cote d’Azur with some good friends enjoying welcome sunshine and the lovely scenery of the area.
Of course it gave me some time to paint a few sketchbook watercolours of the area and the opportunity for us to enjoy the fine food and wine of the area.
I would like to especially mention our lunch at the Camandoule Hotel in Fayence. Just a great meal and very good value in this lovely hotel which was once a Mill. I would strongly recommend it as every time we have been there it has been great.
Anyway in the days there I was able to paint a few watercolours, quite quick ones in the sketch book which may become larger studio paintings in the future.
Here they are and I hope you like them.
All this and the Sun thing too!
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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 .
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.
The Playa de la Caleta offers fine views both by day and 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
And so back home to the UK, but wait , in the meantime Spring has arrived in Kent, how good is that!
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.
Spring is just starting to make an appearance here in Kent in England.
As regular readers of this blog will know I like to paint watercolours from my photos of seascapes and so I thought a post bringing a few of my Seascapes together might help me look forward to the warmer and sunnier days to come.
Going through my paintings archive I discovered that there are many such paintings, too many to put here so I have just chosen some that I painted over the past few years. Most of the painting are 14 inches by 10 and painted on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper.
Mostly they are places I am familiar with but one or two fit into the category of place I would like to visit as they were gifts or commissions.
I hope you like them!
Maybe I will do second post on the same theme soon but wherever you are enjoy your travels and the coming of 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.
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