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A weekend in York

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.

York has very intact City Wall that surrounds the City and York Minster Cathedral. This watercolour shows the The Minster from the wall.

 

This is one of the Gates to the City on High Petergate

York Minster can be seem from many of the little surrounding Streets. This is the view from one of them.

The central Tower of York Minster from The Shambles

York Castle sits on large mound close to the River Stour. Nearby is the York Castle Museum.

I hope you have enjoyed these quick sketches of great weekend in York.

Happy travelling

Brian

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Summer on the Cote d’Azur, and Lake Annecy too!


Hi Everybody

Normally we fly up and down to the South of France but once a year we drive down and try and see a little bit more of France on the journeys.

This year we had a great time on the Riviera and on our way home spent a couple of days at Lake Annecy at the small town of Talloires on the East side of the lake. What a beautiful place lake Annecy is, and why hadn’t we been there before!

I feel sure we will go back, but maybe next time in late spring when it will be quieter.

So as usual here are some of the watercolours painted whilst at the Coast and a few of Lake Annecy too. The town of Annecy is very interesting as well and we went there by Water Taxi from Talloires which was a great way to travel.

So first here are the Lake Annecy paintings. As you know I have taken to painting pen and ink washes very quickly in a sketch book so that I can produce larger paintings later on in the studio.

Lake Annecy from the Park in Annecy. Sketchbook watercolour 19 inches by 8.

The view from Talloires across lake Annecy to Quingt and it’s Castle. Sketch book watercolour 9.5 inches by 8.

 

The Old Gaol in the Town of Annecy. Sketch book watercolour 9.5 by 8 inches

So now here are some of the watercolours from our time on the Coast

Boats sailing off St Tropez. Sketch book watercolour from photo taken on the Ferry from St Maxime.

 

Tourettes sur Loup. A more formal watercolour 14 inches by 10.

A Provence Village in the hills. Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

One of my favourite places to paint in France! Port de Peche at St Tropez, well away from the Glitz! Watercolour 14 inches by 10.

Here are some sketch book watercolours of the day we spent in Vence. Vence has a lovely old town well worth visit.

(More details on my other blog  – http://www.aquarellesdefrance.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So quite a busy time painting ,sketching, eating and drinking as well as swimming in the pool and the sea. Thank goodness I am retired!

Summer on the Cote d’Azur – just lovely.

Happy travelling

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

p1000326

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!

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