Tag Archives: castle

Watercolour of Italian Castles


Niccone Valley Castles – Watercolour and ink 38 cm x 58 cm (Sold)

The Niccone Valley watercolor painting features the Umbrian and Tuscan castles that have stared out at each other for centuries. This trip takes you past the bar at Sorbello and below its castle, then across the fields and over the border into Umbria, passed Reschio Castle and on up  into the hills.

Tuscan Umbria countryside

The area around the Castles and Altabella

Houses on the hill

The drive ends in the wooded clearing at the top of the hills where you come to the houses of Altabella, La Quercia with its monolithic sculpture and the villas of Pietra and Casa Piccolo with their beautiful views of the valley below.

Umbrian art

Wooden Sculpture

The olive tree in the foreground is where Paul and Anne, who commissioned the painting, placed a plaque dedicated to Grace their dog.

The rays of the rising sun converge on the house at La Quercia, drawing the eye to where Paul and Anne spend their winters.

Colours of central Italy

The area is a luscious green, full of woodlands and trees, fields of sunflowers, olive groves and vineyards. Peeking out among the trees you can make out the occasional farm or villa in its distinctive yellow ocher or cream coloured walls.

I decided to paint the castles in the colours that represented their origins. Therefore, Sorbello’s Tuscan stone walls are in raw sienna and the Umbrian castle of Reschio is a rich burnt umber. The trees vary from a sap green foreground to a dark blue/green wooded background giving the painting a nice sense of depth. 🙂




Watercolor on the Lake – Isola Polvese



Isola Polvese – watercolor and ink, 52 cm x 21 cm (Sold)

Here’s the finished watercolor of the third island on Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Italy. The picture captures the lusciousness of the place, covered in oak woodlands and olive groves. Dotted around the island are a collection of buildings,a cafe bar by the dock, a ruined castle and an abandoned monastery. The island also has its own oil press where they produce their olive oil.

Tuscan umbria castle towns

Castiglione del Lago 

Travel painting

As it’s perpetually shaded, even on a hot day, it’s a cool place to walk around. The island is now an unspoilt nature reserve with thousands of birds flocking to its shores each year to take advantage of the lovely natural habitat.

Lago Trasimeno, Umbria

Isola Maggiore

Island joy

The painting is part of a threesome, with the Isola Maggiore and a study of the town of Castiglione del Lago completing the set. Lined up together you get an idea of the large expanse of water that makes up Lake Trasimeno and the wooded hills that surround it. However, most of all, you can feel the tranquility of the water as it laps along the shoreline and the serenity that can be found all over the islands.


Nice Painting Nice


Nice, France  – Watercolour & ink 74cm X 24 cm (Sold)

I’ve finally finished my Nice painting and it’s turned out well, nice. This is the largest townscape I’ve undertaken and my first in France, so it was quite a challenge. The image concentrates on the promenade, highlighting some of the most interesting buildings that fill the street. The centre has the Colline du Chateau, with the old castle tower and stairway that leads up to the gardens, and the harbour behind.

The town has a gallery dedicated to Mondrian, so I thought, why not have a Mondrianesque sky. The other option was Chagall but I’m not sure a violin playing goat in the sky would have worked. Perhaps next time.

Bright liners and speed boats

Mont Boron on the right has some really interesting, strange shaped and exotic buildings on its slopes. Below is where the bright liners also leave giving the area a splash of colour, in their yellow livery.

The Prom at Nice is covered with rows of palm trees and to include these essential elements I decided to raise them up so that they didn’t obstruct the buildings along the foreshore. This seems to have worked out okay. To cap it all off there are two boats bobbing about in the foreground.

Nice, I hope you like it.



Watercolour of the Castle on the Lake – Castiglione del Lago

Tuscan umbria castle towns

Castiglione del Lago – Lake Trasimeno
Watercolour and ink, 35 cm x 21 cm (For Sale)

The study of Castiglione del Lago is part of a series which includes the Isole Maggiore watercolour painting. The idea is to eventually have a large painting featuring both of these sites and some others around the lake.

Lake Trasimeno is Umbria’s largest body of water and due to the provinces lack of coastline, it has been a constant provider of fish for local people for centuries. And Castiglione del Lago has  been a sentinel on the lake for an equally a long time.

The unique feature about the town, which was once on an island, is the pentagonal castle that sits at the head of the promontory. And while its slopes are now filled with olive groves, there would once have been a clear view down to the waters edge.  On the right-hand side is the Church of Maddalena, the town’s patron saint and halfway along the south-western part of the town wall is the elaborate Ducal Palace.

I love the sheer number of trees that cloak the town. Leafy boulevards flank the two sides, Three large palm trees stand outside it’s main entrance and a massive oak tree sits in the middle of the castle grounds. It is a well shaded and cool place to sit, even at the height of summer.

Now all we need to do it link the town, with the three islands and the rest of the mainland to complete the painting. No small task.

Return to the Niccone Valley

The lovely people of Lisciano Niccone have approached me about painting their gorgeous valley again. This one will be for their publicity material.  Both a good advertisment for me and a chance to take another look at the stunning Niccone Valley landscape.

Publicity for Lisciano Niccone

Lisciano Niccone Castle

Lisciano Niccone Castle

As it’s a promotional image I’ve decided to keep it bright and cheerful, just like summer. There should be a bold sun, a few clouds and lots of green hills with the ubiquitous castles that makes the valley is famous.

Drawing the Valley

Niccone Valley Sketch

Niccone Valley Sketch

I’ll keep the dimensions roughly the same as the first version, which was in the region of 70 cm by 32 cm. This should give me a large enough canvas to paint in detail and also plenty of room to cover the 16 miles that make up the valley.