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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Uphill Boatyard, Somerset 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Here's a watercolour painting of Uphill Boatyard in Somerset I did from a photo I took a few Saturdays ago last time I was up there.  The video of me painting this is on YouTube.

Original Paintings by Steven Cronin

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Stonehills Tarn, Lake District 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Stonehills Tarn, Lake District Watercolour Painting

Original Paintings by Steven Cronin

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Derwent Water, Lake District, Cumbria 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Watercolour painting of Derwent Water in the Lake District, England.  It's been several years since my last visit here.  I distinctly remember the stark contrast as you walk from the high street in the town centre and then suddenly this glorious vista appears before you.


From Wikipedia:

Derwentwater (or Derwent Water) is one of the principal bodies of water in the Lake District National Park in North West England. It lies wholly within the Borough of Allerdale, in the county of Cumbria.


The lake occupies part of Borrowdale and lies immediately south of the town of Keswick. It is both fed and drained by the River Derwent. It measures approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long by 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and is some 72 feet (22 m) deep. There are several islands within the lake, one of which is inhabited. Derwent Island House, an 18th century residence, is a tenanted National Trust property open to the public on five days each year.


Derwentwater is a place of considerable scenic value. It is surrounded by hills (known locally as fells), and many of the slopes facing Derwentwater are extensively wooded. A regular passenger launch operates on the lake, taking passengers between various landing stages. There are seven lakeside marinas, the most popular stops being: Keswick, Portinscale and the Lodore Falls, from which boats may be hired. Recreational walking is a major tourist activity in the area and an extensive network of footpaths exists within the hills and woods surrounding the lake.


The Keswick—Borrowdale road runs along the eastern shore of the lake and carries a regular bus service. There is a lesser, or unclassified, road along the western shore connecting the villages of Grange and Portinscale.


Derwentwater gave its name to the Earldom of Derwentwater.


The lake is believed to be the last remaining native habit of the vendace (Coregonus vandesius) fish from the 4 originally known sites: Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water in the Lake District and the Castle Loch & Mill Loch in Lochmaben.

Original Paintings by Steven Cronin

Coniston Water, Cumbria 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Watercolour painting featuring Coniston Water in Cumbria, England.  I put the boat masts in using the same card I use for scraping rocks.  By holding a ruler and being careful not to touch the wet paint, I first scraped out the masts and then carefully scraped sideways at the bottom to put the body of the boat in.  I'd never thought of trying this technique before but it's a lot less hassle than using masking fluid.


From Wikipedia:

Coniston Water (usually simply called Coniston locally) in Cumbria, England is the third largest lake in the English Lake District.  It is five miles (8 km) long, half a mile (800 m) wide, has a maximum depth of 184 feet (56 m), and covers an area of 1.89 square miles (4.9 km²). The lake has an elevation of 143 feet (44 m) above sea level. It drains to the sea via the River Crake.


In the 20th century Coniston Water was the scene of many attempts to break the world water speed record. On August 19, 1939 Sir Malcolm Campbell set the record at 141.74 miles per hour (228.108 km/h) in Bluebird K4. Between 1956 and 1959 Sir Malcolm's son Donald Campbell set four successive records on the lake in Bluebird K7, a hydroplane.


In 1966 Donald Campbell decided that he needed to exceed 300 miles per hour (483 km/h) in order to retain the record. On January 4, 1967 he achieved a top speed of over 320 miles per hour (515 km/h) in Bluebird K7 on the return leg of a record-breaking attempt. He then lost control of Bluebird, which somersaulted and crashed, sinking rapidly. Campbell was killed instantly on impact. The attempt could not be counted as a record-breaking run because the second leg was not completed. The remains of Bluebird were recovered from the water in 2001 and Campbell's body was recovered later in the same year.


In recent times, Coniston Water has become known for a controversial murder case. Mrs Carol Park was dubbed the "Lady in the Lake" after the Raymond Chandler novel of the same name.

Original Paintings by Steven Cronin

Friday, 13 May 2011

River Axe Estuary towards Brent Knoll, Somerset 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

This watercolour view is along the River Axe looking towards Brent Knoll.  I spent a wonderful couple of hours the other Saturday strolling along this way.  I got the scale slightly out as Brent Knoll is a little smaller from this point.  The sun was blazing and sparkling off the muddy banks though I haven't quite managed to capture it unfortunately in this painting.  I think this would make a perfect spot to make some painting videos.


From Wikipedia:

Brent Knoll is a 137 metres (449 ft) high hill on the Somerset Levels, in Somerset, England. It is located roughly half way between Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the Bristol Channel coast at Burnham-on-Sea. At the foot of the hill are two villages East Brent and Brent Knoll, which takes its name from the hill but was previously called South Brent. The hill's size and isolated position on the levels mean that it dominates the landscape and can be seen for many miles, and its prominence is emphasised to travellers because the Bristol to Taunton railway line, M5 motorway, A370 and A38 roads all pass within a mile or less from its base.


Brent Knoll has seen human settlement since at least the Bronze Age. Brent Knoll Camp is an Iron Age hill fort, with multiple ramparts (multivallate) following the contours of the hill, broken only by the main entrance on the eastern side.


Before the Somerset Levels were drained, Brent Knoll was an island, known as the Isle (or Mount) of Frogs, that provided a safe haven from the water and marshes. According to legend, Ider son of Nuth, who was one of King Arthur's knights, came to the Mount of Frogs on a quest to slay three giants who lived there. The fort has been claimed as the site of Mons Badonicus.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Lake Windermere, Cumbria 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

This watercolour painting displays an evening view over Lake Windermere.  I last visited Windermere 7 or 8 years ago and it was a magical experience.  We stayed at Grange-over-Sands at the Haven caravan park and drove through Windermere most days en route to the other lakes.  I plan to return soon.

Original Paintings by Steven Cronin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice at the start of the current interglacial. It has been one of the country's most popular places for holidays and summer homes since 1847, when the Kendal and Windermere Railway built a branch line to it. It is in the county of Cumbria and entirely within the Lake District National Park.


Windermere is a ribbon lake. (Ribbon lakes are long, narrow and finger-like.) It was formed 13,000 years ago during the last major ice age by two glaciers, one from the Troutbeck valley and the other from the Fairfield horseshoe.  When the glaciers melted the lake filled with the meltwater, which was held in by moraine (rock material) deposited by the glacier.


The lake is drained from its southernmost point by the River Leven.  It is replenished by the rivers Brathay, Rothay, Trout Beck, Cunsey Beck and several other lesser streams. The lake is largely surrounded by foothills of the Lake District which provide pleasant low-level walks; to the north and north-east are the higher fells of central Lakeland.


There is debate as to whether the stretch of water between Newby Bridge and Lakeside at the southern end of the lake should be considered part of Windermere, or a navigable stretch of the River Leven. This affects the stated length of the lake, which is 18.08 kilometres (11.23 mi) long if measured from the bridge at Newby Bridge, or 16.9 kilometres (10.5 mi) if measured from Lakeside. The lake varies in width up to a maximum of 1.49 kilometres (0.93 mi), and covers an area of 14.73 square kilometres (5.69 sq mi).  With a maximum depth of 66.7 metres (219 ft) and an elevation above sea level of 39 metres (128 ft), the lowest point of the lake bed is well below sea level.


There are two towns on the lake, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere, as the town of Windermere does not directly touch the lake. Known as Applethwaite prior to the arrival of the railway, it is about a fifteen-minute walk from the lakefront, and has now grown together with Bowness. Windermere railway station is a hub for train and bus connections to the surrounding areas, Manchester, Manchester Airport, and the West Coast Main Line.(Ambleside is not strictly speaking on the lake but is connected by the hamlet of Waterhead)

River Axe Estuary, Somerset 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Following the River Axe estuary towards the sea you come across this splendid view.  You can just about see Weston-Super-Mare in the distance.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Uphill towards Brean Down, Somerset 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Stood at the top of the hill it’s easy to find inspiration in the landscape before you.  This watercolour view from Uphill looks over the marina and towards a misty looking Brean Down in the distance.


From Wikipedia:


Uphill is situated at the south end of Weston Bay, where the River Axe flows into the Bristol Channel, and was once a busy port. The Mendip Way long-distance footpath has its western trailhead at Uphill near the wharf.


The village is dominated on its southern side by a large hill, the southern slope of which and the quarry at its western end form the Uphill Cliff Site of Special Scientific Interest, notable for its species-rich calcareous grassland. It consists of species-rich calcareous grassland and rock-face situated on Carboniferous Limestone. Steeper banks and knolls in the grassland have a flora which includes orchids Somerset Hair Grass Koeleria vallesiana, and Honewort Trinia glauca and the Goldilocks Aster linosyris along with several species of butterfly and Weevil (Curculionoidea).


A tower on the hill is the remains of a 14th-century windmill.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

'Tranquility' 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

This watercolour painting I made up as I went along.  I've been doing a few commissions recently so it was nice to be able to break free again from restrictions and paint with complete abandon.

Fort at Brean Down 15" x 11" Watercolour Landscape Painting

This watecolour of Brean Down Fort was a commission I recently painted.  I'm in this neck of the woods quite frequently.  The fort has quite an interesting history so I've inlcluded a few notes below from Wikipedia.


From Wikipedia:


Brean Down Fort was built 60 feet (18 m) above sea level on the headland at Brean Down, 9 miles (14 km) south of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England.


The site has a long history, because of its prominent position. The earliest recorded settlement is from the Early to Middle Bronze Age.


The current buildings were constructed in the 1860s as one of the Palmerston Forts to provide protection to the ports of the Bristol Channel, and was decommissioned in 1901. During World War II it was rearmed and used for experimental weapons testing.


The site has been owned by the National Trust since 2002, following a £431,000 renovation project as part of its Brean Down property and is open to the public.


The fort was used as a location for filming of the second episode, "Warriors", of the BBC television drama Bonekickers.


Brean Down Fort forms part of a line of defences, known as Palmerston Forts, built across the channel to protect the approaches to Bristol and Cardiff. It was fortified following a visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to France, where they had been concerned at the strength of the French Navy. The Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom, under direction of Lord Palmerston, recommended fortification of the coast. Brean Down Fort formed part of a strategic coastal defence system covering the channel between the mainland and the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm.


Four acres of land at the end of Brean Down were requisitioned in 1862 with construction beginning in 1864 and completed in 1871.


The fort was originally armed with seven 7-inch (18 cm) rifled muzzle-loading guns, which were among the last of this type to be made at the Woolwich Gun Foundry. These sited at three main gun positions, including W battery containing two guns on 'C' pivots (rotating around a reused Georgian cannon set upright in the ground). Each gun weighed 7 tons and had a 30-pound (14 kg) charge of gunpowder able to fire a 112-pound (51 kg) Palliser shot at 1,560 feet (475 m) per second. This could pierce 8 inches (20 cm) of armour at 1,000 yards (910 m).  It was proposed to replace the 7-inch (18 cm) guns with larger 9-inch (23 cm) versions in 1888 but this was never put into action. It had a large, underground, main gunpowder magazine, 15 feet (4.5 m) by 18 feet (5.5 m) by 20 feet (6.1 m) high. The fort was staffed by 50 officers and men of the Coast Brigade, Royal Artillery, but no shots were ever fired in action.


The end of the fort's active service came at 5 am on July 6, 1900 when Gunner Haines fired a ball cartridge down a ventilator shaft into the No. 3 magazine which held 3 tons (3 tonnes) of gunpowder, causing the magazine to explode.  The wall separating the fort from the moat on the south west corner was demolished and wreckage thrown up to 200 yards (183 m).  No one knew why the gunner had blown up the fort, but it has been speculated that it was an act of suicide.  The cannons were hauled away by traction engines.


It was then used as a café, owned by the Hillman family from at least 1907 until sold in 1936 to the 'bird sanctuary people'.

Loch Achtriochtan, Glencoe, Scotland 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

Painted from a photograph, this watercolour reveals a moody looking Loch Achtriochtan in Glencoe, Scotland.


From Wikipedia:


Glen Coe is a glen in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the southern part of the Lochaber committee area of Highland Council, and was formerly part of the county of Argyll. It is often considered one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland, and is a part of the designated National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. The narrow glen shows a grim grandeur. The glen, approaching from the east on the main A82 road, is surrounded by wild and precipitous mountains. Further west at Invercoe, the landscape has a softer beauty before the main entrance to the glen. The main settlement is the village of Glencoe.


The River Coe — Ossian's "dark Cona" — rises at the north-eastern base of Buachaille Etive Beag and flows west along the glen, with dramatic waterfalls at the Pass of Glen Coe. It then runs through the small Loch Achtriochtan before it turns north west. It then passes through Glencoe village, shortly before flowing into the sea loch of Loch Leven (a salt-water arm of Loch Linnhe) at Invercoe. Loch Achtriochtan is Loch Trychardan (three friends or relatives) in Timothy Pont's map of the area.  In the glen to the east of Buachaille Etive Beag, the River Coupall runs north to the head of the glen, but it swings east round the Buachaille Etive Mòr to join the River Etive running south.

Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute, Scotland 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

This peaceful scene is a watercolour of Loch Awe in the Argyll and Bute
region of Scotland.

I'm trying some smaller format paintings at the moment in an effort to
paint outdoors less conspicuously. I'm also eager to do more urban
scenes and get more detail into the painting but still keep it loose.
Looking at my work, there's a danger of it all starting to look the
same. Someone made the comment over on YouTube that my work was all
very similar. The problem I find with making videos is you tend to stay
in your comfort zone as you're recording and are less likely to

From Wikipedia:

Loch Awe (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Obha) is a large body of water in Argyll
and Bute, Scotland. It has also given its name to a village on its
banks, variously known as Loch Awe, or Lochawe.

It is the third largest freshwater loch in Scotland with a surface area
of 38.5 square kilometres (14.9 square miles). It is the longest
freshwater loch in Scotland, measuring 41 kilometres (25.47 miles)from
end to end with an average width of 1 kilometre (0.62 miles).

The loch runs approximately south-west to north-east, roughly parallel
to the two sea lochs of Loch Etive and Loch Fyne. Via the River Awe and
Loch Etive it drains westward from its northern end and thus into the
Atlantic Ocean.

At the narrowest section of the loch are North Port (Taychreggan Hotel)
and South Port (Portsonachan Hotel). Once used by cattle drovers, a
ferry ran between these shores to facilitate crossing to markets beyond.
The Transatlantic Cable, which runs through the village of Kilchrenan,
was laid across at this point in 1955.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ironbridge 15" x 11" Watercolour Painting

This watercolour painting depicts a tranquil scene in Ironbridge, Shropshire
and was done as a commission. For the first time in an age I put the hake
to one side and used a round brush and my little Winsor and Newton painting
box. It was interesting using a different brush and trying to implement
techniques I'd normally employ with a hake.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ironbridge is a village on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge
Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in
the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Ironbridge developed beside, and takes
its name from, the famous Iron Bridge, a 30 metre (100 ft) cast iron bridge
that was built across the river there in 1779.

The area around Ironbridge is described by those promoting it as a tourist
destination as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution". This is a
falsehood based on the idea that Abraham Darby perfected the technique of
smelting iron with coke, in Coalbrookdale, allowing much cheaper production
of iron. However, the industrial revolution did not "begin" in one place,
but in many. The growth of railways, spinning machines, weaving and other
industrial inventions and activities were going on all over the country.
Smelting iron by Darby was but one small part of this generalised revolution
and was soon superseded by the great iron-smelting areas.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Big Ben, London 7" x 5" Watercolour Painting

I thought I'd try something different for a change.  Here's a view of Big Ben in London.  I thought I'd try a pen and wash technique.  I like the way you can suggest detail but still keep it very loose.

Original Paintings by Steven Cronin

Path to Storr, Isle of Skye 15" X 11" Watercolour Painting

I saw a photo of this scene on the Isle of Skye on the internet and thought it would make a good subject for a watercolour painting.
Original watercolour landscape paintings at

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