Hand Made Card

 

Hand Made Card by Alan Reed

Hand Made Cards

Today is our 26th Wedding Anniversary. Once again my main gift to Susan has been a Hand Made Card painted in watercolour. She now has quite a sizeable collection of cards that every so often we will browse through and reflect on. The card itself will often be of a place that we have visited in the past year and the words inside will pertain to that particular trip.

It’s not just Susan that receives a Hand Made Card by myself. Over the years I’ve given various family members and close friends this kind of gift which I know is really appreciated. Of course, what they are actually receiving is an original watercolour which is worth £300 to £500.

A Hand Made Card that captures a place or moment that is shared by a loved one is a wonderful way of celebrating a special anniversary, birthday or memory. They don’t have to be tucked away in a drawer. Framed up and hung on the wall, the Hand Made Card becomes a valued piece of artwork to cherish forever.

Hand Made Card Alan Reed

Hand Made Card of Venice

Last year my second grandson Harry was born. His Christmas present was a Hand Made Card painted in watercolour of the canal in Venice where his dad dropped his toy cars into the canal when he was a little boy living in Italy. Susan and I went to Venice last year with our son Oliver and his wife Sophie. We went to see the home where they used to live and I did a sketchbook watercolour of the scene. Inside I wrote inside the story which I know Harry will read when he grows up.

Someone once said that “LOVE” is spelt T-I-M-E. Spending time with someone, which is the most precious thing we have, is a wonderful way of expressing love. Commissioning a Hand Made Card or an original painting of a place or person that holds dear memories its another beautiful way of cherishing those times together.

If you would like to commission a small Hand Made Card or a larger original painting then please visit our website or call in to our Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Art Lessons for Children

Painting Lessons for Children Alan Reed

Painting Lesson for a Child

As Alan unpacked his paints and brushes, I’m sure the tension emanating from my mum was palpable, considering he was doing so right next to her brand-new sofa. Naturally, she was wondering how much mess a 3-year-old having their first painting lesson could truly make. The profound thinkers amongst us would probably say that the answer to that question was a lot, but Alan assured her that she had nothing to worry about.

I was that 3-year-old, and back in the early 2000s, Alan was bestowed with the task of teaching me how to paint. Even though this day was a long time ago, I remember it with total clarity which certainly attests to how much fun I had, being a child who loved her arts and crafts. Alan got out some paper and showed me different brush strokes and various ways in which I could mix paint to get different colours, all in a way which was understandable to me. He then asked me what I would like to paint. I pondered this for a while, as if it was a deep philosophical question, and finally revealed what would be my first masterpiece: a rainbow.

He then got out a canvas – I knew at this point that this painting lesson was a million times more exciting than anything I could do at nursery. I loved the lesson because instead of Alan dictating to me how to paint a rainbow, he allowed me to go wherever my developing artistic tendencies took me. Soon the rainbow was joined by a tree, and I started to fill in a deep blue sky. Being free to paint what I wanted, I asked Alan questions. He showed me how I could press the paint brush on the canvas in a certain way to put leaves on the tree, and helped me to mix the perfect shade of blue for my sky. It wasn’t all totally serious – Alan is very good at getting down with the kids, so to speak, and he was fun to talk to and made me laugh a lot. My mum talks about hearing me giggling throughout the lesson. She was also quite pleased to discover that her new sofa had been left unharmed. 

A painting lesson is not something that a lot of 3-year-olds get to experience, but I wish that more did. The lesson inspired a love of art and creating, and the little skills that Alan showed me that afternoon stayed with me with every painting I did, from nursery all the way up to my school years and beyond. He told me recently that he’s started giving drawing lessons to a 5-year-old from the local area. I’m thrilled that Alan is teaching children still, and I hope the next generation love his art lessons as much as I did.  

Guest writer Catriona McVey.

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Theatre Royal in Winter

New print Theatre Royal in Winter.

In 2008 I released one of my most successful limited edition prints titled “Theatre Royal in the Snow”. The appeal lay partly in the monochromatic colours that were punctuated by the little girl wearing the red coat. She is one of my granddaughters, braving the elements, holding her grandmother’s hand. It wasn’t the first time I’d captured this scene in watercolour. A few months earlier I painted a smaller A4 version as a Christmas card for the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.

A few years later I was commissioned to do another Christmas card which you can read about in an earlier blog post. This time it was for a local charity (who were called the Cyrenians) who work with vulnerable, disadvantaged and homeless people. They are now called Changing Lives. I re-painted the subject, changed some of the figures and altered the composition slightly.

In 2012 I published “Grey Street, Snow Shower” as a limited edition print which is now sold out.

Grey Street, Snow Shower limited edition print

Grey Street, Snow Shower

The feedback that I get from my customers is that the limited palette with the small dash of red really appeals as well as the subject matter itself, the Theatre Royal in Winter. Even though most of us don’t enjoy being out in cold wintery conditions, we seem to enjoy looking at paintings of winter from the warmth of our living rooms!

Due to popular demand I’ve decided to publish this version as a limited edition giclee print titled Theatre Royal in Winter. There are only 45 prints in the edition, available in several sizes from my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. The most requested size 495 x 345 mm image size is available online from alanreed.com

The original watercolour of the Theatre Royal in Winter can also be seen at our Gallery and forms part of our first Exhibition for 2019. Please telephone 01661 871 800 to make sure that we are open before setting out to visit. We look forward to seeing you.

 

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Painting Holiday, New Dates for 2019

Alan Reed Painting Holiday

Lago di Trasimeno

Painting Holiday, New Dates for 2019.

Our Painting Holiday for June 2019 is fully booked. We have now booked a second week for another Painting Holiday, New Dates for 2019 September 21st – 28th. Already the spaces are filling quickly.

Guests will once again have the opportunity to travel around Italy with Susan and I and learn how to capture in watercolour scenes of this beautiful country. The venue is the stunning Chiesa del Carmine, a delightful, ancient church that has been tastefully restored to the highest standards right in the heart of Umbria.

You will enjoy 5* luxury for 7 nights, where we will take you to picturesque hilltop towns and villages, make pizzas, wine tasting and much more. For some of our guests, 2019 will be their 5th and 6th time with us. Non painters are more than welcome and can join in with everything mentioned above, to walking, swimming in the heated pool or enjoy a round of golf at the championship course Antognolla.

 Painters from absolute beginners to advanced will have specialist tuition from myself where I draw on my 34 years professional teaching experience. Places like Perugia, Cortona, Gubbio, Lake Trasimeno, Montepulciano, Assisi, Spello, Montone and Todi are a delight to visit and to have a go at painting. Not only that, the grounds of Chiesa del Carmine and the Carmine estate offers plenty of inspiration with it’s vineyards and olive trees for those relaxing days painting in the warmth and tranquility of the countryside.
Alan Reed Painting Holiday

Sketchbook Watercolour of Montepulciano

Evenings are convivial gatherings, with pre-dinner drinks taken on the terrace, followed by a delicious gourmet Italian evening meal lovingly prepared by our own Italian chefs.
In 2017 we received this lovely review about the wine tasting from one of our guests who came again this year and booked up for 2019 as soon as she returned home. To find out more about our Painting Holiday, New Dates for 2019 September 21st – 28th please contact myself or Susan on 01661 871 800 or art@alanreed.com

This was our first Watercolour Painting Holiday, but not our first wine-tasting! This time, however, it was a very different experience. The invitation to accept this late addition to our itinerary for the week was inspired. What a wonderful way to begin the week after an easy day’s travelling. Instantly, Chiesa del Carmine became more than an exquisite place to stay. The wine-tasting experience, delivered on the terrace by a well-informed Isabella, transformed the venue into a living, organic establishment where the surrounding vines and olive groves were testament to produce of the highest quality. It felt as though we were enjoying a most intimate insight into the workings of a vineyard. Isabella made it so interesting and entertaining. She was charming and welcoming, keen to answer questions, and informed in her knowledge of the intricacies of the wines we tasted. A light buffet of Italian cheeses and meats complemented the occasion, and this was one which we would happily repeat should we be privileged to visit Chiesa de Carmine a second time.

 

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Diana’s Point

Alan Reed

Diana’s Point, Jebel Akhdar

Diana’s Point is named after Princess Diana of Wales who visited Jebel Akhdar with Prince Charles in November 1986.

We first went to Diana’s Point on Jebel Akhdar in Oman back in November 2007. The previous year I had received a number of commissions for a client in Oman depicting scenes around the Al Hajar Mountain range so I felt it would be important for me to visit this stunning landscape for myself. I was not wrong. Apart from the invaluable experience of being able to sketch there on location, six years later my large watercolour of Jebel Akhdar Won the Artist Prize in the Royal Watercolour Society. The winning painting is available as a limited edition print.

Earlier this year we watched a BBC programme on Amazing Hotels hosted by Giles Coren and Monica Galetti. One of the episodes featured the new Anantara Hotel built on the area where Susan and I had a picnic on some rocks back in 2007, long before the hotel was built!

The Anantara Hotel really does live up to the programme. Apart from the total luxury, fantastic food and infinity pool, they have an amazing viewing area called Diana’s Point that overlooks the dramatic canyon below. Early in the morning you can watch the sun catching the jagged mountains. In the evening you can watch the sun disappear behind the horizon.

I did several sketchbook watercolours, some early morning, others at sunset. This A4 size watercolour on handmade paper forms part of my Christmas Exhibition at our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting on the weekend of the 24th & 25th November 9:30 – 5pm.

I’ve made a short, one minute time lapse video which you can see on YouTube that shows the main part of the painting process. On the left hand side of the screen you can see one of my sketchbook watercolours painted late afternoon.

 

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Our Christmas Exhibition

Alan Reed

Razah Dancing, Sur in Oman

Our Christmas Exhibition starts on the weekend of the 24th & 25th November 9:30 – 5pm.

I’ve now been a full time artist for 34 years! It’s been quite a journey, one which I’ve shared with many who have become an important part of my story as an artist.

2018 has been a landmark year as it was our 25th wedding anniversary in February. Although Susan became my business partner in 1995, her influence on my work really started eighteen months into our relationship when she introduced me to Venice in June 1991. It was only fitting to squeeze a short trip to Venice in September this year to recall and share our memories with our son Oliver and his wife Sophie. Some of my Venetian paintings will be on display for Our Christmas Exhibition.

For over 10 years I have received many interesting painting commissions from a number of clients in Oman. Another request came in over the summer months so we needed to travel to Oman to get further reference of this fascinating country. It was lovely to catch up with many of the friends we have made there over the years.

On a previous blog post I talked about a zip wire jump I did for a charity called Junction 42. It’s an amazing Christian charity that works with offenders and ex-offenders. In March this year I started doing some part time work for them, working mainly as a Job Coach helping ex-offenders to find employment.

I’ve also been inside several prisons delivering portrait drawing workshops to the inmates. It’s very different work to painting scenes of Oman or running Painting Holidays in Italy but I’m finding it very stimulating and rewarding.

Our Painting Holiday in Umbria, Italy was another success with most of the guests booking again for 2019. Demand means we’ve added new dates for the 21st – 28th September 2019.

It’s been a very busy and eventful year with all of the above and much more! Susan and I would love to share some of our stories with you at Our Christmas Exhibition starting on the weekend of the 24th & 25th November, 9:30 – 5pm.

We really hope you can make it. There will be lots of new paintings to see too!

 

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Tyne Bridge

Tyne Bridge Alan Reed

Tyne Bridge

It’s not often that I post photographs of my paintings that are unfinished however I’m so pleased with the progress of this new oil painting of the Tyne Bridge that I couldn’t resist sharing the current status.

Last week the Tyne Bridge was deservedly upgraded to Grade II* listed. For many it is symbolic of the North East, representing the industry, design and creativity that the region is known for. Indeed, these are all themes that the Great Exhibition of the North have been showcasing over the summer months around Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

I have painted the Tyne Bridge many times since I was an art student in the early 1980’s but this is the first time I’ve tackled it on this scale. The painting is more than 1.5 meters in width and the main points of interest, the Tyne Bridge, the Millennium Bridge and the Sage are coated in 22ct Gold Leaf.   

Although there are still a few areas to complete and details to add, the painting is already starting to take shape. The Gold Leaf means that depending on the lighting conditions of the room, the areas that are gold really add depth and intrigue to the painting.

Last week I posted a photograph on LinkedIn of my first limited edition print of the Tyne Bridge taken from the former Gateshead Multi Storey Car Park. You can read about it here on an older blog post. It received some very kind and complimentary comments so I look forward to hearing what folk have to say.

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Painting an Olive Tree

Painting an Olive Tree

Sketchbook Watercolour Painted in Umbria

One of the subjects I often get our guests on our Painting Holidays to have a go at is Painting an Olive Tree.

The grounds of Chiesa del Carmine are full of them. They are not too difficult to draw compared to other subjects so it’s relatively easy for the guests to spend a couple hours sketching to come up with a result they are pleased with.

On our last Painting Holiday in June this year I made a video of me Painting an Olive Tree. It was a small sketchbook watercolour painted in one of the leather bound sketchbooks that I’ve made containing some quite heavily textured watercolour paper.

Over the years I’ve often worked my sketchbook watercolours of olive trees into larger Studio paintings, making sure that I retain the spontaneity of the original study.

My interest in olive trees began when we first visited Umbria, Italy in 2002. I’d purchased some delightful leather bound sketchbooks from the Fabriano Paper Factory in the Marche region of Italy. I couldn’t wait to christen them with some watercolours and began by painting various scenes around the hotel we were staying. This was the start of a new creative process for me, painting directly with a brush onto hand made watercolour paper with no preparatory drawing in pencil.  Of course I’d painted on location in watercolour many times before, but it had always been on watercolour blocks. Also this was the first time I had not drawn out the scene before hand in pencil. I now have numerous leather-bound sketchbooks containing a wonderful record of our travels both here in the UK and overseas.

Throughout the months of July and August I am displaying my sketchbooks at our Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. Recently a couple of our guests who had been on two Painting Holidays with us, commissioned a watercolour inspired by one of my sketchbook studies. The subject was Perugia, one of the places we had taken them to. They wanted a painting to remind them of the lovely holidays they had been on. They have also re-booked for 2019 which means that our week in June 2019 is fully booked.

Please feel free to visit our gallery to look through my sketchbooks to see if there is something I’ve painted that reminds you of that special place that you have fond memories of. Best to telephone 01661 871 800 first to make sure we’re open.

 

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Great North Exhibition 2018

 

Great North Exhibition 2018

Grey’s Monument, Newcastle

 

The Great North Exhibition 2018 started at Newcastle’s spectacular quayside on the evening of Friday 22nd June. It heralded the start of 80 days of brilliant events, activities, performances and exhibitions celebrating art, design and innovation. I was unable to attend the launch however when I turned up to the Junction 42 offices this morning in Newcastle I couldn’t help but notice the brightly coloured banners bathed in early morning sunshine that were wrapped around Greys Monument.

The banners contain declarations like “no starving children” and “abolition of privilege”.

Great North Exhibition 2018 is a celebration of the North of England’s pioneering spirit which has three starting points, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, the Sage Gateshead and the Great North Museum. These starting points also include the Get North Water Sculpture and the Discovery Museum which has Stephenson’s Rocket.

Starting on 30th June at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland, I will be embracing the Great North Exhibition 2018 theme of celebrating art, design and design by exhibiting some of my finest paintings.  I will also be describing to visitors my creative process which will include a tactile display of my leather bound hand made sketchbooks.

 

Great North Exhibition 2018

Leather Bound Sketchbooks

 

The pages of the sketchbooks record many of my painting travels, not just around the region but overseas in countries like Italy and Oman. Without doubt, these “en plein air” studies in watercolour are amongst my most precious possessions and are the catalyst for many of my studio paintings. Just last week a couple who have been on two of our painting holidays in Italy commissioned a watercolour of Perugia from one of my sketchbook watercolours of the Umbrian town.

My Summer Exhibition also includes recent oil paintings of the Angel of the North and the Tyne Bridge which have been embellished with 22 ct gold leaf and take on a different look and feel depending on the light.

If you would like to come and see the exhibition and look at the sketchbooks then it is best to contact first to make sure we are open.

 

 

 

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Painting Piano Grande

Painting Piano Grande Alan Reed

Castelluccio and Piano Grande

I was Painting Piano Grande for the first time in September 2004. I’d seen spectacular photographs of colourful flowers growing in this vast plateau in the Sibillini mountains and hoped to capture them in watercolour. Of course it was completely the wrong time of year! I needed to return in late spring, early summer.

In May we decided to see if Piano Grande could be a day trip for our Painting Holiday Guests. We’d booked two nights at Agriturismo “Il Casale degli Amici” just outside of Norcia. We found it was well located, just a few minutes drive from Norcia and 45 minutes drive from Castelluccio.

Norcia, Castelluccio and Piano Grande

Nothing could prepare us for the devastation we saw in Norcia. Susan and I were woken from our sleep when the earthquake struck just after 3:30am on the 24th August 2016. We were staying more than 50 miles away near Chiesa del Carmine. The epicentre was south east of Norcia and left 297 dead from the villages of Accumoli, Amatrice and Arquato del Tronto. We’d heard that Norcia had been hit by another earthquake on the 30th October 2016 and the damage was plain to see.

When we walked into Norcia, renowned for shops selling amazing local produce, we could see many that had closed down. A young man selling wild boar salamis and cheeses welcomed us to try them. They were delicious and a few minutes later we’d made a significant purchase!

It was so sad to see scaffolding surrounding the devastated church and many other buildings effected by the earthquakes. I remember writing about the shop signage below on a previous blog post. Tragically it is now closed.

Painting Piano Grande Alan Reed

A Shop in Norcia

Shop Sign, Norcia, Umbria

Great Signage, Norcia, Umbria

Painting Piano Grande

After an amazing evening meal at “Il Casale degli Amici” and a great nights sleep, we set off for Piano Grande. The drive took us a little longer than usual because of damage to the roads. Several sets of traffic lights where the road was one lane held us up. The drive was spectacular, taking us through the rain clouds into bright sunshine where we were looking down onto the clouds.

We had to wait until noon to actually drive down into Piano Grande and Castelluccio because the road was closed for workmen repairing the road. This was not a problem for me. Painting Piano Grande was on my radar! Even though we’d seen poppies growing around Orvieto and Montefalco on our way, it was still too early here.

Painting Piano Grande Alan Reed

Sketchbook watercolour of Piano Grande

 

Painting Piano Grande

Painting Piano Grande

I had plenty of time to capture the few patches of snow on the Sibillini Mountains surrounding Piano Grande and the vast plateau where wonderful lentils are grown in the summer. When the road opened we had an hour to drive into Castelluccio which is sadly now a ghost town because of the earthquake. It’s going to take a while for Castelluccio to become inhabited again. It’s such a place of outstanding beauty I pray that it receives all the help it needs become a tourist destination, along with Norcia too.

 

 

 

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