Watercolour Tips

Favourite Artists

Watercolour Artists

I’m currently running a 6 week watercolour painting course at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland. One of my top Watercolour Tips is to study the work of some of the great watercolourists.

There are a some terrific books available which are a “must buy” for anyone wishing to develop their watercolour skills.

Starting with Watercolour by Rowland Hilder is the first book on painting that I really took note of. Not only does it contain some great watercolour advice but also some good, simple examples of basic drawing principles like perspective, vanishing points and eye levels.

Another great book by Rowland Hilder is Painting Landscapes in Watercolour. It has a good number of paintings reproduced in stages from the start to completion. This is really helpful if you want to have a go at copying them. Copying paintings is a discipline which I totally endorse as part of the learning process.

One of the finest watercolorists is the American Winslow Homer. His watercolours are breathtakingly beautiful. A book by Helen A. Cooper on his watercolours will be a constant inspiration to anyone who loves this medium.

In June I saw a couple of brilliant exhibitions of Edward Seago paintings in London. One of the exhibitions at the Portland Gallery was to coincide with a new book on Edward Seago by James Russell. It’s certainly worth getting if you like his work. Another book to add to your Christmas list (which contains some larger plates of Seago watercolours) is Edward Seago by Ron Ranson.

For more Watercolour Tips you need look no further than John Singer Sargent. The recent book John Singer Sargent Watercolours which was launched in conjunction with a major exhibition of his watercolours in New York and Boston in 2013 is another inspirational book.

There are many other books on the market which I could recommend. These however, are amongst my favourites.

Some of the links on this post is are affiliate links to books which I personally read, available from Amazon. If you click on any of the links and buy the product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself. 

 

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Bill Quay

Watercolour Painting of River Tyne

Original Watercolour of Bill Quay

Several months ago I received an enquiry about taking on a commission to do a watercolour painting of Bill Quay. The painting was to be a “thank you” present from a lady to give to her parents as she was getting married in the summer.

Bill Quay on the River Tyne holds special personal memories for the family. We discussed a specific size that would fit with her budget and I went one evening to Bill Quay to do a small sketchbook watercolour of the scene that the client had in mind.

Over the years I’ve painted many views of the River Tyne including North Shields, Fishing. I had a good idea of what would work for this particular painting.

The client approved the sketch so I was able to commence on the finished 14″ x 10″ watercolour, painted on an Arches Watercolour Block. Once again, the painting received the “thumbs up” from the client so all that needed to be done was to organise the framing and delivery.

We offer a bespoke framing service at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland where we have a comprehensive range of framing and mount options and I have over 30 years experience in helping customers choose the right frame and mount for a painting. I thought it would be nice to feature the client’s response to the commission.

“Just to let you know I have given the painting of Bill Quay to my parents today. It was also the first time I have seen it. Needless to say there were lots of tears! They were so pleased they have made sure everyone has seen it who is here today at the family barbecue.  I can’t thank you enough, its absolutley brilliant and the mounting and frame is just fantastic. They have said they will put a review on the website and of course I will as well. Thank you again, its just everything and more.” L.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to an Arches Watercolour Block, a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

 

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Bomber Command Memorial

Charcoal Sketch in Moleskine Sketchbook

Charcoal Sketch of Bomber Command Memorial

I went to see a couple of fine Edward Seago exhibitions in London recently. More on that later. Whilst on my travels around the city I decided to have a look at the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park.

It commemorates the aircrews of RAF Bomber Command who embarked on missions during the Second World War. The Bomber Command Memorial was built to mark the sacrifice of 55,573 aircrew from Britain, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries of the Commonwealth as well as civilians of all nations killed during the air raids. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth officially opened the memorial on 28 June 2012.

On arrival I was immediately impressed by the scale of the 7 crew members depicted in the memorial and the detail of the flying uniform rendered in the sculpture. Many of the larger bombers like the Lancaster had a crew of 7 so it was only fitting to show a full crew.

I began by doing an A5 sketchbook watercolour. Whilst I was painting it, a retired pilot came alongside to watch me paint. It turned out that his father used to fly Lancaster Bombers during the war.

The Bomber Command Memorial has been designed in such a way that one cannot see all the crew members at once. You have to move about to see them all. I suppose that it could signify that the crew members were spread about the aircraft from the nose to the tail of the plane.

I decided to return to the Memorial the following day when I produced another watercolour sketch and a couple of charcoal pencil drawings in my Moleskine Sketchbook. One of the figures reminded me of my Great Uncle Ronnie who was a flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers.

Many of my sketchbook studies can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland as part of the Art Tour 2014.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a Moleskine sketchbook, a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself. 

 

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Painting Holidays in Italy

Sketchbook Watercolour of Chiesa del Carmine

Sketchbook Watercolour of Chiesa del Carmine

Chiesa del Carmine

Watercolour Painting of Chiesa del Carmine 

Painting Holidays in Italy are becoming increasingly popular. Following the success of our painting holiday in Umbria in May 2014 at Villa Capanne we have now booked up a slightly larger accommodation which sleeps 14 guests, Chiesa del Carmine.

I first stumbled upon this building back in 2004 when it was a derelict church in ruins. Most of the ground floor was buried underground and the roof had collapsed. The bell tower was intact. Although in a sorry state, it was still very paintable so I did a little sketchbook watercolour which you can see above.

During our last Painting Holiday in Italy we were able to see Chiesa del Carmine in its restored state. All our guests were suitable impressed with the very high standard of restoration. The church has its own kitchen, dinning room and reception room which has a grand piano. One of our guests treated us to a wonderful rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” which was a delight.

Six of our previous guests have already booked up for May 2015. There are currently 4 more places available.

I returned a few days later with one of the painting guests so that we could do a watercolour each of the Chiesa del Carmine from a nearby vineyard which you can see above, painted on an Arches Watercolour Block.

There are lots of other amazing views to paint within a short walking distance of the church which will be a joy to anyone who loves to paint “en plein air”.

You can see a recent newsletter about the May 2015 Painting Holidays in Italy by clicking on the link. Should you be interested in finding out more then please email alan@alanreed.com or telephone 01661 871 800.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself. 

 

 

 

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The Art Tour

Logo for Art Tour 2014

The Art Tour 2014

Network Artist Alan Reed Studio

Artist Alan Reed in Studio

Selection of Alan Reed Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks painted on location

The Network Artists North East annual Art Tour begins this weekend.

This ever popular event, now in its 19th year, gives you the opportunity to meet artists from around the North East who are opening up their studios for The Art Tour.

This year I’ve decided to display many of my sketchbooks which contain numerous watercolours painted on location. These “en plein air” studies document my travels to all kinds of paintable places including the UK, Italy, the USA and Oman.

Customers will be able to browse through the sketchbooks and can commission a painting based on one of these studies.

Also on display will be a selection of original paintings and limited edition prints.

Paintings include views of  Northumberland and Newcastle throughout the seasons. I’ll also have on display some of the watercolours painted in Arches Watercolour Blocks on location from the recent painting holiday in Umbria, Italy.

For those folk interested in the Middle East, there will be paintings and prints of Oman and some copies of my limited edition Sketchbook of Oman.

I’m currently working on a number of portraits in oil paints on aluminium for City Church Newcastle, to hang in the atrium of The CastleGate so some of these paintings will be on display. As part of the Art Tour I will be showing the painting process involved in painting on aluminium, from priming the metal through to tinting the oil paint base.

The Studio and Gallery is near Dobbies Garden Centre on the A696 on the way into Ponteland.

Apart from The Art Tour we are usually open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5pm.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself. 

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Painting Holiday in Italy

Painting of Olive Trees on Location

Watercolour of Olive Trees, Villa Capanne

We’ve just returned from a weeks Painting Holiday in Italy where we took 10 guests to stay at the luxury accommodation Villa Capanne in northern Umbria.

Whilst five of the guests were producing paintings of Italy, the others were happy to enjoy the visits to nearby towns such as Cortona, Assisi, Spello and Perugia and of course to sample the local food and wine. One of the guests enjoyed several rounds of golf at the Antognolla championship course.

To help the students with their painting “en plein air” I like to lead by example, so I did a number of watercolours in my leather-bound sketchbook and on Arches Watercolour Blocks.

Above is one of several watercolours I painted of the olive trees that grace the gardens of Villa Capanne. The whole trip was such a success that we have planned a second painting holiday in Italy for 30th August – 6th September 2014.

For more information you can download a brochure for our painting holiday in Umbria.

“Thanks to Alan & Susan Reed for an amazing week’s painting holiday in Italy. Food, scenery, everything exceeded expectations! 5* would not do the week justice!! Made some lovely new friends! Thoroughly recommend it when they do their next one – but be warned – Alan can be a hard task master (in our own interest!!)”.

Mr A. Rapley

 

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

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Hareshaw Linn

Hareshaw Linn, Bellingham

Hareshaw Linn Waterfall

Hareshaw Linn, Bellingham

Sketchbook Study of Hareshaw Linn

Hareshaw Linn painting

14″ x 10″ watercolour of Hareshaw Linn

In April I was asked to do a watercolour demonstration for a painting/writing club who were having a weekend away together in Bellingham. On the Saturday I went out with the group to paint various scenes of the local area. I’d read about Hareshaw Linn in the hotel guide book so I decided to make it my first port of call.

I decided to do several watercolour studies of the waterfall at Hareshaw Linn which is about 2 miles walk outside of Bellingham. The walk is lovely and the waterfall quite spectacular, especially after the heavy rain we’d had the night before. In total I did two sketchbook studies and two watercolours on Arches blocks.

You can see in the first photograph my improvised studio (a moss covered rock) which gave me a standing position to paint from. The second photograph is my sketchbook. The third is my larger watercolour painted on the Arches Block. By the time I’d finished there was no time to start on anything else!

All the paintings were made without any preliminary pencil work which enabled me to paint very directly onto the paper with a size 20 brush. The paintings can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

Since this weekend  away I’ve painted a larger watercolour of Hareshaw Linn using the studies made on location. I’ve kept the palette the same and tried to avoid getting into complicated detail, maintaining the freshness of the “en plein air” watercolours.

 

 

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Painting Holiday in Umbria

Watercolour of Perugia

Sketchbook Watercolour of Perugia, Umbria

We’ve just returned from a weeks painting holiday in Umbria, Italy where we took 10 guests to stay at the luxury accommodation Villa Capanne.

Five of the guests were painting, the others were happy to enjoy the visits to nearby towns such as Cortona, Assisi, Spello and Perugia and of course to sample the local food and wine. To help the students with their painting “en plein air” I like to lead by example, so I did a number of watercolours in my leather-bound sketchbook and on Arches Watercolour Blocks.

Above is one of two sketchbook watercolours I painted on our visit to Perugia.

Quote from one of our guests: “Thanks to Alan & Susan Reed for an amazing week’s painting holiday in Italy. Food, scenery, everything exceeded expectations! 5* would not do the week justice!! Made some lovely new friends! Thoroughly recommend it when they do their next one – but be warned – Alan can be a hard task master (in our own interest!!).”

Mr A. Rapley

The next painting holiday in Umbria is  scheduled for 30th August – 6th September 2014 with another one planned for May 2015.

For more information about the Painting Holiday in Umbria and to request a brochure for September 2014 please email alan@alanreed.com 

To see more paintings of Italy visit my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland, Northumberland or visit alanreed.com

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Temple of Aphaea Painting

Temple of Aphaea

Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

In my previous blog post I wrote about a small 14″ x 10″ original watercolour which I painted on an Arches Watercolour Block as part of a demonstration for a local art club.

Here is a larger image of the painting so you can see in detail how I have broken down the reference photograph into three distinct areas of foreground, middle distance and background.

Even though the ruined temple of Aphaea is very much in the middle distance, it remains the focal point of the painting due to the darker, cool foreground and the pale, warm colours of the sky.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

 

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Temple of Aphaea – A Daily Sketch

Watercolour of Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

In 1999 we had a week on the Greek Island of Aegina. Whilst exploring the island I came across the ruined Temple of Aphaea and made some studies.

Last weekend I was doing a watercolour demonstration for a local art club. As part of my demonstration, I started a small watercolour on a 14″ x 10″ Arches watercolour block based on the reference I gathered on that trip.

Notice also the smaller study made in the moleskine sketchbook that was painted directly onto the paper without any pencil preparation.

Some of the links on this post are affiliate links to products which I personally use available from Amazon. If you click on the links and buy any of these products then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

 

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