Jesmond Dene Painting

Jesmond Dene in Winter

Jesmond Dene in Winter Painting

My 30th Anniversary Christmas Party starts on the weekend of 15th-16th November. It’s one of several events we’re organising over the following year to celebrate my 30 years as a full time artist.

The featured painting on my invitation is Jesmond Dene in Winter. The original watercolour has already been sold, however I’ve decided to publish the painting as a limited edition giclee print with only 30 prints in the edition.

I’ve also reproduced the Jesmond Dene Painting as a Christmas Card which is available online in packs of 5 and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

The Jesmond Dene Painting was inspired by an afternoons sledging with my grandchildren one winter in Jesmond Dene. I managed a small sketchbook watercolour before the light faded and took a number of photographs which I used to compose the painting. Already, I’ve had a number of customers contacting me saying that the painting reminds them of times they have spent sledging with their own children.

The exhibition which runs until 24th December includes a number of new paintings including scenes of Newcastle, Northumberland, Scotland, Italy and the Middle East.

As a special thank you to the customers who have supported Alan Reed Art over the last 30 years, there will a Christmas present for the party guests attending the weekend preview. There will also be a Christmas Bran Tub along with festive refreshments!

If you are unable to attend the Christmas Exhibition Party but would like to be informed of future events please subscribe to our newsletter which we usually send out once a month.

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Artists and Illustrators

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman Painting

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman

On Friday I received a phone call from Artists and Illustrators Magazine to say that I’d been shortlisted as one of 50 artists for their competition “Artist of the Year 2014″ with my original watercolour “Last Light, Ruwi, Oman”. I was delighted with the news as there were over 3,000 entries.

The winner will be announced in the December issue of the magazine which comes out on the 7th November. There will be an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London 6th-17th January of the shortlisted entries.

My studio watercolour of Ruwi in Oman is the result of spending many hours making sketchbook studies on location in Oman. I’ve often risen when it was still dark to make sure I was in the right spot to capture the early morning light, however on this occasion it was a case of being in the right place to record the last throws of the middle eastern sunlight catching the distant hills.

The district of Ruwi can be seen nestling in the surrounding foothills with its white architecture coated in cool shadows. I’ve used a limited palate of Winsor and Newton watercolours on a very rough handmade paper to create a distinct contrast between the dark purple, craggy hills and the lighter crisp edges of the buildings.

I’ve now been painting scenes of Oman for 8 years for various clients in Oman. In 2013 I was thrilled to receive “The Artists prize” for the Royal Watercolour Society Competition from The Artists Magazine. My winning painting on that occasion was Jebel Akhdar, Oman which is currently on view at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

The links on this post are affiliate links to products which I personally use. 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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30th Anniversary

Artist Alan Reed 1984 Press release

Artist Alan Reed 1984

On the first of October 1984 a young budding artist called Alan Reed took the plunge to go self employed as a full time artist through the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, an initiative set up by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government which gave a guaranteed income of £40 a week to unemployed people who set up their own business. Over 350,000 individuals were funded through the scheme including artist Tracy Emin and the founders of Viz Magazine.

I remember the build up to going Self Employed very vividly. I recall that I’d been working on a one year contract at the Hancock Museum painting the backdrop for a huge display called Abel’s Ark. When the contract ended I was unemployed for several months so I decided to work towards an exhibition of some new paintings to be exhibited in an art gallery in Rothbury. The local press picked up on the story. I’d managed to save a £1000 to put in a new business account which meant I qualified to receive the £40 a week for a year. This was a massive help in getting started on 1st October 1984.

Those early years in business were also aided by a part time income from lecturing at Derwentside Technical College in Consett where I taught graphic design and illustration. Much has happened since then which I will be writing about over the next few months to record my travels and life as an artist.

It’s incredible to think that I’m now celebrating my 30th Anniversary in business. Where have the years gone? And where did the hair go?

To celebrate my 30th Anniversary I will be holding a number of exhibitions over the next 12 months. Here are a couple of dates to put in your diary:

13th November Portraits of City Church Members to be launched at The CastleGate, Newcastle.

15th November 30th Anniversary Christmas Party at my Studio & Gallery, Ponteland.

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City Church Portraits

Sight Size Painting

Oil Painting Portrait of Sola Idowu

Over the last 12 months I have been working on a painting project for City Church Newcastle which meets at the CastleGate, Melbourne Street, Newcastle.

In the summer of 2013 I was approached by Ed Morrow (who manages the CastleGate) asking my advice about what kind of artwork would look good in the new atrium which would reflect the vision of the church.

My wife Susan and I have been members of City Church since it’s beginning. Our vision is that we will be a church of thousands, a community full of people from every nation. My suggestion was that I painted a number of portraits of church members of different ages, races and stages of life that represented the church family.

I started the first one in October 2013 with several sittings of Adrian Smith. The Portraits have been painted in oils on aluminium panels for Health and Safety reasons. They have to be prepared first with emery paper then primed using an Etch Primer. I then paint several coats of an oil paint primer before tinting each panel to a neutral tint. It’s at that point I can begin a series of sittings, painting from life.

I have used photography as an aid to make sure that the proportions are correct. With the exception of the children I’ve painted 90% of the painting work is from life, painting from observation.

Most of my 30 year professional career has been spent painting landscapes, cityscapes and seascapes in watercolour throughout the North East, Scotland, UK, Italy and the Middle East. I’ve learned many years ago when to finish a painting in watercolour, the danger of overworking it being a real possibility. Once you overdo it, there’s no going back with watercolour!

With oil painting, it’s quite different. You can always see little details to fiddle on with to keep trying to improve the portrait. If you make a mistake, you simply correct it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to painting so I needed a justifiable reason to stop each portrait. All christians are a work in progress, none of us will achieve perfection until the day we are united with Jesus Christ. I’ve deliberately decided to have some of the portraits “unfinished”. This is a random choice and not any reflection on anyone’s spirituality!

The plan at this point in time is to have a launch later on in the autumn when the portraits will be hung in the atrium to coincide with a “Vision Sunday” for the church.

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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 5 * luxury accommodation for 9th-16th May 2015 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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