Alan Reed Winner of the Circus Prize 2011

The Circus, Bath, Early Morning

The Circus, Bath, Early Morning

Early this morning I received an email to say I had won the category for the best painting of the Circus in the Bath Prize 2011. In 2010 I came 1st runner up in the Bath Painting Prize with my watercolour of The Royal Crescent. Spurred on by this success, I decided to enter the competition again this year which had several new categories for artists to paint, one of which was the best painting of the Circus. To enter, one had to paint a scene “plein air” of a specific location in Bath given to each artist by the organisers. My location to paint was Kingsmead Square, so in August, Susan and I went to Bath for a couple of days for me to paint on location and to get reference of the other scenes I wanted to paint. Unfortunately it rained for much of the time, so my plein air painting was executed under the shelter of an umbrella, however on the morning of our departure, the bad weather lifted and I was able to spend some time to get the reference I needed to do the winning painting of the Circus.

I decided to do this scene in the same landscape format as last years painting of the Royal Crescent to emphasise the curve of the architecture. After drawing the main composition in pencil, I put down some base washes of yellow and rose madder to set the tone for the distinctive honey colouring of the stonework and sky. Like the Royal Crescent, The Circus is constructed from Bath stone, a Limestone comprising granular fragments of calcium carbonate.

As one is painting, a deeper appreciation of the thinking behind the classic Georgian architecture is formed. Wood’s inspiration was in fact the Roman Colosseum, another great piece of architecture I have painted, both from the inside and out. The Colosseum was designed to be seen from the outside, whereas the Circus faces inwardly. Work began in 1754 and completed in 1768. Sadly, Wood died less than 3 months after the first stone was laid. His son, John Wood the Younger completed the scheme to his father’s design.

Next came the time consuming task of painting the windows and columns. The Circus (Latin for ring, oval or circle) consists of 3 storey townhouses with a mansard roof. Three classical orders are used, Greek Doric, Roman/Composit and Corinthian, one on top of the other.

The danger when doing detail of this nature is to make it too tight and photographic. A camera can do a better job than the artist of capturing detail. I wanted to retain the freshness of the location sketchbook watercolours I had painted of the Circus, so I kept my leather bound sketchbook open in front of me at all times as a constant reminder. The result was a winning painting, an original watercolour capturing the early morning summer sunlight warming up the classical Georgian architecture.

The paintings entered for the competition can be seen at the Octagon, Milsom Place, Bath from 21st -27th October 10am-5pm (Sunday 12noon-4pm). An auction sale of Bath Prize paintings will take place at the Guildhall, High Street, Bath on Friday 28th October, starting at 7pm.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About alan

British artist Alan Reed, was born in Corbridge in the North of England into a family with a history of painting. "I have been passionate about painting all my life and committed to helping others through my paintings". Alan trained as an illustrator / graphic designer in the North of England and spent the early part of his career doing artist impressions of new building projects for architects. Alan Reed specialises in landscapes, cityscapes and portraits both in watercolours and oils. His unique, fluid style captures the atmosphere of different settings from the drama of city life to the serenity and beauty of a rural landscape. Alan Reed has had many successful exhibitions both in the UK and abroad including those at the Mall Galleries in London, Malcolm Innes Gallery in Edinburgh, Italy, the USA and the Middle East and has been a regular exhibitor of rowing scenes in the Stewards’ Enclosure at the Henley Royal Regatta. 2013 Winner of "The Artist's Prize" in the Royal Watercolour Society Competition 2013 with his painting "Jebel Akhdar, Oman". The painting was exhibited at the Bankside Gallery, London.   2011 Alan Reed - Winner of the "Circus Painting Prize" in the Bath Prize. Alan Reed's painting of  “Pump Room in the Snow” was highly commended in the Bath Prize. 2011 Alan Reed - One of the finals with his painting of "Grey Street" in the "Show me the Monet" programme shown on BBC2. 2010 Alan Reed - 1st runner up in "The Bath Prize" with his original painting of "The Royal Crescent, Bath". Alan Reed's painting of the "The Roman Baths by Torchlight" was also highly commended in the Bath Prize. Artist Alan Reed's approach to painting is described in a book
entitled "Landscapes in Watercolour" by Theodora Philcox, an inspirational book which features the work of 23 leading watercolourists from around the world. The Middle East is an area to which Alan has given his artistic attention thanks to a series of ongoing commissions for the government of Oman. Alan’s work has become increasingly collectable and is widely represented internationally through private and corporate commissions including those for Royalty, Coutts Bank, Rolls Royce, Northern Rock PLC, several client’s private and corporate properties both in the UK and worldwide. We supply to Interior designers, Cruise ships, Corporate companies and galleries providing the perfect solution to meet all your needs. Portraits, Gift Vouchers, Sherree V-Daines, Sketchbook, Reviews, Painting Tips and Paintings for the Queen Worldwide Shipping
Tim Sokell says:

Well done Alan….fantastic piece of work, as usual!

It is good to hear how you come to create a painting and set to it. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your success.

Brilliant Piece! Congratulations!!!

alan says:

Cheers, I appreciate that. Hope you are well and keeping busy with your paintings.
Very best wishes.

Judith says:

The painting looked grand when I visited the exhibition today, although I think the snow scene at the Pump Room was slightly better placed and lit! Congratulations on the award-very well deserved.

alan says:

Thank you Judith. I wish I had been able to get down for the exhibition to see all the paintings.