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Morgan Sports Car

Gouache Poster

Morgan Car Poster

My father and I have always been fans of classic cars. When I was in my teens my father ordered a new 4/4 4 seater Morgan sports car which became our family car until my brother and sister and I grew too big to fit in the snug back seat!

Whilst waiting for delivery for this wonderful hand built car, (which took several years) my dad created this gouache design of a Morgan Sports car painted in an art deco poster style.

He has recently reproduced it as a signed lithographic print which is available from my website www.alanreed.com

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The Kiss

The Kiss by Rodin

Charcoal Sketch of Rodin’s The Kiss

 

I’d heard the Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Kiss is currently on display in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities. I’ve been painting its stunning architecture and famous streets for over 20 years, producing over a dozen limited edition prints of Auld Reekie. Last week I was dropping off some paintings at a gallery nearby so I couldn’t resist popping in to the National Gallery to see some truly engaging art. There’s too much to see in less than two hours so I restricted myself to making three charcoal sketches in my moleskine sketchbook.

After a brief date with the lovely Lady Agnew by John Singer Sargent and a quick hello to one of Rembrant’s later self portraits (both recorded in my sketchbook) I decided to make another charcoal drawing of Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Kiss”. I had already made several studies earlier on this year which I used to produce a larger watercolour available as a limited edition print.

If you haven’t been to the National Gallery recently then it’s well worth a visit and if your’e an artist, make sure you take your sketchbook!

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Sketchbook Tip – Painting “Plein Air”

plein air painting

Sketchbook Watercolour of Burnham Overy Mill

I’ve enjoyed a couple of very enjoyable painting trips using my Sketchbook in Norfolk in recent years following in the footsteps of one of my painting heroes Edward Seago who lived and painted around Norfolk. For those of you who are interested in landscape painting, there are some excellent books available about this immensely gifted and popular artist whose exhibitions would sell out within hours.

I’ve made several studies of Burnham Overy Mill on these trips. Whilst I was painting the one above, I also did a larger 14″ x 10″ on an Arches 140lb watercolour block whilst the washes were drying in the sketchbook which you can see on my website alanreed.com

I would keep reverting back to the sketchbook study and back again to the watercolour block. I also did another watercolour in my moleskine sketchbook.

It’s a useful “plein air” painting tip to employ for several reasons:

You can generally get twice as much done in the same amount of time whilst you are waiting for paint to dry.

The scene is usually a changing one because of the sky and cloud formations.

You will become more visually aware of your subject.

You will have something to refer back to in your sketchbook if you sell your other painting.

Next time you’re painting “plein air” in watercolour, try painting two of the same scene. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent's Painting sells for $5 Million

John Singer Sargent’s “Marionettes”

John Singer Sargent paintings are still hugely popular. The American Art sale auction yesterday in New York showed the continued strength of the market as it succeeded in surpassing its presale high estimate for the third consecutive time. Norman Rockwell works proved as popular as ever with all six offered sold, totaling $6.5 million.

I saw John Singer Sargent’s Marionettes last year at Trinity House, London. A stunning painting which remained in the artist’s personal collection for some 20 years before being passed down through the family. It was the sale’s top lot, hammering down for $5.2 million. The auction confirmed that buying the right art at the right time at the right price, can be one of the best investments in these times of financial uncertainty.

If you are interested in finding out more about investing in art then you can read a blog post I wrote March 2012 about some of the criteria for finding the right artist to buy.

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John Singer Sargent – Brooklyn Museum

Painting at the Brooklyn Museum

Corfu: Lights and Shadows by John Singer Sargent

I’ve been reading with considerable interest the various reviews of the major exhibition of John Singer Sargent watercolours (and a few oils too) at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. To give you a flavour of the exhibition you can read an excellent review by Maika Pollack in the GalleristNY.

Since I first started using watercolours at the age of 15 I’ve been studying the techniques of the great watercolorists and I have to say, America has produced two of the finest exponents of arguably the most difficult of mediums to master, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.

Sargent’s technique was quite different from Homer’s who’s washes were generally more simplistic, quite possibly the result of Sargent painting his watercolours almost exclusively from life on location. Some of Homer’s watercolours must have been studio works due to the more carefully thought out compositions, use of colour and dramatic story telling.

The simple, yet wonderfully executed “Corfu: Lights and Shadows” above shows Sargent’s virtuosity in handling a brush with his deft flicks to indicate leaves and shadows. His bright palate captures perfectly the Mediterranean sunlight, the result and reward of constantly sketching. He once said “You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh”.

He believed, along with his tutor Carolus Duran, that painting was a science which it was necessary to acquire in order to make of it an art. I hope that I’m able to see this exhibition which runs until 28th July before continuing on in Boston.

You can see some of my paintings inspired by John Singer Sargent on my website www.alanreed.com

 

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Rijksmuseum

Self Portrait by Rembrandt

Charcoal Study of Self Portrait by Rembrandt

On a recent trip to Amsterdam I decided to visit the newly re-opened Rijksmuseum dedicated to Dutch Art and the history of the Netherlands. I’d read a very  positive review of the museum by art critic and TV presenter Waldemar Januszczak which encouraged me to brave the crowds and queues to pay homage to Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals.

I was not disappointed. It was difficult to spend huge amounts of time studying some of the more well known paintings, however I managed to make a couple of charcoal studies of one of Rembrandt’s later self portraits and a section of his “The Denial of St Peter” in my moleskine sketchbook . If you’re visiting Amsterdam then put the Rijksmuseum on your radar but buy your ticket beforehand and get there early!

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Mother with Child

Pregnant woman

Mother with Child

Life drawing is a discipline that has huge rewards if practised on a regular basis. Unfortunately I don’t  spend anywhere near enough time painting and drawing the human form from life as I would like but I do try to attend an evening life drawing class once a week. It’s only on for two hours (Probably only 90 minutes painting with breaks) and we have a different model with a different pose each week.

If it’s a long pose, I will tackle it in oils so I can work on colour as well as form. The pose of the pregnant young woman Louise titled Mother with Child has been the only time when we actually had her back the following week in the same pose! I had the rare opportunity to refine and correct my efforts from the previous week.

The painting “Mother with Child” is part of my Spring exhibition at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland which continues until 28th April.

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Rodin’s The Kiss

Charcoal Studies of Rodin's "The Kiss"

Rodin’s The Kiss

Rodin’s stunning marble sculpture The Kiss is currently on view at the National Gallery, Edinburgh on a year long loan from Tate Britain. Last week I decided to pay homage to one of Rodin’s most famous works.

I find that one of the best ways to really appreciate art is to draw it so I embarked on a couple of charcoal studies in my moleskine sketchbook. I then did a small A6 watercolour study which I have since used in conjunction with the charcoal works to produce a larger studio painting in watercolour. This will be one of the paintings on view at my Spring Exhibition starting 13th April.

Almost two hours passed whilst I worked away in the gallery so I barely had time to have a quick glance at John Singer Sargent’s Lady Agnew before it was time to leave.

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John Singer Sargent

Charcoal Studies After John Singer Sargent

Charcoal Drawings After John Singer Sargent

The American artist John Singer Sargent was born this day 12th January 1856. The word “awesome” is used rather flippantly these days to describe things and events that are everyday and somewhat ordinary. John Singer Sargent was truly an awesome painter, an absolute genius when it came to applying paint in what appeared to be an effortless manner. My appreciation of his skills only grows as I regularly make my own studies of his work in my moleskine sketchbook seen above and also oil paintings.

Sargent made his fame on both sides of the Atlantic in the late nineteenth century, mainly through his outstanding portrait paintings of the rich and famous of his day. It’s appropriate to give him a mention today, not only in remembrance of his birthday but also because of the unveiling of the first official portrait of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. The oil painting was by Paul Emsley who won first prize in the BP Portrait Award in 2007 and although the Duchess gave Paul two sittings, it was painted predominantly from photographs.

Sargent rarely worked from photographs but relied on sketches and formal sittings with his subjects. The result was, he produced paintings that were expressive, fluid, full of light, life, character and, most importantly, captured the likeness and perhaps something of the personality of the sitter.

Paul Emsley’s portrait of the Duchess has received a mixed reaction from the critics. I can admire the undoubted skill Paul has in painting a very lifelike portrait of the Duchess but it is a little too photographic for my tastes. I cannot help wondering what John Singer Sargent’s rendition would have been like had he been alive today.

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Alan Reed, A Personal Story

Painting of Barka, Oman

Barka, Oman

Heart Attack 

When I (Alan Reed) was four years old, I remember seeing my grandfather lying in bed, several days after suffering a heart attack. He showed me a picture he had just painted of the great love in his life, Jesus Christ. A few days later my grandfather died. It wasn’t the best painting in the world, but it was the one which has made the greatest impression on my life. It has always struck me that out of all the things in his life that were dear to him, he chose Jesus to paint.

Rejected

As a child, I said my prayers most nights, worried that if I ignored and rejected God, then God would reject me. When I reached my teenage years I decided that I wanted to “have fun” and did things I knew were wrong. I still kept my options open with God by saying my prayers and going to church with my family, but my thoughts and desires were not towards God. In my pursuit of happiness I did have times of pleasure and enjoyment, but there was no lasting fulfilment or satisfaction. I only had a sense of bitterness and guilt from the way I was living my life. There always seemed to be something missing.

Challenge

1988 brought me to a point where I was not happy with my life. Circumstances took me to a different church where the pastor really challenged me about the way I was living my life. He asked me if I knew if I was going to Heaven or Hell. I wasn’t sure. I told him that I knew I was a sinner, doing many things that were wrong in God’s eyes that I had repented of and that Jesus Christ, God’s Son had taken the punishment that I deserved on the cross 2000 years ago. He told me that if I believed this to be true, then I would be saved from the reality of everlasting separation from God and would live for eternity in Heaven with God and all other believers when I died. That night I asked Jesus into my heart, asked Him to take control of my life and help me to turn away from my sins.

Freedom

Since then I have come to know Jesus more as He has changed me and given me the power and strength to deal with life’s trials and tests. I’ve realised too that going to Heaven isn’t about trying to live by a set of standards that are impossible to keep. You can’t earn your way into Heaven either, by doing good deeds. The only way is to ask Jesus to take control of your life and you will experience the freedom and happiness that living under God’s grace brings.

To find out more why not go on an Alpha Course?

My wife Susan and I go to City Church which meets at the CastleGate in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The painting of Barka, Oman can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. I chose it for this post as it’s a scene that looks like a throwback to Biblical times.

 

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