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20th Anniversary

 

20th Anniversary

Bamburgh Castle, Early Morning Walk

April marks the 20th Anniversary of alanreed.com It’s hard for me to believe that my domain name dates back to the 20th Century! I knew very  little about the world wide web in those days but it only took a few weeks for me to realise the value of having a website to promote my business. A client called into the gallery that we had at the time in the Eldon Garden Shopping Centre in Newcastle. He wanted to see a watercolour of Iona which he had noticed on my website. Understandably he wanted to see it for real rather than buying it from a jpeg. Once he saw it, he made the purchase.

This was the start of numerous online sales, commissions and visits to our gallery from clients from all over the world.

Morning Eye, 20th Anniversary

Morning Eye

It never ceases to amaze me how people find my paintings. The client who purchased the original watercolour above titled Morning Eye came across my work whilst working on the Caspian Sea. He turned up at our gallery and ended up making a number of purchases.

An Italian working in Canada came across my original watercolour of the Pantheon whilst searching for paintings of ancient Rome. After making the initial purchase online he went on to commission several large watercolours of Rome including views of aqueducts and the Roman Forum.

20th Anniversary

Sketchbook of Umbria

Posting some of my sketchbook studies of Umbria, Italy on my website back in 2003 resulted in a whole series of fascinating commissions of Italian holiday homes and was also the birth of our Painting Holidays in Italy.

The World Wide Web has opened a door for me into other countries further afield including Oman. Susan and I have fond memories of our visits to Oman for various painting commissions ranging from Arabian Dhows and ancient mountain villages and forts.

Alan Reed 20th Anniversary

Dhows, Sur, Oman

To celebrate our 20th Anniversary of alanreed.com being on the World Wide Web we are having an Easter Exhibition at our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting on the 20th April 9:30 – 5pm

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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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River Tyne

River Tyne Sunset, Near North Shields

River Tyne Sunset

One of the first commissions I received when I went self employed back in 1984 was to do two original watercolours of the River Tyne near the North Shields Fish Quay for a leading North East businessman. Over the years I’ve enjoyed going back to the reference material I gathered back then to do fresh interpretations of the same scenes. My watercolour style and technique has changed over the years but it still ends up being a joy to tackle paintings of the Tyne which capture a bygone era.

The River Tyne of course has been an inspiration for local songwriters and musicians including Sting, Lindisfarne and Jimmy Nail and when you spend time looking at the Big River it’s easy to see why.

The scene above titled “River Tyne Sunset” is now available as a limited edition giclee print online and from our Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. It was painted as a very large original watercolour which was challenging to paint with huge washes of colour to control for the sky and water.

Another difficulty was ensuring that the colours worked together. In particular I had to be careful that the Manganese Blue didn’t pollute the yellows and oranges around the darker cloud shapes. In the end I was very satisfied with final outcome and feel it is a long overdue addition to our growing collection of North East Prints.

 

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

Alan Reed

Clifton Suspension Bridge in the Mist

In 2013 I entered the Bristol Prize. The organisers of this new painting competition had also run the Bath Prize for several years where I was runner up in 2010 with my painting of the Royal Crescent. I also won the Circus Prize in 2011 with my watercolour of The Circus.

I was keen to visit Bristol and spent a day painting on location which was one of the criteria for entry. Each artist was given a location to paint “en plein air” which can often be quite a challenge. However, you were also allowed to paint scenes of you own choosing so I wasted no time in finding an appropriate view to sketch this famous bridge which spans the Avon in dramatic fashion. It was opened in 1864 based on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s initial designs, completed several years after his death.

In this watercolour of Clifton Suspension Bridge I decided to keep the colours quite neutral to create a sense of mood and drama. Painting it in the mist provided areas of contrast both in tonal values but also in the way you have sharp, hard lines verses soft, gentle edges. It’s these kind of elements that one needs to be conscious of when painting this kind of subject, otherwise the overall effect can end up looking sterile and mechanical. The way that the man made tower emerges out of the natural uncut rocks provides further contrast and interest too.

“Clifton Suspension Bridge in the Mist” is now available as a limited edition print online from alanreed.com and from our Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Royal Albert Hall

Alan Reed

The Royal Albert Hall

I’m always been attracted to fine, beautifully designed buildings. Painting them means that you end up looking much more intensely to their architectural features and appreciating them all the more.

I first painted the Royal Albert Hall, London in 2005 and sold the original watercolour to a famous opera singer. I recently decided to paint a much larger study which is now available as this limited edition print.

As it was almost 12 years since I first painted the Royal Albert Hall, I decided to re-visit the scene early autumn last year to remind myself of its scale and majesty but discovered that the trees either side of the fine steps leading up to the monument had grown much taller and were obscuring the building. Fortunately I still had the research studies I’d made 12 years previously so I could refer to them.

On a painting of this kind of scale the danger is to really tighten up with the brush marks to the point of making the painting look like a photograph. I had to keep stopping myself from going too detailed to keep the painting looking bright and fresh.

I also made sure that I didn’t go too dark with the shadow areas which could have caused the colours to go muddy. Keeping the effect of autumn sunlight hitting the golden architecture was an important element to the painting too. A light wash of Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Lemon at the start provided a good base for all the other colours. The wash was intensified around the area of the Royal Albert Hall.

A large size 20 brush was used for much of the painting to avoid going too tight although I did use a smaller brush for some of the architectural details and the figures.

You can watch a short video of me painting 2two of the figures on YouTube.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. Since I’ve started to learn to play the piano in 2015, it has become even more influential to my daily routine. For anyone who has fond memories of seeing concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, this painting will no doubt trigger off recollections of their favourite music.

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San Gimignano

Alan Reed

San Gimignano, Afternoon Sunlight

Susan and I first visited San Gimignano in February 1999. We were staying in Florence for several days and having seen San Gimignano featured on a holiday programme, we decided to go there for the day. A local bus took us to nearby Poggibonsi then after a short wait, another bus to our destination, the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano.

From a distance it looks like a mini Manhattan with its 14 towers gracing the Tuscan skyline. Apparently it did boast 72 towers, built by the Patrician families who controlled the town. The bigger the tower, the greater your wealth! I remember painting a watercolour by the well in Piazza della Cisterna whilst Susan went off to buy some wild boar salami for an al fresco lunch. Even though it was February, it was bright, warm and sunny, ideal conditions for painting “en plein air”.

After lunch I spent the afternoon wandering about gathering further reference to do a studio painting to add to my Italian Collection of Limited Edition Prints. As the sun began to set and we made our way to the bus I noticed that the stonework began to turn a beautifully warm pink with hints of orange. I logged the colours in my mind and decided that this would be mood and atmosphere I would aim to capture.

The studio painting of San Gimignano which was reproduced as a limited edition print was an immediate success. I still sell copies of it online and from our gallery in Ponteland. More recently I’ve painted a portrait version of a similar view which is also available as a limited edition print.

You can see a short video on YouTube of the original watercolour “San Gimignano, Afternoon sunlight” which can also be seen at my Studio & Gallery.

 

 

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Faded Prints

Alan Reed

Correct colours against a faded print

I have been having my original paintings published as limited edition prints since 1993. Initially it was through a publisher that was based in Edinburgh called Di Rollo Ltd. The publisher would organise the printing and ensure that the colours were as close to the original watercolour as possible. I would make the final approval then sign and number each print.

I also began to publish some of my work too and would over see the whole process. In the 1990’s all my prints were printed through a 4 colour lithographic process. In the last 15 years or so, the giclee method of printing has become much more popular with artists. The popularity with publishers and artists has grown for several reasons:

  1. The set up costs are not as high as the lithographic prints.
  2. Although the unit cost per print through giclee is significantly more than a lithographic print, publishers don’t have to print the whole edition in one go, so they don’t have to carry huge amounts of stock.
  3. Publishers can test the market with just one or two prints rather than being left with hundreds of prints if the image is not as popular as expected.
  4. The quality of the inks is far superior through the giclee process than with the lithographic prints so you are less likely to get faded prints.

Today I still sell both lithographic prints and giclee prints, however all my new prints are giclee because of the reasons outlined above.

Since my first paintings were published, I’ve been able to monitor the light fastness of the prints as I’ve seen them hanging on the walls of family, friends and clients. I can conclude that if the prints are hung away from sunlight, the colours remain strong. My sister in law has at least six of my prints which I see on a regular basis. She has been careful to hang them away from strong light. Only one has faded which was close to a large window.

Over the last few years, several clients have brought to me faded prints which they have hung in direct sunlight. The most recent is this lithographic print of the Grand Canal, Venice. I’ve recently replaced it with a giclee print for the client. Indeed, the lithographic version is no longer available, only the giclee.

Even though it is the full responsibility of the client to ensure that ALL their artwork is hung away from strong light, I like to show goodwill with any customer who has a faded print of one of my paintings, even if it is not one that I actually published.

I can replace faded prints at a trade price with a giclee print and I will sign and number it the same as the faded one. I can also put the new print in the frame for a small charge of £20- £30 depending on the size of the frame.

If you feel as though one of your Alan Reed prints has faded, please contact me on 01661 871 800 or email art@alanreed.com

 

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Behind the Scenes – Holidays in Italy

Holidays in Italy.

Having stayed at the Villa Capanne in 2014 and fallen in love with the refined rusticity of their accommodation, Alan, Susan and their guests were certainly in for a treat in 2015 when they returned to Umbria for a second Reedart Italian Painting Holiday, this time in the newly-renovated Chiesa Del Carmine: a stunning, no-expense-spared ancient church and adjoining farmhouse nestled deep in the heart of a picturesque valley.

Far enough from civilisation to sit and enjoy the silence of the unspoilt Italian countryside, but close enough to the spectacular Robert Trent Jones Championship golf course at the Antognolla Golf Estate and nearby hilltop towns, Chiesa Del Carmine was the perfect spot for Reedart Holidays to settle into………Reed more here

Alan Reed Painting of Gubbio

Sketchbook Watercolour of Street scene in Gubbio.

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Summer Exhibition July 2015

Summer Exhibition

All are welcome to join us on 11th July 2015 for our Summer Exhibition.

Enjoy luscious strawberries and Prosecco whilst browsing beautiful paintings.

Today we have been packing up invitations and brochures to send out to our valued customers.

If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive one then please contact us and we would be happy to send one out to you.

The brochure displays new paintings and prints, also information about commissions and news of our Painting Holiday.

 

 

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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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