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Tyne Bridge

Tyne Bridge Alan Reed

Tyne Bridge

It’s not often that I post photographs of my paintings that are unfinished however I’m so pleased with the progress of this new oil painting of the Tyne Bridge that I couldn’t resist sharing the current status.

Last week the Tyne Bridge was deservedly upgraded to Grade II* listed. For many it is symbolic of the North East, representing the industry, design and creativity that the region is known for. Indeed, these are all themes that the Great Exhibition of the North have been showcasing over the summer months around Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

I have painted the Tyne Bridge many times since I was an art student in the early 1980’s but this is the first time I’ve tackled it on this scale. The painting is more than 1.5 meters in width and the main points of interest, the Tyne Bridge, the Millennium Bridge and the Sage are coated in 22ct Gold Leaf.   

Although there are still a few areas to complete and details to add, the painting is already starting to take shape. The Gold Leaf means that depending on the lighting conditions of the room, the areas that are gold really add depth and intrigue to the painting.

Last week I posted a photograph on LinkedIn of my first limited edition print of the Tyne Bridge taken from the former Gateshead Multi Storey Car Park. You can read about it here on an older blog post. It received some very kind and complimentary comments so I look forward to hearing what folk have to say.

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Spring Exhibition

Alan Reed

North Shields Fish Quay

Our new Spring Exhibition started on 31st March 2018 and continues until 30th April.  I use the word “Spring” lightly as it’s snowing outside as I’m writing this blog post.

Due to the wintery conditions we have been experiencing since 2017 there is a snowy theme going on in this latest body of work. However there are some new cheery paintings on view. Please feel free to call us on 01661 871800 to arrange a viewing in a relaxed atmosphere.

The latest painting off the drawing board is “North Shields Fish Quay”. It’s a scene I first painted in 1985 for a client who commissioned a couple of River Tyne pictures. You can read about the other painting on a recent blog post about the River Tyne Painting.

This new watercolour depicts fishing trawlers bathed in late afternoon sunlight. In the distance you can see the old Port of Tyne buildings, some of which have long since gone. Fluid brush marks for the reflected light in the water and the soft edges for the engine smoke belching out of the trawlers help to keep the overall scene lively and free.

 

Alan Reed

Balevullin Beach, Tiree

Another new painting is Balevullin Beach on the island of Tiree, one of the Inner Hebrides. On a recent blog post you can read about our trip there last May where I painted a number of watercolours on location. This oil has been inspired by those studies, including a small watercolour available online.

Balevullin Beach is popular with surfers who take advantage of the waves rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean. The turquoise sea and dramatic skies are a delight to paint.

We enjoyed mixed weather. Heavy rain followed by bright sunshine and wonderful sunsets was the pattern for each day.

Alan Reed

Todi, Umbria

Todi in Umbria points us towards the finer weather to come and our Painting Holiday in June. You can watch a video on YouTube of how I used a number of sketches painted on location to produce this A4 watercolour painted on hand made paper.

Our Spring Exhibition continues throughout April however there are a few days when we will be closed so it is best to call us on 01661 871 800 to make sure we are open before setting out.

 

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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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20th Birthday for the Angel

Alan Reed

Angel Print Hand Embellished with Gold Leaf

The 17th February 2018 marks the 20th Birthday for the Angel. Created by Anthony Gormley, the “Gateshead Angel” or “The Angel of the North” has become an icon for the North East, often featured on television when a reference for the region is needed.

Opinions are divided about the Angel but I’m in the camp of those who are in favour of this huge sculpture that welcomes those travelling on the A1 to the north.

I recall painting the Angel for the first time back in the spring of 1998 after visiting it on a very wet and muddy day. The site looked like a scene from the First World War with broken fence posts, large puddles and JCB tracks leading up to the dark, almost forbidding sculpture, silhouetted against the bleak sky.

Angel of the North

The Week the Angel Went Up

The scene is now quite different as we are nearing the 20th Birthday for the Angel. The surrounding area has been landscaped and there is a handy car park for visitors.

Since 1998 I’ve painted the Angel on several other occasions at various times of the day, however 2017 saw me receiving one of my largest commissions to date. An exiled Geordie asked me to paint the Angel in oil paint with its wings filling the canvas, coated with 22 carat gold leaf. The result was one of my most dramatic paintings, the Angel standing proudly against a blood red sunset.

We’ve published the painting of the Angel as a limited edition print. Some of the prints are on paper and some are on canvas where I have hand embellished the wings with the same Gold Leaf used on the original oil painting. These hand embellished prints of the Angel also have areas that have been hand painted with oils making them original prints.

I’ve made a short video on YouTube of me applying the Gold Leaf to the wings of the Angel using the same method as on the prints so you can see the process.

You can see all my prints of the Gateshead Angel online at alanreed.com or by visiting our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Painting Grey Street

Alan Reed

Shoppers, Grey Street

Grey Street in Newcastle has been described by the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as the finest curved street in Europe. I never tire of sitting down to capture its fine sweeping curve and Georgian columns in all seasons. You can see a number of limited edition prints of Newcastle’s Grey Street including  Grey Street, Saturday Morning which was featured on the BBC’s “Show me the Monet”.

Newcastle is a very busy city so when painting Grey Street I find it great fun to bring life to the scene by adding in people for extra movement and interest. It’s even more fun painting Grey Street in winter because you have the extra challenge of resolving the reflections of the sky, buildings and figures in the wet pavement. Watercolour is the ideal medium for this but you need to know the sequence of washes and how to build up the colour.

You will notice that the gentle yellow colour that you can see just above the distant buildings is actually running throughout the entire painting (apart from the snow lying on the rooftops) and is particularly evident in the pavement in the centre of the foreground. When the wash of yellow dried, I wet the sheet of paper and introduced a very subtle hint of Rose Madder in the sky and foreground before introducing the slate grey for the sky and reflections.

After these washes had dried, it was simply a matter of adding detail to depict the architectural forms before finally painting the various figure. Over the years I’ve developed a “shorthand” painting technique to capture figures moving about. Photography can be a help but it’s also a very useful discipline to observe and sketch from life. That way you can’t get bogged down with detail. You have to pick out the main gesture and gender of the person and make sure that you have them positioned at the correct eye level.

Painting Grey Street outdoors is a real challenge and not for the faint hearted. As I’m writing this blog post, I’m getting tempted to get out there again! In the meantime however, my studio painting “Shoppers, Grey Street” can be seen online and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Grey Street, Spring

Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne Spring

Grey Street, Spring

It’s 22 years since I first painted this amazing view of Newcastle’s Grey Street. Over the years I’ve captured it in all the seasons.

One of the versions was painted on a Saturday morning and in 2011 was featured on BBC’s “Show me the Monet”.

I’ve just completed this new original watercolour of “Grey Street, Spring” which is going to be on show at my “Spring” exhibition at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting Saturday 8th March.

Grey Street, Spring is also available as a limited edition print.

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Festival of the North East

Painting of the North East of North Shields, Masts

North Shields, Masts

The Festival of the North East is a celebration of all that’s great about our unique corner of England throughout the month of June. It’s an eclectic mix of art, exhibitions, dance, theatre, music and much more.

My contribution to the festival is an exhibition titled “It’s a Big River”. I’ve been painting various scenes of the River Tyne for over thirty years capturing its iconic bridges, the industry and breathtaking scenery. This exhibition brings together these changing views of the River Tyne from the point where the North and South Tyne meet in Northumberland to where the river meets the sea at Tynemouth.

I’ve spent time traveling along the banks of the Tyne with my watercolours and sketchbook in hand observing and recording the seasons, different times of day and the industry and commerce of the River Tyne.

The exhibition starts Saturday 1st June-29th June at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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St George’s Day

Watercolour of Old Eldon Square

Peace, Old Eldon Square, Newcastle

23rd April is St George’s Day. One of my more unusual paintings of Newcastle is this one of the War Memorial in Old Eldon Square which depicts St George slaying the dragon. The painting is set against the backdrop of a winter sky, indicating the bleakness of war. The inscription of “Peace” is a sign of the hope of peace which we ought to seek amongst our fellow human beings.

There have been numerous times when folk have looked at the painting and thought it was somewhere like Prague, not realising that it was their home town.

The background buildings are the rooftops of Emerson Chambers, one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the UK. One can also see Grey’s Monument, a further clue that the scene is Newcastle upon Tyne.

The painting is available in three sizes and can be seen and purchased from alanreed.com

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Grey Street Painting

Grey Street Print

Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne

My first limited edition print of Newcastle was of Grey Street published almost 20 years ago. It was an immediate hit my customers. I recently discovered that I had a handful of copies left which are currently available from alanreed.com

Rather than me describe the scene of Grey Street, I thought I’d use this unprompted description by Lex Loizides, a friend and evangelist who writes excellent blog posts on Church history.

“So many contrasts in one painting! You have the languid, relaxed, sunny morning, somehow epitomised in the flag. Then you have the permanence of the historic buildings with both an optimistic stateliness and a kind of foreboding one. Then you have the no-nonsense bustle of folk swiftly moving to work, united in their haste yet alone. And then this lovely little group of pigeons pecking away. It’s a stunning painting Alan. You should be nationally recognised!”

Thank you Lex!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Show me the Monet

Grey Street, Saturday Morning, Painting

Grey Street, Saturday Morning

The BBC are re-showing the series Show me the Monet. It’s a programme where I was given the opportunity to show my original watercolour “Grey Street, Saturday Morning” (now available as a limited edition print) before a panel of three judges to see if would be selected for exhibiting at the Royal Acadamy in London later that year in 2011.

The painting was rejected however I did sell it a few months later for the price I said on the programme. You can catch the Show me the Monet episode on BBC iPlayer for the next 2 days.

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