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Artist of the Year 2014 Exhibition

 

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Alan Reed outside Mall Galleries, London

On Tuesday evening I attended the Preview evening for Artists & Illustrators Magazine‘s “artist of the year 2014” exhibition.

I was delighted to be chosen as one of 50 shortlisted artists out of over 3000 entries with my entry “Last Light, Ruwi”, particularly as it came in my 30th anniversary year.

You can read more about my painting in a blog post I wrote 7th October about the competition.

The exhibition is being held at the Mall Galleries, London until 17th January.

If you’re in London during this period I can recommend calling into the Mall Galleries (situated on the Mall near Admiralty Arch) to see the exhibition for artist of the year 2014. It features a wide range of artistic styles and mediums.

Also, try to see the stunning Rembrandt show at the National Gallery which finishes 18th January. It’s worth putting up with the crowds to take in the late works of one of the greatest painters of all time.

I managed to get to the Rembrandt, Late Works show and despite the crowds was able to make several sketchbook studies in my moleskine sketchbook using charcoal pencils. I’ll be saying more about this in a future blog post.

 

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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.

 

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Paintings of Oman

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman Painting

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman

This 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.

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.

This original watercolour and other paintings of Oman inspired by my painting trips in the Gulf can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Christmas Exhibition 2013

Painting of Dunstanburgh Castle-Spring

Dunstanburgh Castle, Spring

Painting of Windmills, Amsterdam

Windmills, Amsterdam

Royal Opera House, Oman at night

Royal Opera House, Oman

Painting of Qantab fishermen, Oman

Qantab fishermen, Oman

Pantheon Rome

The Pantheon, Rome

Painting of Florence from San Miniato

Florence from San Miniato

My Christmas Exhibition Preview weekend started 29th November. The exhibition continues until 24th December and is a collection of recent original watercolour paintings.

Subjects include the Northumbrian coastline depicting famous landmarks like Dunstanburgh Castle.

Paintings inspired by a trip to Amsterdam can also be seen, in particular this new limited edition print of Windmills seen in early morning light.

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a couple of commissions for a client in Oman, so I also have on view an original watercolour of The Royal Opera House in Oman at night and a small study of fishermen in Qantab, Oman.

I’ve been unable to travel to Italy this year, however the last 2 places for our painting holiday scheduled for May 2014 were booked up over the weekend.

A number of paintings of Italy can be seen including The Pantheon, Rome and Florence from San Miniato.

The exhibition also features gifts for Christmas including Christmas Cards, Magnetic Bookmarks and hand made glass, along with my Sketchbook of Oman, all of which are being purchased. Please feel free to call in over the weekend for a glass of wine or coffee and a mince pie.

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Royal Watercolour Society

Painting of Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Original Watercolour of Jebel Akhdar, Oman

I was delighted to discover that my painting of “Jebel Akhdar, Oman” was recently selected by the Royal Watercolour Society for their Competition 2013 and even more thrilled that it won “The Artist’s Prize”. The Artist’s Magazine has asked me to be one of their featured artists later on in the year when I will be answering questions about my painting career.

The painting formed part of the Royal Watercolour Society competition exhibition at the Bankside gallery, London and will be on display at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland from noon on 9th March.

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Paintings – Dhows Oman

Dhows, Sur, Oman

Dhows, Sur

It’s almost 5 years since I first visited Sur in Oman. It had been badly hit by Cyclone Gonu a few months previously and there was still much evidence of the damage caused. Sur has been associated with ship building for centuries and today there is a Dhow Maritime Museum dedicated to Oman’s history of sea trade.

I had been asked to do some paintings of Omani doors as well as dhows so I spent a few hours wandering around getting reference and making sketchbook studies of these Arabian vessels. I’ve published a number of my paintings of Dhows as limited edition prints since then which have proved to be popular. Some of the sketchbook studies have also been published in my signed limited edition Sketchbook of Oman.

The watercolour above is one of several new paintings to be exhibited at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland as part of my Christmas Exhibition starting 9th November.

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Painting of Dhows

Arabian Dhows on Gold Leaf

Dhows, Oman – Oil on Gold Leaf

There’s a story on how I ended up doing a Painting of Dhows on Gold Leaf. In 2010 I was involved in a painting of a very large Biblical scene which was to go in a church building. It was a massive project and painting, executed on 5 panels of gold leaf in oil paints. I had several small boards coated with gold leaf to experiment with and decided to do my own paintings on this unusual and expensive surface.

I did two quite different scenes, one of the Grand Mosque in Oman, the other of some Arabian Dhows at low tide in Sur, Oman. I sold the Grand Mosque to a client in Oman, however, this one of the dhows is available to purchase. Other original paintings and prints of the Gulf can be seen on my website.

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Oman Watercolour Sketchbook

Sketchbook Oman Sphinx

Sphinx Sunrise

Painting a sunrise on location like this Oman Watercolour is one of the hardest challenges as a watercolourist. The main problem is that the colours change so quickly, so by the time you have laid your first wash and waited for it to dry, the rising sun will have brought a complete change to the scenario before your eyes. One can quicken the process by working on a paper which you have already tinted. This will allow you to skip a step and crack on with the next wash.

For this particular scene in Oman, I went out with a friend who took me out to a remote spot to walk his dogs early in the morning whilst it was still dark. Before the sun rose, I anticipated what the initial colours were going to be and started painting in semi darkness. It was very hot, temperatures already in the high twenties, so the paint dried quickly. Just before the sun came up over the sea, it was already starting to tint the sky a fugitive pink which I was able to lay in along with the gentlest touch of Winsor and Newton Manganese Blue for the sea. I allowed parts of the first wash of Cadmium Lemon to show through which helped to create further mood and atmosphere.

Oman has some very distinctive rock formations throughout it’s stunning coastline. The rock on the top right of the page reminded me of the profile of the Egyptian Sphinx, hence the title Sphinx towards Muttrah. This is one of 40 paintings which feature in my signed limited edition Sketchbook of Oman which is available online or at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Oman Paintings, Jebel Akhdar

Jebel Akhdar

Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Jebel Akhdar, (Green Mountain) is part of the Al Hajar Mountain range in Oman. It is the highest point in the whole of Oman and eastern Arabia. The area is over 2 hours drive from Muscat and one must drive through a passport control point in a 4 x 4 if one wishes to explore the fascinating villages dotted around the area. The locals grow pomegranates, apricots, peaches and walnuts on the ancient terraces which are irrigated by an equally old but sophisticated irrigation system called falaj. The area is also famous for rose water extraction.

I’ve painted a number of commissioned watercolours over the last few years of various views of Jebel Akhdar and over the last few years I’ve been a couple of times to paint on location. It’s noticeably cooler than sea level which is why many folk living in Oman often take the journey up the mountains in the scorching temperatures of summer. The new Sahab hotel situated on the plateaux at the summit boasts fine views over the surrounding mountains. It was from their grounds that I did a small sketchbook watercolour and took the photographs necessary to do this large watercolour titled Jebel Akhdar.

 

 

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Oman Paintings, Bald Sayt

Bilad Sayt

Bilad Sayt

Oman is full of remote villages, forts and towers. During the current 41 year renaissance period of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, many of these ancient dwellings have become much more accessible through modern roads, but up until now, the mountain village of Bilad Seet is not one of them. There is a single track that takes you there from the main road towards Al Rustaq but 17 km of of that journey requires a 4 x4 and it cannot be rushed, which is just as well. As a passenger you can enjoy some breathtaking views of some of the mountainous regions of Oman.

I had painted this picturesque village a couple of time for clients using photographs they supplied but I wanted to see it for myself and make my own studies. A friend of mine, Mike Harrison, used to be a school inspector in Oman and Balt Sayt was one of the schools he used to travel to. At the time, the school was in a tent, but now they have their own building. I was in Oman in March, 2011 at the same time as Mike and he kindly offered to drive me there for the day in his 4 x 4.

Mike has a vast repertoire of stories from his time in Oman and other Arab countries. He has even written a book titled From Tagine to Masala which contains a collection of recepies gathered from Arabian trade routes. By the time we arrived in Balad Seet, had a wander around, chatted to some locals and I did a sketchbook watercolour, even Mike was ready for the humble tuna fish sandwiches I’d made. Some local goats wanted to join in the picnic but were told where to go.

The driving in the mountain regions of Oman is very dangerous. Flash floods can come at a moments notice and sweep down the mountain sides. One needs to check the weather forecast before setting out and keep an eye on the sky for rain clouds. We picked up a puncture on the rough terrain but fortunately it was a slow one and we were able to make it home.

One of my watercolours of Bilad Seet can be seen in my Sketchbook of Oman. The painting above of Bald Sayt can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland. You may have noticed 4 different spellings of Bilad Seet, Bald Sayt, Bilat Sayt and Balad Seet. I’ve seen all of these spellings in various books and on road signs. Anybody out there seen any other spellings?

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