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Paintings of Tiree

Alan Reed

Sketchbook watercolour of Scarinish, Tiree

2017 has been a very busy year for Susan and I both with business and family. Our son was married 13th May so as a way to relax after the build up to the wedding we planned a painting trip to a Scottish Island called Tiree. Some friends of ours bought a holiday cottage there called An Caladh ( meaning rest place by the sea ) so we arranged a three night stay and hoped that the weather would be favourable and that its name would live up to expectations.

As we left from Glasgow Airport in a Twin Otter we hit thick cloud so it wasn’t until we descended below cloud level that we caught our first view of this small island, only about 8 miles long. We landed on the tiny airstrip that was once used by Coastal Command during WW2 to be greeted by our friends.

First port of call was Scarinish Harbour to purchase lobsters, crabs, fresh langoustines and local steaks for our evening meals which were exquisitely prepared by Susan. Whilst these were being discussed at the local fish van I launched into my first sketchbook watercolour of the picturesque harbour set against the backdrop of an ominous sky.

Alan Reed

Tiree Lobster & Crab

 

Alan Reed

Langoustines from Tiree

Fortunately the ominous sky was more of a show than a shower so after lunch we were able to enjoy a sunlit walk along Balephil Bay where I painted the beautiful white sands. This just whetted my appetite for more beach paintings so before our evening meal I went down to Balevullin Beach only 5 minutes walk from An Caladh.

The beach is a favourite haunt for surfers and I could see why as the waves rushed in. I found a suitable vantage point and tackled two watercolours of the beach, one in my sketchbook, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches Block.

Alan Reed

The beach at Balevullin, high tide

The next day I returned to do another sketchbook watercolour, this time changing the format of the composition to include the foreground rocks. Due to the strong sunlight and low tide, the sea became more turquoise in colour which made for a completely different painting. I was already starting to build up a mini collection of Paintings of Tiree to be developed into more finished pieces.

Alan Reed

The beach at Balevullin, Tiree

The pattern for the weather was rain in the morning, sun in the afternoon and great sunsets in the evening so on the Monday morning I was confined to painting a view from one of the windows of An Caladh. The distant white houses highlighted against the threatening sky and the palm tree made for an interesting composition.

Alan Reed

View from a window, An Caladh, Tiree

Producing Paintings of Tiree is just one of the many activities I enjoyed during our three days on the island.

Did I mention the bike rides, watching thirty seals playing very close to the shore of Balephetrish Beach, wonderful walks and spotting very large hares, feasting on local produce, bird watching and a visit to the museum about Skerryvore Lighthouse?

As we took off, the skies were clear so we were able to enjoy stunning views of the inner Hebrides including Staffa, Mull and Iona, a reminder of some of the paintings I have produced in the past of these islands.

Visit alanreed.com to get updates on new Paintings of Tiree.

Alan Reed

Tiree Sunset

 

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Painting of Pittenweem

Alan Reed

Watercolour of Pittenweem.

“A Mix for March” is a new exhibition at the Gullane Gallery which started on the 12th March. I’ve a number of new works on display including this new Painting of Pittenweem. I was fortunate to travel up to the East Neuk of Fife earlier in the year to do some sketchbook watercolours of three of the very picturesque fishing villages dotted along the coastline.

For this particular Painting of Pittenweem, I wanted to retain the loose sketchbook qualities of the “en plein air” study so I used a hand made Indian rag paper with deckled edges and a rough surface. I kept the brush marks lively and fresh without loosing too much detail.

Alan Reed

Sketchbook watercolour of Pittenweem

It’s not the first time I’ve produced a painting of Pittenweem. If you visit my website www.alanreed.com you will see a range of limited edition prints of the East Nuek of Fife including one of Pittenweem.

The exhibition at the Gullane Gallery finishes 3rd April.

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Princes Street

Alan Reed

Princes Street, Edinburgh

I have a number of new watercolours being exhibited at the Gullane Gallery, East Lothian 12th March until 3rd April. One of the paintings going on show is this cityscape capturing Princes Street, Edinburgh on a winter’s afternoon.

The scene is taken from Calton Hill which boasts commanding views over the city. Often it is the inclusion of figures which can bring a cityscape to life, but in this instance it’s the traffic, in particular the buses nudging their way into the queues of cars, that bring a sense movement to the watercolour.

Even though the time of year is winter and the sun has almost set, there’s a strong feeling of warmth and light coming through because of the base washes of Cadmium Lemon and Rose Madder. This is contrasted by the cold shadows created by a quite bold application of Paynes Grey for the road and rooftops. Further interest has been achieved by the highlights on the cars and buses on Princes Street which have been very simply rendered.

Lifting out some of the colour has brought a feeling of mist and smokiness, giving the architecture an ethereal quality which has enhanced the depth and ariel perspective to Auld Reekie.

I also have a limited edition print titled Princes Street which is available online at alanreed.com and from my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

 

 

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Gullane Gallery

Alan Reed

Crail, Coming Home

For the last three years I’ve been exhibiting my paintings at the Gullane Gallery, East Lothian. I’ve been invited again to show a selection of new works as part of their easter exhibition starting 12th March.

For over 20 years I’ve enjoyed painting in Scotland so for this exhibition I decided to revisit some of the fishing villages that I’ve painted in the past along the East Neuk of Fife. The weather has been dreadful over the winter months which hindered my plans right up until early February when I was finally able to travel with the promise of sunny weather.

I managed to visit three of the fishing villages which I have painted before and have published as limited edition prints, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail.

Even though it was sunny, it was still very cold but I was still able to do a sketchbook watercolour at each one of the harbours. The one of Crail was painted from a high vantage point looking into the low winter sun.

Alan Reed

Sketchbook Watercolour of Crail

For the larger studio painting I tried to keep the palette as simple as the sketch and the brush marks as lively, however I couldn’t resist adding some of the details found in the nearby buildings which overlook the picturesque harbour.

The exhibition at the Gullane Gallery will also feature another painting of Crail as well as paintings of Pittenweem, North Berwick and Edinburgh. The exhibition continues until 3rd April 2016.

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Gullane Art Gallery

Painting of Preston Mill, East Lothian

Preston Mill, East Lothian

I’ve been invited back to exhibit at the Gullane Art Gallery in East Lothian, Scotland as part of their “Promise of Spring” exhibition.

This will be the third time I’ve exhibited at this lovely art gallery not far from North Berwick. I remember as a child we had several family holidays in North Berwick and have vivid recollections of climbing the Law, playing on the putting greens and exploring rock pools.

I also remember Preston Mill, East Lothian’s last working water mill which is now a National Trust property. One of my painting heroes, Rowland Hilder did a watercolour of it, probably in the 60’s. My father Ken Reed also painted it about forty years ago. I thought it only fitting that I should have a go at capturing this delightful historic building for this new exhibition at the Gullane Art Gallery.

Watercolours of the Bass Rock, the Lamb and Fidra also feature in the show together with a new painting of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh. New paintings of Italy, particularly Tuscany, form part of the exhibition too.

You can see my paintings on the Gullane Art Gallery website.

The exhibition at the Gullane Art Gallery starts from noon on Saturday 7th March and runs until Sunday 29th March.

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Edinburgh in the Snow

Edinburgh in the Snow available as a print

Edinburgh in the Snow

This year, my 30th Anniversary since going self employed as a full time artist, I am holding a number of special exhibitions at various venues.

The current exhibition opened on Friday night at the Bob Abley Gallery at Spennymoor Town Hall. The exhibition runs 7th – 28th February and features 30 paintings that represent many of the subjects and places I have painted over the last 30 years.

Since 1993 I have been very fortunate to sell many limited edition prints of Edinburgh.  It was only fitting to include in the exhibition, a new original watercolour of Edinburgh in the Snow which is also available as a limited edition print with only 95 in the edition.

Other subjects include some new original paintings of Newcastle, Italy and the Middle East. As I’m currently working on a series of portraits of members of City Church, Newcastle, I’ve also included some figurative paintings too.

The Bob Abley Gallery is a lovely well lit exhibition space so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to show so many of my paintings together throughout February.

 

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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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John Knox House, Edinburgh

Painting of John Knox House

John Knox House

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, known by the locals as the High Street, has to be one of the finest streets in Europe. Over the years I’ve painted it many times and captured some of its famous landmarks including St Giles Cathedral, The Tolbooth and of course John Knox House. Many of these watercolours have been successfully reproduced as limited edition prints which can be purchased online, from retailers in Edinburgh and from my Studio and Gallery.

My first limited edition print of John Knox House sold out very quickly however, we still have copies available of this smaller painting, a busy scene depicting various folk going about their daily business, just like multitudes of others, generations before them.

You will notice in the painting that the ultramarine blue is repeated, not just in the sky but in other parts of the painting. Likewise, the deep red of the telephone boxes finds its way into other parts of the painting to add extra life and colour to the cityscape.

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Eigg and Rhum Sunset

Eigg & Rhum Sunset

Eigg & Rhum Sunset

The West Coast of Scotland has some of the finest scenery in the world. I’ve only been a handful of times but I’ve always been inspired to paint on location, whatever the weather. In 1998 we decided to take the long drive from Edinburgh to Mallaig for a long weekend. The weather was typical for September, rain. Glencoe was suppressed by low lying clouds but by the time we hit Glenfinnan Viaduct where I did a sketchbook watercolour, the weather began to break and the sun came out.

We checked into a small bed and breakfast in Mallaig and went in search for the white sandy beach of Camusdarach where the film Local Hero was shot. As we climbed over the dunes which hid the beach from the road, we saw a breathtaking view. As the sun was dipping below the islands of Eigg and Rhum we could hear the sound of the waves breaking softly onto the beach whilst a young lady sitting on the sand played a Celtic melody. It was a magical moment which Susan and I will never forget. I took some photographs before the light disappeared but it was too late to do any painting.

The next morning, after a hearty Scottish breakfast, I returned to the same spot to do a couple of watercolours which I was able to refer to so that I could do the studio painting titled Eigg and Rhum Sunset, which is available as a limited edition print both online and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Forth Bridge

Forth Bridge

Forth Bridge

“It’s like painting the Forth Bridge” is an expression that is often used to describe a task or job that seems never ending. Indeed, painting the Forth Rail Bridge has been just that. The iconic one and a half mile Victorian structure that spans the Forth of Forth linking South Queensferry to North Queensferry has usually taken around three years to paint and has hence coined the expression quoted.

The BBC news this evening has featured a report on the new paint job on the Forth Rail Bridge that has cost around £130 million, taken 10 years, (including blasting off the old layers of paint) and is expected to last 25-40 years. The paint used is similar to that used on oil rigs and will hopefully keep the rust at bay.

My original watercolour titled “Haar on the Forth” didn’t take quite as long although it did feel like it at the time! It can be purchased for a lot less than £130 million and is currently on show at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland. It is also available as a limited edition print. It depicts the first major structure in Britain to be constructed in steel, rising out of a Scottish mist like a Brontosaurus in a prehistoric swamp. A steam train hurtling over the bridge adds extra mood and drama to the scene.

 

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