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Learn to paint

Alan Reed

Watercolour, View from San Gimignano

The guests that come on our painting holidays in Italy learn to paint, mainly in watercolour. I’ve been teaching various aspects of art and design for over 30 years. Throughout this time I’ve learnt that there are no real short cuts to getting good at painting, however there are various things you can do to speed up the learning process.

On our last painting holiday in Umbria, I was impressed by the piano playing of one of our guests who would entertain us on the grand piano at Chiesa del Carmine. I found myself saying, not for the first time, “I wish I could play the piano”. However, on this occasion, I decided to do something about it.

Watercolour by Alan Reed

Leon Playing the Grand Piano at Chiesa del Carmine

When we returned, I went to J.C. Windows in the Central Arcade in Newcastle and purchased a digital piano. I had no previous experience of playing a musical instrument other than playing about on the old piano at my grandmother’s house when I was child, so I knew that if I was going to take this seriously, I would need to get lessons and to practise on a daily basis.

Since the summer of 2015 I’ve been taking lessons once a week and have tried to practise for about an hour a day. When you are a complete beginner in any new skill, you really do benefit from receiving instruction from an expert. Within 6 months of purchasing the piano I had learnt a number of pieces and I’m starting to sight read music. It’s like learning a new language, very difficult at first, but gradually you start to understand what you are meant to be doing.

If you want to learn to paint, then you will benefit from taking lessons from an expert who is good at teaching, however you must also practise on a regular basis. I’m always impressed at how quickly my students have improved when they have attended one of my 6 week watercolour classes, or even on a one week painting holiday. I know that further improvement will happen if they are sketching regularly. You’re better off drawing or painting every day for thirty minutes to an hour than once a week for several hours if you really want to learn to paint.

We still have spaces on week two of our painting holiday in Umbria, Italy 4th – 11th June 2016. Please contact reedartholidays for details.

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Painting Holiday in Umbria

Near Pienza, Evening Sunlight

Near Pienza, Evening Sunlight

There are only 2 double rooms and a single room left on our Painting Holiday in Umbria, Italy 9-16th May 2015.

I’m really looking forward to what promises to be a lovely time of painting “en plein air” in and around a beautiful part of Italy.

Guests will have a fabulous opportunity to brush up on their painting skills whilst enjoying a lovely spring break in the glorious Umbrian countryside.

I recently demonstrated to my Friday watercolour class how to paint the Tuscan landscape using a series of simple washes to create depth and mood. This was done over two paintings. One was of Val d’Orcia early morning. The other was a scene near Pienza capturing the early evening sunlight. I’ll be planning similar exercises for the folk coming on the Painting Holiday in Umbria.

Guests will also be able to enjoy 7 Night Luxury 5* accommodation with heated swimming pool at the enchanting Italian hideaway, 5* luxurious Chiesa del Carmine.

We will have the opportunity to explore the surrounding villages and towns, as well as enjoying ample time to capture the stunning scenery surrounding Chiesa del Carmine.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast together at the Villa, a typical day will either be spent visiting one of the nearby towns like Cortona, Assisi, Spello or Perugia, or we will spend the day painting around Chiesa del Carmine or Casa San Gabriel.
Non painting guests are also very welcome and can either join us on days out or explore for themselves the beautiful surroundings. We will endeavour to meet your every requirements.

Antognolla is a championship golf course only 10 mins drive away and golf clubs are available.

Evenings are convivial gatherings, with pre-dinner drinks taken on the terrace, followed by a delicious Italian home cooked evening meal by our own chef either at Chiesa del Carmine or at a nearby restaurant. Breakfast and evening meals are Included in the price.

Guests will need to organize their own flights and car hire. However, it may be possible to share the cost of car hire with other guests.

If you would like to find out more, then please contact Alan or Susan on 01661 871 800  or email.

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Watercolour Course

Original Watercolour of Theatre Royal

Grey Street, Snow is Falling

My next Watercolour Course is being held at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting Friday 30th January-6th March.

This new Watercolour Course lasts 6 weeks and I will be covering many different aspects of what has been described as the most difficult medium to master.

However, even though watercolour painting is challenging, even an absolute beginner will be able to gain an insight and understanding of at least the basics of watercolour painting through the step by step demonstrations I’ll be giving on a weekly basis.

Each day begins with me going through the reference material provided for the lesson by demonstrating each stage for the students. They then go and work through the process themselves. I’m always on hand should anyone run into any major problems, although I do stress that we learn the most through making mistakes!

Fresh tea and coffee is provided but I recommend that pupils bring a packed lunch to break up the lesson which runs from 10-3pm.

Regarding materials, these are the colours I tend to use the most and which I carry on location: Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Scarlet Lake, Rose Madder, Ultramarine Violet, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Windsor Green, Burnt Umber, Vandyke Brown, Payne’s Grey, Lamp Black and Chinese White.

Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Winsor Yellow and Cadmium Orange are also colours which I might also use when working in the studio. Remember, you can mix colours, either in your mixing palettes or through laying one wash of colour on top of another when it’s dry.

For paper, I like to demonstrate on Arches Watercolour Blocks, 14″ x 10″ rough surface or 12″ x 9″ size. I also recommend having a moleskine sketchbook to practise drawing out the subject before commencing the painting.

The painting above “Grey Street, Snow is Falling” is one of the paintings I demonstrated on the last course for the final week. It’s a variation on a watercolour I painted several years ago as a Christmas Card.

I was pleased with the results that the class came up with after only 5 weeks tuition and the feedback about the watercolour course I received from everyone was very positive. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me.

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.

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