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Painting of the Angel

Alan Reed

Angel Sunrise

In a previous blog post I described a recent painting commission where I was asked to do an oil Painting of the Angel of the North. As part of the project I decided to do a smaller study to try out some ideas with colours and cloud shapes.

This new Painting of the Angel can now be seen at our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland. As you will see, it is quite different from the larger commission and different in style from all my other paintings. The wings are made up of 22 carat gold leaf. This can cause the painting to look quite different depending on the lighting conditions of the room, whether the room is in natural light or gentle artificial light.

Whilst doing this painting I’ve been asked several times how to paint a straight line. The answer is quite simple, I use a ruler. The find out how you can watch a short video.

On this particular Painting of the Angel I decided to add a solitary figure to provide a sense of scale and heightened drama to the scene.

Although it wasn’t deliberate on my part, these recent works of the Gateshead Angel have reminded me of the stunning painting of the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by north east painter John Martin which can be seen at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. If you are in Newcastle and you have some spare time, the Laing Art Gallery is well worth a visit.

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Painting of the Angel

Alan Reed

The Angel of the North in Progress

Earlier this year I received a request to do an oil Painting of the Angel of the North. Although I have painted several paintings of the Angel since it was first erected in April 1998 the client had very specific ideas about the size, colours and view point which were completely different from my other paintings of the Angel.

All my previous works of the Angel had been in watercolour so I was excited about tackling it in oils. I suggested to the client that the painting could have more visual impact with some gold leaf on the wings. Over the years I’ve painted a number of different subjects using gold leaf and the effects can be pretty amazing. A more recent example is the scene below of Buckingham Palace from Green Park.

Oil Painting by Alan Reed

Original Fine Art Painting of Buckingham Palace from Green Park painted in oils on Gold Leaf.

I made several trips to see the Angel to get fresh reference and to remind myself just how iconic the Angel has become.

I’m always observing interesting skies and whenever possible I’ll either paint them on the spot or photograph them. In the case of sunrises and sunsets, they are more challenging to paint on location because the colours change so quickly. I searched through my library of photos and found a suitable sky for inspiration.

Alan Reed

Sunset Sky

Producing a Painting of the Angel with gold leaf involved some experimentation with the base colour of the wings so that the gold leaf had maximum impact. I decided that using the same red as the sky would work best. It would provide the right visual connection between the sky and the Angel.

Adding gold leaf demands patience and care but it’s very satisfying when you see the finished result. It’s even more satisfying when the client sees the painting for the first time and loves it!

I’ve had the Painting of the Angel hanging in our kitchen for the last few days. It’s great to see the effects of gold leaf at various times of the day under different lighting conditions. It’s a painting which is quite different from anything else I’ve painted.

I’ve now published this painting of the Angel as a  limited edition giclee print, available on paper and also hand embellished with gold leaf.

A smaller oil painting of the Angel from a different angle is now complete and is available to view at our Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

Alan Reed

Painting of the Angel

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Temple of Aphaea Painting

Temple of Aphaea

Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

In my previous blog post I wrote about a small 14″ x 10″ original watercolour which I painted on an Arches Watercolour Block as part of a demonstration for a local art club.

Here is a larger image of the painting so you can see in detail how I have broken down the reference photograph into three distinct areas of foreground, middle distance and background.

Even though the ruined temple of Aphaea is very much in the middle distance, it remains the focal point of the painting due to the darker, cool foreground and the pale, warm colours of the sky.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

 

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Temple of Aphaea – A Daily Sketch

Watercolour of Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

In 1999 we had a week on the Greek Island of Aegina. Whilst exploring the island I came across the ruined Temple of Aphaea and made some studies.

Last weekend I was doing a watercolour demonstration for a local art club. As part of my demonstration, I started a small watercolour on a 14″ x 10″ Arches watercolour block based on the reference I gathered on that trip.

Notice also the smaller study made in the moleskine sketchbook that was painted directly onto the paper without any pencil preparation.

Some of the links on this post are affiliate links to products which I personally use available from Amazon. 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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Sargent Studies – A Daily Sketch

Gouache Sketch

Gouache Sketch of “Old Man with a Dark Mantle”

For the last few weeks I have been continuing with my daily discipline of a sketch a day. I try to do this for 20 minutes to an hour, 5 or 6 days a week, usually in my Moleskine Sketchbook. 

Most of my studies have been made with a charcoal pencil, however today I decided to do a gouache rendition of John Singer Sargent’s oil sketch of “Old Man with a Dark Mantle”. Although I would prefer to paint this in oils, the advantage of using gouache paint is that it’s quick drying.

I’ve photographed the palate, brushes and Winsor and Newton paints, together with the reference book I’ve used, John Singer Sargent Figures and Landscapes, 1883-1899 by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray.

Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray have written some brilliant books on Sargent’s paintings which give a fascinating insight into his work.

To follow my daily sketches on twitter, go to @adailysketch

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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The Response

Watercolour of "The Response"

“The Response”

Every so often I decide to paint a subject which is different to my usual repertoire. Sometimes it can be very personal. “The Response” is a recent painting that has a number of meanings but rather than me explain them all in this post, I’ve decided to leave the viewer to have their own thoughts for now.

“The Response” is a very moving World War One memorial commissioned by Sir George Renwick, a local ship owner. He gave the memorial to the city to commemorate the raising of the World War I Commercial Battalions of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and also to celebrate the safe return of his five sons from the Great War.

The monument is an emotionally charged depiction of the call to arms in 1914. The life sized 5th Northumberland Fusiliers are patriotically marching to war, led by drummer boys and an angel. Various well-wishers, parents, wives and children, some cheering, some weeping gather around the procession.

When I was a little boy, I would be captivated by this scene of soldiers and their families when my grandma took me through the town to see the Saturday morning matinee. The monument cropped up in a conversation about sculptures recently so I decided to make some observational sketchbook drawings in my moleskine of this magnificent sculpture. I became more and more intrigued by what I was drawing to the point of painting a very large 40″ x 30″ studio watercolour.

The more personal aspect of my painting of “The Response” is the group of figures on the right. I’ve painted myself, my daughter Louise and her children Ewan and Anya. The last soldier behind Louise is my Great Grandfather Thomas Reed who served in the conflict. He was shot in the chest but miraculously survived the Great War. He used to carve ships figureheads for a living and was a gifted draughtsman.

The painting can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Painting of Florence

Firenze painting on location

Via Spirito Santo, Firenze on Drawing Board

To do a Painting of Florence is always a joy and delight. Last September I was working in Florence on a number of painting projects, one of which was painting several street scenes on the spot in my hand-made watercolour sketchbook. In the photograph of what’s on the drawing board you will see the sketchbook depicting my watercolour study of Via di Spirito Santo painted standing up with my small box of paints balanced in one hand with the sketchbook, the other holding my traveling paint brush.

I wanted to capture the dark, narrow street which had snatches of the early evening light catching the tops of some of the buildings and so I used a very limited palate of Raw Sienna, purple and Payne’s Grey for much of the sketch. I’m wanting to retain the freshness of this sketch in my studio production which I’m intending to work on over the next few days. Watch this space for the finished result.

 

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Newton-by-the-Sea

Sketchbook Watercolour of Newton-by-the-Sea

Sketchbook Study of Newton-by-the-Sea

Yesterday I went to Holy Island with the family and visited the castle for the first time. The views towards Ross Sands and the rest of the island are stunning and are well worth the visit. We had to be off the island by 3pm to avoid being stranded by the incoming tide so we decided to go to another favourite place, Newton-by-the-Sea where you can get some great views of Dunstanburgh Castle.

I usually carry a small traveling box of watercolour paints and brush, so whilst the grandchildren and nephews were playing together I quickly captured the scene before me in my leather-bound sketchbook. Apart form being a lovely reminder of a delightful day, this sketch could well turn into a more finished painting to hang on someone’s living room wall.

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Moleskine Sketchbooks & Journals

John Singer Sargent Studies

John Singer Sargent Studies in Charcoal

Yesterday I finished yet another Moleskine sketchbook by making some further studies of the portrait work by John Singer Sargent. I’m a great fan of the Moleskine brand and have a growing collection of notebooks, sketchbooks and journals filled with important notes, studies, ideas and thoughts that are documenting my humble career.

The drawing on the left page of the Moleskine sketchbook of the male model was made using a Royal Charcoal Stick whilst the study of Vernon Lee, a close family friend of Mr Sargent, was drawn with a Royal Charcoal pencil, part of a drawing set from Ryman Stationery.

You may notice a very small watercolour of three attractive young ladies above the tin of charcoal pencils. This is a my study of a stunning oil painting by John Singer Sargent painted in 1884 titled The Misses Vickers which is currently on view at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The painting forms part of the Family Matters Exhibition which runs until 2nd September and was commissioned by their father Colonel Tom Vickers as a 21st birthday present for the middle daughter Mabel Francis. Her two sisters Florence and Clara sit to her left and right respectively. The exhibition is well worth seeing not only for the John Singer Sargent as there are lots of other great paintings to see.

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Food Paintings

Chillies Painting for Print

Chillies Painting

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on some Food Paintings for an interior design company who are doing a re-furbishment for a North East Chinese restaurant. There are 9 Food Paintings required which include various ingredients for the Chinese meals. I’ve chosen to work from life as much as is realistically possible and I’m keeping the paintings small, working in watercolour. They will be reproduced as giclee prints to the bespoke size required.

As part of the service, I will also be working with the interior designer and the restaurant owner to ensure that the prints are framed to match the paintings and the new decor of the restaurant. The original paintings will be available to see on www.alanreed.com once the project is completed. They would actually make attractive paintings for one’s kitchen.

To see the range of frames and mounts that I have available, please visit the Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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