Tag Archives: Arches watercolour block

Bill Quay

Watercolour Painting of River Tyne

Original Watercolour of Bill Quay

Several months ago I received an enquiry about taking on a commission to do a watercolour painting of Bill Quay. The painting was to be a “thank you” present from a lady to give to her parents as she was getting married in the summer.

Bill Quay on the River Tyne holds special personal memories for the family. We discussed a specific size that would fit with her budget and I went one evening to Bill Quay to do a small sketchbook watercolour of the scene that the client had in mind.

Over the years I’ve painted many views of the River Tyne including North Shields, Fishing. I had a good idea of what would work for this particular painting.

The client approved the sketch so I was able to commence on the finished 14″ x 10″ watercolour, painted on an Arches Watercolour Block. Once again, the painting received the “thumbs up” from the client so all that needed to be done was to organise the framing and delivery.

We offer a bespoke framing service at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland where we have a comprehensive range of framing and mount options and I have over 30 years experience in helping customers choose the right frame and mount for a painting. I thought it would be nice to feature the client’s response to the commission.

“Just to let you know I have given the painting of Bill Quay to my parents today. It was also the first time I have seen it. Needless to say there were lots of tears! They were so pleased they have made sure everyone has seen it who is here today at the family barbecue.  I can’t thank you enough, its absolutley brilliant and the mounting and frame is just fantastic. They have said they will put a review on the website and of course I will as well. Thank you again, its just everything and more.” L.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to an Arches Watercolour Block, 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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Painting Holidays in Italy

Sketchbook Watercolour of Chiesa del Carmine

Sketchbook Watercolour of Chiesa del Carmine

Chiesa del Carmine

Watercolour Painting of Chiesa del Carmine

Painting Holidays in Italy are becoming increasingly popular. Following the success of our painting holiday in Umbria in May 2014 at Villa Capanne we have now booked up a slightly larger 5 * luxury accommodation for 9th-16th May 2015 which sleeps 14 guests, Chiesa del Carmine.

I first stumbled upon this building back in 2004 when it was a derelict church in ruins. Most of the ground floor was buried underground and the roof had collapsed. The bell tower was intact. Although in a sorry state, it was still very paintable so I did a little sketchbook watercolour which you can see above.

During our last Painting Holiday in Italy we were able to see Chiesa del Carmine in its restored state. All our guests were suitable impressed with the very high standard of restoration. The church has its own kitchen, dinning room and reception room which has a grand piano. One of our guests treated us to a wonderful rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” which was a delight.

Six of our previous guests have already booked up for May 2015. There are currently 4 more places available.

I returned a few days later with one of the painting guests so that we could do a watercolour each of the Chiesa del Carmine from a nearby vineyard which you can see above, painted on an Arches Watercolour Block.

There are lots of other amazing views to paint within a short walking distance of the church which will be a joy to anyone who loves to paint “en plein air”.

You can see a recent newsletter about the May 2015 Painting Holidays in Italy by clicking on the link. Should you be interested in finding out more then please email alan@alanreed.com or telephone 01661 871 800.

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 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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Spring Exhibition

Ponte Vecchio Painting of Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Firenze

Florence is possibly my favourite Italian city. I’ve been fortunate to travel there several time since my first visit back in 1998 when I sat on one of its bridges under the warm autumnal sun and painted a watercolour of Ponte Vecchio in an Arches Watercolour Block.

During my last visit there in 2011 I did a small sketchbook study of Ponte Vecchio from Piazza Michelangelo, a view which I’ve also reproduced as a very popular limited edition print.

This new original watercolour takes elements from the sketchbook study which I painted on location to depict the famous bridge stretching over the River Arno and the surrounding buildings.

I’ve also made this painting available as a small limited edition print.

Both the print and the original can be seen at my Spring Exhibition at the Studio & Gallery, Ponteland.

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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Painting of Burnham Overy Mill

Watercolour Study

Sketchbook Study of Burnham Overy Mill

In September 2009 and July 2010 my wife and I spent a weeks holiday in Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk with our daughter and two of our grandchildren.

It proved to be a mini inspirational homage to one of my painting heroes Edward Seago. Like Seago, I was captivated by the distinctive flat landscape and “big skies” punctuated by windmills, sailing vessels and trees.

I would rise early in the morning before the family woke up so I could spend an hour or so painting directly, without any preparatory pencil drawing, into my handmade sketchbook and Arches watercolour block. As one study was drying, I would alternate to the other until both were completed. Two hours later I was back at the cottage cooking breakfast!

This sketchbook watercolour of Burnham Overy Mill has been painted into a mini handmade sketchbook of Norfolk and is based on 4 separate watercolours painted on location “en plein air” in September 2009. The watercolour of Burnham Overy Mill I painted on the Arches 14″ x 10″ block can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Dunstanburgh Castle

Last summer I decided to have another video taken of me painting on location. I asked  a friend of mine, Gavin Dowd of  Word Out Productions to film me painting Dunstanburgh Castle.  I was hoping for a summer evening like the one captured in the painting which I reproduced as a limited edition print which you can see on my website. On that occasion,  the sun was setting, casting wonderful pink and orange colours onto the low passing clouds with waves crashing against the rocks. This time, the light was rather dull and flat and the tide was gently coming in.

I decided to tackle two watercolours, one in my sketchbook, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches Watercolour Block. To see the whole painting process, go to the Watch Alan Paint section on my website. Despite the fact that the scene was a little disappointing, it was still a worthwhile process and I’m looking forward to doing another video sometime in the spring.

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The Needle’s Eye Painting

A few weeks ago I was asked by one of my clients to paint a specific view of the Needle’s Eye which is situated at the south part of the beach at Newbiggen by the Sea on the Northumbrian coast. He provided me with several photographs of the view he had in mind, however they were taken on a dull day and were not really suitable to paint from. In any case, I much prefer to paint on location and use my own photographs if necessary.

I went to find the spot that the client had in mind of the Needle’s Eye but I’d didn’t check the tides before setting off. It was high tide when I arrived, so it was not possible to paint from the view which the client had in mind. I decided to take advantage of the good weather and after exploring the area, I did a sketch book study from some rocks on the other side. I had to finish the study in my studio as waves were starting to land on my paint box!

Two days later, the weather was perfect, so after checking when low tide was, I arrived at 1:30 pm and found a suitable rock from which to paint from which gave me a great composition of the Needle’s Eye with foreground rocks and water. In typical fashion, I did two studies, one in my leather bound sketch book, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches watercolour block of rough paper.

The tide was starting to come in and the paint was taking too long to dry, so I had to finish the larger painting from the warmth of my studio, however I did manage to complete the sketch book study in situ. I showed the client the finished study and he was delighted. I’m going to frame it to match the other paintings he has purchased from me.

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Painting on Location

One of the most satisfying and rewarding disciplines I do as a painter is getting up early to capture the early morning light in watercolour. Over the last couple of years I’ve been fortunate to spend a week in Norfolk over the summer with my family, following in the footsteps of some of my watercolour heros, particularly Edward Seago.
12" x 9" watercolour study of Burnham Overy Staithe

12″ x 9″ watercolour study of Burnham Overy Staithe

Burnham Overy Staithe is a painters paradise. The low lying land means you get the extremes of either low or high tide and of course the dramatic big skies which are always a challenge to paint. This particular scene was commenced about 6am at low tide with the sun attempting to break through the grey clouds which were scurrying across the sky.
As usual, I tackled two paintings, one in my sketch book, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches watercolour block of rough paper. The advantage of doing this is that whilst one is drying, you can crack on recording the ever changing scene with the other painting. One can keep alternating between the two, so the whole process is a very intense painting period. The sketch book study is always the more simple study, mainly because it is smaller, therefore one does not have as much space to fit in detail. There is no pencil work in either study as I prefer to “draw” with the brush directly on to the paper. This means you get a very expressive free brush stroke which brings a freshness to the work.
What I have ended up with is two, quite different renditions of the same scene which I hope to work up into a much larger painting at some point in the future. The photograph provides some valuable topographical information to supplement the watercolour studies. The challenge with the studio painting will be to retain the spontaneity of the location paintings.
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