Tag Archives: commissions

Time Lapse Portrait Sketches

Alan Reed

Charcoal Pencil Sketch

There are no short cuts to achieving sound drawing skills. Regular practise at drawing from observation will pay off in most visual disciplines in art, whether it’s painting, sculpture, graphic design or even photography. Before working on a commission or a painting for exhibition I will often warm up for 10 to 20 minutes with a charcoal pencil sketch of a John Singer Sargent portrait. I’ve drawn dozens over the last few years, particularly as I’ve been receiving more portrait commissions.

I’ve recently started to make time lapse videos of my portrait sketches so that one can see the process on how I draw a face from the start. If you watch the video which is only 24 seconds long, you will see that I draw a faint outline for the shape of the face.

I then make a mark halfway down to indicate where the eyes are to go. I then make another mark in between the eye line and the chin for the tip of the nose. Finally I do one last guideline for the mouth, usually slightly higher than halfway between the tip of the nose and the chin.

Once these are in place, I then start to draw in with greater care the details for the eyes, working my way down the face for all the other features. After that, it’s simply a matter of shading in the hair and drawing in the neck and shoulders. You will see that I’m drawing with a charcoal pencil which gives you a lovely dark, rich tone. I’m  also a big fan of the Moleskine sketchbooks which come in a good range of sizes.

Time lapse videos are quite easy to do and it’s a great way to show folk the drawing process without it taking up too much time.

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Paintings of Umbria

Alan Reed

Via Roma, Montone

It’s the time of year when I’m busy working on commissions and fitting in time to paint new works for my Christmas exhibition. One of my latest works is this street scene of Via Roma in Montone, Umbria available as a limited edition print.

When we were taking our guests on the Painting Holidays in Italy this year, we spent an afternoon in the delightful hilltop town, Montone. It’s a lovely place with plenty of subject matter to paint. I did a couple of watercolours “en plein air” which were the inspiration for this A4 painting on deckled edged paper.

Over the years, my Paintings of Umbria have resonated with many customers, particularly those who have properties there. I’ve been very fortunate to have received a number of commissions to go out and paint original paintings of clients homes throughout this beautiful region, described as the “Green Heart of Italy”.

Often with my Paintings of Umbria, I deliberately choose to use a limited palatte to create mood and atmosphere. I will refer back to my studies painted on location to ensure that I retain the lively brush marks and looseness of the original sketch. This studio painting of Via Roma follows that pattern. There’s a strong feeling of light and movement running throughout the painting, even in the shadow areas.

This is one of several Paintings of Umbria that will go on display for my Christmas Exhibition later on this year. Please sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on new paintings and events.

 

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Colosseum Painting

Alan Reed

Colosseum, Rome

One of the many thrills of being a full time artist is receiving commissions to paint subjects which you find stimulating and exciting. Over the last 12 months I’ve received a number of commissions to paint some of the architecture built by the Romans.

Because of my training at art college in architecture, I really enjoy the whole process of gathering reference material on location through watercolour sketchbook studies of the ancient architecture and photography. Pulling all the material together in my studio to create a finished watercolour is a rewarding task, particularly when I know how much the client really appreciates the final outcome.

The most recent commission is a painting of the Colosseum in Rome. I’ve painted the Colosseum on a number of occasions at different times of day and various angles. This particular view of the Colosseum is taken from the Roman Forum when I spent an afternoon sketching around the various ruins.

Alan Reed

Roman Forum, Dawn

I also rose before dawn to capture the sun rising over the remains of the temples as you can see in the watercolour sketch above.

Other commissions of Rome have included the Arch of Titus and Parco degli Acquedotti and the Roman Forum.

To find out more about commissioning a painting, please visit my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland for an informal chat or watch the Commissions Video on my website.

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Great Review from a Client

Watercolour of the Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus, Rome

 

I’ve been working on a number of painting commissions of Rome for a new client. Last week I sent out one of the paintings so I was very pleased to receive the following review today for the original watercolour of “The Arch of Titus”.

This particular painting is based on a sketchbook study painted on location and a number of photographs. I felt that it was important to take care in capturing the Latin inscription and the scene under the arch itself that shows the spoils of Jerusalem. However, it was also important to retain the spontaneity of the sketchbook study too.

“Dear Alan,
I fear singing your praises as you may decide to raise your price for future work.
But worthy praise should be given heartily and your work is spectacular – worthy of the Emperor himself!
Thank you.
I look forward to the forum and other works.
Enjoy the weekend.”

Sylvano

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Sargent – A Daily sketch

Charcoal Sketches

Studies of John Singer Sargent Drawings

Every so often I like to set some kind of painting/drawing discipline to keep on top of my game. Good habits are hard to form and easy to break and sadly the converse of that statement is also true!

I tend to find that my regular sketching habit falls by the wayside, particularly if I’m busy with commissions or working towards an exhibition. However, despite being very busy at the moment working on a series of portraits in oils of City Church, Newcastle members, I’ve decide to set myself the goal of doing some kind of sketchbook study every day for about 10-30 minutes.

The two charcoal sketches above were drawn in my Moleskine Sketchbook and are studies of John Singer Sargent’s Portrait drawings. Making studies of this kind is a great way to develop your own drawing technique, particularly if you are unable to find a willing model to sit for you.

To see my daily (hopefully) sketches, you can follow my twitter accounts @artistalanreed and @adailysketch

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Durham School v St Paul’s School

Durham School v St Paul's School

Durham School v St Paul’s School Watercolour Painting

One of the commissions I had in 2013 was Durham School v St Paul’s School in the Veterrimi IV final on 3rd November 2013.

This was a historic event that saw the oldest rugby clubs in the world play off in a fantastic tournament which is one of a kind and only happens every two years.

The painting of such an event is not only a once in a lifetime opportunity to capture the event itself, but even more so for the parents whose sons featured in the match.

An opportunity to possess a painting of them playing is unlikely to occur again in their rugby careers.

I spent the weekend at Sherborne where the tournament was being held so I could gather the necessary reference to do the painting. The standard of rugby was very high and Durham School came out as winners in a competitive final.

The original watercolour painting can currently 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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BP Portrait Awards 2012

Moleskine Sketchbook - Charcoal Studies

Sketchbook Charcoal Studies on Tube

The BP Portrait Awards 2012 Exhibition is currently on at the National Portrait Gallery.

Over the years I’ve received many a commission to do a painting of a client’s home. Sometimes this has been overseas in countries like Italy. I always enjoy travelling to see the property which is usually impressive and to do some sketchbook studies on location.

On Friday I travelled to London to get some suitable reference for a commission of a lovely house for a client. I was fortunate with the weather and managed to capture the sun catching the front of the building. I had a few hours to kill before my flight home to Heathrow so I went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Award 2012 Exhibition.

My favourite was by a young lady called Isabella Watling who received a fitting compliment in the Independent’s review of the exhibition, so she received my public vote.

“BP regulars like the annual game: choose your own winner. Here’s mine: for being not too proud, at only 21, to apprentice herself to Velazquez, Boldoni and Singer Sargent, for her romantic, and, yes, painterly The Importance of Being Glenn, for daring to enjoy the dashing and romantic, my vote goes to Isabella Watling. If she can do this now, what a lot could follow”.

There were some excellent paintings on view and it inspired me to continue my work for the day in my Moleskine sketchbook. Remembering a quote from John Singer Sargent “You can’t do sketches enough, sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh”, I did a couple of charcoal pencil studies of some of John Singer Sargent’s oil paintings on display in the National Portrait Gallery, then on the tube back to Heathrow I did the 4 drawings of various folk seated nearby which you can see above.

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Painting of the Grand Canal, Venice

Last night Susan and I watched the  BBC 2 programme Shakespeare in Italy narrated by Francesco da Mosto. Part of the programme was set in Venice, a city which was Susan’s home for 5 years and a place which has been a content source of inspiration for my paintings of Italy collection. One of my favourite views is taken from the Accademia Bridge, looking at the Santa Marie della Salute. I’ve painted it several times on location and using the sketches, I have produced a number of studio watercolours which have included commissions. On one particular painting, I decided to photograph the painting of the Grand Canal, Venice in stages so that one can see the progression and development of the painting, from the initial pencil drawing through the sequence of washes, to the build up of detail.

After stretching a sheet of hand made Italian watercolour paper on to the drawing board, the first stage was to draw out the main elements of the composition with a B pencil. I like to paint a lot of the detail from observation with my brush, so there isn’t a huge amount of detail in the pencil drawing.

Next, I covered the whole sheet with a wash of clean water then ran in a gentle wash of Winsor and Newton Cadmium Lemon from about a third of the way from the top of the board. This helps to take away the starkness of the white and set the tone and mood for the rest of the painting.

One the yellow had dried I repeated the process of laying a wash of clean water except once it hit the architecture, I began to be more random with the wash leaving some of the paper untouched by water. I quickly ran in a wash of Rose Madder into the water but left some of the yellow showing through as pure yellow.

Before starting the sky, I masked off some of the detailed areas in the water like the poles and boats so that I wasn’t having to paint around them with the blue. I started off the sky with quite an intense wash of French Ultramarine and Manganese Blue, fading it out slightly as the sky came closer to the horizon and then painting around the architecture.

Once it had dried, I deepened the blue for the foreground part of the Grand Canal I then started on the buildings on the right hand side. The detailed photograph shows how some of the blue in the sky and water was used as shadow areas for the buildings.

I finished the right hand side before commencing on the left so that I could use slightly more stronger colours to give the impression of the left hand side being closer.

When I rubbed off the masking fluid, it meant that the colour underneath remained as a base for the poles and boats. Strong, dark refections on the left provided further depth to the painting and once I had added the smaller areas of detail to the architecture and boats, the painting was completed. I have two paintings of the Grand Canal, Venice available as limited edition prints available online or from my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. I also have an original watercolour available of the Grand Canal, Venice which I painted using the same process described.

 

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North Shields Fish Quay

North Shields Fish Quay Original Watercolour

North Shields Fish Quay

One of the first commissions I received when I went self employed back in 1984 was to do two original watercolours of the Tyne near the North Shields Fish Quay area for a leading North East businessman. Over the years I’ve kept going back to the reference material I gathered back then to do fresh interpretations of the same scenes. My watercolour style and technique has changed over the years but it still ends up being a joy to tackle paintings of the Tyne which capture a bygone era.

This particular watercolour depicts fishing trawlers berthed at the North Shields Fish Quay. It’s winter time, so the sun is low over the River Tyne and its dying rays are casting a warm glow over the battered hulls of the boats and the architecture. Further mood and atmosphere has been created by lifting out a little of the colour over some of the boats to give the effect of smoke rising from their engines. The use of counterchange for the masts, highlighted against the darker buildings, then dark against the wintery sky gives further added interest. The odd dot of red for the buoys brings extra sparkle to the painting. Achieving the orange and yellow clouds in a cool blue sky is always a challenge in watercolour as it’s easy for the colours to merge and become a dirty green, however I managed to pull it off. The original painting is currently on show at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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