Tag Archives: exhibition

Drawing

Sargent Studies

Charcoal Studies of Sargent Portraits drawn at The National Portrait Gallery

A few weeks ago I was asked to write an article for the website of a new initiative here in the North East called Drawing?

Drawing? is a 6 month long, region wide programme of exhibitions and events which aims to explore drawing in art and culture and also in other areas such as science, design and technology. The project is a partnership between The Customs House, Sunderland University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University and mima (Teesside University) and is being co-curated by Esen Kaya and Mike Collier.

Below is the article which I wrote describing the reasons why I draw but it’s well worth visiting the Drawing? website to find out more from other artists too.

Drawing is and always will be the main foundation of my creative process. Many visual artists and painters do rely heavily on photography to pull together the material from which they paint from. There’s nothing wrong in that, however I do feel that the discipline of drawing and observing from life is a valuable tool that can enrich the flow of creativity.

For me, one of the main uses of drawing is research. If I’m going to an exhibition, I am armed with a moleskine sketchbook and some charcoal pencils. A good recent example would be the John Singer Sargent “Portraits of Artist’s and Friends” at the National Portrait Gallery. I will typically spend several hours sketching the portraits on display as a means of achieving a deeper appreciation of Sargent’s use of tone, lighting and his characterisation of his sitters. The studies and techniques that I record in this kind of research are then translated from charcoal pencil on paper to a brush loaded with oil paint on to canvas when I come to do my own portrait paintings. I strive to keep the brush strokes as lively, free and expressive as those rendered from observation.

Likewise, if I’m painting a landscape or cityscape I will often paint the scene on location “en plein air”. This time however, the drawing element is achieved by using a brush, drawing directly with watercolour paint on to the paper. I rarely pre-draw the scene in pencil. This very spontaneous, direct approach means I can produce a very fluid and loose “drawing” that can prove to be invaluable when it comes to creating a larger studio painting where I may also harness the use of photography for topographical accuracy. The observational studies will help to prevent any slavish copying of the photographs that could result in a more sterile, static painting.

I also draw simply for the “fun of it”. Regular drawing helps my hand to eye co-ordination and enables me to be more visually selective when painting in the studio. It’s much easier to focus on the main point of interest when you’re drawing from life. This “focus” can be realised by using stronger, more direct lines on the areas that are really important. Conversely, the use of less fussy, more simplistic line work on background areas helps to create a composition that has more visual impact. Again, this can translate well when it comes to painting. I’ve been painting professionally for over 30 years and I’m drawing more now than I ever have done, not just to maintain my technical skills as a draughtsman, but to stay connected in a deeper flowing stream of creativity.

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 the product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

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Artist of the Year 2014 Exhibition

 

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Alan Reed outside Mall Galleries, London

On Tuesday evening I attended the Preview evening for Artists & Illustrators Magazine‘s “artist of the year 2014” exhibition.

I was delighted to be chosen as one of 50 shortlisted artists out of over 3000 entries with my entry “Last Light, Ruwi”, particularly as it came in my 30th anniversary year.

You can read more about my painting in a blog post I wrote 7th October about the competition.

The exhibition is being held at the Mall Galleries, London until 17th January.

If you’re in London during this period I can recommend calling into the Mall Galleries (situated on the Mall near Admiralty Arch) to see the exhibition for artist of the year 2014. It features a wide range of artistic styles and mediums.

Also, try to see the stunning Rembrandt show at the National Gallery which finishes 18th January. It’s worth putting up with the crowds to take in the late works of one of the greatest painters of all time.

I managed to get to the Rembrandt, Late Works show and despite the crowds was able to make several sketchbook studies in my moleskine sketchbook using charcoal pencils. I’ll be saying more about this in a future blog post.

 

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Jesmond Dene Painting

Jesmond Dene in Winter

Jesmond Dene in Winter Painting

My 30th Anniversary Christmas Party starts on the weekend of 15th-16th November. It’s one of several events we’re organising over the following year to celebrate my 30 years as a full time artist.

The featured painting on my invitation is Jesmond Dene in Winter. The original watercolour has already been sold, however I’ve decided to publish the painting as a limited edition giclee print with only 30 prints in the edition.

I’ve also reproduced the Jesmond Dene Painting as a Christmas Card which is available online in packs of 5 and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

The Jesmond Dene Painting was inspired by an afternoons sledging with my grandchildren one winter in Jesmond Dene. I managed a small sketchbook watercolour before the light faded and took a number of photographs which I used to compose the painting. Already, I’ve had a number of customers contacting me saying that the painting reminds them of times they have spent sledging with their own children.

The exhibition which runs until 24th December includes a number of new paintings including scenes of Newcastle, Northumberland, Scotland, Italy and the Middle East.

As a special thank you to the customers who have supported Alan Reed Art over the last 30 years, there will a Christmas present for the party guests attending the weekend preview. There will also be a Christmas Bran Tub along with festive refreshments!

If you are unable to attend the Christmas Exhibition Party but would like to be informed of future events please subscribe to our newsletter which we usually send out once a month.

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Bomber Command Memorial

Charcoal Sketch in Moleskine Sketchbook

Charcoal Sketch of Bomber Command Memorial

I went to see a couple of fine Edward Seago exhibitions in London recently. More on that later. Whilst on my travels around the city I decided to have a look at the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park.

It commemorates the aircrews of RAF Bomber Command who embarked on missions during the Second World War. The Bomber Command Memorial was built to mark the sacrifice of 55,573 aircrew from Britain, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries of the Commonwealth as well as civilians of all nations killed during the air raids. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth officially opened the memorial on 28 June 2012.

On arrival I was immediately impressed by the scale of the 7 crew members depicted in the memorial and the detail of the flying uniform rendered in the sculpture. Many of the larger bombers like the Lancaster had a crew of 7 so it was only fitting to show a full crew.

I began by doing an A5 sketchbook watercolour. Whilst I was painting it, a retired pilot came alongside to watch me paint. It turned out that his father used to fly Lancaster Bombers during the war.

The Bomber Command Memorial has been designed in such a way that one cannot see all the crew members at once. You have to move about to see them all. I suppose that it could signify that the crew members were spread about the aircraft from the nose to the tail of the plane.

I decided to return to the Memorial the following day when I produced another watercolour sketch and a couple of charcoal pencil drawings in my Moleskine Sketchbook. One of the figures reminded me of my Great Uncle Ronnie who was a flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers.

Many of my sketchbook studies can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland as part of the Art Tour 2014.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a Moleskine sketchbook, 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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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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John Singer Sargent – Brooklyn Museum

Painting at the Brooklyn Museum

Corfu: Lights and Shadows by John Singer Sargent

I’ve been reading with considerable interest the various reviews of the major exhibition of John Singer Sargent watercolours (and a few oils too) at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. To give you a flavour of the exhibition you can read an excellent review by Maika Pollack in the GalleristNY.

Since I first started using watercolours at the age of 15 I’ve been studying the techniques of the great watercolorists and I have to say, America has produced two of the finest exponents of arguably the most difficult of mediums to master, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.

Sargent’s technique was quite different from Homer’s who’s washes were generally more simplistic, quite possibly the result of Sargent painting his watercolours almost exclusively from life on location. Some of Homer’s watercolours must have been studio works due to the more carefully thought out compositions, use of colour and dramatic story telling.

The simple, yet wonderfully executed “Corfu: Lights and Shadows” above shows Sargent’s virtuosity in handling a brush with his deft flicks to indicate leaves and shadows. His bright palate captures perfectly the Mediterranean sunlight, the result and reward of constantly sketching. He once said “You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh”.

He believed, along with his tutor Carolus Duran, that painting was a science which it was necessary to acquire in order to make of it an art. I hope that I’m able to see this exhibition which runs until 28th July before continuing on in Boston.

You can see some of my paintings inspired by John Singer Sargent on my website www.alanreed.com

 

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Rodin’s The Kiss

Charcoal Studies of Rodin's "The Kiss"

Rodin’s The Kiss

Rodin’s stunning marble sculpture The Kiss is currently on view at the National Gallery, Edinburgh on a year long loan from Tate Britain. Last week I decided to pay homage to one of Rodin’s most famous works.

I find that one of the best ways to really appreciate art is to draw it so I embarked on a couple of charcoal studies in my moleskine sketchbook. I then did a small A6 watercolour study which I have since used in conjunction with the charcoal works to produce a larger studio painting in watercolour. This will be one of the paintings on view at my Spring Exhibition starting 13th April.

Almost two hours passed whilst I worked away in the gallery so I barely had time to have a quick glance at John Singer Sargent’s Lady Agnew before it was time to leave.

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Spring Exhibition 2013

Watercolour of my grandchildren

Looking for Crabs & Collecting Shells

My Spring Exhibition starts Saturday 13th April at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland and finishes Sunday 28th April. The exhibition will feature a number of new figurative paintings including these two new original watercolours of my grandchildren Ewan and Anya.

Ewan can be seen “Looking for Crabs” and Anya is “Collecting Shells”. The paintings carry an optimistic hope for some brighter, sunnier weather after what seems to have been one of the darkest, coldest, wettest and longest winters that I can remember for some time.

If you would like to receive an invitation to the preview weekend then please contact me.

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Paintings – Dhows Oman

Dhows, Sur, Oman

Dhows, Sur

It’s almost 5 years since I first visited Sur in Oman. It had been badly hit by Cyclone Gonu a few months previously and there was still much evidence of the damage caused. Sur has been associated with ship building for centuries and today there is a Dhow Maritime Museum dedicated to Oman’s history of sea trade.

I had been asked to do some paintings of Omani doors as well as dhows so I spent a few hours wandering around getting reference and making sketchbook studies of these Arabian vessels. I’ve published a number of my paintings of Dhows as limited edition prints since then which have proved to be popular. Some of the sketchbook studies have also been published in my signed limited edition Sketchbook of Oman.

The watercolour above is one of several new paintings to be exhibited at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland as part of my Christmas Exhibition starting 9th November.

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Family Fun at the Laing Art Gallery

The Misses Vickers

The Misses Vickers after John Singer Sargent

I found myself with an hour or so to spend in Newcastle earlier today so I decided to pay a third visit to the Family Matters Exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery. As part of the exhibition which runs until 2nd September, they have a stunning oil painting by one of my heroes John Singer Sargent. I’ve already made some studies in my Moleskine Sketchbook of this painting and a small 8″ x 6″ watercolour (see above) but I couldn’t resist a couple more drawings in charcoal pencil.

Throughout the summer months the Laing Art Gallery are putting on a number of events for children which look like excellent fun for any rainy days that may crop up. There is a terrific exhibition of original pen, ink and wash drawings by Quentin Blake and an opportunity for children to do their own studies in the style of the popular children’s book illustrator.

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