Tag Archives: Gateshead

Tyne Bridge

Tyne Bridge Alan Reed

Tyne Bridge

It’s not often that I post photographs of my paintings that are unfinished however I’m so pleased with the progress of this new oil painting of the Tyne Bridge that I couldn’t resist sharing the current status.

Last week the Tyne Bridge was deservedly upgraded to Grade II* listed. For many it is symbolic of the North East, representing the industry, design and creativity that the region is known for. Indeed, these are all themes that the Great Exhibition of the North have been showcasing over the summer months around Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

I have painted the Tyne Bridge many times since I was an art student in the early 1980’s but this is the first time I’ve tackled it on this scale. The painting is more than 1.5 meters in width and the main points of interest, the Tyne Bridge, the Millennium Bridge and the Sage are coated in 22ct Gold Leaf.   

Although there are still a few areas to complete and details to add, the painting is already starting to take shape. The Gold Leaf means that depending on the lighting conditions of the room, the areas that are gold really add depth and intrigue to the painting.

Last week I posted a photograph on LinkedIn of my first limited edition print of the Tyne Bridge taken from the former Gateshead Multi Storey Car Park. You can read about it here on an older blog post. It received some very kind and complimentary comments so I look forward to hearing what folk have to say.

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High Level Bridge, Fog on the Tyne

High Level Bridge, Fog on the Tyne

High Level Bridge, Fog on the Tyne

I have a bus going past me, a train going over me and a boat passing under me. Where am I in Newcastle? The answer is found in the painting above. The High Level Bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson (who designed the steam locomotive the Rocket with his father George and Henry Booth) and was built between 1847 and 1849. It is the first major example of a wrought iron tied arch bridge. In 1849 on the 28th September, Queen Victoria officially opened the bridge without a formal ceremony, her train simply coming to a royal halt on the new bridge.

In 2005, the road that runs through the bridge was closed completely to enable essential repairs to be undertaken to a cost of £43 million, about a 100 times more than the bridge originally cost to be built! It re-opened in 2008 but only for south bound buses and taxis to reduce loads on the bridge.

This view of Newcastle’s High Level Bridge is one of my favourite paintings of Newcastle. I first painted it back in 1992 except my first watercolour featured some of the buildings on the Gateshead side of the River Tyne. A few years later I decided to do another version, this time wanting to capture the low level fog and mist that sometimes hangs over the river. The view is taken from the very highest point on Newcastle’s Keep which provides a terrific vantage point for many of the cities famous landmarks.

It’s been one of my more challenging paintings as it’s not easy trying to paint fog in a convincing manner. One has to paint certain elements of the bridge and foreground structures as though there was no fog and then lift them out using a brush and clean water once they are dry. It was also very important to paint the architectural details with great precision, not only of the bridge, but also of the buildings nearby to add to the authenticity of the scene. I was delighted when my art teacher from my middle school days bought one of the prints.

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