Our Christmas Exhibition is now on where you can visit us and see a large collection of Paintings, Prints, Christmas Cards and Gifts.
Grey Street in Newcastle has been described by the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as the finest curved street in Europe. I never tire of sitting down to capture its fine sweeping curve and Georgian columns in all seasons. You can see a number of limited edition prints of Newcastle’s Grey Street including Grey Street, Saturday Morning which was featured on the BBC’s “Show me the Monet”.
Newcastle is a very busy city so when painting Grey Street I find it great fun to bring life to the scene by adding in people for extra movement and interest. It’s even more fun painting Grey Street in winter because you have the extra challenge of resolving the reflections of the sky, buildings and figures in the wet pavement. Watercolour is the ideal medium for this but you need to know the sequence of washes and how to build up the colour.
You will notice that the gentle yellow colour that you can see just above the distant buildings is actually running throughout the entire painting (apart from the snow lying on the rooftops) and is particularly evident in the pavement in the centre of the foreground. When the wash of yellow dried, I wet the sheet of paper and introduced a very subtle hint of Rose Madder in the sky and foreground before introducing the slate grey for the sky and reflections.
After these washes had dried, it was simply a matter of adding detail to depict the architectural forms before finally painting the various figure. Over the years I’ve developed a “shorthand” painting technique to capture figures moving about. Photography can be a help but it’s also a very useful discipline to observe and sketch from life. That way you can’t get bogged down with detail. You have to pick out the main gesture and gender of the person and make sure that you have them positioned at the correct eye level.
Painting Grey Street outdoors is a real challenge and not for the faint hearted. As I’m writing this blog post, I’m getting tempted to get out there again! In the meantime however, my studio painting “Shoppers, Grey Street” can be seen online and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.
This is my new Christmas Card titled “Dear Santa” featuring my 7 year old Granddaughter Anya posting her letter to Santa.
A classic Grey Street snow scene with busy Christmas shoppers and their umbrellas. I’ve used a limited palette for the architecture and sky however a touch of Cadmium red for the traditional British red pillar box and Anya provides a focus point to this wintery Christmas Card.
The original watercolour painting is for sale in our Christmas Exhibition starting on Saturday December 5th.
My next Watercolour Course is being held at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting Friday 30th January-6th March.
This new Watercolour Course lasts 6 weeks and I will be covering many different aspects of what has been described as the most difficult medium to master.
However, even though watercolour painting is challenging, even an absolute beginner will be able to gain an insight and understanding of at least the basics of watercolour painting through the step by step demonstrations I’ll be giving on a weekly basis.
Each day begins with me going through the reference material provided for the lesson by demonstrating each stage for the students. They then go and work through the process themselves. I’m always on hand should anyone run into any major problems, although I do stress that we learn the most through making mistakes!
Fresh tea and coffee is provided but I recommend that pupils bring a packed lunch to break up the lesson which runs from 10-3pm.
Regarding materials, these are the colours I tend to use the most and which I carry on location: Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Scarlet Lake, Rose Madder, Ultramarine Violet, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Windsor Green, Burnt Umber, Vandyke Brown, Payne’s Grey, Lamp Black and Chinese White.
Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Winsor Yellow and Cadmium Orange are also colours which I might also use when working in the studio. Remember, you can mix colours, either in your mixing palettes or through laying one wash of colour on top of another when it’s dry.
For paper, I like to demonstrate on Arches Watercolour Blocks, 14″ x 10″ rough surface or 12″ x 9″ size. I also recommend having a moleskine sketchbook to practise drawing out the subject before commencing the painting.
The painting above “Grey Street, Snow is Falling” is one of the paintings I demonstrated on the last course for the final week. It’s a variation on a watercolour I painted several years ago as a Christmas Card.
I was pleased with the results that the class came up with after only 5 weeks tuition and the feedback about the watercolour course I received from everyone was very positive. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact me.
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.
It’s 22 years since I first painted this amazing view of Newcastle’s Grey Street. Over the years I’ve captured it in all the seasons.
I’ve just completed this new original watercolour of “Grey Street, Spring” which is going to be on show at my “Spring” exhibition at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting Saturday 8th March.
Grey Street, Spring is also available as a limited edition print.
“My North East by its Famous Sons and Daughters” is a new coffee-table book packed with in-depth interviews with 65 of the best-known people from the North East. It features celebrities from stage and screen, musical heroes and sporting legends of all ages. It also has a page dedicated to yours truly.
I’m genuinely humbled to be included amongst some of the most famous people from our region. We talk about our special memories and connections, together with personal insights to our favourite views.
I’m the only visual artist featured in the book which includes one of my paintings “Grey Street, Snow Shower” available as a limited edition print.
The book is available for £20 from book stores and also online by clicking on the link above. All proceeds go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
My first limited edition print of Newcastle was of Grey Street published almost 20 years ago. It was an immediate hit my customers. I recently discovered that I had a handful of copies left which are currently available from alanreed.com
Rather than me describe the scene of Grey Street, I thought I’d use this unprompted description by Lex Loizides, a friend and evangelist who writes excellent blog posts on Church history.
“So many contrasts in one painting! You have the languid, relaxed, sunny morning, somehow epitomised in the flag. Then you have the permanence of the historic buildings with both an optimistic stateliness and a kind of foreboding one. Then you have the no-nonsense bustle of folk swiftly moving to work, united in their haste yet alone. And then this lovely little group of pigeons pecking away. It’s a stunning painting Alan. You should be nationally recognised!”
Thank you Lex!
My Christmas Exhibition Preview weekend 9-11th November was very well attended with plenty of sales. Star of the show was “Grey Street, Snow Shower” which received a good number of print orders. Despite the rising cost of stamps, there were still plenty of folk buying my new Christmas cards too.
My new range of Magnetic Bookmarks also proved to be popular, with customers buying them as stocking fillers. Images include scenes of Newcastle, Italy, Bath and Oman.
Locally produced hand made glass was another hit as well. The exhibition continues at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland, Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5pm until Christmas Eve so there’s still plenty of time to pop in for a browse and a cup of fresh coffee.
Many years ago I did an Angel Christmas Card to help raise money for a local charity. Earlier this year I was approached by the charity The Cyrenians based in Newcastle who work with vulnerable, disadvantaged and homeless people. Sian Thomas, their marketing administrator, asked if they could use some of my paintings as Christmas Cards to help raise money for the charity which has been going for over 40 years.
Over the last 20 years or more, I know that the paintings I have done have raised thousands of pounds through being reproduced as Christmas cards, in particular for the Marie Curie cancer care, so I was more than happy to oblige.
We’ve decided to do three paintings of Newcastle, the first of which is a classic scene of the Theatre Royal in the Snow which was a sell out limited edition print. I’ve painted a similar view recently which I reproduced as a limited edition print titled Grey Street, Snow Shower.
The second card is this one of The Angel of the North depicted against the backdrop of a winter sunset, the colours of the sky being reflected in the snow. The two figures at the feet of the Angel help to create a sense of scale.
Over the years I’ve painted the Theatre Royal in Newcastle many times in different season and from various view points. I know that it’s too early to be thinking about Christmas but for those of us who are involved in Charity Christmas cards, it’s time to get things moving.
Over the last few months I’ve been working on several paintings to be reproduced as Christmas cards for the Cyrenians, a charity based in Newcastle who work with vulnerable, disadvantaged and homeless people.
This one titled Theatre Royal in the Snow is similar to a watercolour I painted earlier in the year titled Grey Street Snow Shower which is currently available as a limited edition print.
Art For Sale Online – Alan Reed Limited Edition Prints
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Original Art For Sale Online – Alan Reed Original Prints
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