Tag Archives: Italy

Painting Holiday in Umbria

Watercolour of Perugia

Sketchbook Watercolour of Perugia, Umbria

We’ve just returned from a weeks painting holiday in Umbria, Italy where we took 10 guests to stay at the luxury accommodation Villa Capanne.

Five of the guests were painting, the others were happy to enjoy the visits to nearby towns such as Cortona, Assisi, Spello and Perugia and of course to sample the local food and wine. To help the students with their painting “en plein air” I like to lead by example, so I did a number of watercolours in my leather-bound sketchbook and on Arches Watercolour Blocks.

Above is one of two sketchbook watercolours I painted on our visit to Perugia.

Quote from one of our guests: “Thanks to Alan & Susan Reed for an amazing week’s painting holiday in Italy. Food, scenery, everything exceeded expectations! 5* would not do the week justice!! Made some lovely new friends! Thoroughly recommend it when they do their next one – but be warned – Alan can be a hard task master (in our own interest!!).”

Mr A. Rapley

The next painting holiday in Umbria is  scheduled for 30th August – 6th September 2014 with another one planned for May 2015.

For more information about the Painting Holiday in Umbria and to request a brochure for September 2014 please email alan@alanreed.com 

To see more paintings of Italy visit my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland, Northumberland or visit alanreed.com

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Paintings of Olive Trees

Sketchbook Study of Olive Trees in Italy

Sketchbook Study of Olive Trees

I love doing paintings of olive trees. Several years ago I was commissioned to paint a client’s property in Italy.

As part of the research for the commission, I made some studies in my leather-bound sketchbook of the olive grove that surrounded their house in Umbria.

It was a friends 60th birthday recently so I painted her a handmade card of the scene based on the location watercolour, another opportunity to do some paintings of olive trees! She was so thrilled with her card that she had it framed to add it to her collection of Alan Reed Art.

To find out more about commissioning handmade cards of special places for a loved one go to the commissions page on my website.

More paintings of Olive Trees and paintings of Italy can be seen on alanreed.com and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland, Northumberland.

If you would like to have a go at painting olive trees, why not book a painting holiday in Italy through Alan Reed Art and I can give you some tuition.

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Cox and Kings Morocco Tours

Photograph of El Fna Square, Marrakesh

El Fna Square Marrakesh, Morocco

I’ve recently been chosen as one of six artists to enter a painting competition. The competition has been organised by Cox & Kings, the oldest travel company in the world, established in 1758.

Each artist has been given six photographs of Morocco from which they are select one to produce a painting from. We then have to blog about the finished painting and the competition which is to win one of Cox and Kings’ Morocco Tours.

I’ve chosen this rather interesting scene of El Fna Square in Marrakesh. Although I’ve never been to Morocco, I do have considerable experience painting Souks and markets “en plein air” on my travels to the Middle East and Italy.

My plan is to use that experience to make sure that I don’t end up with a slavish copy of the photograph but rather an interpretation of the image which captures something of the noise, activity, movement and hustle and bustle of Marrakesh. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to visit Marrakesh via the competition as the prize is a two night stay at the Hotel Palais Aziza & Spa.

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Painting Holiday In Umbria

 

Painting Holiday in Umbria

Painting Holiday in Umbria

 

Residential painting holiday in the heart of Italy with professional watercolour artist Alan Reed

Luxury Villa in Umbria

The accommodation sits on the 1,000-hectare private Antognolla estate, amid gentle rolling hills and centuries old Cypresses. stands at the top of the Antognolla Valley, looking down to the magnificent castle and across the championship golf course. Ideal for Non-Participants who enjoy golf or prefer to relax by the pool with a glass of wine.

This painting holiday in Umbria will involve me teaching students of all ages and stages my experience of painting in watercolour on location.

I will be taking the 10 delegates to various towns and cities around the area including Cortona, Spello and Perugia along with relaxing excursions into the lovely Umbrian countryside.

The sun terrace affords magnificent views of the Antognolla Castle and the estate beyond provide plenty of subject matter to paint.

Swimming Pool

All bedrooms are either twin or double with en-suite. Bed, breakfast and a delicious 3 course italian evening meal are included in the price. £865 / 1,012 Euro

Saturday May 3rd – Saturday 10th May 2014.

The next scheduled painting holidays in Umbria Italy are September 2014 and May 2015. Please contact for details or to register your interest.

Expert advise on painting materials will be given so that students will know what is required before the start of the holiday. For example, brushes can be purchased from alanreed.com or my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

There are only 10 places available therefore please contact for brochure or to book your place.

Alan Reed +44 (0) 1661 871 800   /  Mobile +44 (0) 771 874 1546

Chrissie Todd  +39 (0) 75 941 4219

 

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Italia! Magazine

Watercolour of Susan in The Basilica San Marco

Susan in The Basilica San Marco

I’ve recently been asked to write some responses to the Questions & Answers section of the Italia Magazine. Readers are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about Italy. From time to time, questions about painting in Italy crop up. Here is one from the March 2013 issue from a lady called Valerie in Weymouth.

Q. I have been experimenting with sketches and painting on my recent trips to Italy, but am not sure which medium to use. How do you choose between watercolour, oil or charcoal sketches – for example, does one suit landscapes or cityscapes more?

For me personally, choice of medium when sketching outdoors is usually a matter of preference and to a certain extent practicality. Also one needs to have some clear goals and objectives as to the purpose of the sketching.

When working “plein air” in Italia I’m often gathering reference material which will be a source of inspiration for some future studio painting. I find watercolour the ideal medium to capture the colour, mood and atmosphere of both landscapes and cityscapes. A small box of watercolour paints with a sketchbook can be easily carried about in a jacket pocket or small bag. It’s not too difficult to find a place to rest the sketchbook on like a wall, a table at a cafe or a fence if you’re painting in the countryside.

Watercolour painting does demand more skill but working small makes it less daunting. Italian cities are great for their wonderful shops selling leather bound journals and sketchbooks containing hand made papers. Find a book with a heavy watercolour paper and fill it with your studies of city life, architecture or the distinctive Italian landscape. You will hopefully create a delightful record of your travels in Italia which you can refer back to jog your memory or use for inspiration to paint. An alternative to buying a sketchbook in Italy is the Moleskine brand which you can buy in the UK.

I find that working in oils is more arduous in comparison. The drying time of the paint is longer and you will generally have to carry a lot more equipment like an easel, a bag to carry paints, turpentine, a range of brushes and your canvas/boards to paint on. It can be done but it’s a little more demanding.

An alternative to watercolour and oils is acrylic paint which is water soluble and dries quickly. It’s more forgiving than watercolour, allowing one to paint over mistakes.

Working in charcoal can be rewarding if you are not concerned about recording colour but you will also need some fixative (or hairspray) to stop your drawings from getting smudged.

Here is an example of how goals and objectives are important to choice of medium. Last year I was making some studies in the Basilica San Marco in Venice. I used a combination of watercolour in one sketchbook to record the colours and a biro in another for some of the architectural details. The sketchbook watercolour  is one of several studies I made on that trip in preparation for an oil painting I have been working on recently of Susan.


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Christmas Exhibition

Grey Street, Snow Shower limited edition print

Grey Street, Snow Shower

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.

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Magnetic Bookmarks

Bookmarks Photo

Magnetic Bookmarks, Scenes of Newcastle

Magnetic Bookmarks are not wildly available even though they are very practical. How many of us use bookmarks made from bus tickets, business cards or scraps of paper which easily fall out. Magnetic Bookmarks are much more practical as they clip onto the page you are up to without there being any danger of slipping out.

I’ve decided to do my own range of Magnetic Bookmarks which are now available in selected outlets in Newcastle upon Tyne and online at www.alanreed.com A range of seven classic scenes of Newcastle taken from my original watercolours.

More countries and places are being added to the range including Italy and Oman.

Each magnetic bookmark is museum quality, printed in full colour on the front and reverse and comes individually wrapped. The folded size is 105 mm x 45 mm.

The images are, from left to right,  Tyne Bridge, Early Morning,  Theatre Royal,  High Level Bridge,  High Bridge Street,  Central Arcade,  Emerson Chambers and The Lit and Phil Library. Each painting is also available as a limited edition print.

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Painting of the Pantheon

Painting of the Pantheon

Watercolour of the Pantheon

This new original watercolour of the Pantheon in Rome forms part of my forthcoming exhibition at the Lit and Phil Library starting 6th July. The Pantheon is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Rome and was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa about the time of the Bible’s Book of Acts. Agrippa’s inscription can be seen on the portico which always reminds me of Acts chapters 25-26 where the Apostle Paul is brought before King Agrippa to be tried. So convincing was Paul’s witness of Jesus Christ that even Agrippa said to Paul “You almost persuade me to become Christian”. Chapter 26 verse 28.

I’ve been to Rome a couple of times since my first visit back in 1998 as part of the process of getting reference for my paintings of Italy. Each time I’ve managed to paint a number of watercolours on location. In this particular 14″ x 10″ I’ve tried to retain the freshness of those painted plein air, keeping the brush marks direct and relatively loose compared to my usual studio paintings.

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San Gimignano, Italy

San Gimignano Print

San Gimignano, Tuscany

For more than a decade, I have been building up a collection of limited edition prints taken from some of my paintings of Italy. Before embalming on the finished watercolour, I like to spend time in the chosen location (who wouldn’t?) making at least one small watercolour on the spot to trigger off memories of the mood and feel of the place. For the painting of San Gimignano above, I wanted to capture the famous towers bathed in the warmth and clarity of late afternoon sunlight, that would evoke happy memories for those fortunate people who have spent lazy days under the Tuscan sun.

I spent a day and a half driving about the surrounding countryside, wandering in and out of the medieval town, enjoying the occasional glass of wine or espresso and sampling wild boar salami in-between painting and taking reference photographs. However, it was not until we left San Gimignano that the sky turned a wonderful pink, creating a beautiful golden hue on the various buildings and in particular the famous towers. I took some photographs from the car and logged the colours in my mind. This is the mood I wanted to capture as I began the finished piece that has been a successful limited edition print. Since then, I have painted the scene again as an original watercolour which you can see online or at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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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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