Tag Archives: Jebel Akhdar

Diana’s Point

Alan Reed

Diana’s Point, Jebel Akhdar

Diana’s Point is named after Princess Diana of Wales who visited Jebel Akhdar with Prince Charles in November 1986.

We first went to Diana’s Point on Jebel Akhdar in Oman back in November 2007. The previous year I had received a number of commissions for a client in Oman depicting scenes around the Al Hajar Mountain range so I felt it would be important for me to visit this stunning landscape for myself. I was not wrong. Apart from the invaluable experience of being able to sketch there on location, six years later my large watercolour of Jebel Akhdar Won the Artist Prize in the Royal Watercolour Society. The winning painting is available as a limited edition print.

Earlier this year we watched a BBC programme on Amazing Hotels hosted by Giles Coren and Monica Galetti. One of the episodes featured the new Anantara Hotel built on the area where Susan and I had a picnic on some rocks back in 2007, long before the hotel was built!

The Anantara Hotel really does live up to the programme. Apart from the total luxury, fantastic food and infinity pool, they have an amazing viewing area called Diana’s Point that overlooks the dramatic canyon below. Early in the morning you can watch the sun catching the jagged mountains. In the evening you can watch the sun disappear behind the horizon.

I did several sketchbook watercolours, some early morning, others at sunset. This A4 size watercolour on handmade paper forms part of my Christmas Exhibition at our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland starting on the weekend of the 24th & 25th November 9:30 – 5pm.

I’ve made a short, one minute time lapse video which you can see on YouTube that shows the main part of the painting process. On the left hand side of the screen you can see one of my sketchbook watercolours painted late afternoon.

 

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The Artist

Painting of Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Original Watercolour of Jebel Akhdar, Oman

In 2013 I won “The Artist Prize” in the Royal Watercolour Society competition with my painting of Jebel Akhdar, Oman. The prize was a 3 page feature in “The Artist” Magazine where the writer Susie Hodge interviewed me.

I’m regularly asked questions by art students about my working methods and how I started off as an artist so I thought it may be helpful for me to post some of my answers. Here are the first 10 answers.

  1. Although I had seen my father use watercolours and I had always admired Rowland Hilder’s paintings featured in the Artist’s Britain Calendars in the 1970’s it wasn’t until the age of 15 that I first tried them out at school through my art teacher. I immediately fell in love with the way one could achieve different colours by laying one wash on top of another. I enjoyed art at school, particularly when I came second in an art competition at the age of 9. With the prize money I purchased some poster paints which I then used to win first prize in another art competition the following year with a painting of Bamburgh Castle.
  2. There was never really any doubt in my mind that I wanted to become an artist, particularly with my father Ken Reed) being an artist and seeing my grandfather paint too.

    Alan Reed

    Winter Landscape after Rowland Hilder

  3. I left school at 16 and went to art college in Newcastle upon Tyne studying Graphic Design and illustration. At college we were introduced to lots of different mediums. None of the lecturers showed me how to use watercolour though. I recall starting to teach myself one summer holiday by studying Rowland Hilder’s paintings. I showed my efforts to my lecturers the following term and they were very encouraging. Some of them actually bought my paintings. I had my first exhibition as an art student in our local library and sold all 12 paintings exhibited. I started to receive commissions from the exhibition.
  4. A couple of years after leaving college I decided to go self employed as a full time artist at the age of 22 using the Enterprise Allowance Scheme. To be eligible you had to be unemployed for several weeks then open up a business account with £1000 in. The government would then pay you £40 a week for a year. I guess 99% of the businesses would have failed but it was a great help to me. I also did a couple of days part time lecturing in art and design around the North East which was an additional income. I gave up the lecturing around 2004 although I still do 3 or 4 watercolour demonstrations to various art clubs around the North East.
  5. The time I spend on doing a painting varies. If I’m painting “plein air” it will take an hour or two. I might spend a little time in the studio to finish it off if required. Studio paintings will generally take a day to two weeks depending on the size, subject matter and interruptions!

    Alan Reed

    Sketchbook Watercolour of the Arch of Titus

  6. If I’m painting a landscape or cityscape in watercolour I will use a combination of sketchbook studies painted on location and my own photographs. I sometimes have to work off the clients photographs on some commissioned work. If I’m painting a portrait in oils, then I much prefer painting from life over a period of 4-6 sittings rather than photographs.
  7. Choice of scenes will depend on if it’s a commission or for an exhibition. The client will often be guided by my own thoughts and ideas. I usually get an idea straight away of what’s going to work. When painting a landscape or cityscape, I’m wanting the viewer to feel as though they are a part of the scene before them, so creating mood, emotion and atmosphere are very much a part of my design.
  8. I will use artist’s license whenever necessary, sometimes leaving out cars, road signs and certain figures in a cityscape or adding in figures. I’ll often change the sky or add foreground shadows to create drama in a landscape.

    San Gimignano

    San Gimignano, Evening Sunlight

  9. I love to capture the hustle and bustle of city life with interesting architecture, particularly cities like Edinburgh, Bath, Newcastle, Florence and Venice. Coastal scenes like the West Coast of Scotland and Norfolk are also a favourite. I’m enjoying portraiture at the moment too.

10. Capturing mood and atmosphere, the fleeting moment of light striking a building or the first rays of sunlight in a Tuscan landscape really appeals to me.

Also trying to describe someone’s personality and psychology in a portrait is a really enjoyable challenge.

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Artists and Illustrators

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman Painting

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman

On Friday I received a phone call from Artists and Illustrators Magazine to say that I’d been shortlisted as one of 50 artists for their competition “Artist of the Year 2014” with my original watercolour “Last Light, Ruwi, Oman”. I was delighted with the news as there were over 3,000 entries.

The winner will be announced in the December issue of the magazine which comes out on the 7th November. There will be an exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London 6th-17th January of the shortlisted entries.

My studio watercolour of Ruwi in Oman is the result of spending many hours making sketchbook studies on location in Oman. I’ve often risen when it was still dark to make sure I was in the right spot to capture the early morning light, however on this occasion it was a case of being in the right place to record the last throws of the middle eastern sunlight catching the distant hills.

The district of Ruwi can be seen nestling in the surrounding foothills with its white architecture coated in cool shadows. I’ve used a limited palate of Winsor and Newton watercolours on a very rough handmade paper to create a distinct contrast between the dark purple, craggy hills and the lighter crisp edges of the buildings.

I’ve now been painting scenes of Oman for 8 years for various clients in Oman. In 2013 I was thrilled to receive “The Artists prize” for the Royal Watercolour Society Competition from The Artists Magazine. My winning painting on that occasion was Jebel Akhdar, Oman which is currently on view at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Royal Watercolour Society

Painting of Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Original Watercolour of Jebel Akhdar, Oman

I was delighted to discover that my painting of “Jebel Akhdar, Oman” was recently selected by the Royal Watercolour Society for their Competition 2013 and even more thrilled that it won “The Artist’s Prize”. The Artist’s Magazine has asked me to be one of their featured artists later on in the year when I will be answering questions about my painting career.

The painting formed part of the Royal Watercolour Society competition exhibition at the Bankside gallery, London and will be on display at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland from noon on 9th March.

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Oman Paintings, Jebel Akhdar

Jebel Akhdar

Jebel Akhdar, Oman

Jebel Akhdar, (Green Mountain) is part of the Al Hajar Mountain range in Oman. It is the highest point in the whole of Oman and eastern Arabia. The area is over 2 hours drive from Muscat and one must drive through a passport control point in a 4 x 4 if one wishes to explore the fascinating villages dotted around the area. The locals grow pomegranates, apricots, peaches and walnuts on the ancient terraces which are irrigated by an equally old but sophisticated irrigation system called falaj. The area is also famous for rose water extraction.

I’ve painted a number of commissioned watercolours over the last few years of various views of Jebel Akhdar and over the last few years I’ve been a couple of times to paint on location. It’s noticeably cooler than sea level which is why many folk living in Oman often take the journey up the mountains in the scorching temperatures of summer. The new Sahab hotel situated on the plateaux at the summit boasts fine views over the surrounding mountains. It was from their grounds that I did a small sketchbook watercolour and took the photographs necessary to do this large watercolour titled Jebel Akhdar.

 

 

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