Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Junction 42

Alan Reed

Tyne Bridge, Early Morning

Junction 42 is an established charity which exists to see the lives of offenders and their communities visibly transformed by the hope of the Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ. Their mission statement is taken from the Old Testament book Isaiah Chapter 42 verse 7 “to free captives form prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness”.

It began in 2012 through their director Joanne O’Connor who had started the work in HMP/YOI Low Newton doing both chaplaincy and education provision, working initially for Youth for Christ back in 2000. As the Entrepreneurial work grew and prison work became more adult focused, Junction 42 was born.

I’ve known Joanne and her husband John for almost 20 years. When John, who had been a  drug addict, met Joanne and they planned to get married, my wife Susan and I did their marriage preparation. Since then we have remained close friends and have closely followed and supported their prison work. In the past couple of years Susan and I have delivered workshops teaching portraiture in Low Newton prison to the young women there.

Junction 42 also delivers art and music related projects and Entrepreneurial Training courses in prisons to equip individuals in custody to take ownership of their employment situation upon release. This can be through setting up their own business using the skills learned in this course or by using the confidence gained form doing the course to make them better candidates in job applications. You can read a report on their Entrepreneurial work delivered in prisons.

The DWP refers offenders to Junction 42 to receive 1-2-1 Mentoring and/or attendance to their CAP Job Club to help them develop an action plan to rebuild their lives and to engage in the community in a positive way to dramatically reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

Another point of help for the ex offenders is Connect, a Christian group who meet at St Luke’s Church on Claremont Road in Newcastle on a Tuesday night. This provides an opportunity for them to find out about Christianity through Alpha Courses and friendship with christians.

As a means of raising support and awareness of Junction 42 I’m going to do a zip wire challenge from the Tyne Bridge on Sunday 15th April at 1pm. Two years ago a team of staff from Junction 42 did a zip wire from the Tyne Bridge and raised £5,000 between them.

If you would like to find out more about Junction 42 then Susan and I would love to see you at our Spring Exhibition at our Studio & Gallery in Ponteland which runs throughout April.

You can make a donation via MyDonate which will be very much appreciated.

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Alan Reed, A Personal Story

Painting of Barka, Oman

Barka, Oman

Heart Attack 

When I (Alan Reed) was four years old, I remember seeing my grandfather lying in bed, several days after suffering a heart attack. He showed me a picture he had just painted of the great love in his life, Jesus Christ. A few days later my grandfather died. It wasn’t the best painting in the world, but it was the one which has made the greatest impression on my life. It has always struck me that out of all the things in his life that were dear to him, he chose Jesus to paint.

Rejected

As a child, I said my prayers most nights, worried that if I ignored and rejected God, then God would reject me. When I reached my teenage years I decided that I wanted to “have fun” and did things I knew were wrong. I still kept my options open with God by saying my prayers and going to church with my family, but my thoughts and desires were not towards God. In my pursuit of happiness I did have times of pleasure and enjoyment, but there was no lasting fulfilment or satisfaction. I only had a sense of bitterness and guilt from the way I was living my life. There always seemed to be something missing.

Challenge

1988 brought me to a point where I was not happy with my life. Circumstances took me to a different church where the pastor really challenged me about the way I was living my life. He asked me if I knew if I was going to Heaven or Hell. I wasn’t sure. I told him that I knew I was a sinner, doing many things that were wrong in God’s eyes that I had repented of and that Jesus Christ, God’s Son had taken the punishment that I deserved on the cross 2000 years ago. He told me that if I believed this to be true, then I would be saved from the reality of everlasting separation from God and would live for eternity in Heaven with God and all other believers when I died. That night I asked Jesus into my heart, asked Him to take control of my life and help me to turn away from my sins.

Freedom

Since then I have come to know Jesus more as He has changed me and given me the power and strength to deal with life’s trials and tests. I’ve realised too that going to Heaven isn’t about trying to live by a set of standards that are impossible to keep. You can’t earn your way into Heaven either, by doing good deeds. The only way is to ask Jesus to take control of your life and you will experience the freedom and happiness that living under God’s grace brings.

To find out more why not go on an Alpha Course?

My wife Susan and I go to City Church which meets at the CastleGate in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The painting of Barka, Oman can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. I chose it for this post as it’s a scene that looks like a throwback to Biblical times.

 

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Painting of the Pantheon, Rome

Painting of the Pantheon

The Pantheon, Rome

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. Earlier this year I painted a 14″ x 10″ watercolour of the Pantheon based on my location studies which was the inspiration to do this large painting. In both watercolours 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.

The painting of The Pantheon, Rome began as a watercolour demonstration for a couple of art groups who had asked me to show the students how to tackle cityscapes, in particular the challenge of painting figures in the context of a city scene. It’s been painted on an expensive sheet of rough Fabriano hand made watercolour paper.

The students seemed to appreciate the various techniques and methods I was demonstrating so I hope they enjoy seeing the finished painting of The Pantheon, Rome which is currently at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland and will soon be 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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St Mark’s Square, Afternoon Sunlight

St Mark's Square, Afternoon Sunlight, Venice

St Mark

St Mark’s Square in Venice holds very special memories for my wife and I as it was in the Basilica that Susan gave her life to God over 25 years ago. She had a dramatic conversion to Christianity which transformed her life from one of hopelessness and despair to one of peace, joy and faith in Jesus Christ. Whenever we go to Venice, we like to reflect on that pivotal point in Susan’s life and reflect on the amazing things that God has done in our lives since that day of new birth.

So it goes without saying that I’ve painted St Mark’s Square on more than one occasion, both on location and in my studio. This particular scene is an A4 studio painting based on a smaller sketchbook watercolour which I’ve published as a limited edition print with only 45 in the edition. The original was given to my youngest granddaughter Anya when she was first born, “my first watercolour”.

Other paintings of Italy can be seen in my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland and on my website www.alanreed.com

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John Martin APOCALYPSE

John Martin Apocalypse

John Martin Apocalypse

This week I went to London to see the Da Vinci Exhibition at the National Gallery, (more on that on another blog post) but I also decided to take in the John Martin “Apocalypse” Exhibition at Tate Britain. This show was actually on last year at Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery but I missed it. I almost missed it again as it finishes on the 15th January.

John Martin’s paintings were phenomenally popular. His spectacular paintings of Biblical scenes and vast landscapes attracted great crowds who would flock to exhibitions of his paintings to be enthralled and moved by the scenes and visions he portrayed. They would pay for tickets for the shows as the paintings went on tour, rather like we do today to see concerts or movies. Indeed, John Martin’s work continues to provide inspiration today for science fiction films, Hollywood blockbusters, video games, manga comics, musicians and artists.

I was particularly impressed by The Last Judgement Triptych depicting chilling scenes from the book of Revelation and the promise of eternal life for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The viewing of these three paintings was made even more relevant by a 10 minute light show every half hour with appropriate readings which I assumed were originally read when the paintings were first shown.

Last week I went to see the Turner Prize at the Baltic in Newcastle. The work on show there was about as relevant to 21st Century life as the Easter Bunny. John Martin’s paintings on show at Tate Britain are “right on the nail” today with the message they first communicated back in Victorian times. The exhibition finishes 15th January, so if you can make it, try to make the effort.

 

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