Tag Archives: Newcastle upon Tyne

St George’s Day

Watercolour of Old Eldon Square

Peace, Old Eldon Square, Newcastle

23rd April is St George’s Day. One of my more unusual paintings of Newcastle is this one of the War Memorial in Old Eldon Square which depicts St George slaying the dragon. The painting is set against the backdrop of a winter sky, indicating the bleakness of war. The inscription of “Peace” is a sign of the hope of peace which we ought to seek amongst our fellow human beings.

There have been numerous times when folk have looked at the painting and thought it was somewhere like Prague, not realising that it was their home town.

The background buildings are the rooftops of Emerson Chambers, one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the UK. One can also see Grey’s Monument, a further clue that the scene is Newcastle upon Tyne.

The painting is available in three sizes and can be seen and purchased from alanreed.com

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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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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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Moleskine Sketchbooks & Journals

John Singer Sargent Studies

John Singer Sargent Studies in Charcoal

Yesterday I finished yet another Moleskine sketchbook by making some further studies of the portrait work by John Singer Sargent. I’m a great fan of the Moleskine brand and have a growing collection of notebooks, sketchbooks and journals filled with important notes, studies, ideas and thoughts that are documenting my humble career.

The drawing on the left page of the Moleskine sketchbook of the male model was made using a Royal Charcoal Stick whilst the study of Vernon Lee, a close family friend of Mr Sargent, was drawn with a Royal Charcoal pencil, part of a drawing set from Ryman Stationery.

You may notice a very small watercolour of three attractive young ladies above the tin of charcoal pencils. This is a my study of a stunning oil painting by John Singer Sargent painted in 1884 titled The Misses Vickers which is currently on view at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The painting forms part of the Family Matters Exhibition which runs until 2nd September and was commissioned by their father Colonel Tom Vickers as a 21st birthday present for the middle daughter Mabel Francis. Her two sisters Florence and Clara sit to her left and right respectively. The exhibition is well worth seeing not only for the John Singer Sargent as there are lots of other great paintings to see.

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Paintings of Newcastle, Central Arcade

Newcastle's Central Arcade

Central Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne is full of architectural treasures, one of which is the Central Arcade, a stunning Edwardian shopping arcade built in 1906 within the Central Exchange, a triangular building built by Richard Grainger in 1836-1838 to the designs of John Wardle and George Walker. I’ve painted the outside of the building on many occasions as it appears in my paintings of Grey StreetGrainger Street and Market Street. Folk in Newcastle will best remember the Central Arcade as the home of J.G. Windows music. I recall going in to the basement to check out the latest rock music releases as a long haired Genesis fan many years ago!

Back in 1993 I was commissioned to do an original watercolour of the Central Arcade in Newcastle. At the time, I was doing a series of paintings of Newcastle taken from ariel perspectives. The client had commissioned two other paintings along that theme and wanted the one of the arcade to be viewed from above too. This was a challenging task, as the Central Arcade is enclosed by a glass roof and there is no public access to the balcony that is on the first floor. I managed to persuade the caretaker at the time to allow me to climb through a small window from a room that overlooked the shopping area below, for me to be able to take some photographs.

There’s nearly always somebody busking in the arcade but unfortunately on this occasion there wasn’t so a few days later I drew my son Oliver playing his violin on our driveway from an upstairs bedroom window to get the correct perspective. I was so pleased with the end result that I decided to reproduce the original watercolour as a limited edition print with only 250 in the edition.

A few years ago I decided to paint the Central Arcade again, but at ground level. This time however, I became the busker playing the violin. The original watercolour can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Theatre Royal at night

Theatre Royal at Night

Theatre Royal at Night

Prints of the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne are always popular but I’ve seen very few artists paint it at night which is when most theatre lovers see it. Artificial light is not easy to capture convincingly in paint, particularly in watercolour, however, this scene has worked well. The key is keeping the palate simple and the colours clean and fresh in terms of application.

For this watercolour I used Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Purple, Paynes Grey and French Ultramarine for most of the painting with touches of Scarlet Lake and Windsor Green for some of the details on the figures and traffic lights.

The original watercolour sold many years ago but I do have other original paintings of the Theatre Royal on view online and at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Grainger Street

Grainger Street

Grainger Street

The popularity of my limited edition prints is partially down to the fact that I usually include figures in the paintings which bring the painting to life. Over the years I spent considerable time observing people going about their daily business in cities like Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh, Venice, Florence and New York. I’ve developed a kind of shorthand for drawing them on the move in my sketchbook which I can refer to when I come to do a studio painting. I will of course take photographs as it’s impossible to draw people in detail walking about the streets unless they are deliberately modelling for you.

It’s the figures in this painting which are the dominant point of interest. Folk have often commented that they love the old man shuffling along with his newspaper sticking out of his back pocket, the two old ladies nattering away with their shopping bags and the road sweeper who has stopped to light up a fag. The original painting sold many years ago but the limited edition print titled Grainger Street is still available online or from my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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River Tyne Sunset

River Tyne Sunset, Near North Shields

River Tyne Sunset

In one of my recent blog posts I talked about a commission I received when I first went full time as an artist back in 1984 at the age of 22. It was to do two watercolours of the River Tyne near North Shields for a leading North East businessman. He wanted me to depict the industry on the River Tyne, in particular the cranes, docks and ships.

Last year I decided to re-visit the reference I gathered over 27 years ago to do a fresh take on the scene. I stretched a massive sheet of Arches watercolour paper around 40″ x 30″ and drew out the basic composition in pencil. Then the real fun began!

First I wet the paper and flooded specific areas of the sky and all of the river with a mix of Cadmium Lemon and orange to create the effect of low winter sun catching the clouds. Once that first wash dried (about one to two hours) I wet the paper again around the yellow parts, however this time I brushed in some subtle washes of Rose Madder, intensifying the colour nearer the horizon.

An hour or so later, when that wash had dried, I wet the paper once again in carefully planned out shapes around the yellow parts to indicate where the next application of colour was going to go, some nicely painted in Manganese Blue for the sky. Finally, when the blue wash dried, I completed the sky with some much darker cloud shapes with a mix of Paynes Grey, Rose Madder and Manganese Blue.

Next came the fun of painting in the main subject of the boats, cranes and docks using a wet on dry technique with all of the colours mentioned previously and some Raw Sienna, Vandyke Brown and Lamp Black. All the colours are Winsor and Newton Artists quality and the entire painting was done with a Stratford and York size 20 synthetic brush. Sadly, this particular brush is no longer available but I do have a few for sale at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

The painting titled River Tyne Sunset is currently on view at the North East Art Collective in Eldon Gardens, Newcastle upon Tyne where I also have a number of other original watercolours on display.

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Central Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne

Central Arcade

Central Arcade

Newcastle upon Tyne is full of architectural treasures, one of which is the Central Arcade, a stunning Edwardian shopping arcade built in 1906 within the Central Exchange, a triangular building built by Richard Grainger in 1836-1838 to the designs of John Wardle and George Walker. I’ve painted the outside of the building on many occasions as it appears in my paintings of Grey street, Grainger Street and Market Street. Folk in Newcastle will best remember the Central Arcade as the home of J.G. Windows music. I recall going in to the basement to check out the latest rock music releases as a long haired Genesis fan many years ago!

Back in 1993 I was commissioned to do an original watercolour of the Central Arcade in Newcastle. At the time, I was doing a series of paintings of Newcastle taken from ariel perspectives. The client had commissioned two other paintings along that theme and wanted the one of the arcade to be viewed from above too. This was a challenging task, as the Central Arcade is enclosed by a glass roof and there is no public access to the balcony that is on the first floor. I managed to persuade the caretaker at the time to allow me to climb through a small window from a room that overlooked the shopping area below, for me to be able to take some photographs.

There’s nearly always somebody busking in the arcade but unfortunately on this occasion there wasn’t so a few days later I drew my son Oliver playing his violin on our driveway from an upstairs bedroom window to get the correct perspective. I was so pleased with the end result that I decided to reproduce the original watercolour as a limited edition print with only 250 in the edition.

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Theatre Royal at Night

Since my first exhibition over 30 years ago (when I was an art student) I have regularly painted specific scenes for my clients. The subjects have varied considerably and have ranged from landscapes to cityscapes, sailing ships to aircraft, even red blood cells to pets! There have been many occassions when my clients have asked me to put themselves and their loved ones in a particular scene.

Theatre Royal at Night

Theatre Royal at Night

The painting above of the Theatre Royal at Night was one such commission where I was asked to paint the client with his wife and three children walking out of the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne as if they had just been to see a show together. The children are now young adults themselves, so the painting really is capturing a special moment in their family life together. Over the years I have painted the Theatre Royal at different times of day and seasons. The night time is one of the more difficult as artificial light is tricky to capture well in watercolour, but if you can get it right, it looks very dramatic.

To find out more about commissioning a painting of something unique for yourself or a loved one, visit my commissions page on my website or call in to my studio and gallery in Ponteland to have an informal chat without any obligation. It’s always best to give me a call on 01661 871 800 before setting out to make sure I’m in.

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