Tag Archives: North East

The Lit & Phil Library

Lit & Phil Watercolour

Lit & Phil Original Watercolour

The Lit & Phil stands for the Literary and Philosophical Society which was founded in 1793 as a place for the people of the North East to meet, talk and learn. Its members were many of the leading thinkers and innovators of their day and early presidents included Robert Stephenson, Lord Armstrong and Joseph Swan. The present building was opened in 1825 and the magnificent reading rooms remain largely unchanged today. Sadly, many folk in the region are not aware of its existence and are truly missing out on this outstanding resource for learning.

Earlier this year I visited the Lit & Phil in Newcastle for the first time and was introduced to Alma Devine their fundraiser. The building is in desperate need of some tender loving care to maintain its status as a landmark building with an extraordinary library. I have agreed to do a watercolour of the Grade 2 listed building and a limited edition print run with a portion of sales to donate to the fundraising cause. An exhibition of some of my paintings will be open to the public from Friday 6th July and will run throughout the month. Again, a portion of painting sales will go to the Lit & Phil.

I’m also doing a portrait in oils of North East Businessman Bill Midgley, chairman of Leazes Homes who is the Appeal Co-ordinator of the Lit and Phil. Both paintings will be unveiled at a special private viewing on the 5th July to launch the exhibition. Should you wish to receive an invitation to the special preview for the exhibition then please contact me.

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Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

The Northumbrian town of Alnwick boasts a magnificent castle as well as stunning gardens. I’ve had the privilege of painting both. In 2003 I was commissioned to paint over a dozen Northumbrian Castles in watercolour for a leading North East company to grace the walls of their boardrooms and Alnwick Castle was one of them.

I had already decided that I would spread the paintings out over the course of a whole year so that I was capturing all of the seasons. After working out when the sun was most likely to be catching the ancient architecture, I felt that the last light of a summer evening was going to best for this particular scene.

It was painted on an expensive hand made watercolour paper, heavily textured, which was ideal for rendering both the stone and the foreground grasses. It also allowed me to make quite large, free brush strokes to indicate the low lying clouds reflected in the slow moving River Aln. The painting that was commissioned worked well for the client and I was so pleased with the result that I decided to do a slightly different interpratation of the same view which I later reproduced as a limited edition print. The original watercolour can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Spring Exhibition

Spring Exhibition Invitation

Spring Exhibition 2012 Invitation

For those of you who have perhaps stumbled upon my bog and are not on our database, my Spring Exhibition starts on the 10th March at my Studio & Gallery at 17 Cheviot View in Ponteland. If you would like to start receiving postal invitations then please contact me on alan@alanreed.com or telephone 01661 871 800 or 0771 874 1546.

The exhibition continues until the 31st March and features new original paintings of the North East, Italy and the Gulf. I’ve published a new limited edition print titled “Grey Street,Snow Shower” which can be purchased at the Gallery or online at www.alanreed.com. There will also be a number of portraits on view too.

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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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North Shields Fish Quay

North Shields Fish Quay Original Watercolour

North Shields Fish Quay

One of the first commissions I received when I went self employed back in 1984 was to do two original watercolours of the Tyne near the North Shields Fish Quay area for a leading North East businessman. Over the years I’ve kept going back to the reference material I gathered back then to do fresh interpretations of the same scenes. My watercolour style and technique has changed over the years but it still ends up being a joy to tackle paintings of the Tyne which capture a bygone era.

This particular watercolour depicts fishing trawlers berthed at the North Shields Fish Quay. It’s winter time, so the sun is low over the River Tyne and its dying rays are casting a warm glow over the battered hulls of the boats and the architecture. Further mood and atmosphere has been created by lifting out a little of the colour over some of the boats to give the effect of smoke rising from their engines. The use of counterchange for the masts, highlighted against the darker buildings, then dark against the wintery sky gives further added interest. The odd dot of red for the buoys brings extra sparkle to the painting. Achieving the orange and yellow clouds in a cool blue sky is always a challenge in watercolour as it’s easy for the colours to merge and become a dirty green, however I managed to pull it off. The original painting is currently on show at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Christmas Cards

Since my first Christmas Card back in 1992 for the Charity Marie Curie I have regularly painted a scene of the North East to raise money for a local charity. My new Christmas Card for 2011 “Grey Street in the Snow” which is on the cover of my Christmas Exhibition Invitation, is already proving popular. Indeed one of my customers contacted me today having just received his invitation to my Christmas Exhibition and bought the original watercolour.

My Christmas Exhibition preview starts on Friday 18th November and continues on the Saturday and Sunday at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.  We are usually open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5:00pm however it is best to telephone  01661 871 800 to confirm we are open in case I am working away on location.

The new Christmas card and the others on view in this post are now available online at alanreed.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grey Street, Snow Flurry

Grey Street, Snow Flurry

Grey Street, Snow Flurry

I’m just preparing for my Christmas Exhibition. The preview weekend starts on Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th November where there will be a selection of new original paintings on display, most of which have been inspired by recent trips overseas over the last 12 months. It’s been an eventful year for Susan and I, with us both travelling to the Middle East and Italy and my television appearance on the BBC’s “Show me the Monet” with my watercolour of “Grey Street, Saturday Morning”.

Travel always gives me a deeper appreciation of home here in Northumberland, so there will of course, be several scenes of the North East, including the one above of Grey Street, Newcastle seen in a snow flurry.

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North Shields, Fishing

North Shields, Fishing

North Shields, Fishing

A few weeks ago I was doing a watercolour demonstration for a class in Rothbury. As part of the lesson, I was showing the students how to begin a painting, in particular the sky. This is often the most difficult part of painting a landscape or seascape and can be quite daunting for the inexperienced. I was working on several paintings that day, one of which was this 12″ x 9″ watercolour of some lads fishing off the Fish Quay at North Shields.

I was working off two photographs, one for the sky, the other for the figures and River Tyne reference. It was a scene I had painted on location about 10 years ago, so I was well familiar with the view. I began by laying a very pale yellow wash over the whole paper which I intensified at the point of the horizon. When that dried, I went over parts of the wash with some Rose Madder which you can see, particularly in the water. Once dry, I began to pick out some of the blue in the sky with some touches of Manganese Blue. Finally, after mixing the colour for the darker clouds with Rose Madder, Manganese Blue and Paynes Grey, I painted in the dramatic, carefully positioned clouds to bring a strong sense of mood and atmosphere to the composition.

I completed the painting in my studio in Ponteland which will form part of my Christmas Exhibition starting in November which will include other paintings of the North East, Italy and the Middle East too.

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Summer Exhibition

River Tyne Sunset

River Tyne Sunset

My Summer Exhibition is now open at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland. The subjects range from local scenes from the North East including the one above of a River Tyne Sunset which was inspired from reference I took back in 1985. The view has now changed but it does capture a bygone era of the industry that was once common place on the banks of the River Tyne. I recall seeing on BBC’s Look North recently that Sting is currently writing a musical about the ship building industry that once graced the Tyne.

Other watercolours include paintings of Italy. Venice has always been a favourite of mine but there is also one of Ponte Vecchio in Florence where we will be returning in September for a painting project. There are also paintings of countries around the Middle East which I have been working in over the last few years like Oman, Dubai and Kuwait. One can see some of the sketchbook studies painted on location which I have used to produce these original watercolours.

The Studio and Gallery is usually open Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30am to 5:00pm but it’s best to telephone 01661 871 800 just to confirm we are open.

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Florence from Piazza Michelangelo

Florence from Piazza Michelangelo

Florence from Piazza Michelangelo

Going to Florence in February has its advantages and disadvantages. You don’t get the crowds or searing heat that you can experience in the summer months, however the weather is usually cold and sometimes wet.  I recall painting a 14″ x 10″ watercolour on location with Susan standing over me with an umbrella to keep the rain off the painting. Both of us were getting colder and colder as the light was fading. A few splashes of rain did find their way onto the paper but somehow they seemed to add to the overall effect.

The large studio painting above was reproduced as a limited edition print and has been one of my best selling prints of Italy. The location study below was an important work for being an aid to the print and a number of subsequent paintings of Florence including the studio painting below of Ponte Vecchio from Piazza Michelangelo. You can see this painting at the charity exhibition “INDEPENDENCE” at the CastleGate starting 4th July at 6pm. The exhibition, which is to raise money for the North East charity OWN IT, continues every day until Saturday 9th July.

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