Tag Archives: Northumberland

Tree of the Year

Painting of Robin Hood's Tree, Hadrians Wall

Sycamore Gap, Hadrians Wall

Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland was voted Tree of the Year this week by a public vote for the nations best loved tree, organised by The Woodland Trust. 

The winning tree will now receive a grant of £1000 for some “Tree LC” and will compete against trees from all over the Continent for the title of European Tree of the Year, organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.

I recall painting a watercolour of the tree in snow as a Christmas Card for the Marie Curie Cancer fund over 10 years ago. This stretch of Hadrian’s Wall is bleak but spectacular in its barreness and stark beauty. As I’m writing this I’m feeling compelled to go for a walk along the wall and do a spot of sketching!

Sycamore Gap is also known as Robin Hood’s Tree for its appearance in the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.

I’ve since painted the famous tree of the year again in winter sunlight. My viewpoint is taken from the Military Road which shows the tree of the year nestling in the famous gap in the wall. Sunlight is catching the clouds behind and creating an overall feeling of warmth to the painting.

The painting forms part of my Christmas Exhibition at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland which finishes on the 24th December 2016.


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The Art Tour

Logo for Art Tour 2014

The Art Tour 2014

Network Artist Alan Reed Studio

Artist Alan Reed in Studio

Selection of Alan Reed Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks painted on location

The Network Artists North East annual Art Tour begins this weekend.

This ever popular event, now in its 19th year, gives you the opportunity to meet artists from around the North East who are opening up their studios for The Art Tour.

This year I’ve decided to display many of my sketchbooks which contain numerous watercolours painted on location. These “en plein air” studies document my travels to all kinds of paintable places including the UK, Italy, the USA and Oman.

Customers will be able to browse through the sketchbooks and can commission a painting based on one of these studies.

Also on display will be a selection of original paintings and limited edition prints.

Paintings include views of  Northumberland and Newcastle throughout the seasons. I’ll also have on display some of the watercolours painted in Arches Watercolour Blocks on location from the recent painting holiday in Umbria, Italy.

For those folk interested in the Middle East, there will be paintings and prints of Oman and some copies of my limited edition Sketchbook of Oman.

I’m currently working on a number of portraits in oil paints on aluminium for City Church Newcastle, to hang in the atrium of The CastleGate so some of these paintings will be on display. As part of the Art Tour I will be showing the painting process involved in painting on aluminium, from priming the metal through to tinting the oil paint base.

The Studio and Gallery is near Dobbies Garden Centre on the A696 on the way into Ponteland.

Apart from The Art Tour we are usually open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5pm.

One of the links on this post is an affiliate link to a product which I personally use, available from Amazon. If you click on the link and buy this product then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself. 

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Painting of Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle Painting

Painting of Dunstanburgh Castle

I don’t need much of an excuse to paint Dunstanburgh Castle. Northumberland’s Castles are well photographed and painted by amateurs and professionals alike. I’ve often been commissioned to do paintings of castles and I have to say, it’s always a delight. One such project came in 2003 when I was commissioned to do around a dozen large watercolours of the regions castles for a major North East Company for their boardrooms. Dunstanburgh Castle was one of the chosen paintings and I decided to paint it on a summer evening just as the sun was beginning to dip below the horizon.

I recently went back to the reference I gathered on that evening to do a watercolour demonstration for a painting class. They asked me to show them how to tackle a seascape in watercolour. The painting above is the result. I’ve painted a similar version of the scene which is available as a limited edition print.

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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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Plein Air


In 2009 I climbed Hedgehope, the second tallest of the Cheviot hills, for the first time. It was a cold, wet, windy dull day but I couldn’t resist tackling a quick sketchbook study of Cheviot. A year later, on a bright, sunny day with no wind I climbed Cheviot, struggling through snow that was so deep it covered the tops of the fence posts!

On a clear day, I often gaze at the Cheviots when out walking my German Shepherd near our home in Ponteland and remember my walks there. If you haven’t ventured into this part of Northumberland’s National Park, then drive to the Breamish Valley and spend some time exploring. You won’t be disappointed.

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British Open, Royal St George’s



Kenneth Reed, whose paintings have been commissioned by such golfing greats as Gary Player, Bob Charles, Greg Norman and Tom Weiskopf, and whose clients include the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the United States Golf Association, is widely acclaimed as one of the finest international golf artists. Because he’s also my dad, I’d have to say that he is the finest golf artist!

Born in Hexham, Northumberland, my dad has been creating the evocative paintings of golf courses landscapes since 1972. His works grace the walls of many historic clubhouses and are owned by discerning golf art collectors throughout the world.

His most recent work is an original gouache poster featuring Henry Cotton playing the 8th hole in the 2nd round of the 1934 open at Royal St George’s. He won the Championship and his record round of 65 gave name to a famous golf ball the Dunlop 65.

The poster has been reproduced as a limited edition print for the 2011 British Open held at Royal St George’s earlier in July and is signed and numbered. It is available online from alanreed.com.

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Linhope Spout

You may recall a post earlier this month about a commission I am working on to paint a scene in the Ingram Valley. On Saturday evening I decided to take advantage of the clear blue skies and return to capture the lower evening sunlight.

The drive along the A697 was beautiful and once we took the turn for Ingram just north of Powburn, the drive became even more picturesque as we followed the river Breamish cutting its way through the valley.

Susan and our grand daughter Emily came with me as they both wanted to see the lambs on route which looked so cute skipping and jumping about. I had decided to paint Linhope Spout, a 60 foot chute of water that cascades into a plunge pool. It’s a popular spot for picnics as it’s only a 3 mile round walk. I parked my car opposite Hartside Farm and took the private road lined with rhododendrons towards the well signposted track for Linhope Spout.

Northumberland is renowned for its wide open moorland which occupies 70% of its National Park. This short walk allows you to get a tiny sample of the stunning scenery. In the distance one can see the domed 715 meter high Hedgehope Hill, the second largest of the Cheviot hills and as the path skirts some woodland, you can sometimes see red squirrels nibbling Scots Pine cones.

I jogged most of the route so it didn’t take long before I was able to cross the stream bubbling from the plunge pool over the slippery stones to sit on the grassy bank to do a sketchbook study looking into the evening sunlight.

I had to work quickly as the scene was in shadow and the sun was disappearing behind the hills but I was able to capture what I wanted. On the way back I stopped to photograph the River Breamish again, looking towards Ingram, a view which could also make an attractive painting.

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