Tag Archives: original watercolour

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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Temple of Aphaea Painting

Temple of Aphaea

Temple of Aphaea, Aegina

In my previous blog post I wrote about a small 14″ x 10″ original watercolour which I painted on an Arches Watercolour Block as part of a demonstration for a local art club.

Here is a larger image of the painting so you can see in detail how I have broken down the reference photograph into three distinct areas of foreground, middle distance and background.

Even though the ruined temple of Aphaea is very much in the middle distance, it remains the focal point of the painting due to the darker, cool foreground and the pale, warm colours of the sky.

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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Spring Exhibition

Ponte Vecchio Painting of Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Firenze

Florence is possibly my favourite Italian city. I’ve been fortunate to travel there several time since my first visit back in 1998 when I sat on one of its bridges under the warm autumnal sun and painted a watercolour of Ponte Vecchio in an Arches Watercolour Block.

During my last visit there in 2011 I did a small sketchbook study of Ponte Vecchio from Piazza Michelangelo, a view which I’ve also reproduced as a very popular limited edition print.

This new original watercolour takes elements from the sketchbook study which I painted on location to depict the famous bridge stretching over the River Arno and the surrounding buildings.

I’ve also made this painting available as a small limited edition print.

Both the print and the original can be seen at my Spring Exhibition at the Studio & Gallery, Ponteland.

Some of the links on this post are affiliate links to products which I personally use available from Amazon. If you click on the links and buy any of these products then I will receive a small percentage of the sale from Amazon at no extra cost to yourself.

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Painting of the Roman Baths

Watercolour Painting Roman Baths, Reflections

Roman Baths, Reflections

Bath is a stunningly beautiful city which boasts some of the finest Georgian architecture in the country. In 2010 and 2011 I entered the Bath Prize with a number of original watercolours of Bath. I came runner up in 2010 with my painting of the Royal Crescent and won the Circus Prize in 2011. Also in 2011 my painting Pump Room in the Snow was Highly Commended. One of my favourite subject though which I have painted several times on location was the Roman Baths. This particular scene depicts these ancient waters bathed in the early evening torchlight with the architecture reflected in the pool that dates back almost 2000 years. The original watercolour can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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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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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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Manchester in the Snow

Manchester in the Snow

Manchester in the Snow

In 2009 I was exhibiting at Manchester’s Buy Art Fair. I decided to do an original watercolour of one of Manchester’s famous architectural landmarks, the Printworks that overlooked the venue of the Art Fair that year, the Urbis building. A number of weeks before the fair I spent a weekend in Manchester when it rained for much of the time. I managed to do a very “wet on wet” study of the Printworks which helped to capture something of the mood and atmosphere of the city. Along with the reference photographs, I was able to start on the studio painting.

Before embalming on the finished painting, I did an A5 study of one of the figures I planned to place in the painting, a rather portly gentleman sheltering under an umbrella. To make sure the painting was going to work, I then did an A4 watercolour on hand made paper with a deckled edge which I used to refer to for colour and composition.

You will notice of the photograph of what’s on my drawing board, a book on Adolphe Valette, a French Impressionist who lived in Manchester for several years and is best known as L.S. Lowry’s tutor. I went to see some of his stunning paintings at the Manchester Art Gallery which I have to say were a real inspiration. The moody, foggy scenes that Valette painted helped me to decide the palate which I ended up using which involved a greater use of Lamp Black than usual.

The small painting of the large man sold almost straight away when on display at the Buy Art Fair and a few weeks later I sold the large studio watercolour to a customer in Manchester which is also available as a limited edition print. The A4 original watercolour study, however is available online.

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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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Thames Sunrise

Thames Sunrise

Thames Sunrise

On Saturday evening I watched an interesting documentary on BBC 2 about the impressionists. I enjoyed it because it was refreshingly light and informative, not just about the artists themselves but about their working methods, techniques and influences. Towards the end of the programme, the presenter, Waldemar Januszczak went to London where Monet and Pissarro spent part of their lives painting different aspects of the city. Monet’s moody paintings of the Thames are well known, particularly those which capture low sunlight and I was reminded of my own paintings of the City of London.

The painting above depicting a Thames Sunrise was painted in 2005. I wanted a painting of contrasts, the linear form and structure of the skyline, contrasting against the fluid, loose washes of the sky and water. Also I wanted the painting to be full of light, not just from the sun breaking through the low lying clouds, but also the last remnants of the artificial light being produced by the city itself before being switched off to be taken over by the full light of day.

This giclee limited edition print has been faithfully reproduced from the original watercolour which was painted on Fabriano Esportazione, a very expensive hand made paper from Italy.

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Burnham Overy Mill

Burnham Overy Mill is just a short walk from Burnham Overy Staithe in Norfolk. It’s a delightful area for any landscape artist to paint with the low lying land, estuaries and big skies. We’ve stayed there as a family for the last two years and I’ve seized the opportunity to paint on location, rising early to capture the early morning sunlight and often disappearing after our evening meal to take in the fading summer light.

As we were driving into Burnham Overy Staithe for the first time in September 2009, I noticed the windmill and decided to do a sketchbook study later that evening. The light was fading, so I only managed to do the first couple of washes of Lemon Yellow, Rose Madder and Manganese Blue (which was essentially the sky and foreground) before the light made it impossible to paint any further. I returned the following evening to render the windmill and distant trees. A carefully placed application of Raw Sienna in the foreground enabled me to pick out some of the bales.

A few days later I decided to do a day time scene, adopting my usual method of working on a sketchbook study and a watercolour on a 14″ x 10″ Arches Block of rough paper which is available from many good art suppliers. I’ve posted a link to the Heaton Cooper Studio website which is worth a visit.

This time the light was more consistent even though the cloud shapes were constantly moving. Again, Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna featured, this time for the first wash. Once dry, a mix of Manganese Blue, French Ultramarine and Payne’s Grey with a touch of Purple gave me the cloud colour. I had to be careful to leave a blob of white paper for the roof of the mill and a sliver of white for its sails. Once the sky was dry, I was able to knock in the rest of the windmill, trees and bales as before.

Whilst doing this post, I’ve had fun just flicking through my sketchbook, remembering the trip and feeling inspired to paint again on location. The 14″ x 10″ original watercolour can be seen at my studio & gallery in Ponteland and is also available online.

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