Tag Archives: paintings

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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Food Paintings

Chillies Painting for Print

Chillies Painting

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on some Food Paintings for an interior design company who are doing a re-furbishment for a North East Chinese restaurant. There are 9 Food Paintings required which include various ingredients for the Chinese meals. I’ve chosen to work from life as much as is realistically possible and I’m keeping the paintings small, working in watercolour. They will be reproduced as giclee prints to the bespoke size required.

As part of the service, I will also be working with the interior designer and the restaurant owner to ensure that the prints are framed to match the paintings and the new decor of the restaurant. The original paintings will be available to see on www.alanreed.com once the project is completed. They would actually make attractive paintings for one’s kitchen.

To see the range of frames and mounts that I have available, please visit the Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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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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Iona Painting

Iona Watercolour

Iona Original Watercolour

I was recently asked to do a watercolour demonstration for the Coquetdale Art Club in Rothbury. The theme for the day was seascapes, so I decided to take the students through two paintings, one of Dunstanburgh Castle, the other of a beach on Iona.

In 1999 Susan and I spent three very pleasant days on the Isle of Mull to build up my growing collection of paintings of Scotland. We decided to take the short ferry ride to Iona followed by the longer walk to the north of the island where I came across the view above which has been often painted, particularly by some of the Glasgow Boys. I couldn’t resist having a go myself, so sitting on the beach on Iona I began a small watercolour.

The day had threatened to rain and in typical Scottish fashion it did. By painting in between bursts of rain and turning the watercolour block upside down, I managed to keep most of the paper free from splashes of rain and captured the ominous sky, the white sand and turquoise waters. A few random splashes of rain hit the paper causing the paint to spread slightly but somehow they added to the effect. In fact it was so successful that the owners of the bed and breakfast where we were staying, decided to purchase it.

The painting of Iona above that I did as a demonstration can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.


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Rialto Bridge Venice

Rialto Bridge Print

Rialto Bridge, Venice

Paintings of Venice are always popular with folk who have been fortunate enough to visit the city of romance. I recall one of my painting trips in March 2000 when the weather was quite mixed. I arose early one morning to do some painting to be faced with a heavy fog. We were staying close to the Rialto Bridge, so I made myself as comfortable as possible on one of the vaporetto stops just below the bridge and began to paint the scene before me. I could just make out the distinctive shape of the famous bridge through the fog as I worked “wet on wet” on rough watercolour paper.

My efforts were punctuated every few minutes by a vaporetto crashing into the boarding platform where I was situated which made my work even more challenging! Gradually the fog began to lift and I was able to gather sufficient information to produce the studio watercolour of Rialto Bridge which has been reproduced as a limited edition print.

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San Gimignano, Italy

San Gimignano Print

San Gimignano, Tuscany

For more than a decade, I have been building up a collection of limited edition prints taken from some of my paintings of Italy. Before embalming on the finished watercolour, I like to spend time in the chosen location (who wouldn’t?) making at least one small watercolour on the spot to trigger off memories of the mood and feel of the place. For the painting of San Gimignano above, I wanted to capture the famous towers bathed in the warmth and clarity of late afternoon sunlight, that would evoke happy memories for those fortunate people who have spent lazy days under the Tuscan sun.

I spent a day and a half driving about the surrounding countryside, wandering in and out of the medieval town, enjoying the occasional glass of wine or espresso and sampling wild boar salami in-between painting and taking reference photographs. However, it was not until we left San Gimignano that the sky turned a wonderful pink, creating a beautiful golden hue on the various buildings and in particular the famous towers. I took some photographs from the car and logged the colours in my mind. This is the mood I wanted to capture as I began the finished piece that has been a successful limited edition print. Since then, I have painted the scene again as an original watercolour which you can see online or at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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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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Charity Christmas Cards

Theatre Royal in the Snow on the Drawing Board

Theatre Royal in the Snow

Earlier this year I was approached by the charity The Cyrenians based in Newcastle who work with vulnerable, disadvantaged and homeless people. Sian Thomas, their marketing administrator, asked if they could use some of my paintings as Charity Christmas Cards to help raise money for the charity which has been going for over 40 years.

Over the last 20 years or more, I know that the paintings I have done have raised thousands of pounds through being reproduced as Charity Christmas cards, in particular for the Marie Curie cancer care, so I was more than happy to oblige.

We’ve decided to do three paintings of Newcastle, the first of which is this classic scene of the Theatre Royal in the Snow which was a sell out limited edition print. I’ve painted a similar view recently which I reproduced as a limited edition print titled Grey Street, Snow Shower.

I hope to finish the other two paintings, one of the Tyne Bridges, the other of the Angel, by the end of the month, so watch this space.

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Painting of the Grand Canal, Venice

Last night Susan and I watched the  BBC 2 programme Shakespeare in Italy narrated by Francesco da Mosto. Part of the programme was set in Venice, a city which was Susan’s home for 5 years and a place which has been a content source of inspiration for my paintings of Italy collection. One of my favourite views is taken from the Accademia Bridge, looking at the Santa Marie della Salute. I’ve painted it several times on location and using the sketches, I have produced a number of studio watercolours which have included commissions. On one particular painting, I decided to photograph the painting of the Grand Canal, Venice in stages so that one can see the progression and development of the painting, from the initial pencil drawing through the sequence of washes, to the build up of detail.

After stretching a sheet of hand made Italian watercolour paper on to the drawing board, the first stage was to draw out the main elements of the composition with a B pencil. I like to paint a lot of the detail from observation with my brush, so there isn’t a huge amount of detail in the pencil drawing.

Next, I covered the whole sheet with a wash of clean water then ran in a gentle wash of Winsor and Newton Cadmium Lemon from about a third of the way from the top of the board. This helps to take away the starkness of the white and set the tone and mood for the rest of the painting.

One the yellow had dried I repeated the process of laying a wash of clean water except once it hit the architecture, I began to be more random with the wash leaving some of the paper untouched by water. I quickly ran in a wash of Rose Madder into the water but left some of the yellow showing through as pure yellow.

Before starting the sky, I masked off some of the detailed areas in the water like the poles and boats so that I wasn’t having to paint around them with the blue. I started off the sky with quite an intense wash of French Ultramarine and Manganese Blue, fading it out slightly as the sky came closer to the horizon and then painting around the architecture.

Once it had dried, I deepened the blue for the foreground part of the Grand Canal I then started on the buildings on the right hand side. The detailed photograph shows how some of the blue in the sky and water was used as shadow areas for the buildings.

I finished the right hand side before commencing on the left so that I could use slightly more stronger colours to give the impression of the left hand side being closer.

When I rubbed off the masking fluid, it meant that the colour underneath remained as a base for the poles and boats. Strong, dark refections on the left provided further depth to the painting and once I had added the smaller areas of detail to the architecture and boats, the painting was completed. I have two paintings of the Grand Canal, Venice available as limited edition prints available online or from my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland. I also have an original watercolour available of the Grand Canal, Venice which I painted using the same process described.


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Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

Paintings of Italy have always proved popular with those folk who love all things Italian. My limited edition prints of Tuscany, Venice and Umbria continue to sell consistently well with folk buying online and from my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

Around 1998 I decided to add Rome to my collection of Italian cities and visited several times to produce a range of on the spot watercolours from which to work from. One such scene was the picturesque Spanish Steps. At about 9:30am I found a suitable fountain from which to rest my watercolour block on and began to paint the steps which were virtually deserted. By the time I had finished the painting, you could hardly see the steps for the people sitting on them, enjoying the warm October sun.

The scene above is the studio painting which I’ve since reproduced as a limited edition print. The location study can also be seen at my Studio & Gallery. Please contact for further information.

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