Tag Archives: Saddler Street

Durham Paintings

Alan Reed

Saddler Street, Durham in Winter

Durham is a wonderfully picturesque city famous for its cathedral, now a World Heritage Site. Folk travelling by train are afforded spectacular views that take in one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe towering above the medieval city below. It will come as no surprise that my Durham Paintings are very popular with customers from around the world.

When I used to lecture part time at various colleges around the north east, one of the highlights of the year was to take one particular class of students to Durham for a painting project. The plan was to encourage the class to spend the day sketching around the city. I would join in on the exercise by painting at least one watercolour of Durham on location, even though the project usually took place in February!

One of my favourite vantage points was Wharton Park above the railway station. Looking into the light on a sunny February morning was always a delight to capture in watercolour. These studies became the inspiration for further Durham Paintings executed in the warmth of my studio.

More recently however I’ve been doing a number of watercolour demonstrations for various art clubs. One particular group asked if I’d show them how to add figures in a cityscape. I decided to re-visit some of my Durham reference and was reminded of a small watercolour I did of Saddler Street in winter. Saddler Street is one of the older streets in Durham that takes you up to the Cathedral. Durham is also famous for its prison. At one time it had two. The old County Gaol was owned by the Bishop of Durham and was rebuilt in Saddler Street in the early 15th century.

The reference I had was perfect for the demonstration which the class enjoyed. I used a limited palette to capture figures making their way up and down the cobbled street, their reflections glistening in the wet. Due to the Beast from the East this week I’ve had time in the Studio to complete the painting which is available online and which can be seen from my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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Paintings of Durham

Watercolour of Saddler Street, Durham

Saddler Street in the Snow

On the 6th June I will be exhibiting a number of paintings at Durham School for a wine and art evening in conjunction with St James Wealth Management. Several new paintings of Durham will be on display including this one of Saddler Street in Winter.

The painting was started at a watercolour demonstration that I was doing on Wednesday evening for Hartlepool Art Club where the theme was cityscapes. The demonstration was recorded so I hope to have the tape uploaded on to You Tube in a few weeks time.

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Saddler Street, Durham

Saddler Street, Durham, original watercolour

Saddler Street, Durham

Durham is a fine city to visit for the day. One of the highlights of my part-time teaching post at South Tyneside College was taking my students there for one of the painting projects I had set them. They had to do drawings of various aspects of the city, gather reference and take photographs as part of their research. I would lead by example, producing at least one watercolour painted on location. Our trip was usually in February and we would gather at the bottom of Saddler Street to brief the students on where to go and at what time we would re-assemble.

I always found the mid morning light at this particular point looking up the street engaging. It reminded me of a painting I had done of Newcastle’s High Bridge Street, so I decided to paint an original watercolour in the same style and colours which is currently on view at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

Over the years, I’ve painted several other paintings of Durham including Durham in Winter, Durham in Summer and Durham in the Snow, all of which have proved to be popular limited edition prints.

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The Bailey, Durham

The current painting project I am working on is a commission of the Bailey in Durham, an historic area in the centre of Durham. I took advantage of the glorious weather last week to do a couple of sketchbook watercolours and take some reference photographs so that the client can choose exactly the view that captures the scene that holds special memories.

Looking towards the church into the early morning light was an attractive scene, however I felt drawn towards the view in the other direction and did a sketchbook watercolour of the street looking slightly downhill. The paint was drying quickly because of the extraordinarily warm weather, so I was able to complete the study and commence on another sketch. This time I walked towards the church and took up position looking towards the area that I had been standing in for the first painting. Once again, it was an attractive scene which, with the light behind me, created an interesting composition with the fine old buildings and folk walking up the street.

On the way back to the car park, the light was forming some strong sunlight and shadow areas on the south part of Saddler Street which I photographed for reference, as it too, would make a strong painting. Now that I’ve been able to do the sketchbook studies and see the photographs, I’m looking forward to tackling the finished painting of the Bailey.

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