Tag Archives: studio and gallery

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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Susan in St Mark’s Church

Susan Reed, Portrait in Oils

Susan in St Mark’s Church, Venice

In September 2012 Susan and I travelled to Venice to work on a number of painting projects, one of which was this oil painting of Susan in the Basilica San Marco. On the 7th April 1985 Susan experienced a dramatic conversion to Christianity on her own as she cried out to God in the famous church in St Mark’s Square. The painting depicts Susan quietly giving thanks to God for His goodness towards her since that day in St Mark’s Church.

Susan and I spent time together in St Mark’s Church so that I could do a small sketchbook watercolour to capture the colours and mood of the interior which you can see in a previous blog post. I returned the following day to do some detailed studies of some the architectural elements of the interior so I could refer to them in the finished painting. Back in my studio Susan assumed the same pose so that I could paint her from life in oils.

The original painting can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Via di Spirito Santo, Firenze

Painting of Via di Spirito Santo, Firenze

Via di Spirito Santo, Firenze

The last blog post I did showed the early stages of a watercolour I have been working on of a street scene in Florence. Last September I painted a number of sketchbook watercolours of Florence on location with a view to using these studies for some studio works.

This painting of Via di Spirito Santo includes many of the elements that are characteristic of Florence, the narrow streets with tall buildings that seem to shut out any daylight, antiquated lamps that hang over the streets, bicycles and locals darting in and out of doorways.

The painting Via di Spirito Santocan be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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Painting of York Minster

York Minster Watercolour

York Minster

If one was to remove the figures from this watercolour of York Minster, the scene would not only loose it’s sense of scale, it would also look lifeless. Cityscapes are meant to look alive with a life blood of their own, indeed people are the heart of a city. There are occasions when it is appropriate to omit figures from a street scene, but generally it’s best to arrange them accordingly to give the composition interest, scale, life and colour.

Even though York Minster is quite clearly the backdrop to this street scene of busy shoppers, it’s still an integral part of the painting.

This limited edition print of York Minster can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland and is the natural partner to my print of the Shambles.

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Oman Watercolour Sketchbook

Sketchbook Oman Sphinx

Sphinx Sunrise

Painting a sunrise on location like this Oman Watercolour is one of the hardest challenges as a watercolourist. The main problem is that the colours change so quickly, so by the time you have laid your first wash and waited for it to dry, the rising sun will have brought a complete change to the scenario before your eyes. One can quicken the process by working on a paper which you have already tinted. This will allow you to skip a step and crack on with the next wash.

For this particular scene in Oman, I went out with a friend who took me out to a remote spot to walk his dogs early in the morning whilst it was still dark. Before the sun rose, I anticipated what the initial colours were going to be and started painting in semi darkness. It was very hot, temperatures already in the high twenties, so the paint dried quickly. Just before the sun came up over the sea, it was already starting to tint the sky a fugitive pink which I was able to lay in along with the gentlest touch of Winsor and Newton Manganese Blue for the sea. I allowed parts of the first wash of Cadmium Lemon to show through which helped to create further mood and atmosphere.

Oman has some very distinctive rock formations throughout it’s stunning coastline. The rock on the top right of the page reminded me of the profile of the Egyptian Sphinx, hence the title Sphinx towards Muttrah. This is one of 40 paintings which feature in my signed limited edition Sketchbook of Oman which is available online or at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

 

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John Knox House, Edinburgh

Painting of John Knox House

John Knox House

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, known by the locals as the High Street, has to be one of the finest streets in Europe. Over the years I’ve painted it many times and captured some of its famous landmarks including St Giles Cathedral, The Tolbooth and of course John Knox House. Many of these watercolours have been successfully reproduced as limited edition prints which can be purchased online, from retailers in Edinburgh and from my Studio and Gallery.

My first limited edition print of John Knox House sold out very quickly however, we still have copies available of this smaller painting, a busy scene depicting various folk going about their daily business, just like multitudes of others, generations before them.

You will notice in the painting that the ultramarine blue is repeated, not just in the sky but in other parts of the painting. Likewise, the deep red of the telephone boxes finds its way into other parts of the painting to add extra life and colour to the cityscape.

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Dunstanburgh Castle, November afternoon

Dunstanburgh Castle, November Afternoon

Dunstanburgh Castle, November Afternoon

In November 2009 my birthday fell on our day off, a Monday, so Susan and I decided to celebrate by driving up the Northumbrian coast to Newton by the Sea to have lunch in The Ship Inn. After feasting on crab sandwiches and some local ale we walked along the beach towards Dunstanburgh Castle. I stopped to do a small sketchbook watercolour (yes even on my birthday) to capture the striking low light.

There was no wind and the sea was like a mill pond. I took some photographs and wasted little time in the studio to set about producing this watercolour which sold last year from a charity exhibition at the CastleGate in Newcastle in 2011. I did reproduce it as a limited edition print and sold another copy this afternoon to a couple purchasing it as a 40th birthday present for their daughter. There are only 25 copies in the edition which can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

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Dhow, Reflections

Dhow, Reflections

Dhow, Reflections

A simple composition like this titled “Dhow, Reflections” is actually one of the most difficult subjects to paint successfully in watercolour. Over the last five years I’ve made many sketchbook studies of Arabian dhows whilst painting on location in the Gulf and find them a delight to paint. This particular painting was inspired by a dhow I saw coming in to harbour towards the end of the day. I decided to do a large studio watercolour 28″ x 20″ to capture the warm light and the solitary vessel.

The challenge is achieving the the graduation of the background colours. When you blend blue into yellow, it’s very easy to get it wrong and create a dirty green colour, so patience is the key. I drew out the basic shape of the dhow and masked off the white areas using masking fluid before tackling the background.

First I laid a wash of clean water over the entire sheet of hand-made watercolour paper. Whilst it was still wet, I ran in a wash of Cadmium Lemon about a third of the way from the top, fading it out slightly as it went towards the bottom of the paper. About two hours later when it was dry, I repeated the process with another wash of clean water, however, this time I laid a wash of Rose Madder about halfway down the paper and faded it out about a third of the way from the bottom.

Another two hours later and I applied another wash of clean water over the whole sheet, this time running in some French Ultramarine and Manganese Blue in the top third of the painting, making sure it faded out quickly as it hit the yellow. I ran a touch more of the blue into the bottom third to create a reflection of the sky. By painting the background in a series of washes, you create a depth and richness to the colours which would not be achieved if one tried to do it in one wash.

Once it was all dry, I rubbed out the masking fluid and began painting the dhow and it’s reflections. The result is a very restful painting that one can see at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

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Tyne Bridge from the Keep

Tyne Bridge from the Keep

Tyne Bridge from the Keep

I’m now at the stage in my career where some of the early paintings of Newcastle I’ve had reproduced as prints are now historical. They have captured views that have seen dramatic changes over the years. This view of the Tyne Bridge from the Keep is a prime example. I painted the original watercolour  around 1997 and it captures many elements that are either no longer there or have been transformed by re-developments.

The distant white building of Spillers Flour Mill, which has supplied Newcastle with flour since the 1930’s, has recently been demolished. At its peak in the 1970s it providing the flour for one in every 10 loaves baked in the UK with over 500 staff. Spillers supplied the baking industry for decades, including flour for Greggs and Home Pride flour, famous for Fred, their bowler-hatted mascot.

The Baltic, a home for seagulls at the time when I painted the scene, is now a contemporary art gallery and the empty space behind the iconic arch of the Tyne Bridge is now the home for the Sage, a venue for music lovers and the Newcastle/Gateshead Art Fair.

There have been two different boats berthed under the bridge since the early 1980’s, the Tuxedo Princess and Tuxedo Royale which were popular night clubs in their day. Despite all the changes, the limited edition print continues to sell. At the time of this post a customer called in to my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland to buy a copy to take out as a gift to a friend living in Australia.

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Grey Street, Snow Shower

Grey Street, Snow Shower

Grey Street, Snow Shower

My new watercolour titled “Grey Street, Snow Shower” which is to be released next week as a limited edition print with only 95 in the edition. The painting captures the majestic sweeping curve of what has been described by the architectural critic Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as being the finest curved street in Europe. Despite being depicted on a dull, wet, winters day, I’ve wanted to create lots of life and movement through the figures dashing through the harsh elements, huddled under their umbrellas. The Theatre Royal stands as the jewel in the crown with its fine portico and classical columns.

The original watercolour can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland this Saturday.

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