Tag Archives: Tuscany

Painting of Todi

Alan Reed

Sketchbook Watercolour of Todi, Umbria

On our painting holidays in Italy we take our guests to the various hilltop towns that are a feature of Umbria. This sketchbook watercolour was painted on location in a picturesque town called Todi which we have been to on a number of occasions.

Using a combination of the sketchbook watercolour, this simple pen drawing and photographs I decided to paint the scene as a larger A4 Watercolour Painting of Todi on hand made deckled edged paper for one of my painting videos.

Alan Reed

Sketch book pen drawing of Todi, Umbria

I like the colours of this watercolour sketch of Colle di Val d’Elsa in Tuscany which are more autumnal so I  intensified the colours from the sketchbook watercolour. I remembered the time when we visited Todi in the autumn one year.

Alan Reed

Watercolour of Colle di Val d’Elsa, Tuscany

The first step after drawing out the scene in pencil was to wet the paper and get down a quick wash of Cadmium Lemon and Cadmium Yellow. This set the tone and mood for all the other colours. I kept the yellow light in the sky so that when I added the blue, it didn’t end up looking green. However, it is distinctly more intense over the buildings.

Next wash was Rose Madder. Again, I wet the sky to avoid hard edges and to create some lighter patches for the clouds. However the area where the buildings are was dry because I wanted a few areas of yellow to come through in places to create interest and variation.

I recently purchased some new brushes from Rosemary & Co so I used a size 14 Series 344 to apply some clean water up to the edges of the buildings so that when I painted the sky, the colour flowed freely up to the rooftops without me having to paint round them and run the risk of the paint drying to quickly and end up with streaky brush marks.

So using the same brush I painted in some French Ultramarine over different parts of the sky, allowing some of the Rose Madder to show through to represent cloud shapes.

As I was painting nearer the buildings, I switched blues to Manganese Blue which added further interest, fusing into the French Ultramarine. A tad more Rose Madder helped the whole blending process.

The same Rosemary & Co brush is great for this type of painting. I just worked my way around the different buildings, catching the surface of the paper at times so that the painting retained the fluidity of the sketchbook study. The darker Rose Madder colour that I painted at the start, suddenly didn’t look to dark when  up against the darker shadow colour.

This is where the brush came into its own, large enough to cover the bigger areas but having a fine enough point for detail.

A number 4 Rosemary & Co brush from the same series was required for some of the smaller shadow areas.

When the shadows areas dried, I started to work on even finer detail, picking out all the windows with a very dark mix of purple, Vandyke Brown and Paynes Grey.

I wasn’t being too fiddly with these details, just sufficient accuracy to represent the windows, eaves and chimneys.
Once I completed all these finer details, which took more than an hour, I brought the painting to conclusion by painting in the foliage to break up the interlocking shapes of all the buildings.

I mixed a nice green made up of Cadmium Lemon, Paynes Grey with possibly the smallest touch of Winsor Green.

Alan Reed

Watercolour Painting of Todi, Umbria

I was back to the size 14 again, this time using mainly the side of the brush rather than the point to represent lots of branches. I used a wet on dry technique, flicking the brush over the surface of the paper to create the effect of lots of foliage.

For the smaller areas of foliage I used the size 4 brush again, going in with a much deeper green, probably more Paynes Grey than green for the shadows. I used the same technique of dragging the brush to create texture.

If you would like to learn more about how to produce a Painting of Todi or similar, why not join us on one of our Painting Holidays in Umbria, Italy.

Watch the Video Painting of Todi here.

Visit www.alanreed.com or www.reedartholidays.com to find out more.

 

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Christmas Exhibition

Alan Reed

Mont Blanc & Manganese Blue

 

Christmas Exhibition starts Saturday 5th November with Fresh Coffee and Mince Pies.

Christmas Exhibition starts Saturday 5th November with Fresh Coffee and Mince Pies.

Click HERE for more information.

 

2016 has been busy and eventful year. It began with my watercolour “Mont Blanc and Manganese Blue” being selected for the Royal Watercolour Society‘s Competition in January. It is a painting inspired by a very memorable trip to Chamonix in the summer of 2015 when I was able to produce a number of sketchbook studies of the stunning scenery. My Mont Blanc painting forms part of this years Christmas Exhibition.

Alan Reed

Last Light, Ruwi, Oman

Much of this year has been spent working on commissions, including another 4 large landscapes for a client in Oman. Two of the commissions were oil paintings of mountain wadis. Continuing on the mountain theme is “Last Light, Ruwi, Oman” a painting which I was shortlisted for “Artist of the Year”. This watercolour is also on show for my Christmas Exhibition.

My connections with Scotland remain as strong as ever so I have several new original paintings on display featuring Edinburgh, Eigg and Rhum, Crail, Pittenweem and North Berwick.

You can also browse through my extensive collection of limited edition prints of Scotland at our Christmas Exhibition.

Italy has also been on our radar throughout 2016. In May and June we took guests out to Umbria for the painting holidays which we organise. We also took day trips to Arezzo and Anghiari in Tuscany so that the guests could have experience in painting these picturesque hill top towns steeped in history. Our week for June 2017 is already fully booked but we are taking expressions of interest for future painting holidays.

We returned in August for another trip where we experienced the tremors of the tragic earthquake which left many dead and homes destroyed. A reminder of the fragility of life.

I’ve also had the good fortune of working on several more painting commissions of Italy including 2 of the Colosseum. See some of my new works of Italy this Christmas Exhibition.

Alan Reed

Theatre Royal in the Rain

Of course, Newcastle and Northumberland features heavily for my Christmas Exhibition so there will be some new works for you to see on the run up to Christmas.

My Christmas Exhibition starts on Saturday 5th November. It runs Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 – 5pm right up until Christmas Eve on the 24th so you will have plenty of time to buy that special present for your loved one.

 

 

 

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Painting Holidays in Italy

Over the last few months we have been telling the story of our love affair with Italy on the Reedart Painting Holidays in Italy blog. You can see the story unfold by going straight to Reedart Painting Holidays in Italy, but if you want to follow our adventures from here then read on.

The Adventure Begins

“The world stood still around them as they sat together on the piazza of San Gimignano, a beautiful walled medieval hill town in Tuscany. Having spent the afternoon sampling wild boar salami, cheeses and other delicacies, and dipping in and out of the local papiro (paper) shops and boutiques, the pair sat together watching the world beyond in perfect harmony, Susan sipping a glass of wine while Alan painted the scene before them.”

Their trips taken together span wedding anniversaries, births of grandchildren, picnics at Lake Garda and other international adventures to some of the world’s most beautiful and far-flung locations and they all have one thing in common: travelling the world with his wife Susan and family, painting often “on location” or, later from a misty memory or photograph has helped shape the distinctive style of one of the North East’s most admired artists, Alan Reed.

Join us in this brand new series of blog posts as we take a trip down memory lane and uncover the stories behind Alan Reed Art and their Painting Holidays in Italy.

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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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Tuscany

Tuscany

Tuscany

My first taste of Tuscany came in the autumn of 1998 when Susan and I travelled to Pistoia to spend a week with members of an evangelical church. Pistoia lent its name to the pistol which it started manufacturing in the 16th century. A day spent wandering around the hills surrounding Pistoia and another day spent visiting Florence, whetted our appetites for a return visit to Florence in February 1999.

Before arriving in Florence, we had seen San Gimignano featured on a holiday television programme, so after spending a few days exploring Florence, we decided to jump on a local bus to this small Tuscan hilltop town famous for its 13 towers. I’ll always remember my first glimpse of those towers from the window of the bus which have been likened to a mini Manhattan skyline.

I recall doing a small watercolour in the piazza which you can see in the book “Landscapes in Watercolour” by Theodora Philcox. After sampling some local red wine and wild boar salami we looked out from the town walls to enjoy la bella vista. The painting of Italy above is just a tiny section of the view which we enjoyed that memorable day, yet somehow it typifies the essence of the Tuscan landscape, rolling hills disappearing into the distance punctuated by cypress trees and white washed farm buildings.

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Val D’Orcia, Toscana

In the autumn of 2006 my wife and I travelled to Italy for me to do a special commission of a clients property in Umbria. After doing the preparation sketches, we then went on to Tuscany to a little town called San Quirico d’Orcia, close to the towns of Pienza and Siena. We stayed for a couple of nights in a delightful hotel with lovely gardens called Palazzo del Capitano.

The countryside in this region is characterised by gentle rolling hills and cypress trees, a real inspiration for any artist, or indeed photographer, but to really appreciate the regions distinctive beauty, one needs to rise when it’s still dark.

The first morning, I did what was required and made my way to a small olive grove, the grass drenched with dew. as it was October, there was still a definite chill to the air, so despite wearing shorts, I still made sure I wore my heavy leather jacket. A thick mist hung in the valley below, shrouding a small farm building surrounded by cypress trees. As the sun crept over the horizon, I began to paint. Although the experience was wonderful, I was not satisfied with my sketchbook studies so I decided to return the following morning.

This time I captured what I felt was the essence of the scene, and together with some reference photographs I took of the sun rising, I was able to produce a large studio watercolour painting that is available as a limited edition print. The original painting hangs in our bedroom which is a lovely reminder of a fruitful trip to Italy.

If you have one of my prints of Tuscany which evokes special memories which you would like to share, then please feel free to post a comment below.

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