Tag Archives: watercolours

Arabian Dhows

Alan Reed

Dhows, Sur

When we first visited Oman in 2007 we were fortunate to go on a day trip to the coastal town Sur, famous for its dhow building. I recall doing a couple of sketchbook watercolours in the heat of the day, the high sun catching the top of the clouds.

These studies of Arabian Dhows became the inspiration for a number of studio paintings including one on gold leaf, and a number of watercolours which are available as a limited edition prints from alanreed.com.

I’ve recently painted a 14” x 10” watercolour capturing these beautifully shaped sailing vessels lying out of water which I’ve filmed for a new Painting Video which you can watch on Youtube.

For your interest, here is the script for the voice over for the video to save having to take notes.

First step is to get my usual wash down of Cadmium lemon and Cadmium Yellow which is used to harmonise all the other colours and to take away the stark white of the paper. I’ve wet some of the paper with clean water so that the first wash spreads easily, avoiding hard edges. This initial wash always seems to look wrong to begin with but remember, it always dries lighter.

I forgot to film the second wash of Rose Madder, but again, I wet the paper in places allowing some of the yellow to show through. As you can see, the Rose Madder doesn’t cover the whole sheet.

Once dry, another application of clean water and it’s time to add Manganese Blue for the sky. This time the brush marks are even more carefully considered. I want to re-create the effect of the sun bursting through the clouds from the top right hand side corner. The brush marks echo the direction that the rays of sunlight are coming from. I’ve added a touch of purple to the blue to bring a sense of depth to the lower foreground cloud.

Using a smaller brush it’s time to paint the areas of sky being reflected on the sand that is still wet from the receding tide. The brush marks I’m making are more horizontal and I’m working wet on dry. At times I’m just catching the surface of the paper to replicate the patterns in the sand. As with the sky, I’m dropping in the occasional purple for variation. You can also see that I’m leaving the first wash of yellow to come through in places to suggest the sunlight sparkling on the surface of the water.

A subtle mix of purple and Raw Sienna is used to paint in the areas of wet sand. I’m careful not to overload the brush, almost dabbing it on the surface of the paper.

I’m using this colour, not just for the wet sand but also for the hull of the dhow that is in shadow. Taking the shadow area back into the sand, always leaving parts of reflected blue and sparkle to shine through. Also a few very small details to indicate the ripples of wet sand. Where the shadow is darkest, I’m adding a slightly more intense purple to deepen the shadow.

Arabian Dhows on Gold Leaf

Dhows, Oman – Oil on Gold Leaf

The distant dhow has a base of Manganese blue to suggest a cool shadow, intensifying it with a darker blue for the keel.

A much finer brush is required to paint the fine wooden details that are another distinctive feature of the dhows. You need to be very careful at this point because it’s difficult to lift out any mistakes against such a light background.

It shouldn’t be necessary to say that this 12 minute video does not represent the entire time it took to do this painting. I’m just showing the main areas of interest.

I’ve mixed a lovely rusty red for the sides of the dhows. Again, I’m being very precise as to where I’m adding the colour, varying the intensity of the colour.

The same rusty red is used “wet on wet” for the distant dhow.

A darker purple and the thin brush is used again for these other detailed areas which take a bit of time to work out. I’m keeping the brush marks simple, not too niggley or fiddly but still varying the tonal values of the linear brush marks for interest.

I’ve decided that I’d like the hull slightly lighter so I’m painting some clean water on to the hull then just dabbing the water with some tissue to lift off the colour.

This dark shadow area almost looks black. It’s actually a mix of purple, Paynes Grey and perhaps a touch of Lamp Black. Carefully defining the gentle curve of the hull then contrasting that mark with some freer more expressive brush marks to suggest the more uneven ground where there are some rocks.

The left hand side of the hull needs to go darker so I’m running a slightly lighter version the same shadow colour over the rusty red.

On this close up you can see many other details that I’ve added like the anchors and rocks.

So there you have it. Arabian Dhows resting at low tide at the coastal town of Sur in Oman.

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The Artist

Alan Reed

Florence from Piazza Michelangelo

21. My style really began to develop when I was an art student. It improved through my desire to become a better watercolourist. More than ever, I am always seeking to improve my skills and to become the artist I’m meant to be.

22. I find that I’ve learned to know when to stop. Too many watercolours can be ruined by overworking them. I’d rather leave the painting looking slightly unfinished (it never does!) than overdo it.

23. The elements are the biggest problem. Changing weather conditions, especially the arrival of rain when the scene started off bright and sunny is a problem. I actually enjoy painting the rain from start to finish if I’m properly prepared. The painting above of Florence was inspired by a watercolour painted on location in the rain. My wife had to stand in the cold holding an umbrella over me!

24. If a watercolour goes badly wrong at the very start, then I’ll scrap it. If a small mistake occurs, then I can usually correct it by lifting out the offending area and re-painting it.

 

Alan Reed

Sight Size method in Studio

25. There are various techniques one can use to draw out a composition in the studio such as grids, sight-size, tracing etc. I’ve used many of them from time to time. However, I’m finding that over the last few years I’m doing more and more “drawing” with the paint brush. Indeed, with my location painting, I rarely use a pencil and prefer to paint directly onto the watercolour paper. The “Sight Size” method is is more a philosophy of seeing which I use when painting portraits.

26. At art college I had a brilliant lecturer called Laurie Stangroom who used to do artist’s impressions of buildings from architects plans. He taught me how to project the plans into any perspective you wanted through understanding picture planes, eye levels and vanishing points. It’s been a tremendous foundation for my watercolour paintings of cities. I like John Singer Sargent’s belief that painting is a science which is necessary to acquire in order to make of it an art.

27. I always start my watercolour work with large washes of colour to take away the white of the paper and to set the mood for the rest of the painting. It’s only when these washes are dry that I will begin to work on the main elements of the subject. I always work from light to dark in watercolour. If it’s a portrait or figure, I will work on a neutral tinted canvas (a mix of white, raw umber and black) rather than pure white. I like to make sure that the proportions are correct before commencing on any colour work. It’s usually best to get the mid tones in first before doing the darks and highlights.

28. I’m currently working towards my next exhibition at my Studio & Gallery at our home in Ponteland, Northumberland and a number of commissions. My wife and I are always seeking to improve our website www.alanreed.com to make it more interesting and informative, not just for online sales but as a resource for artists. We’ve already made a couple of painting videos and plan to do more in the future. The Artist in me is always wanting to move forward.

www.alanreed.com

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Paintings of Umbria

Alan Reed

Via Roma, Montone

It’s the time of year when I’m busy working on commissions and fitting in time to paint new works for my Christmas exhibition. One of my latest works is this street scene of Via Roma in Montone, Umbria available as a limited edition print.

When we were taking our guests on the Painting Holidays in Italy this year, we spent an afternoon in the delightful hilltop town, Montone. It’s a lovely place with plenty of subject matter to paint. I did a couple of watercolours “en plein air” which were the inspiration for this A4 painting on deckled edged paper.

Over the years, my Paintings of Umbria have resonated with many customers, particularly those who have properties there. I’ve been very fortunate to have received a number of commissions to go out and paint original paintings of clients homes throughout this beautiful region, described as the “Green Heart of Italy”.

Often with my Paintings of Umbria, I deliberately choose to use a limited palatte to create mood and atmosphere. I will refer back to my studies painted on location to ensure that I retain the lively brush marks and looseness of the original sketch. This studio painting of Via Roma follows that pattern. There’s a strong feeling of light and movement running throughout the painting, even in the shadow areas.

This is one of several Paintings of Umbria that will go on display for my Christmas Exhibition later on this year. Please sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on new paintings and events.

 

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Parco degli Acquedotti

Alan Reed Watercolour

Parco degli Acquedotti

Over the last few months I’ve been working on a number of painting commissions of Rome for an overseas client. You can read a testimonial on a previous blog post about one of the paintings I did for him of the Arch of Titus.

This has involved me travelling to Rome for short visits to gather suitable reference. The last trip in October saw me take a metro ride from the centre of Rome to Parco degli Acquedotti which boasts some fine remains of the magnificent aqueducts built by Emperors Claudius and Hadrian.

It was late afternoon so I worked rapidly on a couple of “en plein air” watercolours looking directly into the autumn sunlight capturing the main section. Although the longest stretch of the section by Claudius is the most impressive, I was also struck by the fragmented parts which stood alone in a field, creating some rather beautiful shapes, almost like letters of the alphabet.

I couldn’t resist painting a 21″ x 14″ studio watercolour on hand made Fabriano paper of Parco degli Acquedotti in the soft, warm autumnal light which can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

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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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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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Painting Holiday in Italy

Painting of Olive Trees on Location

Watercolour of Olive Trees, Villa Capanne

Painting in Italy

Alan giving an informal and positive critique of guests paintings carried out throughout the week.

We’ve just returned from a weeks Painting Holiday in Italy where we took 10 guests to stay at the luxury accommodation Villa Capanne in northern Umbria.

Whilst five of the guests were producing paintings of Italy, the others were happy to enjoy the visits to nearby towns such as Cortona, Assisi, Spello and Perugia and of course to sample the local food and wine. One of the guests enjoyed several rounds of golf at the Antognolla championship course.

To help the students with their painting “en plein air” I like to lead by example, so I did a number of watercolours in my leather-bound sketchbook and on Arches Watercolour Blocks.

Above is one of several watercolours I painted of the olive trees that grace the gardens of Villa Capanne.

At the end of the week I gave an informal and relaxed critique of the guests work carried out throughout the week.

The whole trip was such a success that we have planned a second painting holiday in Italy for 9th  – 16th May 2015.

“Thanks to Alan & Susan Reed for an amazing week’s painting holiday in Italy. Food, scenery, everything exceeded expectations! 5* would not do the week justice!! Made some lovely new friends! Thoroughly recommend it when they do their next one – but be warned – Alan can be a hard task master (in our own interest!!)”.

Mr A. Rapley

 

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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Painting Holiday in Umbria

Watercolour of Perugia

Sketchbook Watercolour of Perugia, Umbria

We’ve just returned from a weeks painting holiday in Umbria, Italy where we took 10 guests to stay at the luxury accommodation Villa Capanne.

Five of the guests were painting, the others were happy to enjoy the visits to nearby towns such as Cortona, Assisi, Spello and Perugia and of course to sample the local food and wine. To help the students with their painting “en plein air” I like to lead by example, so I did a number of watercolours in my leather-bound sketchbook and on Arches Watercolour Blocks.

Above is one of two sketchbook watercolours I painted on our visit to Perugia.

Quote from one of our guests: “Thanks to Alan & Susan Reed for an amazing week’s painting holiday in Italy. Food, scenery, everything exceeded expectations! 5* would not do the week justice!! Made some lovely new friends! Thoroughly recommend it when they do their next one – but be warned – Alan can be a hard task master (in our own interest!!).”

Mr A. Rapley

The next painting holiday in Umbria is  scheduled for 30th August – 6th September 2014 with another one planned for May 2015.

For more information about the Painting Holiday in Umbria and to request a brochure for September 2014 please email alan@alanreed.com 

To see more paintings of Italy visit my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland, Northumberland or visit alanreed.com

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Sketch of the Day

 

Burnham Overy Mill, Norfolk

Burnham Overy Mill

 

I’ve had a couple of very enjoyable trips to Norfolk with my family where I was able to produce a range of watercolours painted on location.

Some were on watercolour blocks and others, like this sketch of Burnham Overy Mill were painted directly into my leather bound sketchbooks.

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Durham Art Exhibition

Painting of Durham City

An Original Watercolour of Durham City

St. James’s Place Wealth Management are hosting an informal art & wine evening at one of the oldest teaching facilities in Britain today, Durham School, DH1 4SZ on the evening of Thursday 6th June starting at 6:45 – 9:00 pm.

I will taking guests on a journey through some of the NorthEast’s most iconic points of interest through my paintings following a sparking Prosecco drinks reception.

Along with fine wines and delicious canapés the evening will bring together around 60 of the region’s leading business people.  You are also welcome to bring along a colleague or contact.

As well as some new watercolours, limited editions of prints will also be available on the evening with a donation made to Durham School’s chosen charity.

Spaces are also limited and with an anticipated ‘full-house’ we would be grateful if you could contact me as soon as possible to reserve your free place(s). You can do this by contacting us on 01661 871 800 or email art@alanreed.com

 

 

 

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