Tag Archives: watercolours

John Singer Sargent – Brooklyn Museum

Painting at the Brooklyn Museum

Corfu: Lights and Shadows by John Singer Sargent

I’ve been reading with considerable interest the various reviews of the major exhibition of John Singer Sargent watercolours (and a few oils too) at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. To give you a flavour of the exhibition you can read an excellent review by Maika Pollack in the GalleristNY.

Since I first started using watercolours at the age of 15 I’ve been studying the techniques of the great watercolorists and I have to say, America has produced two of the finest exponents of arguably the most difficult of mediums to master, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.

Sargent’s technique was quite different from Homer’s who’s washes were generally more simplistic, quite possibly the result of Sargent painting his watercolours almost exclusively from life on location. Some of Homer’s watercolours must have been studio works due to the more carefully thought out compositions, use of colour and dramatic story telling.

The simple, yet wonderfully executed “Corfu: Lights and Shadows” above shows Sargent’s virtuosity in handling a brush with his deft flicks to indicate leaves and shadows. His bright palate captures perfectly the Mediterranean sunlight, the result and reward of constantly sketching. He once said “You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh”.

He believed, along with his tutor Carolus Duran, that painting was a science which it was necessary to acquire in order to make of it an art. I hope that I’m able to see this exhibition which runs until 28th July before continuing on in Boston.

You can see some of my paintings inspired by John Singer Sargent on my website www.alanreed.com

 

Comments { 0 }

Spring Exhibition 2013

Watercolour of my grandchildren

Looking for Crabs & Collecting Shells

My Spring Exhibition starts Saturday 13th April at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland and finishes Sunday 28th April. The exhibition will feature a number of new figurative paintings including these two new original watercolours of my grandchildren Ewan and Anya.

Ewan can be seen “Looking for Crabs” and Anya is “Collecting Shells”. The paintings carry an optimistic hope for some brighter, sunnier weather after what seems to have been one of the darkest, coldest, wettest and longest winters that I can remember for some time.

If you would like to receive an invitation to the preview weekend then please contact me.

Comments { 0 }

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth

Watercolour of Longsands Beach, Tynemouth Sketch

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth Sketchbook Study 1

I recently heard from one of my clients that a North East artist has been spreading false rumours that I never paint on location. Here is a blog post to put that nonsense to rest. I often paint “en plein air” and have lots of sketchbooks filled with watercolours painted on the spot. Above is one of two sketchbook watercolour studies painted on location Longsands Beach at Tynemouth, Monday 3rd September.

On my website you can watch a video of me painting Dunstanburgh Castle on location. There is also a video on youtube of me painting the Launceston Place Restaurant on location too. Of course I do paint in my studio and will use my own reference material which will sometimes include photographs, but for over twenty years I have sold lots of watercolours which have been painted from start to finish “plein air”.

 

Comments { 0 }

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth Sketchbook Study on Location

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth Sketchbook Study

On Monday I sold one of my original watercolours painted on location of a beach scene. It was a timely reminder of how much I do enjoy painting “plein air” and the fun I have capturing the natural elements of sky, sea and land. Longsands Beach, Tynemouth provides great subject matter to paint on the spot.

Monday the 3rd September 2012 was a glorious day so we decided to spend the day at Longsands Beach at Tynemouth with the family. Inspired by the earlier sale of the beach scene, I decided to take my watercolours and made a couple of sketchbook studies of folk enjoying the weather which I may well work up into larger paintings.

Comments { 0 }

Painting of the Pantheon, Rome

Painting of the Pantheon

The Pantheon, Rome

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. Earlier this year I painted a 14″ x 10″ watercolour of the Pantheon based on my location studies which was the inspiration to do this large painting. In both watercolours 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.

The painting of The Pantheon, Rome began as a watercolour demonstration for a couple of art groups who had asked me to show the students how to tackle cityscapes, in particular the challenge of painting figures in the context of a city scene. It’s been painted on an expensive sheet of rough Fabriano hand made watercolour paper.

The students seemed to appreciate the various techniques and methods I was demonstrating so I hope they enjoy seeing the finished painting of The Pantheon, Rome which is currently at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland and will soon be available as a limited edition print.

Comments { 0 }

Magnetic Bookmarks

Bookmarks Photo

Magnetic Bookmarks, Scenes of Newcastle

Magnetic Bookmarks are not wildly available even though they are very practical. How many of us use bookmarks made from bus tickets, business cards or scraps of paper which easily fall out. Magnetic Bookmarks are much more practical as they clip onto the page you are up to without there being any danger of slipping out.

I’ve decided to do my own range of Magnetic Bookmarks which are now available in selected outlets in Newcastle upon Tyne and online at www.alanreed.com A range of seven classic scenes of Newcastle taken from my original watercolours.

More countries and places are being added to the range including Italy and Oman.

Each magnetic bookmark is museum quality, printed in full colour on the front and reverse and comes individually wrapped. The folded size is 105 mm x 45 mm.

The images are, from left to right,  Tyne Bridge, Early Morning,  Theatre Royal,  High Level Bridge,  High Bridge Street,  Central Arcade,  Emerson Chambers and The Lit and Phil Library. Each painting is also available as a limited edition print.

Comments { 0 }

Paintings of Umbria

Painting of Relais il Canalicchio

Relais il Canalicchio

I first started doing Paintings of Umbria back in 2002. Tomorrow (27th June) marks the 11th Anniversary of the kidney transplant Susan and I had in 2001 when I gave my wife one of my kidneys. The image of the Hotel Relais il Canalicchio in Umbria brings back memories of the transplant because it was where we stayed for the first overseas trip we were able to make after the operation.

It was in Umbria that Susan really began to appreciate the benefits of a healthy kidney as she was able to walk up and down the various hill top villages we visited around Umbria. Before the transplant she would quickly get out of breath and become exhausted if she walked any distance.

We both really appreciated the benefits of staying at a wonderful hotel with commanding views over the Umbrian countryside, peace and quiet and fantastic food and wine. I purchased some leather bound hand made sketchbooks on this trip, so I was able to some small watercolour Paintings of Umbria. The hotel purchased a watercolour sketch I did of their building and from the studies I painted the scene above which has been reproduced as a limited edition print. It has to be one of my favourite paintings of Italy which forms part of my growing Italian collection.

 

 

Comments { 0 }

Paintings of Italy, Siena

Original Watercolour of Italy

February Morning in Siena

My first visit to Siena was in February 1999. It was a wonderfully bright and crisp, sunny (but cold) morning. When we arrived, the shell shaped Piazza del Campo (where the famous Palio horse racing is held twice a year) was very quiet. It was just a little too cool to do any painting, however I spent quality time observing the locals wandering around the piazza. Most of them were men who would often stop to greet each other and stand chatting. It was lovely seeing them enjoying the bright morning sunlight and their conversations.

On my return to the UK I did a couple of  watercolours capturing the historic centre which has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, one of which I reproduced as a limited edition print  The other is this one titled  Siena, February Morning which can also be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.

 

Comments { 0 }

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.

 

Comments { 0 }

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.

Comments { 0 }