The first of October is a landmark date for me. It was this day in 1984 that I went self employed as an artist. I began undertaking all kinds of Painting Commissions. Over the last 36 years I’ve been through all kinds of challenges, particularly during the recession which began in 2008 with the financial crash.
However the last 6 months or so when our nation has gone through various states of lockdown, must be one of the strangest times to do business. The year began in a positive way. I’d just finished a rather interesting set of Painting Commissions for a new client which included an oil painting of Newcastle’s Quayside on Gold Leaf. I had painted it in an Art Deco style with a limited palette. The colours changed against the gold leaf depending on the lighting conditions of the room.
John Singer Sargent
Not long after completing this project, I was starting on a Painting Commission for a client in Italy. I also started work on a copy of a John Singer Sargent watercolour titled “White Ships”. This was such a fun painting to work on as Sargent was one of the great exponents of watercolour.
The challenge was to emulate Sargent’s brush strokes and at the same time, keep them loose and expressive. I surprised myself with the result. I’d copied some of Sargent’s portraits in oils before, but never a watercolour. Watercolour is much less forgiving than oil, but this worked out well.
I received some pet portrait commissions too including this one of Brooklyn, an English Cocker Spaniel. Brooklyn had passed away earlier in the year. You can read more about pet portraits on a previous blog post.
Artist Support Pledge
Everything seemed to be going well at the start of 2020, then the news started to come through about COVID 19. With reluctance, we had to cancel our painting holiday in Italy and we braced ourselves for lockdown. Susan and I consider ourselves fortunate during the three months we were forced to self isolate. I was still able to continue with my Junction 42 work and I was still receiving Painting Commissions. We also had the benefit of a very sunny April right through to June. However, the main positive for my business was the Artist Support Pledge. This initiative was an artist’s response to COVID 19 and was an opportunity for the art community to support each other.
I started to post some of my smaller watercolours on my Instagram account for just £200 unframed. Once I sold 5, I pledged to buy another artists work. So far it has been a success and I’ve been able to purchase several paintings by other artists like Aldo Balding which you can read about on previous blog posts.
There are still a number of my paintings available through the Artist Support Pledge. Fortunately, the Painting Commissions are still coming through. At the moment I’m finishing off a portrait commission in oils and a watercolour of Grey Street. I’ve also just delivered this painting of the Venetian Carnival which the client is delighted with.
It will be interesting to see what this new year will bring for Alan Reed Art. At the moment, despite new restrictions and a rise in COVID 19 cases, I’m optimistic that we will come through these challenges for the better. I know that it’s been a very painful time for many. I do know that the pandemic has forced many of us to stop, re-evaluate life and to make necessary changes.