Art exhibition: UK artist to showcase Omani landscapes
June 6, 2017 | 7:50 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan, [email protected]
Reed has gone to great lengths to capture the different aspects of the Sultanate’s culture in his paintings. Photo: Supplied

Muscat: Art lovers in the United Kingdom will soon get a first-hand glimpse of the tradition and culture of Oman, with renowned British artist Alan Reed featuring many of the Sultanate’s picturesque landscapes in his latest exhibition.

Scheduled to run at his gallery in Ponteland, Northumberland, throughout July, Reed’s pieces include a series of scenic watercolours of landscapes from around the world, including Britain, Italy and of course, Oman.

Reed has gone to great lengths to capture the different aspects of the Sultanate’s culture in his paintings, ranging from the traditional fishing dhows in Sur and the stunning Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, to the harsh but breathtaking landscape of Jabal Akhdar, and the architecture of the Muttrah Corniche, which invoke sentiments of a bygone era.

“The subject matter I’ve painted in Oman is very inspirational, often dictated by painting commissions,” said Reed, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman. “My Omani paintings range from the mountain villages around Jebel Akhdar to various wadis, including the hot springs at Al Thowarah. I’ve also painted many of the forts, lots of palm trees, the magnificent dhows around Sur, including the ‘Jewel of Muscat,’ Salalah, Muscat itself, the souk, Oman’s dramatic coastline and Omani doors.”

“Many of my sketchbook watercolours were reproduced in limited edition form for Oman’s 40th Renaissance,” he added. “My first trip to Oman was in 2007 after I received some watercolour commissions from a client in Oman. I’ve been to Oman eight times working on various painting projects, including an exhibition at the Bait Muzna Gallery entitled ‘Mystical Oman’ in April 2010.”

Reed comes from a long line of talented artists: his father, Kenneth Reed, specialises in painting some of the United Kingdom’s most famous golf courses, while his grandfather, Thomas Reed, was also an artist. His great-grandfather was a famed carver of ship figureheads.

“I left school at 16 and went to art college in Newcastle upon Tyne studying graphic design and illustration. At college we were introduced to lots of different mediums,” recalled Reed.

“A couple of years after leaving college I decided to become self employed as a full-time artist at the age of 22. I showed my efforts to my lecturers at Newcastle College and they were very encouraging.”

“Some of them actually bought my paintings. I had my first exhibition as an art student in our local library in 1981 and sold all 12 paintings exhibited.”

Having won his prize for art at the age of 10, Reed has gone on to win more accolades since: his landscape of Jabal Akhdar won the Artist’s Prize at the Royal Watercolour Society Competition in 2013, while his painting of a village in Oman, titled ‘Last Light, Ruwi,’ had him shortlisted for the Artists and Illustrators’ Artist of the Year Award in 2014.

“My advice for anyone wishing to become an artist, either full time or as a hobby is to draw, draw and draw,” he advised. “Regular sketching is massively important to keep your skills sharp and to grow in being visually aware. It’s important to study the techniques and skills of those who you admire and who have left a rich body of work for others to enjoy.”

“As an artist, I’ve learned not to give up when facing challenges. Every setback is an opportunity to look at life in a different way so that one can learn to grow stronger,” said Reed. “Meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds is very enriching too.”

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