Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Charles Reid's Watercolour Landscapes Masterclass

This is the first DVD I have bought from Town House Films and  I'm quite impressed. Service was excellent, the DVD arriving the day following I ordered it via the website. First the length, 134 mins, is considerably longer than most other painting DVD's, which are usually between 60 and 90 mins. The subjects are two landscapes at Pinmill in East Anglia near Ipswich, a superb estuary location with many different boats including the now rare Thames Sailing Barges. The great Edward Seago, as well as many other well-known artists have painted here. The one downside is that painting the subjects plein air was frustrated by the weather, blustery and wet, so Charles painted from photographs inside the clubhouse of the Pinmill Sailing Club.

Charles is his usual very informative self, both in words and how he approaches the actual painting. His various tecniques like  contour drawing are clearly explained and we are treated to extreme close ups, which I found very good. In particular his use of colour, both complements and warm and cool, deserves careful study. This DVD was filmed immediately after the Urchfont course and I found it linked up with, and reinforced, what  I'd learned from him only days previously.

The two paintings, both half sheets, are quite complicated busy subjects, and it was enlightening to see how Charles dealt with them. The first involved a combined scene involving both  an attractive hostelry and a number of Thames Sailing Barges and Charles used two photographs, combining elements from each, all the time explaining how to  interpret photographs rather than copy them. This is a problem many of us have and something it takes a while to master. The sky on both subjects, painted over two days, was very busy and Charles said he tended not to concentrate on skies, as he had a tendency to overwork, but in this instance was obliged to do so. Watching him do it I wondered, half way through, what the final result would be but it was excellent.

The second painting was of some stranded boats and again two photos were involved although one predominated. Another complicated subject in all it's aspects but it was admirably handled and, although Charles said he was never really satisfied with his paintings seemed fairly pleased with the results. Two very colourful paintings in the typical Charles Reid style. He was on top form at Urchfont, the most recent of three courses I have done with him, and this excellence continued at Pinmill.

One point about Charles Reid is that he is a bit of a maverick insofar as his  painting style and teaching is concerned, but he explains how this came about - his graduation from a plein air oil painter to watercolour - and it is true that many other professional artists sing from an entirely different song sheet! However if you are an admirer of his style then this is for you. I am sure it will attract new followers. The price for the DVD is £26.90p including postage anywhere in the World and is available from Townhouse Films http://www.townhousefilms.co.uk/ also some mail order art materials companies like Jacksons and Ken Bromley.

As a footnote I also have the new Charles Reid's 10 Lesson Course , a copy of which I bought from Judy Reid at Urchfont . I will review this soon, as I've already viewed it several times. Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, this isn't available in the UK and has to be obtained from the USA. This is a three DVD set running to four hours. The DVD's can be bought singly or as a 3-DVD set. They are advertised on Charles Reid's website www.charlesreidart.com/  with a link to the seller. The full set is $99 and carriage extra to the UK. Another must for Charles Reid buffs.

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