Monday, 26 March 2012

Figurative Watercolours by Charles Reid

This eagerly awaited DVD has just been released by APV Films of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. It was filmed at the home and gallery of the late James Fletcher Watson, Following the Crantock course in October last year, his second 2011 UK course took place the following week at Burford, Oxfordshire. At the end of the course Charles made the video.

I am an unashamed fan of Charles Reid as readers will be well aware. He is very different to many other watercolour artists, although I see several well-known professionals who (to my eyes) seem to have been influenced by his approach, even though they don't all acknowledge it. You do have to buy into the Charles Reid way as he often defies conventional wisdom. His style is  very `loose', some might claim untidy, something not popular with the lovers of realistic to super realistic paintings. Although I have virtually all his books and DVD's, as well as attending several courses with him, I found this an exciting series of demonstrations with new insights,  plus many interesting anecdotes about his career and progression as an artist. One thing you have to realise is Charles isn't static.  Each painting is a new adventure and he doesn't plan to the extent many do. This applies here and his discussion of the colours he uses indicated some changes. He also commented that his book on Portrait painting, published over 20 years ago, was mainly monocromatic, whereas his studies now are full of colour. This is something he said had just happened over the years. 

On this DVD three paintings are produced, two of a young lady called Gabriella and one of an older man Jerry. Charles is very good with the models, neither of whom I believe were professionals, with breaks every 20 minutes. This is his normal practice both for himself and the subjects. He stated he likes to complete a painting in two and a half hours. 

I have Charles previous figure and portrait painting videos but this one is the best as you might expect given the time lag between them. I have viewed it once and am sure will get many more hours of pleasure and instruction from watching it. Although there is a lot about portraits in several of Charles books, a dedicated portrait book would have been a jewel for us fans. Unforunately this doesn't seem likely but the DVD is a  consolation.  Although not mentioned on the film Charles said at Crantock he'd brought  a supply of Czech hand-made Moldau watercolour paper especially for the demonstrations.

The DVD is available from APV films It costs £28.55 inclusive of postage and arrived the day after I ordered it. In the USA and Canada it will be available from   who charge $39.95 for other APV DVD's plus $4.95 postage ($6.95 Canada). 


Anns Art said...

I can see you are a big fan of Charles Reid's work, not surprising of course, as he really does get the subjects so well. Personally I tend to avoid portraits, but saying that it is lovely to see how others go about them. One of the blogs I follow is Sadami's Graffiti an Australian Illustrator. Sadami sums up people in such quick easy lines and colour. Every artist with their own 'take' on subjects, but so nice to see. Thanks Peter for sharing this information about the DVD, think I may have to follow this up at some point (hey perhaps my kids will buy it for a birthday pressie later in the year!).

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Ann. You do have to buy into the Charles Reid way which isn't to everyone's taste but I love it. I'll have a look at Sadami. I'm not blinkered and look at other ways of doing things. It is a great DVD though with lots to interest.

Anonymous said...

I like Charles Reid and the reason why is that he is loose. The eye gets to roam around a bit more and one has to become involved with his work, unlike many paintings where the subject is presented in all encompassing detail (although when it comes to Andrew Wyeth I'll happily take in all that drybrush detail).

Judi Whitton's work reminds me a bit of Charles Reid's style, although I can see a bit of John Palmer there, too.

Peter Ward said...

Hi Oscar. Judi was influenced to change her style by attending a Charles Reid course at (I believe) Stow-on-the Wold in the Cotswolds. She also later attended one of his courses in Spain as I was on that one also. She is also a friend of John Palmer who is a Bristol artist. Judi lives not far away in Gloucestershire.

I particularly love his portrait work and his still lifes with flowers.

Robert P. Armas said...

Peter,the DVD will be available in about 3 weeks in the USA,at "The Artists' Place" as you foretold.Price is the one you mentioned.I'm eagerly waiting for its arrival to purchase one.As you might know I'm also a fan of Mr.Reid and of portraits.

Peter Ward said...

You'll enjoy it Robert. It's excellent.