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Artist Alan celebrates 20 years as professional with show.

Byline: By David Whetstone

It was a political hot potato and much derided when Margaret Thatcher introduced the Enterprise Allowance Scheme early in her premiership.

If you were out of work and could come up with pounds 1,000, the Government would give you pounds 40 a week for a year. It was designed to turn the unemployed into entrepreneurs.

Dreams probably turned to ashes for most of the recipients, but this wasn't the case for Alan Reed who is marking his 20th anniversary as a professional artist with an exhibition and two new limited edition prints.

Alan had just finished a contract at Newcastle's Hancock Museum, painting the jungle scenes which will be familiar to all those who have marvelled at the Victorian eccentricity of Abel's Ark, a collection of stuffed wild animals. The new Government initiative gave him the opportunity to set himself up as a professional artist.

He had studied at the old College of Art and Technology on Newcastle's Bath Lane but knew he had a marketable talent. Alan had exhibited 12 paintings in his local library in Ponteland and sold them all ( two of them to his tutors.

Alan's first exhibition as a professional was in October 1984 in Gallery 7 which used to be in a basement in Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. His audience is now spread far and wide. His website ( www.alanreed.com ( recently earned him a trip to Umbria in Italy to paint someone's new home. That enabled him to familiarise himself further with a country he has come to love through increasingly frequent visits.

Alan's studio and gallery at 1 Main Street, Ponteland, shows a range of his Italian paintings and his North-East watercolours, many of which show the rapidly changing urban face of Tyneside.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Alan, helped by wife Susan ( his self-confessed "number one fan" ( has produced two paintings which are available as prints in a limited edition run of just 20. The 20th Anniversary Exhibition, also featuring Alan's first paintings of The Sage Gateshead, runs until October 30.

David Whetstone
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2004
Words:346
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