Thursday, 15 August 2019

Harpenden Common, Midsummer




Harpenden Common, Midsummer
watercolour with gouache, Teresa Newham


This is the first figurative watercolour I've made in ages - inspired by two lovely ladies at Art on the Common who asked me when I was going to paint the Common again, and by some photos taken during the sunny weather at the end of June.


the photo which provided the inspiration
© Teresa Newham


I used Cobalt Blue, Permanent Sap Green, and for a change, Burnt Umber, which blended well with the blue to add some shape to the clouds.  These are the second lot of clouds I tried - the first attempt is on the back of the painting . . .


the urge to get something down on paper quickly
© Teresa Newham


I built up the piece in layers from the top down, delighted by some of the runbacks, which I incorporated into the landscape, and mindful of the need to balance out the tones - which I checked by taking black and white photos as the work progressed.


the painting takes shape
© Teresa Newham


The midsummer palette is quite restricted, so I ignored the yellow flowers in the photo and added in the white ones using gouache and a certain amount of scratching out.  I'm looking forward to sharing this picture with visitors to #HertsOpenStudios next month!


finishing touches
© Teresa Newham









Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Fields & Flowers, Kilkeaveragh




Fields & Flowers, Kilkeaveragh
reduction linocut by Teresa Newham

Our recent trip to County Kerry generated so many ideas that I thought I should make a start on at least one of them.  This reduction linocut is based on photos I took from our friends' living room window, and an Inktense pencil sketch I made of the same view.


source material: the sketch helped me see the potential
© Teresa Newham


I took some time over the design; the first draft was a little too graphic, and I altered the treatment of the clouds and the trees accordingly.  I set out to print just three colours, the first two overlapping as little as possible, so as to speed up the drying.


getting it right: refining the design
© Teresa Newham

For the first time in ages I was using traditional lino instead of softcut, and I had to adjust my cutting technique accordingly.  I soon got the hang of things again.  It's much easier now that I use a cutting mat - made of carpet gripper - instead of a bench hook.



the three reduction cuts, from one plate
© Teresa Newham

I traced the design onto the lino using carbon paper, and inked it with a pen. After making a few prints I discovered that the pen was transferring to the prints. So I cut away the clouds rather than wiping them, to prevent the pen transferring onto any more.


troubleshooting the sky
© Teresa Newham


I'd forgotten to wash away as much of the ink and carbon as I could before printing, so I did that after I'd printed the blue.  I used the prints where the pen was showing as trial runs for the green layers, to get the colours right - putting everything to good use!


the second printing: uneven marks add texture
© Teresa Newham


The result is a cheerful interpretation of the countryside around our friends' house on the Iveragh Peninsula.  It's not one of the obvious views of mountains or the sea, but it has a charm all its own.  And there will be more prints to come, I'm sure . . .


the finished print: only some will make it into the edition
© Teresa Newham







Monday, 15 July 2019

All the Fun of the Fair



the stable block at Childwickbury Manor
© Teresa Newham

The first weekend of July means only one thing to art lovers around here: the Childwickbury Arts Fair! This year it was magnificent as always. Blessed by excellent weather on the Friday, we spent a happy few hours taking a good look round and speaking to as many people as we could.


artists' demos in the painting tent
© Teresa Newham

First stop the painting tent - a huge marquee with a dozen artists showing and demonstrating their work. Those in the photos are (clockwise from top left) Penny German, Tina Balmer, Jenny Wheatley and Ali Yanya.  It's a lovely environment in which to chat to people about their work.


a variety of arts and crafts behind the stable block
© Teresa Newham

Behind the stable block we found more painters, ceramicists, woodworkers and a variety of crafts.  Many of those exhibiting are regulars - it was great to catch up with them again. The montage above shows work by Anne Barrell and the Eeles Pottery, Vince King wood carving and Oli Fowler screen printing.


 inside the stable block - glass artists & printmaker Laura Boswell
© Teresa Newham

The stable block itself housed nearly thirty artists specialising in everything from jewellery to candles.  The glass artists were here -  Opal Seabrook, Siddy Langley (top L & R) and Karen Davies (bottom L). Across the stable yard in the main printmaker's area we talked with Laura Boswell and Tom Mitchell.


some of the printmakers and their kit
© Teresa Newham

The organisers at Childwickbury take great care to ensure that everything is just right, with eye-catching, colourful and quirky corners, and plenty of space for visitors to chill out in while they eat their lunch or take a rest in the shade.  It's a great day out - put it in your diary for next year!


touches of colour everywhere
© Teresa Newham

NB if you can't wait until next Summer, don't forget the Childwickbury Christmas Market on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November 2019 😉







Sunday, 30 June 2019

Kerry Sketchbook




Skellig afternoon
Inktense pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

It's hard to believe that just a month ago we were on holiday in County Kerry!  I took a watercolour sketchbook with me, along with my Inktense pencils and a waterbrush, determined to make the best of whatever the weather could throw at us.


the Skelligs from Valentia Island
© Teresa Newham

The notes say that the Skelligs sketch was made "on location".  In this case, that meant "sitting in the car" - it was breezy outside, and I made the most of the opportunity to spread out my equipment in the warm, while my husband had a little doze.


Ballinskelligs beach
Inktense pencil sketch by Teresa Newham


The following day at Ballinskelligs beach, the weather was changing all the time from moody clouds to sunshine and back again.  I sat on a rock to make this sketch , and only just made it safely back to the car before the heavens opened.


McCarthy Mor Castle, Ballinskelligs
© Teresa Newham


The Inktense pencils were perfect for holiday sketching; I was able to get outlines down quickly and fill in details afterwards, adding extra touches of colour as necessary.  Even in damp weather they dried promptly on the page, and the waterbrush was a joy to use.


Rossbeigh Beach
Inktense pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

At Rossbeigh Beach the tide was in, but it didn't matter, as a howling gale meant we had no desire to get out of the car.  I didn't do justice to the stunning scenery, but it's an excellent rendition of how I was feeling after two glasses of Guinness the night before.


clouds at Rossbeigh Beach
© Teresa Newham

My final sketch was done indoors, looking out of a window at the fields beyond.  Until you looked closely there didn't seem to be much going on, but I found quite a lot to put down on paper, especially when I imagined it from a different angle.


Millie's view
Inktense pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

We came away fully refreshed, with many happy memories, a bunch of souvenirs, a few sketches and a lot of photos -  so I suspect I'll be making some more Kerry-based artworks before too long!


the foot of the mountain
© Teresa Newham




Saturday, 15 June 2019

one-day wonder



All set on the Sunday morning
© Teresa Newham

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the challenge that Art on the Common poses to its exhibitors. Will the weather set fair? Will the wind blow the artwork /gazebos over? Will we get soaked this year or suffer from sunstroke?


our pitch right by the road sign on the A1081
© Teresa Newham

The forecast wasn't looking good - rain on the Saturday morning while we were due to set up and high gusts of wind in the afternoon.  Then the Council decided to ban inflatables and gazebos from the Carnival for health & safety reasons. Art on the Common couldn't take the risk . . .


my display included a couple of watercolours, safely sheltered from any rain . . .
© Teresa Newham


So it became a one-day event, Sunday only, and a lovely day it turned out to be, too - the only lovely day, in fact, in a series of pretty stormy, cold and wet ones.  Hillary and I set up our display on our usual pitch next to the road sign - a useful landmark!


Hillary's prints displayed in card racks
© Teresa Newham

We had a good mix of paintings - no rain was forecast so I brought along a couple of watercolours, prints (linocut and giclée) and photographs, plus a lot of greetings cards. There was certainly plenty for our visitors to look at . . .


Never knowingly short of a greetings card - Hillary's (middle) and mine
© Teresa Newham

And we had a lot of visitors - from before we opened until the very end of the day when the weather started to deteriorate. By the time we closed, Art on the Common had managed to raise £3000 in a single day for Cancer Research, with 15% of all artists' sales going to the charity.


cheerful display at the Cancer Research stall - thank goodness the weather stayed dry!
© Teresa Newham


We had a great time chatting to people, making sales, and admiring fellow exhibitors' displays; despite the loss of the Saturday, everyone agreed that the event had been a great success.  So we put our names down for next year!


visitors enjoying the Photographic Society's display
© Teresa Newham


Huge thanks to David Whitbread and the team from Harpenden Photographic Society for organising Art on the Common so efficiently once again.








Friday, 31 May 2019

Spring is sprung


Spring flowers linocuts
© Teresa Newham


About six weeks ago, when it seemed as if Spring might never come, I brought some tulips and daffodils into the house to remind us that it would arrive eventually. They cheered up the place so much that I decided to make some designs for a linocut.


source photos & sketches
© Teresa Newham

I did a couple of sketches while the flowers were still fresh in the vases and wondered if I could translate that sketchiness when I cut it. I printed the tulips first, and was so pleased with the result that I cut into the plate again to print a second layer of colour.


a sudden impulse to make a reduction
© Teresa Newham

I could have stopped there, but decided that a background was needed. I opted for a dark green, to bring out the bright yellow I'd chosen for the reduction version. I was so enthused by the result that I decided to do something similar with the daffodils.


Yellow Tulips reduction linocuts
© Teresa Newham

I was drying the prints in plate racks, to allow the air to circulate round them. But the paper had gone a bit wonky, so against all advice I laid them flat. Three layers of ink can take some time to dry, so they'll probably be back in the racks before too long!


simple daffs linocut drying in a plate rack
© Teresa Newham


I hadn't used the Laura Boswell linocut registration frame for mini prints before, but it worked well.  It's always so exciting to peel away the second or third layer to see what the print is looking like (assuming you've got the cut right, that is!).


printing the second layer of the reduction version
© Teresa Newham

Soon I had a veritable garden of daffodils drying by the radiator.  This time I'd warmed up the yellow with a touch of orange, and I was careful to make the second layer a light green so that I didn't have to make the third layer too dark.


Daffs II reduction linocut
© Teresa Newham

Now, of course, I'm wondering which approach I prefer.  Does the simple version of each flower work best, or was it worth doing those reductions?  I really can't decide, or choose a favourite.  I love them all!


pretty flowers all in a row
© Teresa Newham






Tuesday, 14 May 2019

hail and arty




storms approaching Kimpton
© Teresa Newham

Given that the annual Kimpton Festival often takes place in a heatwave, it was something of a shock to spot such dramatic clouds as we drove over to take a look at this year's Art Show on the Bank Holiday Saturday at the beginning of May.


inside the parish church of SS Peter & Paul
© Teresa Newham

We arrived in a hailstorm, and made our way quickly into the church, where the exhibition had been set up in and around the pews as usual. The weather might have been cold and damp, but the welcome was warm . . .



poppy paintings to remember the dead of the two World Wars
© Teresa Newham


Every nook and cranny of the church had been used to good effect, with suitable unframed paintings and prints laid out on appropriate pews and benches, such as in front of the plaque commemorating those who had fallen in World War I and II.


plenty of pottery: ceramics by Kay Stratford
© Teresa Newham


I spotted some lovely ceramics, including these jars and animals by Kay Stratford on a sill in front of a stained glass window, and a selection of Opal Seabrook's funky glass creations contrasting with the solemnity of one of the side altars.


glass with a twist: Starburst Glass by Opal Seabrook
© Teresa Newham

My own exhibits were shown to good effect on a panel near the main altar.  I'd entered three watercolours and a linocut print of Clementine the chicken. I was delighted to learn later on that someone loved her enough to buy her.


my exhibits near the altar
© Teresa Newham


As we continued round the church, we came to a series of browsers positioned at the very front, to enable visitors to look at all the contents with ease.  There were plenty of people taking their time over the art - nobody was keen to venture back outside.


browsers galore at the front of the church
© Teresa Newham

We were serenaded by live music as we crossed to the far set of browsers - an excellent folk guitarist, with other musical delights scheduled throughout the afternoon.  Again, some lively pieces had been placed in the pews to make a colourful display.


colourful images laid out along the pews
© Teresa Newham

Finally we decided to brave the brief walk across to the Dacre Rooms for a cup of tea.  Outside, the weather was doing its best to convince us that it was really Spring, but, wrapped up in our waterproofs and scarves, we knew better!


the weather pretending it's a balmy Spring day
© Teresa Newham