Saturday, 30 November 2019

Creation



Creation
watercolour with salt resist by Teresa Newham

Enthused by the colour palette of October I & II, I recently made an experimental salt painting with many of the same colours: Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Violet, Venetian Red, Gold Ochre and Raw Sienna, with some Cerulean Blue thrown in for good measure.


the blank paper awaits
© Teresa Newham

It took all my self-control not to interfere as the initial washes marched across the paper, pooling at the edges.  I crushed some rock salt in a pestle and mortar to give some variety to the resist, and scattered it only where the paint had dried to a sheen.


the bottom layer emerges . . .
© Teresa Newham

For the top layer I used mostly Ultramarine, with a lot of water sprayed from a perfume atomiser my Mum used to spray onto her watercolours.  Again, I only added salt in the areas which I judged could take it - to avoid the risk of the salt dissolving.


. . . as does the top layer
© Teresa Newham

I was really pleased with the effects once the paint had dried, but not for the first time I had no idea what to call the finished piece. My husband suggested the title 'Creation', so Creation it is.  Highly appropriate, as this painting has virtually created itself!


the finished painting reveals itself
© Teresa Newham









Friday, 15 November 2019

early at the Exhibition




waiting to open the doors at the Harpenden Arts Club Annual Exhibition
© Teresa Newham

As requested, I arrived for my stewarding stint at the Harpenden Arts Club exhibition last Saturday before it opened.  My first job was to straighten any crooked pictures - which gave me the opportunity to have a proper look round, and spot my own.


blue-based paintings, including 'Blue'
© Teresa Newham

I'd last seen them at the hand in on the Wednesday evening - in itself a masterful feat of organisation which totally eliminated the usual queues, greatly helped by the extra space in the foyer which the club had been allowed.


a green theme to this panel - spot 'Fields & Flowers Kilkeaveragh'
© Teresa Newham

The show had been curated brilliantly by a small team of club members who had taken a great deal of care to gather the right paintings together on the various panels - themed by subject and/or colour palette - and to arrange them on that panel.


'Skelligs Golden Light' in a prime position
© Teresa Newham

The exhibition opened at 10 am. The room filled up quickly and we took several sales of framed and browser work, and greetings cards, as well as chatting to our eager visitors and encouraging them to vote for their top three. The morning just flew by.


a panel of landscapes, with 'Harpenden Common Midsummer'
© Teresa Newham

The handing back on the Sunday afternoon was also blessed with many helpers, who made light work of retrieving the pictures.  And it was good to be able to say to an unsuspecting artist, "Oh, that one has sold - well done!"


'Into the Light' with some colourful exhibits
© Teresa Newham

A huge thank you to everyone at Harpenden Arts Club who worked so hard to make this event a success.  You can find out more about the club on their website here.






Thursday, 31 October 2019

Autumn colour




October I - watercolour & salt
Teresa Newham

A couple of weeks ago my iPhone and I went for a walk around the local lanes, to take a look at the turning leaves.  There was plenty of colour about, which inspired me to try another couple of paintings in the same style as  August I & II.


Autumn colour
© Teresa Newham

 I stretched a couple of pieces of paper and laid down some base washes of Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Violet, Raw Sienna, Gold Ochre and Venetian Red, scattered salt over them and left everything to dry thoroughly. Then I took the salt off.


initial washes, dried with salt removed
© Teresa Newham

I added in trees and grass with Permanent Sap Green and Transparent Yellow, and on impulse used the Venetian Red to create leaves and branches in the undergrowth, tempted to leave the yellows and oranges behind them untouched.


adding foliage
© Teresa Newham

Something was needed to resolve the background, however, so I added some orange leaves. Again, I could have left the paintings as they were at this stage - but the glowing background reminded me of a forest fire, which was not the effect I intended.


is something burning?
© Teresa Newham

To extinguish it, I painted in some more Permanent Sap Green, which contrasted well with the reds, yellows and oranges around it.  There's still a lot of green about in October, after all . . .



finally finished
© Teresa Newham

Taking another look at these paintings now, I realise that the Cobalt Blue and Cobalt Violet are what really brings them to life. It's certainly fun experimenting with all these colours, and I already have an idea of how I can use them again!


October II - watercolour & salt
Teresa Newham





Tuesday, 15 October 2019

fiery flowers for One Square Foot




August I ~ watercolour & salt
Teresa Newham

Back in August, I set out to paint a piece which had to measure exactly one foot square, including any framing, for an art exhibition* in Hitchin. As the exhibition was to take place in October, I had in mind something autumnal involving fallen leaves, perhaps with a touch of copper or gold printmaking ink.


brightly coloured initial washes & salt . . .
© Teresa Newham

My subconscious, however, had other ideas, and presented me with a palette so vividly Mediterranean that I had no idea what to do with it, until I took half of the initial washes off with damp kitchen paper and turned the whole thing upside down.


. . . dried, toned down & turned around
© Teresa Newham

I was making two paintings, in the hope that at least one of them would work.  I added in some trunks and foliage using Permanent Sap Green, to contrast with the Quinacridone Red, Transparent Yellow and Cobalt Turquoise of the base layer.


trunks and foliage taking shape
© Teresa Newham

The salt pattern suggested sunflowers, and I thought some white daisies would look good in the cool areas.  I made the flowers by painting the negative space around them - something I don't do much, but I'd been reading Anne Blockley's Watercolour Workshop and some of it must have stuck . . .


flowers emerging from the washes
© Teresa Newham

Going with the flow, I adjusted the paintings as I went, wondering where these fiery tones had some from. Then the penny dropped - they were the exact colours of the materials we'd been using at my amateur operatic group to make fairy costumes!


the finished paintings
© Teresa Newham
.
The pictures only came properly to life when I added the centres to the flowers. There's a rich glow to these pieces which I rather like.  I had no idea what to call them, so they've ended up as August I and August II.  I hope to do more like these - there are twelve months in the year, after all . . .


August II ~ watercolour & salt
Teresa Newham

*  The charity exhibition "100 Square Feet" in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association will run until 2nd November 2019 at The Art Nest, 4-5 West Alley, Hitchin SG5 1EG.





Monday, 30 September 2019

Demo-happy



Cross Farm
Inktense Pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

For this year's #HertsOpenStudios demonstrations, I was mostly working in Inktense Pencil, making sketches from photos on my iPad. Backlit on the screen, photos have a wonderful vibrancy which is often lost when they're printed out.


the Sunflower sketch taking shape
© Teresa Newham

It was a good opportunity to work up some of this summer's photos into something a little more - I'd been wondering whether the Cross Farm picture might make a good print, for example - and to experiment with different pencil techniques.


Sunflower
Inktense Pencil sketch by Teresa Newham


The beauty of these pencils is that they are easily set aside when visitors arrive - a must for an Open Studios event - and can be taken up again without losing your thread; I started the dahlias one afternoon and finished them three days later at the next session.


various stages of the Dahlias sketch
© Teresa Newham

A wide variety of colours can be made with just a few of the pencils, and I enjoyed straying from my usual palette and having some fun with them.  I particularly loved the contrast in the photo of the dahlias - the leaves really were that colour!


Dahlias
Inktense Pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

Some of the sketches were done more quickly than others, depending on who came in while I was making them; and the Hitchin Lavender picture took only an afternoon, because I wanted to get on with something else at the following session . . .


the lavender sketch, emerging
© Teresa Newham

I was tempted to make more sketches, but I'd used up all the remaining leaves of watercolour paper in the book; and my spare paper was well buried in the studio beneath the exhibits.  I didn't fancy trying to dig it out!


Hitchin Lavender
Inktense Pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

With Christmas not that far away, I decided to jolly up some plain gift tags, taking care not to get ink on the general public. It was by far the smallest piece of lino I'd ever worked with, but perfect for demonstrating the technique in a small space.


my smallest demo ever (!) . . .
© Teresa Newham

A huge thanks to all our lovely visitors who made this year's #HertsOpenStudios such a great fune, and to Sue Wookey for sharing a studio with me!


. . . resulted in these!
© Teresa Newham








Sunday, 15 September 2019

. . . . and breathe!



paintings, prints, cards in the dining room
© Teresa Newham


The last print is mounted and framed for display, the browsers are filled, the cards are neatly stacked in their racks.  Everything that should be ready is ready, and on display.  #HertsOpenStudios has begun!


my studio, crammed with stuff
© Teresa Newham

We can finally relax, breathe a little, and settle down to demonstrating watercolours (Sue) and Inktense pencil sketches (me, with some lino printing thrown in).


Sue is making use of every available surface
 © Teresa Newham

As usual we're offering our visitors coffee, tea and cake while they browse; many of the people who come to take a look have been before, and it's good to catch up with them, as well as making new friends.


room for demos and a charity sale
© Teresa Newham

I've even found room to display a couple of A4 sketchbooks - my regular one I use when working up paintings and linocut prints, and the visual diary I made last winter.  I hope people enjoy them!


my sketchbooks, getting an airing
© Teresa Newham







Saturday, 31 August 2019

Skelligs Golden Light





Skelligs Golden Light
reduction linocut series by Teresa Newham


August is the month when I usually prepare for #HertsOpenStudios - mounting, framing, sending out brochures and generally getting geared up to receive the general public.  This year, however, I've been somewhat distracted by the creation of a reduction linocut I've called Skelligs Golden Light.



the sketch and the photo which inspired it
© Teresa Newham


The photo I took inspiration from was blue, and I had in mind a range of blues from palest pale to dramatic dark, with a mysterious misty sky.  Yet I kept recalling that view of the Skelligs when the weather around the rocks is clearer than that where you're standing on the Kerry mainland.


the Skelligs, emerging
© Teresa Newham

I decided to lay down some yellow first, and then a light grey as a good contrast.  It worked - but I was using so much extender that the yellow showed through the clouds.  I wished I hadn't printed the yellow, but I had; and I wished I hadn't cut the clouds, but I had - so I would have to make the best of it!


using different colours on different parts of the print
© Teresa Newham

By the time I printed the mid grey, I was convinced I would have to mount this linocut so the clouds didn't show. Luckily the Skelligs themselves looked great . . .   on impulse I printed a thin layer of white ink over the clouds, just to see what would happen.


slowly the image became clearer
© Teresa Newham

A dark layer was needed for Little Skellig, and I wanted the foreground to be darker too.  After I'd printed up a couple I realised that adding some of that dark colour on the clouds would balance the picture.  Would a thin layer of ink with lots of extender print OK on the white?


when the plate could be an artwork in itself
© Teresa Newham

I wasn't convinced, but ploughed on anyway - sometimes you just have to keep going.  The plate itself looked a promising piece of artwork in its own right, and as I carried on, the results became more encouraging.


the finished prints laid out for inspection
© Teresa Newham

At this stage I still had most of the impressions I started with, but they won't all make the cut. The variations on the rest means that this will be a series rather than an edition. It's turned out far better than I expected when I was halfway through, and I've learned a lot in the process.  Better get back to my framing . . .


one of the finished prints
© Teresa Newham





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