Thursday, 18 September 2014

cats, cows and conversation

Hillary, Sue & Pauline giving demonstrations at Artscape during #HertsOpenStudios
© Teresa Newham
What exactly do people think when they see our demonstrations for #HertsOpenStudios?  Do they wonder why the results don't look like the art on the walls?  we're always keen to discuss our work with visitors and they often have questions, so any demo needs to be easily interruptable; which rules out anything requiring deep concentration.


visitors - we like visitors!
© Teresa Newham

Sue uses watercolour sketches to plan out future paintings, Pauline demonstrates her restoration work, Judi shows how she prepares glass for firing (and then has to clear it away to take it home!), while Hillary weaves paper into textured sheets and baskets or colours  her graphics on a tablet.  I prefer to use the time to try out new media or practice my drawing skills.   And, if we're not chatting to visitors, we chat amongst ourselves.

animal crackers . . . my first cow
© Teresa Newham
- I took these lovely photos of cows near Redbournbury the other day, I'm going to try drawing one.  
- She's got a thing about cows, you know . . .
- Animals can be tricky things to portray.
- Yes, I once painted a sheep which looked more like a dog. Not sure about cows . . . 
- You need to discover what makes a cow a cow.  Its essential cow-ness.  Then your drawing will look like a cow.

And this advice worked - eventually I drew a cow which looked like a cow.  I usually avoid portraying animals, but, emboldened by the success of the cow, I decided to try a cat:

first attempt at a cat ~ in pencil
© Teresa Newham
Perhaps because I'm more familiar with cats than with cows, making these drawings felt more natural.  The pencil sketch took up one complete Open Studios session.  Next time I moved on to using chalk pastel pencils.  I've only just started using these regularly, and enjoyed exploring the various ways they could be used to express long and short fur.

second version of cat ~ chalk pastel pencil
© Teresa Newham
With half an hour left at the end, I dashed off the pen and wash sketch below.  Ironically this quick little drawing is my favourite - I like the way the colour has dried on her face - to me, it has the most character of the three.

ten-minute watercolour cat
© Teresa Newham
At the time of writing there are still four Open Studios sessions to come at Artscape: we'll be there between 1pm - 4.30pm on Friday 19th & Saturday 20th September, Friday 26th & Saturday 27th September at Artscape, 8 Southdown Industrial Estate, Marlborough Road (off Southdown Road), Harpenden AL5 1PW.  Our exhibition in the upstairs room is open during shop hours unless there is a class on. Do come along and see us if you can!

1 comment:

  1. Love the cat! I do think the chalk pastel pencil version looks very characterful as well.