Monday, 30 July 2018

Poppy Summer




Poppy Summer
original watercolour by Teresa Newham

This Summer has been all about poppies! The entry form for the SAA's Paint a Poppy challenge in partnership with the Royal British Legion dropped onto my doormat a couple of months ago.  The idea is to "paint, donate, remember" by sending in mini paintings 125mm square, which will be collated into an exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War.


the SAA Paint a Poppy Challenge
© Teresa Newham

I painted Pink Poppies several years ago, inspired by some oriental poppies which used to grow at the end of my garden.  They have long since been replaced by a summer house, and I thought I could brighten up the original watercolour sketch and see if any of it could be used for the SAA's challenge.


Pink Poppies original watercolour sketch, and with colour removed
© Teresa Newham


I took the loose colour out by wetting the painting and blotting it with kitchen roll, then added a wash of Winsor Yellow Deep and some splodges of Quinacridone Red to get things going.   It was starting to look better already.


renovating the no longer pink poppies
© Teresa Newham

The leaves of the oriental pink poppy are not the same as those of the red poppies  growing in our fields.  This made it easier to cut up the renovated painting, as I loved the new colours and almost didn't want to take a knife to it. But I did, and trimmed it into two entries for the Paint a Poppy Challenge:


cut up for the Paint a Poppy challenge
© Teresa Newham

Inspired by the success of the renovation, I decided to make a new poppy painting based on the colours I'd used.  I laid down some washes on a piece of Arches 600 gsm with plenty of water, and let them flow where they pleased.  Then I had to make myself walk away until the paper was completely dry again.


base colours for the new poppy painting
© Teresa Newham


I took some clouds out of the sky with kitchen roll and painted several layers of poppies and grasses in the foreground.  It's a simple piece, hastily titled Poppy Summer. And I have no intention of cutting this one up -  I'll be showing it at #HertsOpenStudios!


the new poppy watercolour
© Teresa Newham

The deadline for entries to the SAA Paint a Poppy Challenge is 30th September, and you don't have to be a member of the SAA to join in.  So get painting!  For further details, click here








Saturday, 14 July 2018

Oh my darling . . . !


Clementine
reduction linocut by Teresa Newham


Like so many linocuts, it started with a photo - of my friends' chicken, in their back yard in Kerry.  And like so many photos, it sat on my work bench (and rattled around in my mind) for several months before I even put the design onto paper.


source photo and workings out
© Teresa Newham

I was trying to work out how to do it.  I decided there would be five colours, but five full layers of ink simply wouldn't dry properly unless I could hang the prints up for several weeks in between each one. I thought I might be able to speed things up by printing two of the layers partially.


initial cut
© Teresa Newham

There were other new ways of working to consider - I've abandoned the bench hook in favour of non slip rug liner and invested in a new registration device from Laura Boswell - so it all felt rather experimental. It was a relief when I finally had a dozen partial prints in blue drying in the studio.


the blue base layer
© Teresa Newham

The yellow was easily printed as a full layer with the registration device, the lino now secured in position on the base board with double sided carpet tape to keep it from moving around. I soon got used to cutting the lino on the board.


adding the yellow . . .
© Teresa Newham

I printed the red as another partial layer, although the narrow roller I used turned out not to be quite narrow enough.  With the best will in the world I couldn't help but go over some edges while I was working, so a lot of wiping went on . . .


. . . and a little red
© Teresa Newham

Being a full layer, the brown was again straightforward, and I was getting quite excited as I now had a dozen well-registered prints of four colours, all of which looked remarkably like a chicken. What could possibly go wrong this late in the day? I was about to find out.


printing the brown with the registration device
© Teresa Newham

To my horror the lino moved on the base board while I was cutting the black layer. Perhaps carpet tape doesn't suit soft cut lino, or maybe my tools weren't sharp enough to cut without dragging.  I spoiled several prints while getting the registration back, so the final edition totals an exclusive seven prints - one of which I'm keeping for myself!



the completed edition
© Teresa Newham