Saturday, 28 March 2020

From Winter to Spring




early signs of growth on the Mahonia
© Teresa Newham

Having tried out a DSLR camera for the first time last summer - and been completely hooked -  I thought I'd better get one before they are replaced completely by mirrorless cameras and smartphones. I like to buck the trends . . .


dried hydrangea flower
© Teresa Newham

As a point-shoot-hope-for-the-best sort of photographer, I was pleased to find that this approach works well with the new camera.  That's my excuse for not yet having engaged with all the aspects of it, anyway!


Winter flowering heather
© Teresa Newham

The first three photos shown here were taken in my garden at the end of January, when most of the shrubs were still dormant, but there was still a surprising amount to see. Using just the automatic settings on the camera, I was delighted with the results.


Tête-à-tête
© Teresa Newham

The next three pics were taken almost exactly a month later, by which time some of the Spring flowers were out and blossom was showing on the trees.  My neighbour's flowering cherry is full of birds at this time of year, and a source of artistic inspiration.


cherry blossom from below
© Teresa Newham

I have snowdrops in my garden that I transplanted from the family home after my Dad died.  Every year they come up in larger and larger clumps - and because he had so many, there were still plenty left for the person who lives there now.


my Dad's snowdrops
© Teresa Newham

In the last few days I've found all sorts of things have sprung up which I didn't know were there, including this little plant. What is it, I wonder? and how did it get into my border? although it's quite possible I may have planted it myself and forgotten about it . . .


something I don't recognise
© Teresa Newham

The hellebores have been marvellous this year. Every time I look out of the window, I see more and more of them - they've almost completely taken over that part of the garden, along with a slightly out-of-control cornus. Must be all the rain we've had!


the hellebores are spectacular
© Teresa Newham

Nature is a great comfort at this difficult time when we are asked to stay at home as much as possible.  I count myself lucky to have a garden, and hope that sharing these photos will help those who don't. Stay safe.


leaf buds on the acer
© Teresa Newham




Sunday, 15 March 2020

Autumn on the Common



Autumn on the Common
watercolour sketch by
Teresa Newham


I took lots of photos of Harpenden Common last Autumn, but none of them felt quite right to use for a painting: the ones from my favourite vantage point were too dull and the ones with the right colour and light were of a view I don't usually paint. But it seemed a shame to waste them.


the source photo in the "wrong" place
© Teresa Newham

By January I needed to get something down on paper, so I began a watercolour anyway - and it was a real struggle.  I laboured over various layers, each one of which complicated matters. Eventually I was forced to admit I'd taken a wrong turn and began berating myself for wasting my time . . .


the time I wasted making this
© Teresa Newham

Having binned my first attempt, I was so cross with myself that almost without thinking I laid down some washes on a new piece of paper, picked up a small flat brush and started blocking in the bushes and trees. Encouraged, I added grass and some shadows.  The result was this lively sketch. It pays not to think too much!


the sketch I made instead
© Teresa Newham