Friday, 10 January 2020

Journeys in Hope




the exhibition catalogue, featuring the painting Unsafe Passage by John Woodhouse
© Teresa Newham


On Monday night I took a trip to London to the Mount Street Jesuit Centre for the opening evening of the Journeys in Hope exhibition.  As one of the exhibiting artists, I was able to take a quick look round before the crowds arrived - and there were crowds!


before the crowds arrived - the exhibition at Mount Street Jesuit Centre in Mayfair
© Teresa Newham


Journeys in Hope is the brainchild of John Woodhouse, a retired librarian, organist and choirmaster who is a keen painter. The ordeal of refugee children fleeing Syria moved him to create works such as Unsafe Passage. A chance encounter on the Westminster pilgrimage to Lourdes led to the idea of an art exhibition and auction on the theme of pilgrimage and the plight of refugees.


the exhibition shows work by a variety of artists
© Teresa Newham


The artists who have donated work to Journeys in Hope are Pauline Barley, Alex RochNorah McKeoghMike Quirke,  Andrew White, John Woodhouse and me.  The auction of paintings on Thursday 30th January will include the chance to have a portrait painted by Nelson Ferreira. The proceeds will go to three nominated charities: the Westminster Lourdes Pilgrimage, Aid to the Church in Need and Safe Passage.


three charities will benefit from the proceeds of the auction
© Teresa Newham


All three charities had a display at the opening night. The team from Aid to the Church in Need had brought along drawings made by Syrian refugee children which had been shown at an earlier exhibition. Some were about the trauma they had endured, while others spoke touchingly about peace and reconciliation.


artwork by Syrian refugee children, courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need
© Teresa Newham


I've donated two paintings: Skellig Morning and Into the Light, which reference actual and interior journeys respectively., and was somewhat bemused to find myself being interviewed during the evening for the Jesuits in Britain website and twitter feed (see links below).  All in all it was a great evening, which generated a lot of interest in the forthcoming auction - I'm looking forward to it!


my work in the exhibition
© Teresa Newham


For more information about the Journeys in Hope charity art auction, including the online catalogue, take a look here.   See the Jesuits in Britain write up of the exhibition here and a painting a day from the exhibition on their twitter feed.





Monday, 23 December 2019

Christmas is coming!


Mother & Child
hand-printed linocut Christmas card
by Teresa Newham




The start of the Carol Service is one of the most evocative parts of Christmas - the first verse of Once in Royal David's City sung by a soloist, with the choir and congregation joining in the rest. At our church, those of us in the choir gather behind the font near the entrance while the lights are dimmed and one of our choristers sings the solo. Then we process down the aisle with our lighted candles,  while those of the congregation are lit. The church is always packed, with latecomers standing at the back.

We follow the usual format, with nine lessons read from the Bible, interspersed with Christmas music from the choir and carols which everyone can join in, before we process out again as everyone sings O Come All Ye Faithful, followed by a rousing version of Gaudete by the choir round the font before everyone goes downstairs for mulled wine and mince pies.  Christmas is coming!

Wishing you and your loved ones peace and joy this Christmas and a blessed and happy New Year.










Thursday, 12 December 2019

Looking for Light



"Looking for Light"  by James Christie Brown
© Teresa Newham

Looking for Light  is a charity album in aid of Crisis, and the brainchild of James Christie Brown, the curate at St John's here in Southdown.  James has written and arranged the songs and recorded them with local musicians, children from the local Grove Primary School, and the Grove School Community Choir.


initial sketch, linocut print, finished article
© Teresa Newham

James asked me back in August if he could use a couple of my Christmas linocuts for the CD insert and if I would create a cover image. We settled on a star - James specifically wanted a chunky one - and I got designing. James was happy with my first attempt, and I more or less forgot about it.



 the back cover
© Teresa Newham

So I was thrilled to see the album featured prominently on an advert in our local town council magazine, and excited to see the CD itself a few days later.  The star really stands out on the cover while the other designs feature on the booklet inside, which credits the various performers and contributors, including yours truly.


the booklet inside
© Teresa Newham

I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to join in with this community project and I'm sure it will be a great success - the songs are so catchy!  The CD is available at £10 from three Southdown businesses - Jay's CafĂ© & Restaurant, the Carpenters Arms and Southdown Hardware - or find the album online at Bandcamp.


the advert in the Harpenden town council magazine Forum
© Teresa Newham









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