Sunday, 27 February 2011

photos on the run

A recent on-line discussion about photography has rekindled my enthusiasm for taking photos on the run.  It's something I've neglected recently, and there really is no excuse:  I bought a mobile phone with a pretty good camera on it precisely so I could take random shots out and about without lugging my camera everywhere!  of course, it's not as good as a 'real' camera but the images taken can spring a surprise.  For example, these two shots of St Paul's Cathedral were taken in far more colourful conditions than the phone camera could cope with;  but the results look almost black and white apart from the green traffic light in the first photo and the red London bus in the second one.  If I'd tried to get that effect deliberately, it wouldn't have worked!

© Teresa Newham 2011

© Teresa Newham 2011

I've enjoyed taking off-the-cuff images so much during the past month or so that I've created a new page on this blog specifically for photos like these - December 2011: the photos have moved here to my website.  I've started it off with five of my favourite shots.  I intend to update the new page regularly . . . so watch this space!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Yavanna, Revealed

Yavanna Kementári
pen & watercolour wash
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2011

February in the UK heralds the signs of approaching Spring:  the mornings and evenings are noticeably lighter, the birds are singing more and more to encourage the sap to rise;  trees are showing a first glimpse of colour - blossom, even, in the mildest areas - and snowdrops and crocuses are pushing up through the earth.  These changes, which we have waited for so long, come thick and fast;  and in the spirit of the promise of new life, my painting of Yavanna Kementári, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, has come to completion.

I say my painting, but I don't really think of it that way:  this painting, once eventually begun, revealed its subject with the slightest of input from me.  The element which gives life to this image is the original background wash, and the least successful elements (leaves and flowers on the trees) are the ones where I tried to intervene too much.  To my surprise and delight, once I'd laid down some water on Yavanna's cloak and added random brushfuls of paint,  this overwash dried into a texture reminiscent of foliage;  at one point I had thought I might inlcude a representation of flowers or leaves on her dress, but abandoned the idea. And, as Tolkien described, she is 'crowned by the sun' - but I never planned it that way!