Saturday, 24 September 2011

Poppy Fields

Half way through July we visited the Rhythms of the World festival in Hitchin. On the way we passed the most wonderful field of poppies near Pirton, bright red against the ripening wheatfields. The following week we went that way again, and this time I had my camera ready - but - no poppies! they'd finished flowering, but the impression they made on me was so strong that I quickly snapped a few shots of the wheatfields for reference, and also some poppies on Harpenden Common which I could use as a guide. Time was short (we were about to move house) so I laid down some loose washes and left the painting alone to see what would happen.

initial washes and source material
© Teresa Newham 2011

It looked quite effective, so I pulled out some clouds with kitchen roll, painted up some grasses using the four colours I'd used for the washes (cerulean blue, ultramarine, cadmium red and raw sienna), and scattered a lot of water around the centre of the painting, dropping in some cad red as I did so.

overpainted, but not finished
© Teresa Newham 2011

Next, I touched in some shadows and the centres of the flowers with ultramarine; and when all that had dried off I spattered cad red, cerulean and ultramarine across the raw sienna wheatfield.  The finished result is hanging in my Open Studios exhibition right now.  Oh, and the theme for September's Photos on the Run is reflections in windows.  Hope you enjoy them!

Poppy Fields
© Teresa Newham 2011

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Up and Running

my corner of the exhibition at Artscape: two of Helen's canvases in the foreground
and  Sue's watercolours to the right of my photos
© Teresa Newham 2011

Yes, it's time for Open Studios again! I spent last Saturday afternoon attempting to hang my bit of the Artscape exhibition with a streaming cold. It went up fairly easily thanks to my other half - and due to the fact that I bagged a bit of wall which already had most of the hooks I needed in place.  My co-exhibitors also managed their hanging with the minimum of fuss:  Sue Wookey's mystical watercolours, Hillary Taylor's mixed media and photography and Helen Griffin's striking figurative canvases were on the wall before you could shake a stick.  We even had time to put up a display of greetings cards and brochures!

early arrivals for the Open Evening enjoy a snack
in front of Helen Griffin's amazing canvases
© Teresa Newham 2011
By Friday we were still trying to work out how many people were coming to that night's Open Evening.  Quite a few, as it turned out, but there was still enough room to breathe, move around, have a drink and a nibble and admire the art.  The Deputy Town Mayor came along and mingled with various local artists, dignitaries, our friends and family members.  It wasn't long before I was putting a red dot on one of my Acer Leaf prints for a buyer, cards were selling like hot cakes, and money changed hands for a couple of items from my browser too.

Some of Hillary's photos and cards
© Teresa Newham 2011

By the end of the evening we had all made sales and/or discussed possible commissions; which is pretty good going in the current climate!  Needless to say I got some lovely comments about the painting I liked the least and none at all about my favourite, which just shows I have no idea what people really like LOL.  The Venice photos got a lot of good feedback and I was glad I'd got some Venice cards on sale.

Station Road display: Cardinal's Wharf centre left and
one of my sunflower photos far right
© Teresa Newham 2011

Yesterday we had our first Open Studio afternoon - it was great just to have an excuse to sit and do some art.  I got down to some linocutting (hurrah!), Sue worked on one of the series of small watercolour animal paintings she's currently doing, and Hillary did some seriously detailed drawing.  As usual the visitors came in fits and starts, but we were just happy to have made it through to the bit we enjoy the most - doing the art and talking to people about it.

my Swan painting as part of the Harpenden OS display
at Wesley's Cafe in the High Street

© Teresa Newham 2011
The Harpenden artists taking part in Open Studios this year also have work on show in Allders Opticians, Station Road, to promote the event - and at Wesley's CafĂ© at the Methodist Church in the High Street.  So if you're in the area, please take a look!

A huge thank you to Gurmeet, David, Chris and all the team at Artscape for their support in this venture!