Saturday, 21 April 2012

Two Hand Reel

sketch "Two Hand Reel"
© Teresa Newham 2012

By now the days are lengthening fast and the increased amount of daylight urges me towards watercolour.  But this year I've had a particular dilemma - apart from my little Easter card, I haven't painted in watercolour since last July.  And what to paint?  Lack of practice means loss of technique, which leads to loss of confidence.  Then I remembered a sketch made in Ireland two years ago - and some photos - all involving figures which I'd intended to use to develop paintings of people.  I dug them out, and went in search of the piece of cardboard I pin my "inspirations" to.  During the house move this had been shoved in with a pad of tinted watercolour paper bought when I attended a life drawing in colour short course at Central St Martins, and never used.  The same short course which had prompted me to make that sketch and take those photos . . . !

source material & colour try-out
© Teresa Newham 2012

 I was clearly on the right track.  Aware that I'd not used this paper before, I chose some colours I thought might be appropriate and tried them out on a sample of oatmeal paper, using a photo taken at the same set dancing session as a general guide to the colour (the girls in the sketch are in the background of the photo).   Then I soaked the watercolour paper and taped it to a board to stretch and dry it.  This was really going back to Central St Martins basics, and felt extremely satisfying! 

Two Hand Reel - the finished painting
© Teresa Newham 2012

To get the figures right, I enlarged the sketch on my printer and traced it onto the paper, realising as I did so that I would have to introduce more figures to put the original two in context.  Rather than having the dancers suspended in mid air, I tried to give a sense of the floor of the community centre in Portmagee, and the bunting hanging from the ceiling.  And because it is only a study, I managed to lay the entire thing down in one session!

Two Hand Reel - cropped
© Teresa Newham 2012

However, it wasn't until I took some photos of the finished article for this blog, that I realised the top and the bottom of the picture aren't necessary.  Cropped tight it looks completely different - and cropped tighter even more so.  Guess I'll have to think about that one!

1 comment:

  1. I like the colours on this and the subtle, dignified sense of movement. The description of the process to achieve this seemingly simple picture is fascinating.