Saturday, 21 December 2013

Light in the darkness

And glory shone around
© Teresa Newham
How fitting that, on the shortest day of the year, I have images to share which have a theme of light in the darkness!  The first is my 2013 Christmas card - a hand-printed linocut of three startled shepherds receiving the news of Our Lord's birth from the angel Gabriel.  Not that you'll see an angel here; I discovered fairly early on in the process that any attempt on my part to depict Gabriel in this scene resulted in something resembling an alien from outer space.  So I kept him out of shot, as it were - which led to an interesting meditation while I was working out the design:  what exactly does glory look like?

© Teresa Newham

Next, some watercolours which I plan to turn into Christmas cards for general sale - this one shows four candles burning steadily.  Are they part of an Advent wreath? a table decoration? or some other display? Whether you'll be burning candles for Christmas, Yule or just because you like to burn candles at this time of year, I hope these brighten your day!

Adeste Fideles
© Teresa Newham

The painting above features the little girl and her dog shown with a Christmas tree in my previous post.  I've come to the conclusion that she represents the way I felt about Christmas as a child.  This time she is carol singing - but her attention has wandered to the star, just as it did when she was in the woods with the Christmas tree!  I've called the Christmas tree pic O Tannenbaum, and this new one will be Adeste Fideles.  The cards will contain a verse in the original language of the carol, along with an English translation.  With a bit of luck there might be a third one (Stille Nacht) by Christmas Day . . .

© Teresa Newham

And finally, a dove of peace, carrying an olive branch.  It's quite a large branch because we need all the peace we can get in the world right now.  Whatever your religion or creed, I wish you every blessing this Christmas season and a joyful - and peaceful - New Year.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,"I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8.12

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Festive Fun

Blame the holly.  Or perhaps Geoff Kersey's demo in the December issue of Artists & Illustrators. Either way, for the last few weeks I've been making watercolours, just at the time of year when I should be concentrating on getting ready for Christmas!

a watercolour experiment with masking fluid
© Teresa Newham
As regular readers of this blog will know, masking fluid and I don't get on, but I'd been meaning to give it another go.  Geoff's article had me reaching for a piece of scrap paper almost as soon as I'd finished reading.  Besides, it was a pleasant distraction from all the other things I was supposed to be doing, such as designing and printing my 2013 Christmas card. . . . this is the smallest watercolour I've ever produced, but I was delighted with the result, and resolved to keep trying with masking fluid.  And because the painting was small it was quick to do!

light on the lake
© Teresa Newham

Next, having practiced and practiced my holly demo for the visit to Manland School (see last blog post), I suddenly got the urge to paint some holly in the way I really wanted to - in layers which could be left to dry while I got on with something else.  The holly painting took a couple of days, but the time actually spent doing it was probably only a couple of hours:

how I wanted to paint the holly all along!
© Teresa Newham
At this point I realised that these small paintings could form the basis for some Christmas card designs - and that I should take advantage of the festive atmosphere around me to create some more, perhaps with a view to selling them at art fairs.  My next attempt was a tree.  I'm not sure where the little girl and her dog came from, but now they've arrived, you may well see them again!

branching out (not the name of the painting!)
© Teresa Newham
My most recent finished painting (yes, there are more in the pipeline!) is a robin.  I hadn't painted a bird since the Swan in 2009, but he's turned out quite a cheeky little chappy - just like the one in my garden!  (of course, some holly had to make an appearance too - and so did the masking fluid . . .).

watercolour of a very portly robin
© Teresa Newham
This is such fun, and it's good practice too.  At approx 7 x 5 inches each, none of the paintings are large enough to prevent me doing what really needs to be done in the way of Christmas preparations.  So I've decided to keep on with these little card designs for as long as the Christmas spirit moves me!