Saturday, 16 August 2014

flowers, flowers, flowers . . .

During my recent watercolour frenzy I decided to make a flower painting based on an exercise in one of the art mags I subscribe to - not my usual style at all, but I thought it would be worth a go.  The subject was pink geraniums in a vase, so I turned them into red geraniums in a pot, which resulted in this:

geraniums in a pot
original watercolour by Teresa Newham

Good enough, I thought, to make into a greetings card, or mount up for Herts Open Studios!  so ideally I needed a couple of similar paintings to go with it.   Taking a vase of sunflowers off the dining room table, I laid down some initial washes:

early washes for 'sunflowers in a jug'
© Teresa Newham
And, using a similar set of processes, turned them into this - which is arguably more my style:

sunflowers in a jug
original watercolour by Teresa Newham
 For my third flower painting, I started out with a rough idea based on a photo I'd taken earlier in the Summer.  I had no idea where this one was going . . . :

early washes for 'poppy meadow'
© Teresa Newham
. . . .and it ended up as a rather abstract rendition of some poppies!

poppy meadow
original watercolour by Teresa Newham
Which also works cropped down for the greetings card:

'poppy meadow' cropped for a greetings card
© Teresa Newham
It was great fun to experiment in this way, and I ended up with three mounted pieces and designs for three greetings cards - not bad for a few days' work!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

heat and light

An intense burst of creativity towards the end of June into July has resulted in a number of watercolours!  Here are two scenes based on some of my favourite holiday memories.

photos at Panteli Beach, Leros
© Teresa Newham
As reference material I had photos and the odd sketch made on the spot of the things that particularly struck me.  In the case of Panteli Beach, this was the tiny fisherman's chapel overlooking the bay, and the castle and windmills on the skyline:

sketch of Panteli Beach
© Teresa Newham
I incorporated these into a sketch layout for the painting, editing out detail as I went.  As the main focus for the painting was to be the chapel, I knew that once I started painting, even more detail would have to go!

sketch for the painting of Panteli
© Teresa Newham
The Kos harbour painting would also need to be severely pared down, as I didn't want to detract from the fish seller and his wares - it was his umbrellas which had originally caught my eye:

photos taken at Kos Harbour
© Teresa Newham
On looking at the sketch and the photos together, however, I decided that the painting would need some context, perhaps the suggestion of some boats in the background.

sketch of the fish seller
© Teresa Newham
I had photos of the fish seller standing up and sitting down, so I was able to choose what he should be doing in the painting.  I decided to show him keeping the fish cool by hosing them down with seawater:

sketch for the Kos Harbour painting
© Teresa Newham
The two paintings are a joyful reminder of a happy holiday; in painting them I was reminded of things which delighted me while I was there!

Wayside Chapel, Panteli
original watercolour by Teresa Newham
The cross next to the chapel is a sailing mast, and the blue sails and stripes on the umbrellas at Kos Harbour echo the Greek flag:

Kos Harbour, 9am
original watercolour by Teresa Newham
In these paintings I have tried to capture the warmth and brightness of the Dodecanese Islands and the Aegean, choosing a vivd palette to counteract the way bright sunlight drains the colours from a photo.  This is how I remember Kos and Panteli.  I wonder how much of that is memory and how much is to do with the way I feel about them?