Saturday, 29 August 2015

Morning has broken

Morning has broken
reduction linocut by Teresa Newham 

In May of last year I snapped this cheeky chappie perching brazenly on the head of a statue in my garden. I thought he would make some kind of linocut, although I didn't get to start the project until earlier this year:

the inspiration
© Teresa Newham

As often happens, I had the title already in my head - Morning has broken - a hymn I used to sing at primary school, later recorded by Cat Stevens.  His version ran constantly through my head while I worked out how to go about things!

working out the design
© Teresa Newham

It took a couple of months to get the design how I wanted it;  then a few more weeks while I decided how many colours to use, and which ones.  Eventually I was ready to go:

getting to grips with the cut
© Teresa Newham

The first cut printed up beautifully - then, of course, I had to cut the same plate again, which meant no going back - always a tricky moment!

printing the first colour
© Teresa Newham

As I cut further into the plate, the image slowly started to take shape as the colours built up on top of one another.

drying off the second colour
© Teresa Newham

Reduction linocut is a technique popularised (and possibly even invented) by Picasso, and it's exciting to do, because you never know how it's going to turn out . . .

printing the green
© Teresa Newham

. . . so I was pleased to see that by the time I'd printed the black, the original character of the blackbird was still evident!

beakless - but still jaunty!
© Teresa Newham

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise to the singing, praise to the morning
Praise to them springing fresh from the Word
     - Eleanor Farjeon

Thursday, 13 August 2015

lavender on location

Hitchin Lavender - location sketch in watercolour
© Teresa Newham

If it's August, it must be time to visit Hitchin Lavender - it's almost a rule in our house.  We've been there in sunshine, and in pouring rain - it's spectacular, so this year I took my watercolours along.

lavender of various colours
© Teresa Newham

The idea was to do a quick location sketch while my companions - equipped with the scissors and bags provided -  snipped the lavender.  They soon vanished into a sea of blooms, along with the other visitors, while I secured a table and laid out my paints.

visitors snipping
© Teresa Newham

Plein air painting is full of interruptions and today was no different - bees, wasps, curious onlookers - and if you've ever tried to take an urgent phone call or two while (a) keeping your voice down, (b) holding a paintbrush  and (c) protecting your work from unforecast rain, you'll have an idea of how frazzled I was by the time the others returned . . .

the fruit of their labours!
© Teresa Newham

We retreated to the excellent cafĂ© for lunch, and once the rain had stopped took a walk across to the sunflowers, which were just coming into bloom.   As we strolled back, I noticed that I wasn't the only artist there that day: a couple of people had settled down for the duration with canvas and acrylics.

sunflowers at the edge of the lavender fields
© Teresa Newham

This doesn't surprise me:  it's such an inspiring place.  At some point I'd love to make a painting or a linocut print of it - or perhaps both!  the possibilities are endless . . .

the display area
© Teresa Newham

Hitchin Lavender is open until September, and well worth a visit!  find them on Facebook or click here for their website.