Saturday, 26 September 2015

Coloured pencil sketchbook

My Mum's coloured pencils
© Teresa Newham
Clearing my parents' house earlier this year, I brought home some artists' coloured pencils which had once belonged to my Mum.  Rather than practice quietly with them away from the gaze of the general public, I ended up using them for my demonstration pieces at this year's Herts Open Studios.

Millennium Cross, Rosedale
© Teresa Newham

There was method to my madness -  I needed to use a medium which wouldn't dry while I was chatting and which I could keep half an eye on while listening out for yet more visitors. As well as the pencils, I'd found a book which detailed some techniques, so I started my first drawing - Millennium Cross, Rosedale - with a graphite underdrawing, before layering the coloured pencil on top.

War Memorial, Harpenden
© Teresa Newham

The problem with using graphite is that it has to be sprayed with fixative to prevent it smudging when the colours are added.  I use fixative as little as possible, and knew I would have to spray the finished drawings to keep them looking fresh; so for War Memorial, Harpenden I did an underdrawing in a red coloured pencil.  This gave it a lively feel, as did the layers of other colours which I built up bit by bit.

Ballinskelligs Beach
© Teresa Newham

I was using a studio pad bought at Childwickbury back in July from Two Rivers Paper at Frogmore, which is a collection of different types and shades of paper they produce.  The next few sheets were tinted a pale blue, so an Irish beach scene seemed appropriate.  For Ballinskelligs Beach I did no underdrawing at all, which turned out to be a mistake - but I quite like the reflections of the two men walking along the beach!

Another view of St Paul's
© Teresa Newham

So for the final demonstration - Another View of St Paul's -  I made a loose underdrawing in Prussian Blue, adding layers of different greens, browns and yellows to create a variety in the foliage of the trees which grow in the cathedral garden.  I shall carry on filling this sketchbook - it's good drawing practice, and an opportunity to experiment with various pencil techniques!

A big thank-you  to everyone who helped to make our Open Studios such a success this year - Sue Wookey for sharing the studio with me, my husband for making the teas and coffees, Caroline for baking some lovely cakes and last but definitely not least, the 93 visitors who beat a path to our door and left us such wonderful comments!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Open Studios has begun!

my paintings & cards making a colourful display
© Teresa Newham
So Herts Open Studios 2015 is finally under way. It's particularly exciting for me this year because for the first time I am opening up my own studio - alongside fellow artist Sue Wookey - and over our first weekend we've had thirty visitors!

my studio has been transformed . . . .
© Teresa Newham
The studio itself (aka the room behind the kitchen) is home to some of my paintings, photography and printmaking - plus a little exhibition of how multicoloured linocuts are put together.  I'd forgotten just how much arty stuff I have, so the browsers are in here too . . .

. . .  and has its own printmaking exhibition!
© Teresa Newham
I've overflowed into the dining room, where Sue has put up her display board and a whole bunch of other exhibits.  And of course, there's all our cards. Nobody - but nobody - is going to complain that there's not enough to look at!

The dining room's had a makeover, too . . .
© Teresa Newham
It's quite a transformation - two days previously I was still framing pictures, and only set up the space on Friday evening, with my husband's help.  Almost every item of furniture has been pressed into service - we managed to squeeze in a couple of extra tables, too.

my old dresser makes the perfect foil for Sue's smaller pieces!
© Teresa Newham
Sue & I have been doing demonstrations at the dining room table. Once again I'm trying out a medium new to me - coloured pencil.  It's a technique my late mother perfected and in fact the pencils used to be hers - which gives a sense of continuity to what I'm doing.

Sue painting a watercolour Sun Horse with my sketchbook in the foreground
© Teresa Newham
We've had some great comments in our visitors' book and many people have remarked how lovely it is to see the artwork in an informal setting.  There's the opportunity to sit and chat over a cup of tea, too, and guests have enjoyed leafing through Sue's sketchbooks.

. . . and there's even space for Sue's display board!
© Teresa Newham
A big thank-you to those of you who came to see us last weekend.   We'll be open again over the next two weekends and on Wednesday 16th September (see the side panel for details) - so if you haven't been able to make it yet - or would like another look - we'd love to see you!