Monday 29 May 2017

Geranium blues

blue geranium
original watercolour with watercolour pencil
Teresa Newham

It was my own fault.  Tempted outside by the hot weather, I spotted the blue geranium flowering brightly in its shady corner and decided there and then to make a watercolour sketch.  What with the dazzling bright sunlight and the colour drying on the paper faster  than I could apply it, it wasn't surprising that the result left a lot to be desired.  It would do, however, as the basis for a slightly bigger flower painting which, of course, was bound to be far more successful.  Wasn't it?

the geranium and the sketch from life
© Teresa Newham

Next day I set to work despite a stinking headache from the previous day's sun. Needless to say, things didn't go well and by the third day - when I didn't have a headache at all, just a stubborn determination to finish the dratted thing no matter how bad it looked - this painting was clearly destined for the bin.  Even a few scratched-in leaf veins once it was fully dry couldn't rescue it.

working up the bigger picture - or should that be over-working?
© Teresa Newham

And yet - I just couldn't let go.  There was a better painting underneath somewhere, and I found myself rinsing off all the excess colour under the tap.  I'd never tried that before, and it was cathartic; I taped the soggy sheet of 300gsm Bockingford crudely to a backing board and walked away.  By the following morning it had dried into something far more hopeful, and - just as importantly - completely flat.

all washed off!
© Teresa Newham

Some tonal contrast was called for, so I cautiously painted in some deeper green and waited for another twenty-four hours to give myself time to decide what else was required.  This turned out to be a little further definition with watercolour pencil - I stopped myself from doing anything more to it at all.

cautiously enhanced
© Teresa Newham

The finished piece looks best with a square mount, although it will also work as an A6 greetings card. You know what they say - you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.  But you can try . . .

trying out a mount
© Teresa Newham

Saturday 13 May 2017

. . . and more bluebells!

original linocut by Teresa Newham

I blame the weather, myself.  While the garden and the hedgerows were shivering in the chilly Spring, the bluebells were enjoying an extended season;  many were still in bloom at the start of May.  I just couldn't resist painting some more!

bluebells & white campion I
original watercolour by Teresa Newham

This time I chose to focus on the flowers themselves, rather than the woodland, and thought I would make a smaller watercolour for a change.  As things turned out, I couldn't decide on the format, so I ended up with two little pictures.

bluebells & white campion II
original watercolour by Teresa Newham

My final venture into bluebell-ness (this year!) was a linocut, which I sketched and cut before I realised I hadn't reversed the design.  I quickly cut a new design straight onto the block and printed it up in a hurry - the second print in a row which has turned out well when I don't over-think it.  There's a lesson there somewhere . . .

bluebell prints on the makeshift drying rack
© Teresa Newham