Saturday, 28 April 2018

A drawing a day - what happened to the weather?

out and about in Harpenden
© Teresa Newham

What happened to the weather? Last week I was sitting on a sunny bench in the town centre, drawing a street cleaner.  A crow alighted on the bird bath beside me, and obligingly hopped into a couple of interesting poses.  So enjoyable after my previous outdoor sketching session in Lourdes, when everyone was swathed in padded coats, scarves, hats and gloves . . .

as seen in Lourdes
© Teresa Newham

Of course, if I waited for good weather every time I wanted to practice my drawing, I'd never get round to it.  I often pick up my sketchbook when I'm watching TV; it's a challenge to capture faces when the camera angles keep changing, but it's fun.  I could freeze the screen, but I like the challenge!

sketches off the telly
© Teresa Newham

I know I should carry a sketchbook everywhere I go, but it's easier in some places than others - Gallery32, for example, is situated above the Fleetville Vintage Emporium, with plenty of opportunities during a three-hour shift to get something down on paper:

at the Emporium
© Teresa Newham

Sometimes it just doesn't happen - this Spring I didn't pick up a pen for ages.  I was inspired to start again when I read Ronnie Wood - Artist, which includes all sorts of paintings and sketches from his school days up to the present.  I took a good look at his meticulously crafted drawings and decided it was time to dig out a sketchbook or two.

windowsill sketches
© Teresa Newham

Many of my recent sketches have been made standing up, using the nearest sketchbook to hand - I currently have three or four on the go - and making the most of any sunshine; dappled light on the fences led me to make the drawing below, for example.  And when eventually the sunshine returns, I shall venture outside again!

corner of the garden
© Teresa Newham

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Second bite of the cherry . . .

Cherry Blossom II
mixed media watercolour by Teresa Newham

The cold weather continued right to the end of March this year, with snow on the ground in the South of England barely a fortnight before Easter.  The few blossoms which had dared to emerge on my neighbour's tree froze in the chilly wind.

this year's blossom
© Teresa Newham

The blossom is fully out now; perhaps not as spectacular as in some years, but still providing a welcome splash of colour as the gardens recover from what one of my friends described as "eternal winter".

the original Cherry Blossom watercolour
© Teresa Newham

That tree has inspired a couple of paintings in its time: last year it was a mixed media watercolour Flowering Cherry, and a couple of years before that a pen and wash called simply Cherry Blossom.

brightening up the background
© Teresa Newham

My favourite painting is always the next one, so when I do look back at my old work, I'm often pleasantly surprised.  Not with Cherry Blossom, however - it's never felt quite right - and once Flowering Cherry was finished, I knew it needed a re-think.

emphasising the foreground
© Teresa Newham

This year I embarked upon whole series of renovated watercolours, of which Cherry Blossom II is the latest: washed off and reinvigorated with Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Sap Green and metallic copper ink, and remounted. And at last I can say I'm happy with it!

revitalised painting in new mount
© Teresa Newham