Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Meadow Cranesbill

Meadow Cranesbill
linocut by Teresa Newham

Taking a walk one bright May afternoon I spotted some pink flowers amongst a patch of nettles.   They were intertwined so closely that I did a double take, recalling that nettle flowers are blue and grow in spikes.  Sure enough, the pink flowers had their own leaves, which looked familiar.

peeping through the nettles
© Teresa Newham

A little Googling and a look in my own garden confirmed that this pretty flower is Meadow Cranesbill, a relative of the geranium (that's a true geranium, not the cheerful red perlargoniums we tend to think of as geraniums).

sorting out the design
© Teresa Newham

A couple of months later I put a design together based on my photographs from that afternoon and traced it onto some softcut lino.  I had to be careful not to smudge the pencil while I was making the intricate cut.

the cut
© Teresa Newham

My first attempt at mixing a suitable shade of ink was so subtle that it barely showed on the paper.  As I wanted the linocut to reflect the impact the flowers had on me when I saw them,  I decided to match the colour of the veins on the petals.

mixing the ink
© Teresa Newham

Eventually I had a dozen prints pegged to my makeshift drying rack - ready just in time for  #HertsOpenStudios.  I'd better make sure I get it into a frame before 8th September!

#HertsOpenStudios runs from 8th - 30th September.  I'll be sharing my studio with fellow artist Sue Wookey. Details of our opening times are shown on the side panel of this blog. Visit the Herts Visual Arts website for the full county-wide programme.

drying the prints
© Teresa Newham

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Lavender blues

Lavender Fields II
original watercolour & gouache by Teresa Newham

During my annual visit with my cousin to Hitchin Lavender, I found myself thinking yet again that I should use the photos I took there as the basis for a lavender painting. This year I went one step further and put something down on paper when I got home.

source photos and initial sketch
© Teresa Newham

I masked out some figures picking the lavender so that I could freely paint the various washes.  I built the image up in layers, adding in  some cornfields on the left horizon to balance out those on the right, painted in the figures, and stood back for a final look.

building up the painting in layers
© Teresa Newham

I didn't like it.

Some parts of the picture worked - I thought I'd captured the light on the lavender, and the sense of a wide open space - but oh, how I wished I hadn't included those figures.  They interrupted the sweep of the hill and just looked wrong.  I was going to have to put the whole thing in the bin . . .

the first version of the painting
© Teresa Newham

Except that I didn't put it in the bin, dear readers - because some of it did work, and I plain refused to give up. I painted out the figures, added more colour and spattered a lot of gouache in the foreground to give the impression of flowers.  After all, who's ever going to know? 😉

the final version is not all that it seems!
© Teresa Newham