Saturday, 22 December 2018

O Holy Night

O Holy Night
original linocut Christmas card
by Teresa Newham

Some Christmas Carols remind us of times past, perhaps a favourite from childhood.  Others affect us more as we get older.  O Holy Night is one of those, for me.  I don't remember where exactly I first heard it, but we now sing it often at Christmas with the church choir, and it moves me deeply.  It takes me back to all those starlit nights I remember from my youth, looking up into the sky in wonder. That sense of wonder is what I've tried to convey in this year's Christmas card:

It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth. 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining. 
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. 
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! 
O night divine, the night when Christ was born; 
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine! 
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!   

There's a powerful message which builds throughout the song, so please do click on the lyrics to hear the choir of Kings College Cambridge sing the full version!

Wishing you all peace and joy this Christmas, and a blessed and Happy New Year.

Monday, 10 December 2018

a drawing a day - what do artists do all day?

Parish Christmas Fair - from set up to take down!
© Teresa Newham

I blame Peter Jackson, or rather, the BBC programme "What Do Artists Do All Day?" The answer in his case seemed to consist of sprawling on the sofa in an editing suite looking at WW1 footage restored and coloured for the acclaimed documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.

daily life - it's not all glamour you know!
© Teresa Newham

How, I wondered, would I answer that question? "Not making much art" would be the honest answer, at least during the run up to Christmas, when church and family commitments and the shortening days don't allow much time and space for creativity.

church music features a lot at this time of year . . .
© Teresa Newham

That's when I decided to use an old half-empty A4 sketchbook to create a visual diary.  That way I'd be getting something down on paper most days.  Also I'd be able to answer the question in the unlikely event that anyone should ask me.

. . . but there's still (some) time for art!
© Teresa Newham

I've been keeping the diary for a month now - a busy month involving some art, but rather more music, both church and secular (it's that time of year), all of it wonderful.  I've tried to include everyday activities, too, and not just the special events - this isn't Facebook or Instagram . . .

a musical one-off
© Teresa Newham

I've experimented with Conté crayons and coloured pencil, as well as my favourite Zig pens, particularly on some of the coloured paper in the sketchbook.  This has had mixed results, as fixative has to be used on such drawings, which doesn't sit well on the paper.  But it was worth a try.

trying out other media
© Teresa Newham

Mostly I've drawn from memory, but also from photos. I've learned not to sketch when I'm tired or short of time, and tried deliberately not to make the drawings perfect.  This is a bit of fun, and the daily discipline is doing me good!

First Sunday of Advent
(lower sketch taken from a photo on Facebook)
© Teresa Newham