Wednesday 30 January 2019

an Inktense experience

experiments with Inktense pencils
© Teresa Newham

My Christmas reading included several art books, one of which recommended the use of Derwent Inktense pencils to add definition to watercolour paintings.  Keen to try out something new, I ordered myself a set of twelve.

exploring colours and techniques
© Teresa Newham

When they arrived I tried out the colours and made a quick drawing onto damp paper, to give me an idea of how they could be used with watercolour.  I liked the vivid hues, and the fact that once dry, the colours were permanent. This had possibilities!

is it drawing or painting?
© Teresa Newham

To find out how else to use the pencils, I took a look at several videos on YouTube.  One artist was using a water brush to produce some wonderfully delicate designs. Didn't I have a water brush somewhere?

Inktense pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

I did indeed - one which has sat ignored in my studio for more than ten years, since I bought it for my first short course at Central St Martins.  Now, as it started to come into its own, I began to wonder why I'd never used it for anything before.

getting to grips with birdlife
© Teresa Newham

I drew from photos I'd taken on the iPad, sketching an outline before teasing the colour from the Inktense pencils.  I was a bit tentative with the orchid at first, only relaxing into the mark-making once I got the hang of the technique.

colour palette informed by technology
© Teresa Newham

By the time I made the pigeon drawing, I was a lot more confident.  I even used one of the photos I took for this blog as an inspiration for the colours on the fence.  The sketches were great fun to do and another way of keeping some regular drawing going!

Blue Pigeon
Intkense pencil sketch by Teresa Newham

Monday 14 January 2019

New Year, new camera . . .

January sky
© Teresa Newham

There are times when any decision is better than no decision.  I've been dithering about replacing my old compact camera for a couple of years - so much so that all my recent photos have been taken on my iPhone.

Winter colour
© Teresa Newham

Choice was my problem - far too much of it. Another compact? A CSC? A digital DSLR? And which brand?  Would I have time to learn how to use a camera which required separate lenses? I pored over articles on the Which website and checked out models on Techradar, but still couldn't make up my mind.

© Teresa Newham

It was Sue who pointed out that I would be unlikely to cart a DSLR or  CSC around with its various lenses.  She also reminded me that it's difficult to go wrong with a Canon. So I took the plunge and ordered their Powershot SX730 HS.

into the sun
© Teresa Newham

It's been a joy starting to get to know the features of this camera.  I probably won't get around to using them all - the online manual runs to 190 pages - but the 40x optical zoom has already enabled me to snap wildlife in my garden through the studio window, resting the camera on a handily placed ornament.

through the window
© Teresa Newham

It's small and light enough to slip into a handbag but powerful enough to enable some really exciting shots - on a walk through the nearby lanes I managed to capture a squirrel as he made his way from tree to tree.

travelling squirrel
© Teresa Newham

I've tried my favourite into-the-sun shots, pics of the sky, flowers on macro, and learnt that if I am patient and keep following him with my camera, eventually I will get a decent shot of that robin - although it might not be so easy if I wasn't behind a window pane!

cheeky robin
© Teresa Newham

I've also discovered that the blackbirds in my garden are making work for me, intent as they are on grubbing through the decorative bark of the borders.  Presumably they're after insects or worms as they happily chuck chippings all over the path . . .

caught in the act
© Teresa Newham

There's still a lot to get used to - the file sizes are HUGE, which means I can crop right in as I have done with some of the images in this post.  Other than that, they haven't needed much editing. I'm enjoying photography again!

towering pines
© Teresa Newham