Tuesday, 15 October 2019

fiery flowers for One Square Foot

August I ~ watercolour & salt
Teresa Newham

Back in August, I set out to paint a piece which had to measure exactly one foot square, including any framing, for an art exhibition* in Hitchin. As the exhibition was to take place in October, I had in mind something autumnal involving fallen leaves, perhaps with a touch of copper or gold printmaking ink.

brightly coloured initial washes & salt . . .
© Teresa Newham

My subconscious, however, had other ideas, and presented me with a palette so vividly Mediterranean that I had no idea what to do with it, until I took half of the initial washes off with damp kitchen paper and turned the whole thing upside down.

. . . dried, toned down & turned around
© Teresa Newham

I was making two paintings, in the hope that at least one of them would work.  I added in some trunks and foliage using Permanent Sap Green, to contrast with the Quinacridone Red, Transparent Yellow and Cobalt Turquoise of the base layer.

trunks and foliage taking shape
© Teresa Newham

The salt pattern suggested sunflowers, and I thought some white daisies would look good in the cool areas.  I made the flowers by painting the negative space around them - something I don't do much, but I'd been reading Anne Blockley's Watercolour Workshop and some of it must have stuck . . .

flowers emerging from the washes
© Teresa Newham

Going with the flow, I adjusted the paintings as I went, wondering where these fiery tones had some from. Then the penny dropped - they were the exact colours of the materials we'd been using at my amateur operatic group to make fairy costumes!

the finished paintings
© Teresa Newham
The pictures only came properly to life when I added the centres to the flowers. There's a rich glow to these pieces which I rather like.  I had no idea what to call them, so they've ended up as August I and August II.  I hope to do more like these - there are twelve months in the year, after all . . .

August II ~ watercolour & salt
Teresa Newham

*  The charity exhibition "100 Square Feet" in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association will run until 2nd November 2019 at The Art Nest, 4-5 West Alley, Hitchin SG5 1EG.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful picture and absolutely fascinating process!