Tuesday, 30 June 2020

30 degrees in the shade

watercolour by Teresa Newham

I've had no urge to paint for some weeks, preferring to concentrate on my linocut project; but the day after a hot and sticky print session in last week's heat, the thought of spending an afternoon cutting lino just didn't appeal.  Only some wet and splashy watercolour would do.

inspiration and initial wash
© Teresa Newham

With all the doors and windows open and a vase of sunflowers at my side to provide some inspiration, I put a variety of colours into my palette, laid down some washes on a sheet of Arches watercolour paper, and let the painting develop however it wanted.  It more or less painted itself.

the painting evolves
© Teresa Newham

Looking back, I realise I've painted the way I was feeling that afternoon, rather than the flowers; there was definitely some longing for Mediterranean sky and sea, the need for a cool drink and perhaps a little breeze.   And now the weather is cool and rainy again, I'm back to the lino!

the finished piece
© Teresa Newham

Monday, 15 June 2020

Life in Lockdown

Pfeil linocut tool
 © Teresa Newham

It started as a Facebook photo challenge - ten days, ten black and white photos about everyday life in lockdown.  My first was a shot of some hand wash and a scrubbing brush, and I joked I could have posted it every day; but once the challenge was over, I carried on taking pictures.

geranium cuttings
© Teresa Newham

These have become a celebration of the little victories of lockdown.  I've taken geranium cuttings and baked wild garlic into cheese scones;  I've sewn together a bagful of blanket squares and crocheted a border round them.  I set up the sewing machine and produced some scruffy but effective face masks.

cheese scones with wild garlic
© Teresa Newham

The recent repeats of the BBC series Retreat: Meditations from a Monastery have put me into a reflective mood.  Beautifully shot with no commentary, the programmes show the daily activities of monks in three Benedictine monasteries, where every activity becomes prayer, be it painting an icon or sweeping the floor. 

© Teresa Newham

I rather like the idea of turning everything into prayer, so that linocut tools, crochet hooks, kitchen utensils and garden equipment take on a new significance.  Simply lighting a candle before starting a printmaking session can help the connection to a deeper purpose .

© Teresa Newham

The Benedictine oblate Christine Valters Paintner reminds us in her book The Artist's Rule that life has specific rhythms of its own, that there is a time and a season for everything as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and the  popular 1960s song tell us. Now that we are starting to emerge from lockdown, I hope to be able to stay attuned to those rhythms.

knitting and crochet
© Teresa Newham