Monday 31 August 2020

Virtually ready . . .


HVA publicity - it's a significant year
© Herts Visual Arts

The countdown is nearly over! tomorrow the 30th - and first-ever virtual -  #HertsOpenStudios will begin.  Forced online by coronavirus, organisers and artists alike have been obliged to re-think how we do things, joining Instagram, learning new skills and having a shedload of fun in the process.

Powerpoint slides for my Artist at Work video - based on photos from this blog
© Teresa Newham

Throughout September, you'll be able to access the event from the comfort of your sofa via the Herts Visual Arts website , or follow the latest news on Instagram and Facebook. From 1st - 30th September, there will be the opportunity to explore a new daily theme each day, ranging from Celebrating Colour (1st Sept) to Past, Present and Future (30th Sept).  If you prefer, go straight to the HVA Galleries page to browse by artist, genre or theme. If you've missed a theme you're interested in, you'll find them here.  

stills from my studio tour video - even a piece to camera!
© Teresa Newham

Many of us have been busy preparing videos: of our studios, our work and what inspires us, and how we make our art.  It's been a steep learning curve, teaching myself how to use Powerpoint and video editing software; finding the courage to face the camera myself and the ruthlessness to edit footage so that my studio tour is watchable.

the Meet the Artist video was easier - I'd made two already!
© Teresa Newham

Our work isn't finished yet, as many of us will be posting on social media on the theme of the day; for me that means finding appropriate photos and making some short videos - my sketchbooks are still patiently waiting for their turn to shine!  The artists have also been set a challenge to put on some kind of live event during the month. I'll have to think about that one . . .!

sketchbooks - still waiting for a video of their own
© Teresa Newham

Saturday 15 August 2020

Wabi Sabi


© Teresa Newham

And what exactly, you may ask, is wabi sabi?  I came across the concept for the first time while reading Christine Valters Paintner's The Artist's Rule, but in many ways I've been attracted to it since I started taking an interest in photography.

© Teresa Newham

Wabi sabi is a Japanese term which refers to the melancholy beauty of impermanence, imperfection and humility; and if you're drawn to a photo of a scruffy shed door or a painting of an elderly fishing trawler, because they have more character than shiny new things, then you like it too.

© Teresa Newham
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The exercise suggested for this particular chapter of the book was to "take your camera for a walk", and I found plenty of examples on which to focus - literally - in the local lanes.  Nature, after all, is in a state of constant flux . . .

© Teresa Newham

Spring and Autumn are particularly good seasons to find wabi sabi in nature, because they are times of obvious transition; and although it's still only the middle of August, there are clear signs that Autumn is on its way.

© Teresa Newham

These two photos are among my favourite examples: the weeds next to a railway bridge doubly so, as the "perfect" photo wouldn't include that little triangle of blue sky, while the poppy seed heads in my garden are a daily reminder of the beauty of wabi sabi!

© Teresa Newham