Wednesday 30 September 2020

An unusual way to spend September


taking over the dining room
© Teresa Newham

The annual September routine is now well-rehearsed: after a hectic August framing, mounting and labelling work for #HertsOpenStudios, we clear the dining room of ornaments, rearrange the furniture and set up our exhibition in there and in my studio. The bunting goes up on Saturdays and Wednesdays and we welcome our visitors.

mounted photos wrapped for sale
© Teresa Newham

But not this year.

Thanks to Covid, Open Studios has been online, with just a few hardy souls opening to the public in a handful of Covid-secure venues.  The participating artists spent August making videos for social media and preparing to post throughout September on the daily themes.  It has been just as hectic, but with a completely different emphasis.

I love using the tab driver!
© Teresa Newham

Should I even bother with mounting and framing, I wondered? Well, we will be able to exhibit again at some point, and in any case, I advertise pieces for sale on my website, so the work needs to be ready. And it gave me the chance to use my favourite bit of framing kit, the tab driver, when I put the paintings into their frames.

framed watercolours ready to hang
© Teresa Newham

So as things turned out, I've taken over the dining room this September, after all - just not in the usual way.  I've spread out in there and taken my time.  Paintings, prints and photographs are now securely in their frames or mounted for display. Everything looks lovely! I just wish you could see it . . .

prints ready for sale - two framed, one mounted
© Teresa Newham

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Demo with dragonfly


reduction linocut by Teresa Newham

#HertsOpenStudios should be a time for having a chat and cup of tea with visitors, while showing them new work and demonstrating techniques.  Instead, I've been posting daily themes and finishing this reduction linocut, based on a photo I took of a female broad-bodied darter on a cane in the garden.

design drawing from last year's photo
© Teresa Newham

I took photos as I went along for a mini video for the theme "Metamorphosis", to show how the original photo became the finished print. On impulse one day I stood my iPhone upright on top of a biscuit tin and filmed myself lino cutting, and posted it to my Instagram and Facebook Stories:

Having never used Stories before, I was staggered by the response, receiving messages and likes from as far away as Colombia. So I took some videos of me printing, linked them and speeded them up, and posted a second video:

While I haven't gone live with my demonstrations, the videos are a great way of sharing the process, which is what the virtual Open Studios is all about.  Only just half way through the event, I've learnt so much about video as a medium - and done a demonstration after all!