Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Splendid Isolation

 


February I
watercolour & gouache
by Teresa Newham

I recently needed to self isolate ahead of a minor hospital procedure and I thought making art would take my mind off all the medical stuff.  I needed something self contained, relatively straightforward and above all absorbing.


inspiration from the studio window
© Teresa Newham

Back in February I'd taken some photos of snowdrops and hellebores in the garden, which contrasted with a dogwood behind them.  The flowers were still blooming - I could see them from the studio window - and seemed like an excellent subject for a couple of small watercolours.


adding salt to the very first layer of paint
© Teresa Newham

I started two paintings, laying down wet base washes and sprinking salt over them once they had dried to a gentle sheen. Left overnight, the salt revealed some wonderful patterns as it was removed, the crystals resembling the sugar crystals we used to put in coffee when I was a child.


setting out the composition
© Teresa Newham

Next, I laid out the composition, following the shapes suggested by the salt, adding the outlines and foliage of the bright band of hellebores across the centre of each painting and the snowdrops in the foreground.  I was no longer working from the photos but letting the needs of each painting dictate its progress.


letting the layers evolve
© Teresa Newham

I emphasised the flowers with white gouache, but the hellebores didn't really make any sense until I added their soft green centres. Then everything fell into place.  I still can't decide which of the two pieces I like the best!


February II
watercolour & gouache
by Teresa Newham






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