Monday, 21 October 2013

a drawing a day . . . some pencil sketches

a drawing a day - the kit!
© Teresa Newham 

 A new project, now that I have - in theory at least - more time on my hands, is to make a drawing a day -  or most days, to be completely accurate.  It's something which every artist is recommended to do, and I've been meaning to get round to it for ages - even putting aside a special sketchbook for it (a gift from last Christmas, with a lovely felt cover by local textile artist Barbara Weeks).  I've begun in pencil - not my favourite medium - and as it's my own drawing  project, I'm playing by my own rules . . . .


scribbled pots at the bottom of a larger, less successful sketch!
© Teresa Newham

Rule 1:  it doesn't have to be good.  Absolutely no point trying to make a 'work of art' every time!  Far better to put pencil to paper regularly without worrying about the outcome.  Pick a subject - any old subject, something knocking about the house or garden - and just get on with it.   Some part of the drawing will work!  The little pots in the sketch above were dashed off as an afterthought to the main subject (an indifferent rendering of my bird feeders).


money tree - incomplete in all senses of the word . . .
© Teresa Newham


Rule 2: it doesn't have to be finished.  So easy to spend ages on a drawing and thoroughly overwork it!  Fifteen minutes into the money tree, above, I got bored and decided to stop right there and then.   The money tree sketch is also a good example of Rule 3: it doesn't have to fit on the paper - although of course, it's better if it does . . . . !

a very quick impression of stuff on my windowsill!
© Teresa Newham

Rule 4: the quicker the better!  I'm trying to get to the stage where I can dash something off effectively in a few minutes - I imagine myself sitting at a cafe table in glorious sunshine, sketching passers by.  And to do that I'll have to become much quicker than I am at present!!  the little sketch above took five minutes and is a reasonable rendition of the subject, with very little detail.


a solid rendition of my solid dresser!
© Teresa Newham


Rule 5: it's good to have an object in mind.  The purpose of the drawing above was to produce something solid, in proportion,with proper perspective.  So I drafted it out on the paper first and worked it up from there.  I bought this dresser at an auction twenty-five years ago and I'm very fond of it, which brings me to Rule 6: if you have an emotional connection with the subject, it will make a better drawing.

brushes in a pot - fond memories of my Mum
© Teresa Newham

Rule 6 is demonstrated nicely in this sketch of some brushes in a pot.  The pot - and some of the brushes - belonged to my late Mum, who painted in watercolours later in life, having started out in oils.  So it was lovely to spend some time sketching something I use a lot which reminds me of her!

I'm hoping to carry on doing a drawing a day (well, most days).  Who knows?  I might graduate eventually to colour pencil, or pastels, or pen and wash.  But it's pencil for now . . .





Monday, 7 October 2013

a walk round the corner - August, September, October

the first field - August
© Teresa Newham
Regular readers of this blog might recall that there's country lane running close to my house - we've walked it many times but always on our way to somewhere else.  Eventually we realised that the dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse riders that use the lane must be doing something a little more enterprising than just going up and down it: which is when we discovered that if you cross the railway bridge there's  a bridleway along the edge of the first field you come to . . .

the last poppy of summer
© Teresa Newham
On that first walk the field was full of the last of what looked like beans - the weather was warm and dry and the day very drowsy.  The odd poppy brightened the fading crop, the hedgerows were high and it was difficult to believe that we'd just crossed the railway line!

high hedges and the old oak tree
© Teresa Newham

Leaving the first field we walked down another lane, and passed a field of wheat basking in the sun.  By this time we were completely hooked on the countryside which we'd found almost literally round the corner from where we lived, and decided to make the walk a regular one.

the second field - August
© Teresa Newham
I had my camera with me and took all sorts of photos: close-ups of insects and flowers, views of the fields and the trees  (some of the ladybird photos I took made it into the Open Studios exhibition);  it occurred to me that I could make a photo diary and publish it here every few months, to compare the changing seasons as they happened.

the first field - September
© Teresa Newham
To our delight, when we set off on our September walk, they were ploughing the first field.  The weather could not have been more different - it had rained all morning and was threatening to do so again.  The poppies had gone, of course, but the hedgerows were now full of berries:

berries - September
© Teresa Newham
Where everything had been cut back there was a real sense of the season starting to turn;  Autumn was well on the way, you could feel it in the air and see the evidence all around.

the old oak and the ploughed field
© Teresa Newham
The crop in the second field had also been harvested - it all looked rather neat and tidy compared with the straggly hedgerows.

the second field - September
© Teresa Newham
 Last weekend we did the October walk in gorgeous sunshine - a variety of dog walkers and horse riders were - like us - out taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather:

the first field - October
© Teresa Newham
The hedgerows had died back even further, but were still full of all sorts of berries.  Just walking two fields was like being in Nature's larder:

berries - October
© Teresa Newham
The leaves are still on the trees but some are starting to turn.  Of course, if the weather turns stormy the trees could all be bare by the time we do our November walk!

the oak tree - October
© Teresa Newham
Nature appears to be reclaiming the two fields, and I'll be interested to see what happens to them over the coming months.  I reckon we'll need wellies for the next one . . .

the second field - October
© Teresa Newham