Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Spring is round the corner!

Acer bud
© Teresa Newham
It might seem over-optimistic to start thinking about Spring in January, particularly when snow is forecast!  But the days are now a whole hour longer than they were at the start of the month, and things are starting to happen in the garden:

Sedum just starting to show
© Teresa Newham
A recent sunny morning beckoned me outside with my camera, and almost at once I found signs that Spring will soon be here, whether it was plants pushing up through the earth, or buds starting to show on the shrubs and trees!

forsythia with buds
© Teresa Newham
Last Autumn I hastily shoved a whole host of Spring bulbs haphazardly into a couple of tubs, in the hope that they'd overwinter.  And here they are, promising to bloom in the fullness of time:

Spring bulbs peeping through
© Teresa Newham
The rose bushes are also waking up, highlighted here by the wintry sun.  And that sun has a different quality about it now, compared to a few weeks ago:

rose stems showing signs of life
© Teresa Newham
This hyacinth looks as though it's almost ready to burst forth, in the way that hyacinths do.  In the middle of winter it's good to remember that Spring will always come!

imminent hyacinth
© Teresa Newham


Thursday, 15 January 2015

out & about

Artists, we're told, should always carry a sketchbook and pen. So when I had to leave my car at the garage for a few hours the other day, I decided to while away the time by making practice sketches in the park.  I gathered my Zig pens, Hahnemuehle sketchbook (last used in September!) and - very important this - fingerless gloves - and drove to the town centre.  At 8.30am it was bitterly cold, but to my surprise there were plenty of dog walkers about; unfortunately they were walking so briskly to keep warm that I had trouble getting anything on to paper, and didn't manage to draw any of their dogs!

sketches of dog walkers (minus the dogs!)
© Teresa Newham
I hoped it would be warmer when I came out of Mass at quarter to ten.  It was; and drizzling. When I originally had the idea to sketch while the car was being mended, I'd imagined a cold, frosty morning with sunlight filtering through the trees, and folk enjoying a morning walk in the crisp, clear air.  Instead, there was nobody about at all:

Rothamsted Park (minus the dog walkers!)
© Teresa Newham

Gloomy, damp and deserted.  There was always the trees, of course  - but I'd sketched them many times, and besides, drizzle is not the best environment to be putting anything onto paper.  Eventually I wandered into the rose garden, which I thought might be more sheltered.  It has an interesting layout which is quite striking when the flowers are not in bloom:

the rose garden, Rothamsted Park (minus the roses . . . )
© Teresa Newham

It was sheltered enough for me to attempt a quick sketch which was fun to do but frankly a bit of a dog's dinner to look at (in lieu of any actual dogs, who appeared to have deserted the park in disgust at the weather).  I really must remember that I don't have to include everything in a sketch, or use all the colours I can see!!

sketch of the rose garden
© Teresa Newham

Thoroughly chilled by now, I retreated to a local coffee shop to warm up, and managed to secure a discreet table by the wall.  To my relief, nobody batted an eyelid when I took out my sketchbook and pens; they were far too busy chatting to notice I was drawing anything!


warming up in the coffee shop!
© Teresa Newham
A couple of days later, I took a walk to the local shops.  This time I took the sketchbook and pens with me, but left the fingerless gloves behind; which was a mistake, as in the ten minutes it took me to walk there, the sun which had tempted me out in the first place had vanished:

shopping parade, Southdown
© Teresa Newham

Despite the cold, I managed a quirky little drawing and this time remembered not to include all the colours I saw in front of me.  I was attracted by the red blinds, and looking at the sketch now I wonder if I should have left it at that and not used any brown.  Still, I can always go back to make another one!

sketch of the shopping parade
© Teresa Newham