Tuesday, 28 April 2015

In search of bluebells


the elusive British bluebell
© Teresa Newham

Around the middle of April we decided to walk to the ancient woodland where we found bluebells at the same time last year, to see if they were out yet.   It was a fine, dry day but the weather had been so cold recently that we thought we might be too early.

the oak tree coming into leaf
© Teresa Newham
There were signs of new growth everywhere - the leaves on the old oak in the first field were just breaking from the buds.   At the foot of its trunk a few holly berries still remained from the Winter:

holly at the foot of the oak
© Teresa Newham
As we walked down Mud Lane we could hear skylarks singing in the second field, while all around us blossom was bursting forth in the hedgerows:

blossom
© Teresa Newham

As we walked further down the lane we began to spot bluebells among the other Spring flowers in the verges:


bluebells in the verges
© Teresa Newham
When we reached the woods the delicate scent of hundreds of bluebells greeted us before we saw their full extent - a breathtaking sight. Spring is well under way!

bluebells in the ancient woodland
© Teresa Newham



Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Cherry Blossom

cherry blossom ~ pen & wash
© Teresa Newham
A few weeks ago my neighbour's cherry tree started to bloom.  It's at its most interesting before the blossom comes fully out, when there are buds as well as flowers on show, and some leaves starting to emerge:

the inspiration for the painting
© Teresa Newham
Luckily, I was able to get something down on paper while the tree was still covered in blossom. I made the design, inked it over, and laid down a couple of washes in Alizarin Crimson and Permanent Sap Green.  Then I spattered more water onto the paper to create some pale areas:

initial sketch & wet washes
 © Teresa Newham
Once the washes were dry I began to fill in the branches and flowers using the same two colours . . .

the first colours
© Teresa Newham
. . . and picking out the leaves.

painting the leaves . . .
© Teresa Newham
I painted the flowers using the Alizarin Crimson and Titanium White:

. . . and the flowers
© Teresa Newham
Then I double checked the tones by photographing the painting in black and white.  This told me I needed to make the centres of the flowers darker.

checking it out in black and white
© Teresa Newham
Finally I added in the stamens of each individual flower using one of the Elmers paint markers I was given for Christmas, and popped a mount over the top to see how it will look!

how the finished painting will look in a mount
© Teresa Newham