Saturday, 25 July 2015

My mother's roses


my mother's roses ~ watercolour sketch
© Teresa Newham

Mum always looked after the roses; Dad's job was to cut the grass.  Soon the roses will be tended by the new owner of the garden.  I've watched them come into bloom this summer as I've gone back and forth to the bungalow where I grew up, and where Dad lived for fifty years until he died in February.

the roses in a jug on my kitchen shelf
© Teresa Newham
It was my last chance to appreciate those roses; so I cut a few and put them in a jug on the shelf between my kitchen and my studio.  The scent as they opened reminded me at once of my childhood and I knew I would have to make some kind of painting of them, no matter how short of time I was.

the hasty set-up
© Teresa Newham
I grabbed a sketchbook and a set of paints which happened to be lying around; the paints were a gift from a generous neighbour who used to rep for Winsor & Newton. I'd never used them until now.  I tried not to think too much about what I was doing, letting myself be guided primarily by the colour and the scent.

letting things flow . . .
© Teresa Newham
The further into the painting I got, I began to realise that this exercise was in some way cathartic for me; it was almost like painting my feelings: about losing my Mum (almost exactly nine years to the day I made the painting); about losing my Dad; and about bidding farewell to my childhood home.

the finished sketch
© Teresa Newham
It didn't matter what the painting looked like.  It was the doing of it which was important;  once it was dry I would close the sketchbook and forget about it.  Except that I didn't; something made me dig out a random mount from a drawer to see what it might look like.

trying it with a mount
© Teresa Newham

Next, a random frame - one which has sat unused in my studio for several years, just waiting for this painting.  And the perfect place: on top of the shelf unit where I keep my art stuff, just in front of the painting I made of my Dad walking by Armstrong's Buildings in Gibraltar, named for his great-grandfather, who built them.


 framed and in the perfect place!
© Teresa Newham


Funny how some things work out, isn't it?



Thursday, 9 July 2015

a walk round the corner - Kerry

Ballinskelligs Priory, coming from the beach
© Teresa Newham
OK, so not exactly round the corner.  And not just one walk, either - there were many:  along beaches, down tracks, across causeways, through gardens - a great opportunity to capture just a fraction of the delights this wonderful place has to offer!  Ballinskelligs Priory lies just off the beach; it's the place where the monks returned to the mainland after several centuries of life on the remote Skellig Islands.  Further along the beach I found flowers growing in  the walls of a ruin known locally as McCarthy's Castle:

some plants will grow anywhere!
© Teresa Newham
During the trip to Kells Bay Gardens I took so many photos my battery ran out, but there was enough juice left in it to snap this old seat, incongruously placed in the midst of some prehistoric-looking trees:

broken-down bench in Kells Bay Gardens
© Teresa Newham
I couldn't resist these pine cones, either - I loved the patterns they made and the contrast with the green of the leaves:

pine cones, Kells Bay Gardens
© Teresa Newham
We must have taken dozens of photos at this wreck on Rossbeigh Beach:  happily both wreck and beach survived the storm damage of February 2014, despite the wreck being moved along and up the beach by the mountainous seas!


wreck, Rossbeigh Beach
© Teresa Newham
I hadn't been to Kerry in June for more than twenty years, so it was lovely to see the flowers in bloom in the fields and hedges.  Everywhere was very green and I was thrilled that the fuchsias were out:

Fuchsias in the hedgerows
© Teresa Newham
Even when the weather was less than perfect, the views were still spectacular, as our walk round Muckross lake in Killarney National Park proved:

moody skies at Muckross Lake, Killarney
© Teresa Newham
The flowers were out in our friends' garden, too . . . .


French Lavender in an Irish Garden
© Teresa Newham

. . . . and in this field at Reenroe Beach - looking spectacular despite the rain (this is Ireland, after all!).

flowers at Reenroe
© Teresa Newham
This area of Kerry is a massive source of inspiration to me, as visitors to my website and regular readers of this blog know.  I hope it will continue to be so for many years to come!