Thursday, 29 September 2016

the golden frog

the golden frog
reduction linocut by Teresa Newham

When my husband called to me that a frog had hopped out of the bushes while he was watering the garden, I grabbed my iPhone and hoped for the best.  I wasn't disappointed; our visitor obligingly posed for photos, even moving into a more accessible position for me to snap away.

the original photo
© Teresa Newham
I was looking for a demo subject for #HertsOpenStudios; and there he was.  The perfect opportunity to explore the ins and outs of making a reduction linocut with the new softcut lino I've been using this Summer!

creating the design
© Teresa Newham
With the design finalised, I realised that my usual method of tracing it onto the lino would only work up to a point.  I needed to ink over the tracing, in order to cut away the various colours successfully, but my usual waterproof pen would not work.  In the end, I looked on the internet and used a Sharpie, which seemed ideal.

transferring the design
© Teresa Newham
Unfortunately I soon realised that the Sharpie was coming off on my hands as I cut the white areas away; and sure enough, when I printed the yellow plate, the lines of the design printed along with it.  This didn't matter in the places which would be covered by brown or black ink, but careful cutting would be required to ensure that it didn't show on the yellow.

the first printing
© Teresa Newham
I decided to change the colour of some leaves at the bottom of the image from yellow to black to counteract this, but regretted it almost as soon as the brown plate was printed - somehow the picture had lost its balance.  What's more, the brown was simply too dark when contrasted with the yellow. Ironically, the complicated cut itself had gone well!

adding the second colour
© Teresa Newham
I carried on regardless - I had to demonstrate something, after all - and the result isn't too bad;  it's not what I envisaged, however, and I'm sure I can improve on this.  For now he looks jolly enough, anyway . . . 

the finished print
© Teresa Newham








Tuesday, 13 September 2016

pictures, pictures, pictures . . . cake!

photographs and watercolours jostling for space
© Teresa Newham
With more than forty visitors through the door already, it's difficult to believe we're less than half way through this year's #HertsOpenStudios.  The teenager considering doing Art 'A' Level, the elderly woodworker, the printmaker from Northern Ireland, friends old and new: so many interesting conversations and excellent feedback! 

rediscovering my sketchbooks . . .
© Teresa Newham
This year I've put all my sketchbooks on show; some I'd forgotten I still had.  The little one below, for example, is three-quarters empty, and definitely worth keeping out once Open Studios is over. I can't quite remember why I put it away in the first place . . . 

. . . some of which are only part-full!
© Teresa Newham
Sue and I are opening on seven days during the event, which lasts until 25th September.  But it's not worth taking everything down in between; so effectively my long-suffering husband and I are living in a gallery for three weeks or so.  My studio is crammed with stuff, and the kitchen is full of cake, biscuits and crisps for our guests!

now . . . how do I get to those drawers?
© Teresa Newham
The dining room ornaments have been stashed away in the most unlikely nooks and crannies, to be replaced by all sorts of artworks, such as  Sue's photo of her hand, which is displayed to full advantage on the dresser, along with some of her other pieces:

my dresser, Sue's paintings and photos  . . .
© Teresa Newham
The display board is dismantled at the end of each session, which means putting away Sue's lovely paintings - I do like that tiger!  But at least we can get to the bureau behind it when we need to . . . 

. . . and her display board
© Teresa Newham
I'm really pleased with my new linocuts in their cream-coloured frames, and I've managed to put virtually all my greetings cards out on display.  Sue also has masses of cards, and a whole range of unframed original watercolours.  So there's plenty to see.

the new linocuts and a lot of greetings cards!
© Teresa Newham
Once again we're raising money for St Luke's Hospice in Kenton, who looked after my Dad so well during his final illness.  This year we're selling second-hand art books, some which were my Mum's and some of mine.  So if you know of any art lovers looking for books on watercolour, drawing or calligraphy, send them round - and let them eat cake!

books old and new - on sale for charity
© Teresa Newham

Details of our #HertsOpenStudios sessions are shown in the side panel of this blog.