Friday, 31 March 2017

Flowering Cherry


Flowering Cherry
watercolour & printmaking ink
© Teresa Newham

My neighbour's flowering cherry tree is a source of continual delight.  It provides shade in Summer, glorious colour in Autumn, and sculptural interest in Winter.  Birds shelter in it and squirrels climb it. And it heralds the arrival of Spring in a burst of pink blossom which lifts the spirits along with the lengthening days.


source photos & notes
© Teresa Newham

It seemed an ideal subject for another mixed media piece - the early leaves have a bronze cast perfectly suited to metallic printmaking ink - but it was only after I'd taken some photos and sketched out a possible design that it occurred to me I could use inks for the blossoms.


first stages
© Teresa Newham

I considered putting masking fluid on the branches but there were a lot of them and I didn't want to push my luck - so I painstakingly painted the negative spaces with a strong wash of Cerulean Blue.  I could have stopped right there and called it "White Tree" - I was tempted!


now it's getting interesting!
© Teresa Newham

I painted the trunk and branches with  Permanent Sap Green and Permanent Alizarin Crimson, at which point the tree took on an almost unearthly luminous glow.  The leaves were applied next, and finally the blossoms, which brought the whole thing to life.  Spring is definitely here!


the finished piece
© Teresa Newham







Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Mixing it up




Pussy Willow
watercolour & metallic printmaking ink
© Teresa Newham

I first noticed the contrast reflected in the television screen, of all things; the stems of pussy willow in the copper jug next to the fireplace were positively glowing against the red tablecloth behind them.  As I took some photos, the ideas were already forming for an experimental piece using just a couple of colours: include the pattern of the Turkish kelim on the floor and perhaps the flowered cushion, too?


source photos and initial layout
© Teresa Newham

I sketched out a design one morning while I was taking a turn stewarding at Gallery32, and soon realised that the vivid Quinacridrone Red background would be a lot easier to create behind those pussy willow stems if I masked them off.  Now, masking fluid and I don't usually get along - I've ruined more promising work than I care to remember while attempting to use it - but it occurred to me that I'd never tried it on the heavy Arches paper I've grown to love. So perhaps it was time to be brave . . .


masked - and unmasked!
© Teresa Newham

And it worked! So well, in fact, that I felt somewhat foolish that I hadn't thought to try it before.  Or perhaps I was just lucky.  Either way, I hadn't ruined an expensive piece of watercolour paper and I had in front of me exactly what I needed to progress.  I began to build up the painting with more of the red and some Burnt Umber, feeling my way into it as it's not in my usual style; it seemed appropriate to add texture to the rug and the pussy willow so I just carried on and hoped it would all work out!


making it up as I go along
© Teresa Newham

Finally I painted in the jug using Schminke copper printmaking ink mixed with pearliser, with some plain copper ink on top for good measure.  You can't see it in the photo, but that jug has a definite metallic glow.  And I'm already thinking about my next venture into the world of mixed media!!


the finished piece
© Teresa Newham