Skip to content
August 25, 2015 / Terrill Welch

A Narrow Artistic Perspective on a Mayne Island Morning

Mayne Island late August morning 17 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 155

Let’s count them. There are eighteen photography sketches taken within 45 minutes of each other and no further apart than fifty steps along a chunk of the Mayne Island shoreline. It is a painter’s morning for gathering reference material. Why bother you might ask? Well, it is about seeing and mostly about how we see and choose to construct our world using sensory information.

I woke just before daylight. After blinking several times and making coffee I decide to go and see how the sun is making out.

Mayne Island late August morning 1 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 001

She is getting a little slower to rise on this late August morning but still beat to the shore.

Mayne Island late August morning 2 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 016

It is a gentle rising with a soft elegance that never fails to release the last bit of tension between my shoulder blades.

Mayne Island late August morning 3 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 033

I gather myself together and glance narrow and long… searching.

Mayne Island late August morning 4 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 039

And searching again.

Mayne Island late August morning 5 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 046

Low clouds play with the light as I look south.

Mayne Island late August morning 6 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 057

Back around I turn and venture deeper into exploring just this one aspect of the shoreline.

Mayne Island late August morning 7  by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 060

Which composition is most satisfying?

Mayne Island late August morning 8  by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 065

Which elements do we see most clearly?

Mayne Island late August morning 9  by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 073

Is it the sea or the land we most sympathize with?

Mayne Island late August morning 10 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 094

I want to reach into the camera and pluck out my own secrets!

Mayne Island late August morning 11 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 097

But I cannot.

Mayne Island late August morning 12 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 100

Like the blue heron I can only keep fishing using my past experience and best guesses. Maybe this one!?

Mayne Island late August morning 13 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 106

No not that one replies the heron.

Mayne Island late August morning 14 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 112

The sandstone chortles and then hefts a sigh, as if in commiseration, about this endless seeking.

Mayne Island late August morning 15 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 133

Calm but slightly dejected I turn around yet again. I haven’t unraveled this dawn yet.

Mayne Island late August morning 16 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 148

After a few steps, I turn slowly and then crouch low… there…

Mayne Island late August morning 17 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 155

and then again here….

Mayne Island late August morning 18 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 157

Morning has broken and the landscape is shattered by my viewer’s eye! I must leave now with my quick photography sketches. I must take these fragments and make something of them just as we do with every image we created in our mind’s eye. these are my few soft gestures of contemplation before picking up my brushes and rushing them over a canvas with heaps of expectation and too much substance to do any of it justice.

 

What has your morning brought to you?

 

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

August 16, 2015 / Terrill Welch

Once In a Blue Moon 2015

Though we are well into August, my heart often drifts back to the evening of July 31st and the rising of our second full moon or the blue moon. The sun is setting very close to the moon rising. I wasn’t the only one settling in for the wait. A small group has gathered at the Seaview Rd beach access on Mayne Island. We wait and we watch until the first sliver becomes visible and then a substantial slice of the moon can be seen on the horizon.

Tip of Blue Moon rising from Mayne island by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 052

I sigh and click away. It has the promise of being a real beauty!

Seagulls on a log and Blue Moon rising by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 065

Even the seagulls seemed to have stopped flapping about and sit still on a log for a few minutes as the not-so-blue-moon appears to slide up into the sky.

Mayne Island Blue Moon rise July 31 2015 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 170

Prints and products available HERE.

Eventually, the sky is dark enough and the moon is high enough to give us a one of those good old moon reflections.

Blue Moon Reflections Mayne Island July 2015 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 216

Prints and products available HERE.

Darkness settles as Blue Moon rises. I am glad I brought a jacket as I watch and savour the wonder.

 

Darkness settles as Blue Moon rises by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 227

Prints and products available HERE.

Then it is time to pack up the camera and the moment but the memory is one that will be revisited many times – way more times than once in a blue moon!

 

What is going to be YOUR next once-in-a-blue-moon experience?

 

Note: all of these images are available in high-resolution. I have chosen three to release at this time. But if one of the others takes your fancy just let me know and I can make it available.

 

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

 

August 4, 2015 / Terrill Welch

For the Record I am Still Very Much a Living Artist

The other day I had a long-time friend ask if I had any health problems. I was a bit puzzled about what prompted this inquiry but answered that I was fine other than being slightly rounder than I would like.

He continues “Oh, I was just wondering if I could cash in on those paintings of yours anytime soon. But I think you have to be dead first.”

He was teasing but it is not such an odd question to ask about an artist as I first thought. At a recent international art fair this was a common curiosity for art buyers – was the artist still alive and are they in the mature or later stages of their career? This is all a polite way of asking if the artist is dead yet or how much longer until we can expect them to be dead. Of course, then the collector or potential purchaser has to decide if they have a chance of outliving that artist in order to cash in on their holdings. This is the rather lifeless, dark side of the whole art business which I am not so fond of thinking about.

I admit to being a little weirded out by this whole line of decision-making or checking up on your art investment. So I just want to say, for the record, I am in good health, eat well, exercise regularly, do not smoke, spend ample time in nature breathing clean air and sometimes have a glass of red wine with my dinner. Chances are fairly good that I have several years of painting left in me yet and I shall be around for a long, long time. No quick return on your investment is reasonably expected here. Then again we never really know do we?  After all, I am closer to 60 than 50 years old now. But I provide you with summary this  information and leave it with you to calculated your odds.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way, there is another kind of being dead as an artist that is far more dangerous than a last breath. This is the death of risk taking. Playing it safe, in whatever creative medium an artist uses, is not recommended. Sometimes the worst thing for an artist is to figure out something that works and is appreciated by viewers and collectors. Under these circumstances, we can lose focus, desire, drive and passion quicker than the heart can skip a beat. We must keep ask – I wonder? and – what if? and then go for it! The life in our work depends on this risk taking as much as our body relies on fresh organic fruit and vegetables. Yes, we can stop asking the questions for a short-while. But we will develop artistic scurvy if it goes on for too long. Let me show you an example of the kind of risk taking I am talking about….

My paintings don’t just appear on the canvas with each bit perfectly formed. They are coerced, poked and enticed into existence. I start with an idea about how I want to handle a particular subject and gradually it starts to take shape as the layers of paint and brushstrokes are moved onto the canvas. Bell Towers of Florence Countryside – 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas has been more than a year in the musing and thinking process.

I start the landscape with my usual warm underpainting …

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 1 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 002

I began working right on top of the wet underpainting. I wanted this warmth to be come integral to the later stages of the painting.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 2 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 003

The main themes and compositional elements of the painting are still fluid and transitory. It is coming along nicely.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 3 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 011

Slowly my ideas start to solidify – just a bit…

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 4 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 014

I begin building up what seems to be working…

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 5 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 001

I keep going…

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 6 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 008

There is some variation in colour between stages because of the lighting condition at different times of day. But you get the idea. Finally the painting is getting close.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 7 resting 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_08_01 070

If you are walking from Florence south via del Podesta which is part of the old road to Rome take via del Portico to the right that is above Galluzzo. It is the medieval Chiesa di Santa Lucia in the foreground. The church has two bells from the 14th century. The Monastero della Certosa del Galluzzio founded by Niccolò Acciaiuoli in 1342 is on the hillside in the background. Today there are cars and freeways running lengthwise between these two places but from this view one can imagine there being only foot traffic moving along the narrow roads between stone walls from one place to the other. Thinking about what it was like standing in this spot, I make a few more changes and then I am ready to leave the painting to “rest” and decide if it needs anything else.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 7 resting 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas 8 still resting by Terrill Welch 2015_08_02 002

Well, I slept on it and I thought about this place some more. I then thought about the state of the world and so on. I could have left this most pleasant, idealized scene just as it is. The painting is fine. No risk taking is necessary really. But what would be the use of that? Do we really just need one more perfect picture of a grand view? No we don’t. I know we don’t. I have more to say than that and I had best figure out how to say it. We are often dazzled by dramatic light and memories that deny an imperfect past. This is even more pronounced to me when looking at these old churches, monasteries and bell towers in the Florence countryside. The whining hornet-sounds of motorcycles on the narrow road are an invisible reminder of our fossil-fuel reliant present. The young olive trees on the hill are young because of a hard frost a number of years ago that was attributed to changes in weather patterns. We seem to be wiping out our past and our present even as we observe this magnificent view. Like cataract suffers, we keep focusing on the bright spots and missing the rest. We are slowly going blind and this beautiful view will soon be lost to us. How can I possibly show this with paint and my brush?

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside  16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_08_02 062

Risk taken. I believe we now have more than simply a beautiful landscape and one that is very much alive, just like the artist who painted it.

 

What risk are you currently taking in order to be very much alive?

 

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

July 24, 2015 / Terrill Welch

Northern California Contemporary Landscape Oil Paintings

Terrill Welch:

Seven of my latest northern California paintings released…

Originally posted on Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch:

Seven new landscape oil paintings of northern California by Canadian Contemporary artist Terrill Welch become available for purchase today. Using her plein air and photography sketches as well as her memory, these works are inspired from Terrill’s slow travel down and up the coast this spring.

The dynamic movement of the sea, sky and light at Arena Lighthouse in northern California mesmerizes and inspires.

Early March at Arena Lighthouse California coast 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas

Early March at Arena Lighthouse California coast 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_06_18 013

Detailed view and purchase information available by clicking on the image or HERE.

Knowing what is coming and yet unable to decide whether to stay or to move forward or back from the surf as it builds its strength before coming ashore again. This is the first of three related northern California surf paintings.

Northern California Surf Building 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas

Northern California Surf Building 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_05_13 066

Detailed view and purchase information…

View original 497 more words

June 29, 2015 / Terrill Welch

A Seascape as a Place to be on Saturna Island

East Point on Saturna Island is a fine place to be in almost any weather but a warm end of June just brings out its best.

From the little fog house that is….

The Little House That Is by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 002

to the sight of Mount Baker sitting grand and surprising on the far shore.

Mount Baker A quiet surpise by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 005

Trails past the wind swept Garry Oak and Ocean Spray tell a story of another kind of day.

wind swept Garry Oak and Ocean Spray by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 007

But it also keeps the secret of a hauntingly beautiful cliff that can be viewed from below.

East Point Cliffs by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 025

I eventually head across the field looking taking a thoughtful look back over my shoulder and think – does it get any better than this!?

a place be by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 011

In answer to my own question, the next day when we return the sea and sky are both pale blue in the warm sun. It does, yes it does get better. I spend the afternoon on Pebble Beach with a friend and collector of my work who is traveling with me. I paint while she starts to notice the changes in light and shadow on the landscape as I work. It was as if watching the process of plein air painting gave her fresh eyes.

June afternoon East Point en plein air by Terrill Welch 2015_06_25 393

Shall we finish up with this wee 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch “June at East Point on Panel Board”? Why not!

June at East Point 8 x 10 inch acrylic on panel board by Terrill Welch 2015_06_25 403

There is more but this all for now as I am still traveling.

When was the last time that you found yourself seeing with new fresh eyes?

Note: You may notice that most of my photographs lately have a watermark. I have reluctantly gone to this method due to the ease with which images are downloaded and shared with no easy ability to reference to the photographer. This way the photographs can always be traced back to me if someone has a desire to know. My apologies for any distraction this may cause.

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

June 11, 2015 / Terrill Welch

Profit and Losses of Peonies and Poppies Still Life in the Art Studio

Notes from my artist’s journal:

Saturday’s flowers for $12.00 from the Hardscrabble Farm stall at the Farmers Market resulted in “Peonies and Poppies Still Life” 12 x 16 inch acrylic painting sketch shown here just as itwas completed in the studio. Thegessobord was $5.20 and the paints used maybe $2.80 bringing the total investment for materials to around $20.00 dollars. Then there is my hard-earned skills, creative genius and of course my time.

Peonies and Poppies Still Life 12 x 16 acrylic painting sketch just completed  in the studio by Terrill Welch 2015_06_07 305

I took it off easel and set it next to the flowers for a moment.

A June Sunday morning in the studio by Terrill Welch 2015_06_07 379

This was my June Sunday morning in the studio and a good morning it was!

I usually do not sell these sketches as they remain in my private collection for reference. But I felt for now I had done all that I wanted to do with this subject. I was quite pleased with the sketch and decided it could stand on its own as a finished work.

On Monday morning I posted the quick acrylic sketch on social media for the purchase price of $400 including shipping.

Late Monday evening the painting sketch SOLD!

Peonies and Poppies still life 12 x 16 inch acrylic painting sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_06_07 477

Prints of this work are still available and can be purchased by clicking the image or HERE.

On Wednesday morning the e-transfer of funds was deposited and I had finished packaging and shipping the painting sketch to the new collector. I went to the small town of Sidney B.C. and purchased ink for my big printer, canvases and paints. The total was $368 dollars. I heaved a bit of a frustrated sigh as all of my profits from the sale, after supplies, taxes and shipping, were immediately reinvested back into the studio. Then I chided myself with the reminder that at least I had profits to reinvest.

Now it is Thursday morning. The flowers have faded. The peonies remind me of soiled pink toilet paper and poppy petals lay scattered onto the table.

Maybe, I will feel inspired to paint peonies and poppies again next year.

Don’t get me wrong I am THRILLED to have this work with a collector who I KNOW will treasure this painting sketch! I am always thankful and humbly grateful to ALL the art collectors who purchase my work. It is just that, well…. It’s all good right?

So goes the profits and losses of painting a peonies and poppies still life sketch in my art studio.

 

What are you adding up today?

 

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

May 19, 2015 / Terrill Welch

Breezy Bay Morning

Terrill Welch:

Sometimes my paintngs receive special gifts that are all their own…

Originally posted on Tuesdays with Laurie:

The sun, barely ripe on the bay’s horizon, offers the promise of warmth later in the day. The morning is still cool with a hint—an afterthought, really—of remaining mist. Hugging oneself in the muted hush of dawn’s solitude, we revel in the bone-deep pleasure of having the porch almost to ourself. The only other occupant are clothesline thoughts that open their souls—slowly—as mussels do when steamed.

breezy-bay-morning-36-x-36-inch-oil-on-canvas-by-terrill-welch-2014_09_15-0381

I’m struck by the clarity with which my dear friend, Canadian artist Terrill Welch, has captured the moment in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island, a 36 x 36 inch oil on canvas painting that offers a private view where we inhale the glory of brine-tanged air, take in the contours of the land and distant bay, and if we’re willing, allow nostalgia to sweep through us, carried by a wave of retrospection.

Perfectly set at arm’s reach, the pulley allows us…

View original 91 more words

May 12, 2015 / Terrill Welch

Ten Days Over and Under with Nature is Calling

A deer browses outside the studio window as I ponder how much easier it is to be in nature than it is to record being in nature. Since my last post many days have past. I am reminded of weaving and the over and under of life, living and my complex relationship to nature. Let see if we can pick up the pattern and weave it together.

The rooster crows over top of the small forest birds as I try to decide whether to paint the third of three California surf paintings or write this blog post.

beginning the 3rd of 3 surf paintings by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 062

The other two are complete and under review with other new work in the main part of the house.

early morning review of recent work by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 057

While I should be musing over this body of work in the early morning light as I gather my apple and toasted whole-wheat raisin bread, instead I think “darn those windows need washing!”

Canadian geese announce their departure as I climb back up stairs to the studio. I am fixated on a painting problem and it goes like this – how does one paint the sound of the surf?

how does one paint the sound of the surf by Terrill Welch iphone

This problem about painting the surf took over following an Oregon and California road trip this spring. It has rooted itself into my consciousness like invasive Scotch Broom on Mayne Island – a beautiful problem but still one that there is a community desire to resolve.  But Scotch Broom is an issue that is complex and not easily addressed. Practically speaking, both my painting problem and the broom take hard work as much as anything else to resolve. This is where #NatureIsCalling and the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge gives me a boost and possibly even a reason to sidestep the second issue – getting rid of Scotch Broom.

If we propose that over and under is a repetitive motion that in weaving and nature never allows a person to return to exactly the same place twice, what have I discovered?

The Georgina Lighthouse park on Mayne Island is beautiful in the direct midday sun.

at the lighthouse Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_07 005

or plein air painting in the early morning grey of heavy haze and cloud.

“Scotch Broom and Arbutus Tree set in grey quick study” – 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

Scotch Broom and Arbutus Tree set in grey quick study 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_05_11 016

We have come back again and again these past few days for picnics and reading.

afternoon reading in the park by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 044

Sometimes I am distracted by the sounds of ferries entering or leaving Active Pass. But mostly, the seals and sea lions surface on the water and the seagulls and eagles call from the sky while I feel free to sprawl on the grass with nothing more to do than take it all into the core of my being – even the Scotch Broom.

Scotch Broom at the lighthouse by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 049

Scotch Broom you see is not really suppose to be here. The invasive shrub got away from gardens and has a habit of taking up any vacant space available regardless of who usually would be seeking residence – kind of like humans. It has definitely made itself permanent on Mayne Island as it has elsewhere. The best way to keep shrub out is not to disturb the ground. This patch has developed due to shore erosion. It is a tough beast with deep roots. Possibly it is a natural solution to the erosion in this case.  I am willing to entertain this idea for the moment anyway. By the way, if you look long enough and carefully enough there are two humans in this photograph sitting quietly looking out to sea.

The lighthouse park is sometimes included in our longer walk each the day which are usually five to six km long and the same equivalent as climbing eight flights of stairs. These walks frequently include trails leading to and from the sea.

nature walk by Terrill Welch iPhone

Maybe it is a low tide…

low tide Georgeson Island by Terrill Welch iPhone

or the beauty of an old fir tree curved from winter storms…

fir tree west coast curl by Terrill Welch iPhone

or the strength of light, wind in the trees and patterns of roads sometimes are best understood in a painterly paintography fashion that catches my attention.

walking close to home painterly by Terrill Welch iPhone

These last four images were taken with my iPhone as it was all I had with me. My iPhone is sometimes a secondary part about being in nature. I leave my good camera at home in order to limit the distraction of framing images. It helps a small amount but not a lot. This habit of seeing light patterns and recording compositions is like a musician playing their daily scales on the piano – it is necessary practice. I would argue it is as important to my well-being as being in nature  for its own-sake. I mean, how does one even come up with a crazy question about how to paint the sound of the surf if not from years of observation?

receding Califonia Surf  in progress 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_05_07 016

During the past ten days storms pass through…

Sky is all I can see  by Terrill Welch 2015_05_05 062

first visit with five day old grandson take place…

baby L five days old by Terrill Welch 2015_05_05 039

A Cinnabar moth is spotted (found in Europe and western and central Asia. It has been introduced into New Zealand, Australia and North America to control poisonous ragwort, on which its larvae feed.)

Cinnabar moth by Terrill Welch iPhone

and a  first Iris that hold my attention. It too is not native to this area. Like me, it is a transplant from someplace else.

first iris by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 041

This close up is what I want to remember but it is not what I first saw in its raw awkwardness against the foundation of the lighthouse.

first iris standing tall and alone by the wall by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 004

What I have noticed during the past ten days of #NatureIsCalling is how good I am at sorting, sanitizing and sensationalizing what are ordinary, messy and complex experiences in our natural environment. While I think that what I am deeply aware of is that the sun on my shoulder, the rumble of the jet overhead, the rain in the garden, the rise and fall of my breath I also become aware of a world where humans want to be right and to be good. It is a world where human sharing uses the shortest route to what is considered best and worst, good and evil or right and wrong. Time in nature reminds me of the complexity of our daily lives by its examples. Maybe the time and energy to eradicate Scotch Broom is ill placed? My wrenched shoulder from doing this task a few years ago agrees – today anyway.

Now, I am off to paint the sound of the surf in my third of three paintings on the subject. With a bit of luck, my next post will introduce all three completed California surf paintings.

 

What complexities are you musing about?

 

Note: #NatureIsCalling is the hashtag for the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge. I am outside more than 30 minutes in nature each day as a matter of work and life style but I committed to being particularly observant for the Month of May. As time allows, I will share these experiences with you here on Creative Potager.

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

May 2, 2015 / Terrill Welch

My morning with an elegant Blue Heron

This morning #‎NatureIsCalling me earlier than usual. I packed my plein air painting gear, made coffee and headed out. I stopped at the bakery and grabbed an egg sandwich and sweet. But as I walk to the beach I glanced at my basket of painting supplies and sighed. I had everything but a surface to paint on. Rather dejectedly I turned around and took the basket back to the car and returned with only my camera, coffee and breakfast. So here I sit in the warm morning sun. The blackbirds made themselves known in the willows. A west coast reddish mink scurried across the sandstone bank towards the water. Clams spouted near the rocks revealed in the low tide. While a north-westerly wind rippled through the leaves of a rare patch of poplar trees behind me – I sat. I listened. I took in the scent of salt and seaweed. I watched the crows feeding on small morsels and the gulls circle on the farthest outcrop from shore.

“I guess I am not going to paint this morning” I mumble with noticeable deflated slouch.

“I guess I take photographs of that Blue Heron fishing and finish my own breakfast.”

Blue Heron Reef Bay Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_02 110

An Elegant Blue Heron fishing Reef Bay Mayne Island

Elegant Blue Heron fishing Reef Bay Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_02 121

Blue Heron seriously looking for breakfast…

Blue Heron seriously looking for breakfast Reef Bay Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_02 201

rushing it out off sea floor in the shallows.

Blue Heron scaring up breakfast Reef Bay Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_02 205

An hour later, I am ready to head for home having visited with an elegant Blue Heron and soaked up the morning sun and no longer feeling grumpy about forgetting my gessobord for painting.

 

Who in nature has graced your morning this fine day?

Note: #NatureIsCalling is the hashtag for the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge. I am outside more than 30 minutes in nature each day as a matter of work and life style but I committed to being particularly observant for the Month of May. As time allows, I will share these experiences with you here on Creative Potager.

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

April 27, 2015 / Terrill Welch

If a painter decides to paint a recognizable hill with a road then it best be drivable

I do think it is important that regardless of an approach that a painting is plausible or maybe it becomes plausible with time as we begin to experience the work as the artist did in its creation. This means if there is a recognizable hill in a painting that has a recognizable road then it is reasonable to expect that it would be drivable.

detail 1 Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

Hence came about the resolution to a recent painting problem when I was working on EARLY SPRING MUIR BEACH OVERLOOK CALIFORNIA. I had about 20 reference images and I printed four before I started working.

I was nervous about my intuition for this painting. The landscape is hardly known to me. Though I stood there for a long time trying soak in all the information I could. Though I had my photography sketch type images, I still wasn’t really sure if I understood or if I knew this place in my bones. I had not witnessed year after year of subtle seasonal changes. But also I question my ability because the California landscape does not have the cool clear blues of its northern sisters. The haze and atmosphere are warm and rich – almost buttery, even in early spring. There is a constant taste of chalk with a hint of salt on the air in this drought-ridden geography. I must learn a new palette, possibly even a new approach. I do not know this landscape even as my rain forest hair registers a more waif-like wisp on the sea breeze. I want to know it though. I listen and peer as if learning a foreign language. I am hypersensitive a I prepare to paint All my sensory recorders on high alert. What I can not discern, I must guess. I am doubtful of my ability to read the body language of this landscape with my brush where words and understanding fail me. But I must try. I painted the ground a week ago and this morning I start.

1 outline for Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 004

After a few quick lines to help guide me through the composition I start blocking the painting in. I knew there was a strong underlying difference between sky and sea. They were not the same family of blue though a slight reflective element on the sea connected them on the surface. So I started there.

2 beginning to block in Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradleby Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 010

For future reference there is a dirt road on the first hill above the beach. At this point, it is not so bad for being accurate. So far so good. I finish blocking in the landscape. That blob of white is just a reminder to put in a sea stack later on.  But look what happened to the road. In my mind’s eye I wanted the road to go to the beach. I am not aware of my mistake and continue on with this lively work which is already breathing on its own.

3 Blocked in Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 016

Several hours later, I am disappointed and frustrated but I must leave it to rest. I am physically tired from a full day of painting and unable to comprehend what needs to be done. Here is where the painting rested until after dinner.

4 Muir Beach Overlook California resting 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 031

I sat and looked at it while my husband said  over and over “it was fine – just leave it alone.”

But something was very wrong. Something was bugging me. I sat on the stair steps and gave the painting that was resting on the windowsill across the room my full attention. Finally, I saw the problem. There were no switchbacks on the bottom of the hill. It was not navigable. I leaped up, scramble the stairs to the loft and my reference images. Sure enough I had moved the road! It need to go farther up the side of the hill as it didn’t lead to the beach at this point at all. With a few quick brushstrokes everything is made right in the wet paint. I can then see other work that needed to be done but I wait until the next morning.

After waiting for daylight, I turned my loose brushstrokes onto the canvas with clarity. The rocks on the foreground hill picked up their natural brightness above the trees. However the cottages remain missing by design.

detail 3 Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

I added highlights to the sea and scaled back the far hills where San Francisco sits unnoticed in the distance.

detail 2 Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

It is a private view for the viewer alone to savour. The road denotes a connection to civilization that does not intrude on the landscape. I feel I have been true to place and true in using all of lessons of those painters who have gone before me.  At the same time, I have registered  something of my own unique vision. This is not a small task to accomplish and one I may question both for its relevance and its success on another day. But for today, let’s enjoy the view shall we!

EARLY SPRING MUIR BEACH OVERLOOK CALIFORNIA 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle.

Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

The work needs to dry and then have its final photograph but I am fairly confident that the painting is finished.

And do feel free to take a drive along that dirt road. I am sure you will find it quite satisfactory.

 

When was the last time you couldn’t see something that was right in front of you?

 

© 2015 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,556 other followers

%d bloggers like this: