All Seems Possible In Summer

From the tops of cliffs

To the edge of seas.

SUMMER

For me and bees.

Bees in the blackberry blossoms. Summer…… for bees and me.

It is a time when work and play are most indistinguishable for a landscape painter.

“June morning Coon Bay Study” 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord.

View in online gallery with purchase information HERE.

It is the bee’s knees!

I know! The craziest saying ever but I just couldn’t resist.

What seems possible to you on this first day of summer?

© 2017 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

A Potpourri of Painting Adventures

In getting ready for the “West to East Canadian Landscapes in Paint” solo exhibition opening on June 30, 2017, I have inhaled the passionate fragrances from many rendered experiences of the last few years.  From climbing along the bluffs recently of Galiano Island

to painting with umbrella rattling in the breeze

while rain, sun and mist tumbling endlessly across the horizon

(The Bluffs Galiano Island 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch)

to maneuvering carefully on the narrow  red cliffs of Prince Edward Island last May,

Canada has an exhilarating and engaging topography!

(Cap Egmont Lighthouse PEI 18 x 24 inch oil on canvas)

From one crashing sea on the west coast

(plein air painting on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, B.C.)

to another on the east coast,

( plein air painting sketch at Cavendish PEI)

my brushes are hardly every still. There is more to capture the heart and imagination then there are tubes of paint to feverishly brush onto a surface. Still, I give it my best!

(Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC 24 x 48 inch oil on canvas)

Though this solo exhibition of 25 works is inspired by Canada 150 celebrations (and it will open on the Canada Day long weekend), there is so much more influencing these canvases, thousands of years more!

What natural environments bring your own heart to crescendo of emotion?

Note: Specifics about the solo exhibition are now available in a recent post on TerrillWelchArtist.com HERE.

© 2017 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

Red Poppy Serenity Oil Painting

The red poppy oil painting “Serenity by the Sea”

is from a specific day at the end of May in the year 2017 on the island of Galiano off the Southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada.

The mist turns to a light drizzle as I sit on a low chair looking out past the cedars to yet other islands across the sea. What can possibly cut through these west coast greys? Then I remembered.

Earlier in the day I had seen large red poppies growing in the garden near the water.

“I wonder!?” I said to myself.

Slipping on a raincoat and garden clogs I stuffed my way-too-large iphone in my hip pocket and my big camera with its rain cover over my shoulder. It is about 5:00 am and the sun is still high enough in the west to push its way through the low clouds, providing a noticeable filtered light. But it is not enough to keep the warm greys using the big camera. Those gorgeous greys were running into the blues. But the iPhone 7 plus seems to get the idea. I gather several references images with both devices and find one that I particularly like.

Six days later, I am back in the studio and have mulled the idea over long enough to pull out a canvas and get started. The method is straightforward.

Start with a ground that will pull on those muted tones and make a few modest marks to guide the composition.

Establish the relationship between the sky and the light reflecting off the water.

Drop the darks unceremoniously into place.

Leave the red ones for last and keep the brushstrokes simple, clean and decisive.

Work in the highlights, stems and texture of the lower foliage, using a painting knife as needed. Then stand back, one last time, and ensure there is a humming kind harmony of emotion and aliveness to the work.

Yes, I think we are there!

Serenity by the Sea “resting” 18 x 14 oil on canvas

As usual, the painting needs to rest and dry before it is considered finished. I intended this work to be a composition study for a larger painting. However, I may have said all I need to say in this one. Painting the subject larger won’t make for a better painting. It will just be bigger. Yet, I am not completely sure if I want to give up on splashing large amounts of red around on huge surface though. I shall think about it for a while and see. In the mean time…

What bright spots have cut through your grey moments of late?

© 2017 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

For the Love of Landscapes Art Vancouver Fair 2017

Bringing the wild inside is the ultimate of having a landscape painting that resonates with both a room and your life. This past weekend that room was HUGE with more than 80 booths in total. Every few minutes, people would come and stand in front of my west coast landscape paintings and “sigh” these long exhales. It was like they just needed a few minutes before they could go on to even one more booth!

Often viewers would come close and then back up. Then come close again. Then they would walk slowly sideways and then back to the centre. Sometimes they would tell me that the waves were three dimensional and seemed to lift right out of the canvas. Other times it would be the tangle of the friendly arbutus tree that would hold their attention until a quick smile would appear just before they turned to talk to me. People were inspired by the movement, the brushstrokes, the colours and just the beauty of our west coast captured on the canvases. One of many precious moments was when we were all packed up with the paintings wrapped and ready to move a forklift driver in the complex stopped his machine to make a point of telling me how much he loved seeing my landscape paintings in the show.

I owe a huge thank you to the many online followers who I had never met before who showed up to see the work in person. I lost count of how many times a total stranger to me would say – I have been following your work online for years and it is great to see it in person! Now how cool is that?

Of course, there were the many people who traveled from around the lower mainland and even from Mayne Island and Victoria that made a special effort to come to see my work in person at the Art! Vancouver Fair.  I am thrilled because Paul Constable of Artists In Canada had sponsored me and three other artists to show in this booth. I felt not only fortunate to be showing in this venue but also that my special people made such a point of attending. I was bought glass of wine near the end of one of our days in appreciation. I was asked for so many photographs of the work, of me with the work (just after hanging)

and several of me with visitors with the work. Here are just a few of these….

Monica  with Terrill

Terrill with John

Katrina with Terrill

A video of me on the runway with “Southern Gulf Islands Afternoon” for The Face of Art by Amber Stace.

It was all crazy fun! Well, at least once I had that runway walk done! 😉

There is a story that goes with this next photograph.

Janet with her daughter Tracey and three other family members, including this little girl, made a special trip in from Langley to come and see my work and the art fair. They made a day out of it and came early for a special breakfast before Art! Vancouver opened. Janet asked that I post this photo for her. While I am here I might as well tell you a Sunday story….

You see, Janet has known me through her sister since I was 22 years old with 2 small children painting on the kitchen table in a 610 square foot home in a trailer park. Money was so tight that sometimes her sister and I would combine what we had in order to make supper for both of our families. However, we laughed a lot, went camping often and I always found a bit of time to do a quick sketch, mostly in watercolours. Needless to say, I wasn’t at risk of giving up my day job anytime soon. It would be another 15 years before I did my first solo show and 2010 before I became a full-time artist.

Janet said she just had to offer her support and see for herself how far this little girl from rural north central British Columbia outside of Vanderhoof had come!

There is something sacred when people connect with my work, my life and me in this way. I am humbled and filled with gratitude.

This is just a small sampling of some of the powerful interactions during the art fair but should be enough to give you a flavour of the weekend.

The Artists In Canada booth also included the work of Arnold Burrell (1924-1991) represented by Ellen Mackay.

And Janna Kumi who is right beside me with paintings and collage work.

Then on the far right of our booth space is Teyjah McAren her heavily textured rich paintings.

Or maybe this photograph works better…

Somehow I missed getting a closer portrait of Teyjah’s work. Darn! Because it is quite fascinating.

Here we are all together. Starting on the right is Ellen, Janna, Teyjah and the me!

Oh! Let me share with you my favourite painting by another artist in the Art Vancouver Fair. Wang Chen Guang is not only an extremely talented painter, currently studying at Emily Carr, he is sincere, genuine and direct both in his work and as a person. There is a vulnerability and raw, yet controlled, emotion emanating from his figurative paintings. The power of this work is difficult to experience in a photograph but it is the next best thing to standing in front of the 60 x 40 inch oil on canvas. I was very tempted to bring it home except I feel the work needs a large spacious room with few distractions – which I am unable to offer it.

Wang Chen Guang is definitely an artist to follow and see where his driving passion takes him in the future. I am pleased that we met and look forward to staying connected.

As well, special thanks to my son, Kris Welch, who is a high-end finishing carpenter and the master skill set that managed to get the paintings hung so beautifully.

His 15-year-old son got all dressed up and came to the opening too but he is rather camera-shy so we shall keep that photograph just for family.

I think this is more photographs of me at one event than you have seen all together during all my years of my posting online! I hope that this post allows you to feel at least a little like you were there, even if you weren’t.

Tomorrow morning David and I are off to the neighbouring island of Galiano for a three-day retreat together before  the next big adventure which is the Solo exhibition “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” opening June 30th from 3-5 pm at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café here on Mayne Island. The show will be up until August 13, 2017.

 

Have you ever been to an international fair of some kind and if so, can you share a memory?

 

© 2017 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

A Sunrise Series in May

Just as the skies started to lighten the shapes in the valley below, I rise and quickly make coffee. It is just after 4:30 am. I am ready to leave the house at 4:50 am which will put me in Reef Bay at 5:10 am. Sunrise is at 5:26 am. I park down the short trail by the beach. I am the only one here at this hour. Gathering my camera, cell phone, coffee; I meander over the sandstone as the tide slips farther out to sea. The light is still in the blue pink range.

But it warms quickly and the gulls toss themselves up in the air, before circling around and landing out on the reef beside me.

Pouring my second cup of coffee, I settle into an occasional breeze picking up salty licks and hints of seaweed as it reaches the shore.

Then the sun is up!

My heart clings to the moment as my eyes run up the beam of light across the Strait of Georgia.

Stay with it…. hold…hold…hold…

I marvel at the prisms of light on the sea. Glorious!

And now, we have started a new day!

As you are reading this I am waiting for the ferry to Vancouver with a carload of paintings and a few long days ahead of me with the Art! Vancouver Fair. However, at any moment I can check back and find my centre with this sunrise. It is like a tether anchoring me to my best self.

What tether anchors you to your best self?

Note: If you are in the city I encourage you to come down and say hello. It is not often I show my work in Vancouver and I don’t have any immediate plans to do so again anytime soon.

© 2017 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

Work Life In Progress

A great big sign at the entrance of the driveway may accurately read: PROCEED WITH CAUTION WORK LIFE IN PROGRESS. Not that this is a bad thing. The alternative is much less appealing.

It is just means that the question usually asked about how are things going will be answered by –  “Oh, round and round!”

Or – “Busier than a painter with three brushes in her hand.”

Neither of which tell us much at all.

So a better question might be – “Terrill can you tell us one thing that pleases you today?”

Yes I can. I have a new painting roughed in on the easel that I am going to muse about while I drink my morning coffee. Let me show you….

The canvas is 12 x 24 inches and started with a yellow ground and a few marks to guide the scale of the composition.

The spring morning sky brightens all in its path including the green firs on the hill across the way. Song birds sing, grass grows and an eagle cries somewhere in the distance across Active Pass.

First leaves are soft and translucent in the warm light as the blues of sea catch my breath and swing it skyward and back again. How many mornings has the Springwater Lodge, the oldest continuously operating hotel in British Columbia, seen like this one?

There is the scent of fresh coffee filling the loft with a hint of linseed oil underneath. I decide to leave the studio lamps off for just a little longer. But I will sort out the angles of lines, the relationships between objects and the spaces in between later today – one brushstroke at a time.

Update: Now as the end of the day nears and the work has come to “resting” all shiny and wet on the canvas…

Early Spring Morning at Miners Bay “resting” 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

How about you? Can you tell us one thing that pleases you today?

Note: “The Beauty of Oils Class of 2017 Art Show” was a wonderful success. All the pieces are falling into place for the Art! Vancouver Fair at the end of May and the background material for advertising has been sent in for the six week solo show opening June 30th 3-5 pm in the afternoon. Next will be a focus on getting the last of the edges painted on the selected work for the solo show.

© 2017 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

The Beauty of Oils Class of 2017 Art Show

I have a surprise for us today but first, a little context is helpful.

In my experience most people think they have a pretty good idea what it takes to paint an oil painting of a subject from life. Most may even feel that if they had the time and desire they could dash off a Monet without too much trouble. I mean really! Look at what can be done during paint and drink night at the neighbourhood pub! However, if people have tried to paint, and found it harder than they thought, then they wrongly assume it is because they have no talent. Yes, some talent is useful but it is only about 20% of the equation to render a pleasing result. Few people consider that to become a skilled painter it takes hours and years of practice. You, my dear readers, are a small portion of art viewers who are well-informed on at least my painting process from your years of following Creative Potager. You are a knowledgeable exception to the average citizen. Most individuals have little idea about the range of skills development and study required beyond putting paint on a brush and applying it to a canvas. If they did, I would never be asked – how long did it take you to paint that? Well, none of this can be said about the four students that have completed the twelve session studio intensive oil painting class at the beginning of February. They know intimately what it takes to render an oil painting of a subject from life.

Some of these artists held their first brush in my three session pilot oil painting class a year earlier and then went on to take the eight session fall skills development oil painting class. Another artist started in the fall with previous drawing and basic painting skills in acrylic paints. Yet another painted in water colours and wanted to learn how to use oils. All painters still have painted less than 20 oil paintings in their life. All have been learning my long-hand process of solving painting problems on their own with instructional support from the very beginning of choosing their own composition, sketching and taking photographs of their ideas, making notes about their subject, observing different natural light condition, learning how to mix the colours they wanted, preparing a ground or underpainting, and painting wet-in-wet. They have painted from their own reference photograph and painting sketches in the studio classroom. They have braved the elements and painted en plein air. They have learned a method that will allow them to tackle painting any variety of subjects from everyday life. Then they went on to prepare their work to be “show ready” with painted edges or frames, titles, inventory numbers and so on. Now it is time to show the results! Each artist has six beautiful works to hang for viewing on Saturday, May 13th at the Mayne Island Community Centre between 3:00 – 7:00 pm.

Let’s briefly allow each painter to introduce themselves and share a sampling of their work so you can see what I am all excited about.

Glenda King – Living on Mayne Island allows me to have many possible beautiful compositions, whether it be a seascape, landscape or wildlife & birds. I have left my focus open until I find what my passion is….right now I am enjoying all that I have done & hope that you enjoy it also. The paintings I have done have come from my own photography or plein air, the latter being the preferred way to paint for this style.

Serenity 8 x 10 inch oil on canvas plein air – SOLD

Miners Bay Lookout 18 x 14 inch oil on canvas – AVAILABLE

Elspeth Westby – My focus has been to learn how to use the oils (I chose to use walnut oils by M. Graham and Co.), the different brushes and tools and become comfortable with an easel with the hope of doing “en plein air” painting. I really enjoy spending time observing my environment and long to paint it. To my surprise and delight, I love the oils and seem to be managing landscapes!

Springwater on Active Pass 11 x 14 inch walnut oil on canvas panel plein air – AVAILABLE

Plum Blossoms (Japanese Garden) 14 x 11 walnut oil on canvas panel – NFS

Katherine Cox Stevenson – I paint to more deeply align my soul with nature. From a young age, I craved living life from my heart. Instead due to life circumstances I lived my life from my head – I even have a PhD to prove it. I live on Mayne Island for two main reasons: the abundance of exquisite nature and sense of community. I am now becoming part of the arts communities, a rich and enlightening experience. Being able to stand in awe of the nature scene in front of me and with color, brushes, and strokes I can interpret it for the canvas. My hope for the viewers of my paintings is that they can pause and experience a moment of deep inner peace and perhaps a magical moment of connecting nature with their souls.

An Afternoon by the Sea Shore 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas – AVAILABLE

Time to Reflect 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas – AVAILABLE

Jody Waldie – After two years as a full time resident of Mayne Island I am still in awe of its natural beauty. Through my learning process as a new painter I strive to experiment and discover how to represent this beauty of nature through the use of colour and light with oil paint media. I purposefully chose to focus on colour and light to allow myself to step away from the contrived images that excess attention to detail was bringing to my painting. I am drawn to the rawness of nature and strive to capture this through my painting.

Spring at the Gardens oil on canvas 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air – AVAILABLE

Pause and Gaze on Harmon Hill oil on canvas 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas  – AVAILABLE

As you can see, each artist even at these early stages of learning a new process and medium has a distinctive unique painting fingerprint. Now how exciting is that!? Hopefully over the next couple of years we can bring them back for further cameo appearances and you can see where their discipline and skill development has taken them. If you see a work you would like to purchase or if you would like to know more about a specific painter just send me an email at tawelch@shaw.ca and I will be happy to connect you up with the artist.

For now I ask all four painters to take a bow as we shout, whistle, cheer and applaud their accomplishments.

Note: If you would like to learn oil painting or the process of painting wet-in-wet both using studio reference materials or en plein air you can send me a note at this same email shared above and I will add you to my contact list for future offerings. These classes may also include three-day weekend plein air workshops over the summer in both acrylic and oil – if there is enough interest and I can find the time.

What are you spending hours and years learning to master?

© 2017 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

High Desert Dawn revisited

Pungent sage brush rustles with a family of wild turkeys as the heavy clouds lift up from the horizon. It is morning, early morning. Low hills glisten with the dampness of departing rains. Why not revisit? After all, it has been five years has it not?

I pick up my brush and begin reworking the canvas. After an hour or so of stepping back and forth, it seems to be coming along.

The morning light sliced through the heavy storm clouds over the high desert in Orville Washington.

High Desert Dawn – 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

I am happier with it now I think. Those variations of blues make the photo editing program cross-eyed. You will just have to believe me when I say it is much nicer in person.  Details and purchase information is available in the on online gallery HERE.

Mostly, this week has been a time of catching up and preparing for the next show which is Art!Vancouver Fair, May 25 – 28, 2017 at the Vancouver Conference Centre, East 999 Canada Place. I am showing my paintings with three other Canadian artists in 30 feet of booth space sponsored by Artists in Canada. I would love to see you there and your friends too for that matter 😉 The details regarding advance tickets and such are on the website HERE.

Other than that it has been long walks sometimes in sun and sometimes in rain.Spring is here. Taxes were done on time. Life is good.

What are you enjoying most about your week so far?

© 2017 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

Standing with the Sea Painting from Life

“I don’t know how she does it, but Terrill’s paintings make me feel the rush of being there, of being part of it,” comments Anita Lewis, who shared on Google Plus the following completed painting.

I wish I had an adequate answer for Anita. The truth is I am not exactly sure. I can tell you that the landscape painter must have the courage to stand in the moment with as much raw, unfiltered honesty as possible. In this case, I am standing with the sea.

At first this standing is about the grey that shifts continuously in rolling spring storms. It is about a tide that seems to neither want to come in or go out as I set up the easel.

It is about enduring the dreariest gulf islands spring since the beginning of weather records. This has followed on a winter that saw snow on the west coast during most months.

I have come to realize that we are likely to miss out on are usual warm days of spring this year. Now my endurance is settling on an early summer. But at the moment rain is coming. It is time to pack up and leave with the 22 x 28 inch canvas roughly blocked in using walnut oil paints.

The next day it rains a steady drizzle. No plein air painting is going to be possible. I sigh and move on to other tasks. The following day seems like it may be promising. But it isn’t. As the painting class and I huddle under a gazebo in the national park near the painting location, they get a good chortle. The sun is shining through the rain but it isn’t going to be enough to break the spell and let us plein air paint. We retreat to the Mayne Island Community Centre and I provide tutorial examples while answering various painting problems posed by the students. The day is salvaged through our collective flexibility.

It is a long day which becomes even longer that evening when I learn that a long-time friend has lost his gallant 20 or-so-year battle with cancer. We had spoken only a few short weeks earlier. He had basically called to say good-bye. At the time he commented that he wasn’t sure if the cancer would get him or if his heart would fail first from an unrelated issue. In the celebration of life notice his family has asked that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke foundation instead of bringing flowers. I am assuming this might be a clue to how his question was answered.

From the time we could barely call ourselves teenagers, through our wild years, into young adults, on into our mature years and finally to becoming grandparents – we never lost sight of being friends. Even if years sometimes passed without so much as a phone call, there was no question – we were friends. Though I will miss him, I cannot help thinking he suffered more than his share to remain with us as long as he did. He fulfilled one of his greatest wishes and saw his children grown and had time to enjoy his grandchildren. He knew great love and what deep caring really means through his relationship with his partner. His life was fully lived around what I feel matters most – love, family, friends, frank honesty and hard work.

The next morning has offered up the promised sun. I am standing before a grey-scale roughed in painting with a heavy heart, squinting into the sky blues. Yes, I definitely will miss him. I look across the Strait of Georgia which seems to widen with every glance. I put up the sunshade to keep my canvas neutral.

I work diligently as if without skin and bone protecting the most vulnerable parts of my being. I listen to the sea as it rolls waves forward with each passing boat and ferry. The moments are filled with frequent commas from song birds that are occasionally punctuated more heavily by seagulls and eagles. The sea lions roll up to the surface with their unmistakable breathing raising the hairs above my pinched shoulder blades. I am consumed by salt air, spring grass and exposed seaweed. The breeze lifts the branches of the fir trees behind me and the escaping sun warms my back in brief fragmented caresses. What blue? What blue do I need most? I mix and layer and release the colours onto the canvas within the rhythms of the sea, the rhythms of life…. and the rhythms of our immediate and pending death. Finally the brushes still.

I take the painting back to studio. After letting it rest for a bit, I add a few more brush marks over the afternoon and a few more the next day before calling it done.

The painting was only five days from start to finish. Yet, the world, my world, is forever changed. I am reminded of a line from a poem “The Speed of Darkness” by Muriel Rukeyser – The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

A final photograph is still needed of course but this one will do for today.

So the “how does she do it” remains a mystery in some ways, even from me – hidden in unedited, intuitive renderings of experiences from life onto a canvas.

When was the last time you stood by the sea and asked it to share with you its greatest mystery?

© 2017 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

Where Despair Meets Hope in Steps

Drowning in despair about our dissolving humanity on a particular day in early April, I made myself a promise – I shall post this note and go for a long walk and listen to the spring birds. I shall breathe in time with the waves on the sea. I shall inhale the scent of the blossoms on the breeze. I shall run my hands along the length of the arbutus tree. Then I shall paint. This is what a landscape painter does.

This is the beginning for Where Despair Meets Hope Edith Point – 22 x 28 inch oil on canvas landscape painting.

Several canvases are already prepared with grounds. I decide on the red one. Neither large nor medium and certainly not small, this canvas seems to be the right size for sitting with despair. I choose a simple yet powerful landscape that begins with a lengthy walk through the trees and along the ocean. On this day, the fog is thick and I am smothered in a muted grey for most of the hike. But just as I come out on Edith Point, the heavy mist moved out to sea and golden light covers the old fir tree and the edge of the cliff. In this briefest of shifts, my spirits soar and catch a patch of blue sky before coming back down the disfigured tree, thereby encompassing a lasting sense of hope.

The work is roughed in with a bit of Naples yellow to guide my brushes forward. I decide to work from the outer edges inward until the tree reveals itself and I can no longer avoid its edges.

I work on the point of the cliff, conscious of how it turns slightly towards the south. There is no room to think or worry or fuss. I am fully focused on the quickly changing light of the late morning. I can feel the dampness in my hair and coolness on one side of my face and the soft sun warming the other. My hands and heart guide the brushes across the canvas, as if I am really there.

The room darkens under the skylights as heavy rains pound down on the tin roof. I slip up to the loft and grab one of the studio lamps. I hardly notice that I have put my brush down. I pick it up again and, almost in a trance, continue to work.

Touching lightly, I place various greens into the foreground. I can feel my helplessness shrink like the stones with a rising tide on the bottom right of the canvas. My disillusionment with the larger world is replaced with confidence about the specifics of this moment – I can do this one thing.

As I continue to paint, the fir tree can no longer be avoided. I add the tree’s shadow side and start on the branches.

I reach for where the sun is touching. I am reminded of the winter’s high winds and heavy rains as I circle the gnarled and bent branches. I am reminded of long dry spells during the late summer where the moisture cannot be held in the sandstone rocks. I can feel my nose tighten against dearth of moisture while grasses crinkle under foot as I place in the dead branches on the bottom left of the thick tree trunk. I am reminded how this old fir tree has endured and gained elegance and strength through its trials. It is perfect in its imperfection.

Darkness is gathering in the corners of the room. My hips and knees are telling me that we have been standing at the easel for many hours. I must leave this work now, until tomorrow.

Rising early, I flick on the studio lamps. I put on my painting apron. I continue. Eventually, I stop to make coffee and a late breakfast. Sometime during the morning my husband has woken and made his own eggs and toast. He has closed the door to his office so as not to disturb me. He may have even spoken to me. I doubt that I answered. Living with a painter one learns not to be offended by such moments. Like me, he has learned to trust the process. He knows that eventually I will say – come have a look and see what you think…

I tell him how I wanted to be able to feel the breeze off the water in the branches and how they needed to be reaching to greet the sun and how the shade is cool in this golden light, cool enough to want your wool sweater. He replies – it is gorgeous! Privately he is crossing his fingers hoping that his remark will lead us out the door to find some supper. I am not fooled.

Well, it is resting I say.

In this case the “resting” must last for a week before I can make the final adjustments during a demonstration for an oil painting class I am teaching. But I do believe it is now done. I do believe in this place where despair meets hope, we can understand that nothing lasts. With this truth, firmly rooted on the edge of the cliff, I shall continue to walk and paint and breathe – until I can no longer, however long that is.

For now, I present to you Where Despair Meets Hope Edith Point – 22 x 28 inch oil on canvas

 

Where does despair meet with hope in your life?

 

© 2017 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