Oil Painting East Point Cliffs

On February 26, 2010, I began putting a melon orange underpainting on an 18”X24” gallery quality 100% 2” thick canvas. Oh the spring the canvas, the smell of linseed – so familiar from more than 30 years ago. Yes it has been more than 30 years since I have painted with oils. And these are Grumbacher water miscible oils something completely new. The instruction I was given when I purchased them was – “just paint!”

I have been painting with water colour paints since I was twenty so I just smiled and thought “we shall see.”

A muddy lump of colour is the end result on February 28, 2010 but it felt good – and I needed new brushes. The ones from 30 years ago are toast. So I picked up new ones when we next went to the city. Much better.

March 1, 2010 the painting is starting to take shape and I am lost in sea, land and time.

Over the next couple of weeks I sit and paint several times until the painting starts to tighten up and become the most unruly “problem child.” Where was the painting I had originally given birth too?

I stayed with it – painting and feeling and painting some more. I may fuss a bit with presentation but I think this cooked.

View and purchase full resolution image here.


Sprout Question: What do you do when you have a creative “problem child?”

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

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21 thoughts on “Oil Painting East Point Cliffs

  1. Terrill – You said, “… I think this is cooked.” I’m adding, TO PERFECTION!

    Sprout Question: What do you do when you have a creative “problem child?”

    First I try reasoning with it; have a delicate conversation. If that doesn’t work, I send us both to our separate rooms until we can play together again nicely. My mother used this approach when I was little. It’s still effective, as eventually we can cooperate again.

    • Thank you Laurie… perfection never really happens in my paintings – there is always something. But I have learned to never tell what bugs me and to leave little snarls alone and work them out in another painting.

      Your approach Laurie to a creative “problem child” seems very sensible. Great sprout response:)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your process Terrill.
    What do you do when you have a creative “problem child?”—– when i get to a rough patch I often stop painting and switch to drawing. Slightly different views of the same subject and various sizes i think this helps me change the focus of seeing. I usually work on more than one piece at a time and will put a piece away and return to it after a break.
    Difficulty while drawing is an easier fix, but i never return to the problem piece. changing something physical like the way i hold the pencil or brush or switching to a different tool all together, always helps

    ps i love how you have your brushes in that cute little pitcher.

    • Jerry I am so glad you dropped in – and appreciate the sharing of the painting process. As I’ve said elsewhere, not easy to do because I don’t paint from a thinking place but rather a feeling place so posting the process requires me to reconstruct the experience into words.

      Great sprout, I like the idea of going to another medium such as drawing. I switch between writing, photography and painting or drawing almost everyday or at least every few days. They feed and strengthen each other. Sometime I just go make dinner though and come back the next day and give it another try. Interesting Jerry how you talk about holding the brush differently. I haven’t thought about that in a long time. Good reminder.

      I paint and draw standing up. It helps me to stay grounded and open. I use my whole body when working not just my fingers. When I write I sit on a ball chair so I can wiggle and bounce and breathe easily all for the same reason – to stay open and in the flow. I know everyone has their own ways – these just work for me.

      p.s. the cute little pitcher is a very old hospital ceramic bedside urinal. And it works perfectly for holding the brushes I am using at any given time.

  3. I am currently working (or trying to) with a problem child — yarn that refuses to become a sweater. Some may advise, “Simply follow the pattern.” Trouble is I’m designing as I knit. I find it helps to take small breaks and write while I think about the current problem. If all else fails I rip out the mess — which I may be doing again, soon.

    • Leanne, I was reading about Swedish artist Karl Isakson (1878-1922) who painted a subject on average 30 times before he was satisfied he had mastered it well enough to show to anyone. Here is a print of “Nature morte” from 1918. I wonder how many times he painted this subject? I share this to let you know that you are in the company of masters in doing it again and again until you are satisfied that it is “right.” Thank you so much for your sprout response. Lovely!

  4. Beautiful! I Love bearing witness to your process, Terrill! Thanks so much for sharing!

    What to do with those creative problem child issues? I tend to take a break and head into nature. Surrendering and letting go, admiring the blueness of the sky above, seems to allow all to work itself out when I return again to the creative process. 🙂

    • Antonia thank you – sounds perfectly sensible. Great sprout response.

      Okay, you are all way to clever at managing your creative “problem children.” Do artists only throw 5′ square canvases off balconies in the movies? Actually, there is many a time in my life I have wanted to do something outlandish and have stopped because I didn’t want to clean up the mess. So I don’t actually “throw the canvas” except in my minds eye…. wheeeeee…… there it goes —- splat! right in the mud puddle at the end of the drive. Now back to work!

      Well tomorrow is Friday. I’m still thinking about what I’ll do for the last post of the week but I have an idea. Let see if I can make it work. Nope, I’m not telling you anymore. You will have to wait and see.

  5. I love your painting Terrill! Love how it lightens and comes to life with each resulting image. Wonderful job and yes…it’s cooked! 🙂

    I have problem children quite often and it’s amazing how those very children turn out to be some of my best paintings! LOL I mean I can be ready to throw them away (love the visual of tossing them over the balcony to the end of the driveway!) and instead I’ll set them aside and just walk by them for awhile. Sometimes I’ll do this for months before I feel better about what I’ve created. Then there are times I’ll pick one up and add a few more touches to it and then it’s cooked! 🙂

    The key for me is to separate myself from the project for a time so that I can see it with a fresh perspective. Then I either fall in love with it over time…or I at least learn to accept it. It’s also interesting that some of my least favorite paintings can be many people’s favorite. 🙂

    BTW…what do you think of the new water miscible oil paints? Been thinking about trying them. Do you like them as much as oil? It has been many years for me as well to paint with oils.

    • Thanks Itaya… it is indeed cooked. Though I have never had a painting that changed so dramatically depending on the lighting. It will go extremely dark in low lighting or yellow light of lamps and yet be very bright in full daylight. So at times, I’m left feeling light… I need to go lighter yet. For now though I am going to leave it alone and just let it keep me company in the studio while I start another piece.

      Wonderful sprout response. Collectively, we are starting to get a body of practices. It would possible to make a list of options like an emergency telephone list that could be posted in the studio so that when the “problem child” start to overwhelm and the artist is beginning to feel like are loosing it – they just need to look at the list and decide which practice listed best fits the situation.

      Water miscible oils: It is a bit early for me to be able to tell what I think. What I like is the clean up and no solvents. What I don’t like is getting the right consistency of workable paint on the brush. I may start using linseed oil (also special to kind to use with these paints) and drying agent. This next painting I am going to do some more experimenting with materials to see if I can find the edges of their capacity. Also the paint feels a bit flat and it absorbs rather than reflects light like crazy – that might be my issue though not the paints issue. I will no more after I do a few more paintings and get use to the brain shift in painting with oils. I am having a lot of fun though:)

  6. hi terrill, long time no see ur blog..i’m sorry for late replying..
    btw what a great painting terrill and i like the painting process photos. i would never stop to say that u’re so tallented.
    hm..terrill,i have to think extra hard to answer all of ur sprout question. coz those have relation with creativity( u know my problem). well,about problem child, i will take over their attention to something interesting ( it always works) and treat them as our friend.
    why u never show ur self on ur post terr? i’m so curious bout ur photos. my special request, show it on ur next post terr 😉

    • Wulan great sprout and I like that you treat your problem children as friends… – I may argue with mine but no one else is allowed:)

      I very seldom (as you can tell post photos of me). I am a 51 year old, plump, middle-aged woman who would have bankrupted the beauty industry years ago if they were counting on my financial contribution to their products. I am a woman of simplicity and comfort – flat walking shoes or bare toes, long uncoloured hair and no makeup. Though on occasion such as our recent marriage I do “dress up.” I will however, think about your request and maybe do a collage of photos or something for the “about Terrill Welch” page. No promises though!

      Thank you for dropping in Wulan:)

  7. Hi, Terrill, I really enjoyed the process and progress and of course, the Life in the finished work. I quit using oils in the 70’s because the solvents gave me a headache and turned to acrylics. They just didn’t have the color punch or texture that I loved with oils. Now I am starting again in graphite.

    • I do some work in charcoal and graphite as well Sandi – because it moves like paint for me. I didn’t like acrylics at all and ended up sticking with water colours. If you can find someone who is using the water misible oils and try being in the room with them – they are the closest to regular oil paints. Still smell like linseed oil – but no solvents.

      So glad you dropped in Sandi and hope you get a chance to come by again – and feel free to leave links to your work. I really enjoy dropping in and seeing what other people are doing.

  8. Pingback: First Terrill Welch Original Oil Painting in Sale East Point Cliffs « Creativepotager's Blog

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