Far Shore oil painting

18X24″ by 1 3/4″ water miscible oil painting on 100% natural cotton canvas

I worked on this west coast painting much of yesterday afternoon and into the early evening. At one point I move out onto the covered deck because the natural light had faded in my loft studio. I believe it is to the “tweaking” stage or almost or maybe even completely finished. It is resting now and I will begin another while it lingers in the great room as the day’s light passes overhead. I will peer at it every now and then with a critical eye. At a later point I will take another photo for my redbubble account.

As I was working I mused on a couple of ideas. The first is something my son said when we were talking about song writing. He commented on how sometimes it is best to leave a song and start a new one that will be better rather than try to fix one that is not working. I think this is true for most creative work. Our learning is cumulative. With a certain amount of detachment, we take the work as far as we can, then release it and start again. Drawings in sand, ice sculptures and cake decorating come to mind as ways we can make marks and practice creative detachment.

Speaking of making marks, this is something humans have been doing for a long time. These markings are telling not only of our present but of our past and our imagined future. There is a collective bandwidth of creativity with most creative work gathered around the centre and much less work being created along the margins or fringes. The great work of the fringes will sometimes move to the centre of the bandwidth and new work will develop along the margins. William Blake , Claude Monet, Walt Whitman come to mind as well-known artist who worked in the margins of their time and yet held our attention until their work became accepted and even revered, at which point their creative views and style moved into the centre of the creative bandwidth. This process of margin to centre has always fascinated me because some work just falls off the margins and disappears while other creative work is shuffled into the centre. Most of us work comfortably in the full rich stream of the centre. Only some of us are compelled to work in the margins. Work in the margins is often recognizable by the name calling – bad art, lacking technique, improper, breaking the rules and shocking.

Sprout Question: Where would you place your work on the current bandwidth of creativity?

© 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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24 thoughts on “Far Shore oil painting

  1. Great post – I’ll think about it all evening. Always leave interesting loose ends in a painting – gives the eye of the imagination something to finish.

    Like the misty effect coming down a lot.

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  3. Terrill – I feel like I hit the mother load — this post is rich with thought! By the way, I had just about reached my waiting for “Creative Potager fix” limit. I’m awfully glad it’s Thursday.

    Sprout Question: Where would you place work on the current bandwidth of creativity?

    Most of the time I’m smack-dab between the center and the margin. Every now and then I hit a bullseye. I received the following verbiage from my mentor at UW-Madison as it relates to the query letter for my manuscript: “This letter rocks. This will sell you easily. I can’t imagine an editor or agent not wanting to see this book.”

    • Laurie I’m laughing because I am the writer of the blog and I’M “waiting for a “Creative Potager fix” as well… missing our daily conversations about creativity. However, my garden is going to thank me and I just might get enough paintings and photos to fill the walls for my September solo exhibit. Great sprout response and good luck with the query letter!

  4. Have corrected the painting name, and thanks – think you’ve given me a much needed push to get the oils out and develop the art blog. Enjoyed the dip into your book.

    • Wonderful nexi – no time like the present to pull the paints out… I am about to begin another painting… … feels like it might be more abstract but one never knows do we?

  5. Fascinating subject, Terrill. thinking deeply about this. I am wondering now about the margins. I think sometimes I create from the center and sometimes from the margins. Almost always mixing up pronouns (I, we, you) in an attempt to disrupt a fixed view of seeing the world. Also just wrote a blog http://risingnow.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/whisper/ which attempted to express two levels of consciousness. That one would definitely be in the margins. Thank you!

    • I agree Kathy “that one would definitely be in the margins” yet is startling clarity is easily recognizable from within and from without. What a fantastic read. Thank you for leaving us the link. Thank you:)

  6. I like what you said about creative detachment, margins and centers. Your writing is soothing.

    That’s a good question. I think in my area, my work is viewed as in the margin. In the big scheme of things, I’m in the middle.

  7. I love the depth in this painting thank you for sharing it with us.
    Where would I place my art work on the current bandwidth of creativity? i have given this some thought and have not come up with an answer. I have come to some conclusions about the rest of the creative world. the art world is as diverse as it has ever been, only now the full range of creative outlets is more accessible to everyone. Within each Genre of art ( including music design crafts ect.. ) there is a center as well as a fringe and within each genera there are sub categories that have there market and those that are more on the margins or farther from the centre. I think this diversity has been a double edged sword opening up creative markets for many in some areas however it has also diluted it in others.

    • Thank Jerry and your reflections are exactly the kind of thing I have been musing about. Maybe it was once like the old analogy of big fish in a small ponds or big ponds and now we are all just fish in the sea… lots of room for everyone but nothing stands out for long. My son and I were talking about this and it is like an image is seen in a click, person says that’s nice and it is replaced in the next click by another image also nice or great or outstanding…. What stops us long enough to savour and actually experience the creativity of another? I am as guilty as anyone for picking up pebbles in my tweet stream and throwing them back in only to pick up another one. It takes discipline to only view a few photographs, a few paintings, read a few poems and so on. We have access to so much we are like children and keep picking up our toys and dropping them for the next shine one we see just in front of us. Oh…. maybe that is too harsh. Hum, still musing.

  8. Laying deep within this “normal” looking body is a twisted creative mind. One of my favourite books was “Skinny Legs and All”. If you know the book there is no need for me to write more about my non-conforming taste. If you don’t know the book. Go to any library, pick up the book — it won’t bite — and read the back cover.

    When I create I follow some standard. However, it is processed through my mind and so it becomes slightly marginal and yet — of this I am grateful — marketable.

    Making money while I create — how rude — but it is my goal.

    • Leanne I don’t know the book but shall give it a wee search over the weekend. And making money while you create is not rude – it is a necessity unless one is independently wealthy or has a day job. Thank you as always for dropping by and leaving a sprout reply:) Best of the weekend to you.

  9. First of all, I must say that the oil painting there is spectacular. I can seeing this bringing in a large sum at a sale of art works, but this is not my area of expertise I’ll admit. But it’s really an eyeful. What you say here about what your son said is so true:

    “He commented on how sometimes it is best to leave a song and start a new one that will be better rather than try to fix one that is not working. I think this is true for most creative work. Our learning is cumulative. With a certain amount of detachment, we take the work as far as we can, then release it and start again.”

    Hence on the creative bandwidth I still to my mind am on the outer fringes, always lurking around for the inspiration that will lead to an outburst of creativity.

    • Good to see you Sam and thank you for the positive feedback. I finally had a chance to take a good photo of this painting yesterday and replaced the previous one that was posted here.

      When I read “am on the outer fringes, always lurking around for the inspiration” I laughed because that was such a perfect description of how I experience your exploring…. thankfully you share your lurking findings with the rest of us on Wonders In the Dark. By the way, a couple of nights ago we watched the 1950 film Born Yesterday with Judy Holliday. Besides being annoyed at the yelling corrupt millionaire to the point I almost stopped watching about 15 minutes into the film, I was impressed with the depth and strength of character developed in Billie Dawn at a time when “feminist” was not a household word. I have been going around practicing saying “I’ll send for my tings” and making David laugh every time. I found it a powerful movie and one that stays with a person.

      Oops, looks like I got sidetracked from our sprout question… oh well, the joys of conversation:)

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  11. Oh, Terrill – I love the painting and the energy it evokes in me, so much so that the use of the word “bandwidth” causes a volcanic rumble in my experience. ^giggles^

    I guess I need to detach myself from words which have found their way into the lexicon…

    My creativity is primarily along the margins. The people who connect with my work connect deeply and they are the ones I concern myself with the most.

    I think of Emily Dickinson as a woman falling in along the lines with William Blake and Walt Whitman.

    Ahhh, now to settle back into the image and energy of your painting! Thank you!

    • Julie, thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring words about the painting “Far Shore.” Sorry that the word “bandwidth” landed with discord into your experience:) Thank you for the addition of Emily Dickinson.

  12. Your ponderings and question definitely resonated with me. As someone new to painting, and oils specifically, it’s very easy to question what you do, how you do it and to fall into the trap of comparing yourself negatively to those who fall in the centre of the margins…to be reminded that there is a bandwith and that we all need to be true to self is refreshing.

    • Good to hear arweninspirationsaw. and glad that you took the time to comment on this older post. These kinds of sharings are what makes it fun to host a creative community on Creative Potager. Good luck with your painting! 🙂

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