If I were an owl

If I were an owl I would spend a lot of time looking at the middle of trees, as I dozed away an afternoon. The view we have of our big fir trees is like that. I set my easel up on the west deck and decided to paint an owl’s view.

The big easel I’m using was a gift from my parents the year I graduated from high school. That was awhile ago. I’ve packed and moved it so many times I don’t even care to count. It’s a treasure.

Now back to an owl’s view….I started with one of my favourite yellow-orange underpaintings but neglected to take that first photo when it was set aside to dry. Here is the next pause in painting.

And the next.

Then I made a mistake. I didn’t let it cure long enough… only a couple of days. I just couldn’t wait. So I painted. And I painted. And I painted some more….

It was okay but the painting had lost its life. The darker and more vibrant colours had lifted and mixed in with the lighter ones I was painting. Basically, I had a muddy gray mess. I was pretty sad and I felt kind of silly. I knew I couldn’t work the painting that hard so soon and I stubbornly did it anyway. So this time I left it sit for a couple of weeks. I looked at. I mused and I considered.

Did I want to try and breathe life back into it or should I just leave its carcass on the canvas?

Ah, what the heck nothing much too loose. I gave it another try.  Here are the results.

View and purchase print of original here.

18X24 by 2 inch 100% cotton canvas water miscible oil painting.

Now I am happy. I love painting trees. Just for fun, here is a close up of one of my favourite parts of the painting. I decided it would make a nice card or print in its own right.

View and purchase print of original here.

Sprout Question: Do you have a favourite subject that has kept you creative company for years?

Note: these images are available at my online store front http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch for viewing and purchase. But they seem to be having some website issues this morning so I will go back and make direct links for you later today.

© 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 “If I were an owl

  1. It’s interesting to see the stages of this painting. What a difference it made, after you’d decided to return to the painting! The life is definitely back.
    By favorite subject, I assume you mean something that has informed, influenced, or appeared in the work? In art school, it was tree trunks and branches. After graduation, it was pears that I painted; they were symbolic in the work. And later on to windows and doorways painted metaphorically, not literally….And finally, water has informed my art for the past few years.

    • Stephanie this painting is probably one of my favourite views from your home. I have taken endless photographs and not been happy with them so I decided to do a painting instead under the illusion that I would have more control… yet now that the painting is done I am glad I tackled the problem.

      Yes you are right this is what I meant in my sprout question and what a great detailed response… this is exactly what I was referring. Thank you so much for coming by.

    • thank you Christine…

      I think the effort to go back in and try again is a decision one has to make painting by painting. Sometimes we are just done what we need to do even though the result is not satisfying. I am always willing to say “no… leave it be… it was a learning, now move on to what is next.” Yet other times, I am just not done with it!

  2. Terrill – Your working view is spectacular, and unlike the owl, you didn’t sleep your day away. You were busy putting your gifts and talents to good use creating. I liked your “mistake” — it looked like trees through a fog or mist. But I love the finished version of Owl’s View, and the slice you lifted out for cards.

    Sprout Question: Do you have a favourite subject that has kept you creative company for years?

    Spiritual awareness is my creative companion.

  3. Yep, Terrill, it’s exceedingly arresting work here, and I love that owl lead-in. That easel is surely a treasure, as you go back a long way with it. I’m curious as to the color vision capabilities of owls, creatures that are of course in possession of extraordinary binocular eyesight that is equally as pronounced in the day as it is at night.
    I am very fond of Van Gogh’s “Mulberry Tree” oil painting, a stunning work that brings a range of emotions.
    http://www.amazon.com/Vincent-Van-Gogh-Mulberry-Handpainted/dp/B000H7LPGO

    As to the sprout question, there is nothing better than having someone to discuss your passions with, and as of late I’ve engaged in some enriching discourse with an online admirer of opera. Great stuff!

  4. I love how you salvaged the painting… and especially liked the last photo of the close up! Very nice.

    The subject that keeps me coming back is flowers and landscapes with flowers… or grasses.

    I just need more time to get back into the paint. At last our home renovations are done… and my life has returned to normal again, so I can blog again.

    • Sherwin I was wondering where you had disappeared… here it was to land of home renovations. I’m glad you found your way back and all that hard work is behind you. Thank you for your sprout and I’m looking forward to your blog posts.

  5. It is utterly fascinating watching how you paint. I never really considered painting before–and the frustration that must accompany painting something which feels “wrong” or not yet “right”.

    As a non-painter it feels like you would have to throw away your entire project–yet, you show us that by staying present with the painting, you are able to continue working until you finally feel its “rightness”.

    This is so valuable to witness. I also love your title very much. It sounded so intriguing…

    • Thanks Kathy and as many a painter will tell you… sometimes the painting can’t be salvaged or at least not salvaged to the artist’s satisfaction. In those situation I find it wise to start again. It is a little like a guessing game that you get better at with practice. I am glad you enjoyed the journey with me. And sometimes your mistakes are your best learning and can really propel you forward in your skill development. Besides, you might find out something new that was completely unintended that works for you.

  6. That’s one great view and it always surprises me when, if you step back from a project and let it go for awhile, a spark returns and it finishes, actually looking better than intended in the first place.

    Nicely done and hope all is well! Cheers!

  7. OH! My favorite was the grayed one! lol
    My jaw dropped and I said aloud….HOW could she?!?!!? hehe
    Put down my favorite perspective, besides I was all caught up in thinking and seeing like an owl there, and the perspective shifted.

    As for the Sprout question: The Tree Place, though I think you wanted a specific item within such a large area, so, I’ll say the water on the rocks at the dock area of The Tree Place.

    • Elisa I get more curious about “The Tree Place” the more you tell us about it. Your comment about “the grayed one” being your favourite reminds me of a statement I believe is attributed to Paul Gardner – that a painting is never finished: it just stops in interesting places. The grayed one was okay but just not the image I was seeking to paint. So there you have it… with digital records there is still “the gray one.”

      • i KNOW!!!! And I am soooooooo happy that I can click away and back upon it as freely as I like and again with each mood to enjoy again the weeeeeeeee of my insides as I smell the woods and listen to the bird off in the distance. Did you know, that I am legally blind without my glasses and that this particular image is very much what I literally see, should I remove them while outside?

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  9. Hi Terrill … I found my way here by way of a comment that you left on Laurie Buchanan’s blog about Reiki … love the progression of the work, and how you describe the process of defining what is “finished” or “ruined” or “incomplete”. How you have to either abandon the piece and begin again, or allow it time to tell you in which direction to go in order to find that place where it is finished.

    I am a fan of both the gray version and the finished piece … both of them evoke different emotional responses, and both are enjoyable to view. I especially loved the close-up detail.

    sprout question response: for me, it seems that discovery and exploration fuel my creative energies. Expanding my field of vision. Searching further down the road for the next nugget of information to reveal itself.

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