A Week Painting

Following my intentions on a sunny Monday morning, I have my inspiration image set up and I am ready to squeeze out a few colours.

But the shadows! Gurrr!

I usually can move a smaller canvas around to avoid such things. This large 36 X 48 inch canvas has no room to move in my small studio space. Well, nothing to do but get started. I will see if I can work with it at least to get the underpainting done.

There is something absolutely exhilarating about putting those first strokes of paint on a canvas. The fact that this is a $72.00 canvas only has me swallow hard twice and mutter “be BOLD!” I work away fighting the shadows every step of the way until I have the painting roughed in.

This is about as much as I can do between holding a portable light that has a yellow glare and the shadows. I have come to the end of what I can do in the studio with natural light.

Note the bottom right hand corner and how heavily it is in shadowed. Not good I tell you. It is not good. What to do? I sleep on it – for two sleeps while the underpainting sets up.

It is cool outside on Wednesday but above freezing. I decide to move outdoors to the covered deck overlooking the valley.

It is a lovely place to work. No shadows here.

But it is rather cool and the water miscible oil paints are stiffer than I would like. I decide to keep working.

Here you can see the results from working in the studio with the heavy shadow on the bottom right hand corner. But it is only paint and fixable. I am now starting to lose my light. Where did the day go?

I am pleased. There are lots of problems still to resolve – like my cold fingers. But it is a good start.

Thursday I wake to heavy rains. I wait hoping it will brighten up. At 10:30 am I go upstairs to the studio thinking I will write instead of paint. But you see, the brushes and paint and painting are right there. I start dabbing away. Pretty soon I have the painting hauled back out on the deck. Four hours later I stop.

It is not finished but needs to rest for awhile. I will work on another painting next week and look at it out of the corner of my eye – with satisfaction.

Sprout question: What is encouraging you to smile with satisfaction?

Oh! We have a party invitation for Monday January 10, 2011 over on Leanne Dyck’s Blog at http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com Leanne is throwing a virtual bash to celebrate the e-book publication of her thriller The Sweater Curse. Please drop over leave a comment, share your favourite party food or punch recipe and a link to a great tune. Congratulations Leanne!

© 2011 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

37 thoughts on “A Week Painting

  1. Terrill,

    Thank you so much for sharing this process! You have faced the challenges head on and kept right on working! Good for you! I like what I see so far.
    Your example is encouraging me to smile with Satisfaction!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • You are welcome Jeff and thank you! Yes there were a good many challenges.

      I had a dream last night that I put my paints on a heating pad turned to low to keep them warm. I woke this morning thinking it just might work. Has anyone else tried anything like this with their oil paints?

  2. I admire anyone who can paint or draw — it’s a skill set I don’t have — and this post is dynamic and alive for me as I feel your creativity moving through this new painting! Excellent work and thanks for sharing your gifts with the world! We need more beauty … we need more peaceful souls able to move beyond controversy and conflict to create something that honors the Universe so brilliantly!
    Sending gratitude for your work from SunnyRoomStudio … namaste.

    • Daisy what a lovely thing to say! All that from my spending the week painting my beloved trees. I suppose it is true. When we spend our time resolving real problems in our creative process we are less likely to be in conflict or worrying about what someone else is doing. I tend skip much or most of the drama in life anyway as peaceful living feeds me in while conflict drains my energy and impairs my creative expression.

      Dear readers Daisy has received my guest post material and it will be shining on the SunnyRoomStudio blog soon. I will let you know when it is up.

  3. I loved seeing the process of some trees advancing and others receding as the painting progressed. Good work and perseverance! I have put a daylight bulb in a swing arm light that attaches to my easel to help with shadows. The background logs in my cougar painting make me smile with satisfaction as I grumble through doing the fur on the cougar!

    • Sue I am so curious about your cougar. I can’t image the patience it takes to paint fur so that the muscles ripple underneath it. I will check out possible daylight bulbs when I go to town the next time. The days are so short during the winter. Good to hear form you as always!

  4. Terrill – This step-by-step show and tell is so darn cool I can hardly stand it! Thank you for taking the time to do this for your readers. All week I was wondering, “What’s Terrill up to?” And now I know!

    Sprout question: What is encouraging you to smile with satisfaction?

    Less than a half hour ago I was invited to an “Angel Blessing” that I will receive more information about this afternoon. The little bit that I do know sounds very, very interesting.

    And then on the heels of that invitation, I receive another one to celebtate over at Leanne Dyck’s blog. Whoohoo! I will head over to those festivities right after my next client.

    • Your “Angel Blessing” sounds fascinating Laurie. You are right I haven’t been online much this week. Which is okay. Some weeks are like that. But as you can see I have been productive none the less.

  5. I enjoy seeing your progressive paintings…it is coming along very well. I was going to take pictures on a pastel I did for our son’s housewarming present we gave at Christmas. I put a fine sand into wet acrylic on watercolor paper for the background. That gave a some serious tooth for the pastels and added a very interesting texture to the final piece. To see his delight in the piece made me smile with satisfaction!

    What makes me smile with satisfaction now? I got a chance to work outside for two rock wall sessions this week, in spite of the wet, I was out yesterday for 3 hours. Rock work is my favorite thearpy session. The beginning of my latest rock wall is posted on my blog.last Monday.

  6. Terrill, I enjoyed peeking over your corner as you worked. For me, it was like watching a wizard conjure. I’m amazed at how you’ve begun to capture that beautiful scene on that blank canvas.

    And about the party…
    This is my first book that has been published by a publishing house. Decadent Publishing is so supportive. And I’m so excited. All that energy had to go somewhere. So, I thought, I have to throw a party. No, not just a party–a huge party. I want the world to attend. Please do drop by http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com on January 10th.

    • Leanne I heard Laurie was already headed over. Make sure she has something to eat first or she will be leaning up against door jam by the time we get there on Monday! Such a party animal 🙂 Not really Laurie but it is fun to tease.

      Some artist paint like an inkjet printer from top to bottom. They are able to see in their minds eye exactly where every brush stroke and paint colour is suppose to go. Not me. I work the whole canvas from beginning to end, building up the image until it “appears” and “comes alive.” With a larger canvas this becomes more of a challenge but the it helps to use larger brushes for a larger canvas and then go smaller later if wanting a bit more detail.

  7. It is fascinating to be able to see the stages of painting – thanks for sharing. It is already looking beautiful. I look forward to seeing more. You inspire me to learn more and aspire to your level of artistic skill.

    Everytime I catch glimpses of where you live I am in awe. It looks like my dream come true. And when you talk about painting and writing in your studio it all sounds wonderful.

    Kat 🙂

    • You are welcome Katina. Each artist develops there own process. Part of my training is to work the whole canvas forward to a finish. It is also a style that fits with me personally. I very seldom sketch anything in before painting so it always leave the process of “finding” the details and composition on the canvas surface. If I work a painting too far it loses its energy and flow. It will also move for to representational rather than impressionistic in style. I like to keep the looseness or ruddiness in a work so the viewer also has to feel their way in after being captured by their first glance.

      Where I live Katina is about a third of the way up a hill just not far below a cliff wall. We over look a Meadowmist Farm which often has sheep and goats in the fields. You can see not house from our windows. If you know where to look there is a little patch of road visible on the far side of the valley. If we are watching 3 or 5 cars will go by when the ferry is coming and going. Other than that the traffic is sparse on an island with about 1,000 year round residents. Yesterday we watch a nighthawk preen itself while sitting on a dead treetop in view of the bedroom and kitchen window. Later in the day a deer was browsing in the salal near the bird feeder on the other side of the deer fence. We are a 30 minute walk to the ocean and you can drive anywhere on the island in less than 30 minutes and not go over 50 km per hour – which is wise because of deer, cyclists and people walking along the narrow hilly roads going through the tall timber. Mayne Island is a farming island with 17 independent small farms offering fruit, vegetables, lamb, chicken, eggs, and some grass-fed beef. Many people have bought their property 20 and 30 years ago and come for weekend until they could retire or have had it passed down in their family. A few like us have come when we retired from our first careers. There are a small number young families and young single people. Seeing a teenager is a rare sighting. I think something like 80% of people are over the age of 50 which is not necessarily a good thing but something that has been the situation for a long time. In someways we are an island of recluses. Privacy and preservation are high values. New developments of any kind come with high resistance and are often stopped before they can get started. We have the essential services for hardware, groceries, gas, post office and on-island luxuries such as liquor, DVD rentals, garage repair, bookstore, clothing store, kitchen & garden store, hair cuts, nails and facial plus a few restaurants. We live without television and catch what news we need online. Life is quiet and contemplative most of the time as we decide what to grow in the garden and how we will finish the greenhouse. We have been here for over three and half years and still wake up everyday with that sense of wonder, peace and pinch-yourself-pleasure of knowing we are in the best place for us.

      • After visiting the Meadowmist website I’m now tempted to have a pet goat – they look so cute & cheeky. Lol. I want to take a long holiday on Mayne island; it looks like a place I would love. And think of all the photos, writing and creative inspiration. And surely it would be great for my health. I wonder if the NHS would do a prescription…..it would surely be cheaper than all the medication they’re always pushing. I’ll suggest the idea!Lol.

        Kat 🙂

        • Kat there is something about sea air, long walks and simplicity that seems to be great for all of our health. People with arthritis do find the damp winters are sometimes irritable. That is why from now until Easter there are only us hardy folks wintering over with the potential for high winds and power outages which have been few and far between this winter – so far.

          Dear readers do I have treat for you. Do you remember Daisy Hickman from SunnyRoomStudio who often comments here on Creative Potager? Well she asked me if I would be willing to do a guest post on her lovely blog. It is up now and you are welcome to drop in for a read of “First Light” There is even a Sprout Questions so please leave a comment and enjoy the space Daisy has prepared for us.

  8. Very interesting – gave me an AH kind of feeling…

    sprout question – made very smile satisfying split pea soup today – tunny satisfying too
    enough to share with the neighbors

  9. This post is one of the most striking you have ever offered up at the site. This step-by-step navigation of the painting process reveals the natural artistic progression, in addition to the anxieties, evinced in the remarks between the additions. Right from the start you were under the gun with that high price tag on the canvas, but it’s clear from the final drawing ar rest time that you have something magnificent here. Terrifc work for a single session, and well worth that satisfying look from the corner of your eye!

    My own satisfaction was hearing that my oldest child, Melanie Jane, made the honor roll this semester. She is a ninth-grader, attending her first year of high school.

    • Sam congratulations to Melanie Jane! Grade nine is not an easy year. Well done! Thanks for the post. I wasn’t sure it would be of interest to readers following me along as I work but it seems to be. I thought of you this week as we watched Dodes’ka-den (1970) Akira Kurosawa’s first colour film and then last night again when we saw WALKER (1987) directed by Alex Cox. Then I thought of you again as I was reading Walden (1854) by Henry David Thoreau. I hope you don’t mind that you and Wonders in the Dark are so freely associated with our movie and reading adventures.

  10. Congratulations Terrill for moving beyond obstacles so gracefully. Your step-by-step process is completely opposite from the way in which I work, which I find fascinating. I’ve found too that when I have to hunt and peck for the right “studio space” – create it out of nothing – what I do with the light that dances in becomes all the more precious. You and the light did good work this week:)

    At the moment what’s encouraging me to smile with satisfaction is the fact that I’ve successfully rearranged the energies in my house to reflect a more spacious feel. I redistributed art, put the bed on a different wall, hung my black and white photos, shifted desks around etc. I opened up the space just enough so that it feels fresh and inviting – almost feels like I moved. . . . .well I guess in a way, I have.

    • Alison I know! It is absolutely fascinating watching how each artist approaches their subject and how they proceed. I sometime marvel when working together with other artist looking at the same subject and you get as many different interpretations as there are artists in the room.

      Your moving without moving project sounds incredible and seems to have delivered just the results you needed this week Alison. Congratulations!

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  12. If there’s anything I love, it’s watching a painting unfold step by step and you have enhanced this by adding your thoughts along the way.

    As a New Yorker with a tiny apartment, I am super envious at your wonderful work space. I too have a large deck, but there’s no way I could paint out there without a couple of hundred eyes from surrounding buildings spying on my every paint stroke. And for me painting is a pretty private process.

    • Glad you enjoyed the process savvysavingbytes. By the way that is quite the story on your blog about photographing the sculpture 🙂

      Our home is far from urban city life to be sure. No one stares but the deer, an odd raccoon and a large number of birds at the bird feeder. We have no curtains because we need no. However, I feel like I am missing out on visits to great art galleries and the live theater. But it is something I am willing to live with as I can always travel to nearby Vancouver or the small city of Victoria. So in the long run – not much is missed – though I do want to go to New York City someday!

  13. Step by step you’ve taught us something. Thanks. I have a painter friend who lives in Italy. Though I begged her to show me the progress of inspiration to paper she never would. I do understand, since I don’t like anyone looking over my shoulder while I write. I applaud you for sharing.

    • Thank you wolfsrosebud. Because everyone’s painting process is unique to there work I can appreciate why someone might be uncomfortable sharing. However, it is easier to share snapshots of the work in progress than to have someone watching.

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