Hot Coals

Original oil paintings in progress…

First painting.

Forest 1

Forest 2

Forest 3

Forest 4

Second Painting.

Orange Sea 1

Orange Sea 2

The best cooking fire is hot coals because they provide a body of even heat which will penetrate and cook without burning your food. Sometimes painting is like this for me. At first the flames of an idea blaze with excitement and I paint away with nothing but burnt remnants to show for my efforts. But sometimes I need to build a good fire first so that there are enough coals for a long cooking process.  The painting Forest needs a good bed of coals to accommodate its density. The painting Orange Sea requires that I steadily add a stick or two at a time so that it can simmer without boiling over. Neither painting is finished. They are still cooking.


Sprout question: What kind of creative fire are you cooking with today?


© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada


24 thoughts on “Hot Coals

  1. Terrill, these are are truly magnificent and further evidence of your maturation as a painter. I’ve never had an adequate grasp of the actual process until you revealed your step by step additions/embellishments. It’s a glorious work in progress, and my eyes are negotiating some intoxicating wonderments! Stupendous work.

    • Thank you Sam! Your enjoyment and encouragement is such a joy to receive.

      Every artist has her or his own process. This just happens to be mine. I have watched artists paint a painting from top to bottom as if they were a human inkjet printer. Other artists sketch in the main elements of the painting first and then carefully add their paint while paying attention to the paintings precise structure. Still other artists liberally apply paint to capture nothing more than the essence of a view, concept or idea or sometimes simple to enjoy the interaction of colours and textures. We are all unique human beings and our artistic marks are like our personal fingerprints – no two are exactly the same.

  2. Oh yes, my own creative juices are flowing today as I will be introducing and reading the brand new Caldecott Medal winners, announced this past Monday by the American Library Association. The Caldecotts of course, honor the finest in children’s book illustrations, and I know as an artist yourself you would find much joy in the selection.

    The three winners are:

    A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Stead) GOLD
    Dave the Potter (Collier) SILVER
    Interrupting Chicken (Stein) SILVER

    • Thanks for these Sam. I shall check them out. The titles have me curious right from the start. My first training was in Early Childhood Education and I worked with families and children in various capacities right up to 1994. So I love a good children’s book as much as any other.

      p.s. I just put live links in for each book. Two are Amazon and one is a New York Times review. Hope you don’t mind.

      • Mind? I think that’s terrific Terrill!!!

        “Interrupting Chicken” was a huge hit in the classes today! That would be a great choice for your grandkids. Funny, engaging and adorable.

        It should be mentioned that the committee is normally very stringent with teh number of silver medals they give every year. This year they only gave teh two, when in other years they have given 3 and even 4. Three outstanding books (and I mean superb illustrations and craftsmanship) that missed the cut this year are:

        Amos & Max (David Wiesner)
        Flora’s Windy Day (Birdsall, Pheager)
        Chalk (Thomson)

        As the first of these three is about being a apainter/artist, Terrill, I urge you to check out some of the pictures. They are absolutely stunning! Wiesner has already won 3 gold medals (tied for the most ever) and two silver, so they just didn’t want to keep making him win every year.

  3. Wow – you are burning with creative fire and producing beautiful results!

    This morning I was kind of simmering away whilst I finished a piece of art. This afternoon I feel like I’ve let the embers die out I feel so exhausted. And then of course I feel disappointed in myself (which is not helpful). I’ve just been doing the banking & bills, which I hate doing, so now feel completely depleted. So my next idea is to maybe go and take some photos of my ever changing garden to see if that coaxes the embers back to life.

    Of course school’s out in 45 minutes….

    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous painting.
    Kat X

    • You are welcome Kat. The roller coaster ride of creative energy catches us all with its lows as well as its highs. I sometimes just decide to take a tea break or a walk or a nap during the lows. I believe it is our way of knowing when we need to rest and have more energy coming in rather than going out. Best of luck with your photography shoot Katina. It sounds promising.

  4. Great analogy Terril, shows the degree to which one must cultivate both patience with the process and a trust in it.

    Today my creative soup is sitting on a slightly warm burner, the flame is all but out for now, as the juices meld together. Before adding anything else, or entertaining the notion that I’m hearing the audible voice of completion, I will rest, breathe and wait to stir the pot of creations mix, later.

  5. Terrill – I love the analogy — hot coals — you used in today’s post to explain the process of painting “Forest” and “Orange Sea.” That makes a lot (!) of sense.

    Sprout question: What kind of creative fire are you cooking with today?

    In-between client sessions today I’m re-reading a draft of a chapter that I had used RED ink on yesterday. I wanted to take a night to sleep on things to see what edits I do/don’t agree with today.

    [Said with knowing smile] Terrill, it’s obvious we’ve both learned that sometimes letting things simmer for awhile can enchance the outcome.

  6. So much fun seeing the process and I really like the analogy of the “hot coals.”

    Today my creative fire is quiet and methodical. After taking a break this week from a painting I have been working on for quite awhile and proceeding to wildly paint a bowl of roma tomatoes in various degrees of ripeness, I will return to softly stroking in the fur on the cougar.

    • Sue I find it fascinating how working on a detailed tight piece can have us explode onto another canvas. Swish, swish goes a big brush with complete abandon! Glad you took some time between tomatoes and fir to drop by.

  7. As always a nice blog to visit.
    I am exploring the watercolur effects of Acrylic and though elusive it sort of works quite well on canvas.
    I do like these paintings

    • Thank you Chris. I took a quick trip over to your blog and was fascinated with your exploration. I wonder how it will be once it has been dry for awhile. I have used acrylic on water colour paper using water colour techniques but not on canvas. All the new paints seem to much tough than years ago.

    • You are welcome Patrica. The sun has come out for a bit this afternoon but it doesn’t look like it is staying for very long. Hoping to get out for a good stretch yet this afternoon. We shall see.

  8. I love seeing your process Terrill! It really helps someone who really has no painting process to see. 🙂 My creative fire is sputtering under a headache today.

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