A painting starts with a humble beginning – reminding me of Séraphine

Darkness is settling heavily down on an already soggy afternoon. I have worked with my daylight lamp most of the day, finishing a painting and then touching up a new one and an older one. Now, I am roughing in a 30 X 40 inch oil on canvas tentatively called REACHING THE SEA. Each painting starts with a humble beginning, filled with hope and possibility. I love this stage. It is easy to put expectations aside. Later I will have to be firm about staying in the process but not now.

It doesn’t look like much yet and as I struggled to get quick shot of it to share with you, I wished for more light. For some reason, this reminded me of the French Artist Séraphine Louis, also know as “Séraphine de Senlis,” who would work during the day as domestic worker – and then she would paint by candle light late into the night. She also had to find and buy the ingredients to mix her own paints. At this moment, I hug my digital camera and give thanks for my daylight lamp, my prepared paints and canvas, and the luxury of being able to focus just on my art.

SEED: Who is Séraphine de Senlis? I first became acquainted with her through the 2008 French film Séraphine directed by Martin Provost. Sam Juliano from Wonders in the Dark was the first to bring the film to my attention. Yolande Moreau is brilliant as Séraphine and the film won seven French Cesars (Oscars). But who is Séraphine – the artist born in 1864 and who died in a mental institute in 1942? I am off to find out!

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at http://terrillwelchartist.com

12 thoughts on “A painting starts with a humble beginning – reminding me of Séraphine

  1. This is an honor, to see the humble beginnings. It’s like watching a child grow, very intimate. And now, now that we here in the northern hemisphere anyway, are approaching knee deep cold and all hunkered down in our trenches of illusioned security, it is a lovely and wonderful thing to cozy up with the new heartbeat of life in utero. Thank you Terrill.

  2. I had to write a brief study of Seraphine for my arts appreciation paper in High School and I have watched the film which was lovely….lots of her paint was from the butcher shop…

    Nice post…and Alison’s comment is lovely too…
    Always a pleasure

    • I remember the butcher shop from the movie as well Patricia. Mixing paint to use is something I have a hard time even imagining. Can you imagine how secret the mix must have been if everyone had to make their own? I have other artists ask about how I get some colour or other now, it must have been quite something before we could buy our paint in a tube.

  3. Thank you for allowing me to peek over your shoulder, Terrill. And I am oh so intrigued by Seraphine…but too laz…um…er busy. Yes, let’s go with busy. And, so, wait to hear what you discover. : )

    • What a great idea Tracey. I usually only share when a painting is complete. We will see. If I stop at an interesting spot maybe I will share a few more glimpses before this on is completed.

  4. Terrill – I well remember the movie — Seraphine — that we watched after you recommended it (gosh, that’s been ages ago). And what a wonderful film it was.

    I, too, am glad that your situation is different from her harsh one and that you get to focus on your art (and then share it with the rest of us)…

    • My pleasure Laurie… looks like we have a wee bit of sun this morning. Change of plan – off for a long walk and out of the studio. We haven’t had sun for awhile so must make photos while the sun shines 🙂

  5. I am so thrilled you made reference to Seraphine here Terrill, and have duly been inspired by her work (much as I suspected you would be). Thanks so very much too for the kind acknowledgement here, though as always you took the ball yourself and ran with it. No doubt the life of the real Seraphine must truly be even more fascinating than the film version. Yolande Moreau was extraordinary, and the film really left a lasting impression.

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