Photographing and Painting seams in time with John Daido Loori

Mist fills the valley and hugs the side of cliff-face and my heart as lights starts to creep into our day. I am not going to take us to this moment though but to another. It is the one where we have already been in the brightness of the dawn on the first day of 2013.

The sun has not quite broken over Saturna Island and the sky is washed in tangerine and cotton candy. I sit waiting for its arrival next to these palm-size clusters of stones being slowly released by the rain and the sea from their sandstone and clay beds. At this moment, it seems, Time is infinite, the sun will never burn out and I shall live forever.

A Meeting by Terrill Welch 2013_01_01 092

Where are we is often a question I ask without a satisfying answer.

where we are by Terrill Welch 2013_01_01 104

However, John Daido Loori‘s work and writing in The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life has certainly taken me further in my exploration in this musing.

“There is no place to search for the truth. Though it’s right beneath your feet, it can’t be found.” – John Daido Loori.

Yet we want to know – the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Instead we must settle for fragments, interpretations and inadequate translations of specifics that will forever escape or fevered inquiring grasp.

Good morning sun by Terrill Welch 2013_01_01 109

Possibly, it is this stumbling to understand that is the appeal of simple mathematics. There is one sun in our solar system. There is one earth. There is one me.

Seams in time by Terrill Welch 2013_01_01 138

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

so close by Terrill Welch 2013_01_01 197

I wonder if he too was trying to unravel the mystery of existence? Could it be it is the driving question of creative beings which is then only veiled in texture, hue, shape and expression?

“Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

Dawn breaks on shore 2013 by Terrill Welch 2013_01_01 253

Which brings us to the idea of “suchness” or “thusness” defined in Zen literature as “a truth, reality, or experince that is impossible to express in words.” John Diado Loori describes it as follows:

It refers to the “that”, “what,” or “it” that is self-evident and does not need explanation. It is essentially being as it is, the all-inclusive reality that is manifested in as a sense of presence… Thusness is the points of two arrows meeting in midair. It is a quality of being that is nondual and does not fall into either side… Suchness is not something added from outside. It is being itself. It is in living life itself. It is the “isness” of a thing, indeed, the isness of existence itself… To bring that sense of thusness into a painting, poem, or piece of music gives it a vitality that is easily experienced, although difficult to pinpoint. It may be only an istant in time, a moment out of the constant flow of life. But to sense thusness and to be able to express it brings it into our own reality.  (p. 141 – 142)

This is the inspiration for my latest large painting ” Even and the Arbutus Tree” which is to wet to share the finished work from yesterday. However, here is an image from an earlier stage for our musing.

Evening and the Arbutus Tree in progress 36 x 60 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_01_03 017

May the moments in your day whisper their presence to you because as we know, the whisper is the easiest to hear.

© 2013 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to


12 thoughts on “Photographing and Painting seams in time with John Daido Loori

  1. Perfect to start the new year’s reads with the magic whisper of your words and brush. Enjoying the silence here while sensing the sound of waves splashing your work onto the planet.

  2. Thank you for these beautiful images, Terrill. I especially like the sky in the painting. To me, it speaks of a tropical climate.
    I know I will continue to mull over your post. Universal truth…half truth… complete truth…truth varies from eye to eye…what is real…how do you see it…convey it…live it…
    So many questions. Only if we open our minds will we learn.

  3. Terrill,

    I have to say those are some of the most luscious photographs I have ever seen! I could just set here and meditate on those for sometime, than to take in the words and language shared here is another contemplative experience. Which I will return to in the next few hours or days, to drink in, to fill my well.

    • Thank you Jeff. This process of photographing a more macro scope of my environment, of waves and rocks is almost always part of any landscape photo shoot but I rarely ever share the resulting images. They are the quick sketches that linger off to the edges of other finished photographs and related paintings.

  4. Stunning words and thoughts – magnificent photographs, where they meet the heart touches
    I am missing the beach walks – I must go but I will keep within my pause here..thus

  5. Visual rapture, and I must say I love the Picasso and Einstein quotes! Glad you usher in the New Year with the poetic post and wish you a twelve-month period of creativity and accomplishment Terrill.

    • Thank you Sam. I am thinking it will be a quieter year. One of deeper digging and strengthening my expression in painting and photography. We shall see. I am going to attempt to take us all along on this journey so it shall likely result in more posts such as this one.

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