By now you may have guessed, as a Canadian artist, I often have conversations strangers about my work when I am traveling. It comes with geographic proximity to my landscape subjects and other human beings. These engagements are frequently brief and fleeting in nature but this does not diminish their impact as a kind of concrete gentle-kindness to fortify my solitude as I put brush to canvas over and over again.
This same kind of engagement also happens through the vast and complex inter-connectedness of the world-wide-web.
Oh, I suppose could tell you about new works painted, several art shows and painting sales in the month since I have been home (my website has this information if it is desired). But, it has also been an unprecedented time of quiet recognition of my work. Complete strangers often contacted me to make requests about sharing my work elsewhere online. In the process, they frequently articulated why they wish to do so. Sometimes their words leave me rather stunned and deeply humbled with gratitude. Here are a couple of brief snippets as examples…
Received in my inbox today:
“I discovered your paintings from a Google image search of paintings of the Canadian coast. I grew up in ….. BC and spent much time sailing through Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands. You’re paintings truly capture much of the beauty inherent in the
region. I was wondering if I could share one….”
Fog Inside Passage 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas
Details and purchase information available HERE.
What do you think my answer was to this request!?
And here is part of a public comment this week on my TerrillWelchArtist.com website contact page:
“I have to tell you –though I hesitated to write this because I did not want to provoke anything which might disturb whatever wonderful thing it is that enables you to produce these works–I have spent numerous hours at the Musée du Quai d’Orsay fixed on one or another impressionist painting–usually one by Van Gogh. Your paintings have a similar effect. Your artistic sensibilities, while uniquely yours, seem to have a resonance with what I see communicated through Van Gogh’s pieces. Please don’t take offense at a comparison. Your work is truly original and beautiful–as is his. No mere imitator of Van Gogh, however talented, could ever hope to match this peculiar sensibility. I’m convinced that it must be something innately shared and, for me, your work expresses it in a way that’s of course your own. But these works could easily hang beside anything in the Orsay’s permanent collection.
It is no wonder to me that collectors snap up your paintings as soon as you finish them. If I had a fortune or was a curator at a major museum, I’d be collecting your paintings with the same interest that I’d have for any work by Van Gogh or Matisse or Raoul Dufy.”
One of the paintings of particular interest to this individual is Spring Tea, 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas, one of three paintings showing this weekend on Mayne Island at “La Vida Rústica” — multi-disciplinary reflections on the rustic life.
Well, I must say, I really don’t know what to say when faced with such frank remarks…. except thank you, thank you – Thank You!
What is particularly powerful and meaningful to me is the clarity with which the paintings moved these commenters – it is as if the brushstrokes were felt even more than they were seen. There is no higher compliment or recognition as a painter I could ever wish for my work. This is a clean and perfect match to my intention and the driving force that brings me back to the studio again and again.
May the painting continue, without interference, and yet gently supported by the words of strangers!
On that note, I think we shall conclude with one of the latest paintings and the first large works from Prince Edward Island the East Coast of Canada.
Can you share a time when you were moved by the insight and kindness of a stranger?
© 2016 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com
10 thoughts on “In the Words of Strangers”
Your beautiful work desires this recognition and praises, Terrill.
Although not actually a stranger, but a passing comment shifted the focus of my current work.
I have many happy memories of sharing picture books with children–as I worked as a Early Childhood Educator for many years–but it wasn’t until I heard…
“Hey, Leanne have you ever thought of writing picture books?”
that I began thinking… Oh, yeah, picture books…that might be fun to try.
And know what? They are. : )
I can image that they are fun Leanne and possibly it is sometimes just a voice other than our own that makes them a stranger. And thank you 🙂
Such well deserved recognition and wholeheartedly agree with the praise and descriptions of your work! To answer your question, while there hav been more flowery and extended compliments on my work, the one that has touched me deeply and stayed with me was a simple “This is a surprising encounter with sacred joy” from a total stranger writing in a guest book at one of my solo shows. Doesn’t get any better than that. When I doubt myself and my direction in art that line always reminds me to stay the course.
How perfect Chiarina! This matches my experience of your work, though the elegance of these words are unique to the person who left them in you guest book. I think the we sometimes think that our responses to art and artists (or person’s original work) is a throwaway but so often this is not the case. Sometimes, like for you a few words that ring true stay with us for years. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and I encourage readers to drop by your website and have a look at your work for themselves at https://chiaink.wordpress.com/
Thank you for your kind, and as always, generous words, Terrill, and for the link to my blog too! Hope you are enjoying the summer that has finally arrived here!
My pleasure! 🙂
Terrill — A longtime fan of your photography and painting, the gift of accolades you received are apropos of your remarkable artwork!
Thank you Laurie and it has been a pleasure to share our journey’s these many years. 🙂
Terrill, your own generosity of spirit and your great works has been well established, and I know well what your answer would be to the first question from one of your fervent admirers. I recently received a beautiful package of cinematic masterpieces from my site colleague who much desired to share his bounty in the manner that coincides with his boundless level of appreciation. 🙂
Anothe ravishing post here in every sense.
Sam, I treasure our connection and your years of sharing the best life has to offer in the arts! It is good, very good infact! 🙂