Red Poppy Serenity Oil Painting

The red poppy oil painting “Serenity by the Sea”

is from a specific day at the end of May in the year 2017 on the island of Galiano off the Southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada.

The mist turns to a light drizzle as I sit on a low chair looking out past the cedars to yet other islands across the sea. What can possibly cut through these west coast greys? Then I remembered.

Earlier in the day I had seen large red poppies growing in the garden near the water.

“I wonder!?” I said to myself.

Slipping on a raincoat and garden clogs I stuffed my way-too-large iphone in my hip pocket and my big camera with its rain cover over my shoulder. It is about 5:00 am and the sun is still high enough in the west to push its way through the low clouds, providing a noticeable filtered light. But it is not enough to keep the warm greys using the big camera. Those gorgeous greys were running into the blues. But the iPhone 7 plus seems to get the idea. I gather several references images with both devices and find one that I particularly like.

Six days later, I am back in the studio and have mulled the idea over long enough to pull out a canvas and get started. The method is straightforward.

Start with a ground that will pull on those muted tones and make a few modest marks to guide the composition.

Establish the relationship between the sky and the light reflecting off the water.

Drop the darks unceremoniously into place.

Leave the red ones for last and keep the brushstrokes simple, clean and decisive.

Work in the highlights, stems and texture of the lower foliage, using a painting knife as needed. Then stand back, one last time, and ensure there is a humming kind harmony of emotion and aliveness to the work.

Yes, I think we are there!

Serenity by the Sea “resting” 18 x 14 oil on canvas

As usual, the painting needs to rest and dry before it is considered finished. I intended this work to be a composition study for a larger painting. However, I may have said all I need to say in this one. Painting the subject larger won’t make for a better painting. It will just be bigger. Yet, I am not completely sure if I want to give up on splashing large amounts of red around on huge surface though. I shall think about it for a while and see. In the mean time…

What bright spots have cut through your grey moments of late?

© 2017 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

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15 thoughts on “Red Poppy Serenity Oil Painting

  1. I would love to be splashing red paint across a large canvas! I have this image in my mind, that wish to do something big and I don’t paint! What the heck is that?
    I love this painting, and of course always enjoy your simple explanations which are not simple in execution of creating a beautiful painting…

    • I can just see you with a big canvas set up in your apartment Jeff and about to dip a large brush into a half gallon of red paint. When I painted a red ground on a large canvas last winter David kept telling me it was done and I should leave it just like that! So you could just have a square of red to enjoy you know. 🙂

      Painting is mostly learning how to do it in a method that pleases you and then it takes lots of practise… and space! I am looking around my loft studio this morning as I prepare for the next solo show of mostly new work that has a total of about 24 pieces. I can barely find room to turn around and the is definitely not enough to work properly. Which means even for this smaller canvas I was down in the great room yesterday.

    • There is a healing story that is like an emotional underpainting that belongs to this painting Alexious but it is not my story to tell. Your response to the work resonates with that story.

    • I always think of you Laurie when I am doing these work-in-progress posts. Glad you enjoyed the splash of red… which is mostly Indian Yellow but we will keep that secret between us!

    • I hope you don’t find the same collection bits in this painting as you might under the corner of one of my rugs Leanne 😉 I know what you mean though. I love seeing how things are done. Glass blowing is a favourite thing to watch.

  2. Oh! The poppies have to be my favourite of all your works! I love any colour as long as it’s red – what a pretty way to celebrate its joie de vivre.

    • Thanks Mic! And good to hear from you 🙂 I suppose it is true I do not often have subject where red is left in its most purest form on the canvas. Flowers are about it and the red gate. Glad you enjoy it.

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