The curved deck and angular presence hints mysteriously as it sails through the trees. I have walked all angles, from the expanse of lawn, to ground zero, where the building towers steep above me. After musing over several possibilities, I settle on this view. There are curves of arbutus held tightly among the straight firs, all cradled by a high shore path. And of course, there is the sea. This is the view that intrigues and keeps me coming back for a second, third and even fifth time.
Except there is one problem. I want the late afternoon light kissing the face of my subject and this is a painting problem that will require some resolve or speculation. Likely it will take both. In January, the later afternoon light doesn’t reach this far. The sun slips behind a slight hill before it can make it around to this northwesterly cove. I am stuck. I am left waiting for the earth to turn itself into a longer day. What to do?
Well, I could just wait… but the canvas size has been decided… and I shall head to the city to pick the 30 x 40 inch surface tomorrow afternoon and I do so want to get started. I have ideas for this work! The brushes are splashing paint around so violently in my head that a shipwreck might occur if I don’t begin. So then, a painter must start with what she has.
I had planned to dive right in, using only my 30 or so photography references from three different shoots, for this painting. But in light of the slowly-turning-earth towards longer days and a higher sun stretching farther westward, I decide a painting sketch to study composition and imagined light effects is in order after all.
The work is raw, rough and full of exploration as I imagine where the light is going to be – eventually. Yet, it is enough to hold my initial ideas – at least until I can get an underpainting on the large canvas anyway. The small study is my “notes to self” and the brushes are now temporarily quiet in their jars. We have successfully avoided becoming marooned on a sandbar during the violent seas of my imagination. Hopefully, it is clear sailing, with just the right breeze of suggestion, from here to our destination.
House in the Trees Study – 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch
It truly is not much of a reference but I believe it will be enough to contemplate while I work up an underpainting next week. Then I will go back each week and see how the sun is doing as it labors to set a little farther west each day. I might be asking too much of myself to wait for it. We will see. Maybe by the time the work is blocked in, the sun will be ready? Here is hoping!
What might YOU be waiting and preparing for at the same time?
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