How To Paint Europe While Traveling Without An Art Studio

One of my major puzzles to solve has been – how shall I continue to paint for the three months we are traveling in Europe starting in April? Photography, no problem, even if my camera bag weighs sixteen pounds with out my toothbrush and two pairs of socks, underwear and a clean t-shirt. The limit is 22 lbs. for carry on luggage. I think I can do it. But painting, how can we make THAT light weight and practical at the same time? Here is my solution….

French Resistance Pochade by Terrill Welch 2014_02_14 092

This is a “French Resistance” Pochade box. It is 10 x 13 x 3 inches and weighs only 3 lbs. The palette is a wee lightweight one I rounded up from another source. I have already purchased Golden Heavy acrylic paints for their drying power over my water-mixable oils and I also picked up a dozen 8 x 10 inch primed panels to get me started. The panels and the little water jar are another find along with the pochade box that I discovered at Judsons Art Outfitters. The pochade box mounts onto my camera tripod but will also sit on a table. The packaging has a little note that says “kiss your French Easel goodbye and start a whole new relationship.” I did giggle. Though wee beauty it NOT likely to lessen my love for my French Box Easel. I am however open to a wild, passionate European fling with this little “French Resistance” pochade 😉 The acrylic paints clean up easily and dry quickly. The acrylics are the best substitute for my oils I could find and though not as rich and flexible, they will do the trick for painting sketches. And their other attributes make them a necessity. This light weight and compact set up means many a painting sketch while we are on the go. I will be able to pick up larger panels up to 16 x 20 inches to use with this pochade though a larger panel will likely mean adding weights to the tripod to keep it upright if it is windy. But to start, I am going to keep it quick and small. These will be painting sketches for reference in painting larger oil paintings when I get back to our home on the southwest coast of Canada. Many of these sketches will likely be en plein air because, well, why not!

Wishing you all a fine week ahead!

What is YOUR major puzzle to solve this week?

p.s. In other news, FOUR photography prints of Mayne Island SOLD to a new collector yesterday and will take up residence in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Yippee! Please feel free to have a browse your self at my Redbubble Storefront.

© 2014 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

Sketching by the Sea – 7 tips for sketching with children

My grandson, Arrow, and I are on vacation over on Saturna Island this week. Yesterday was an overcast. No rain but the light was dull and lacked luster.  Photography and painting en plein air just didn’t seem to be the most appealing activities to undertake. So we did a midday hike at Narvaez Bay for lunch and then went to Winter Cove for some sketching by the sea.

 

Here are our tips for enjoying outdoor sketching:

1. Do physical exercise first – it is much easier to sit or stand for an hour to focus on sketching after a hike. The eyes seem to be able to see better when the body can comfortably be still.

2. Use good quality materials because they are easier and the results are more satisfying.

3. Find a place that offers some privacy where people are not able to walk up behind you. If they come up beside you or in front of you, they are more likely to ask to see your work than stand lurking in the background.

4. Situate yourself at the level or in the perspective that you want to capture your subject. In the photograph above we are almost at water level and in the same relationship to the scene as I would be to photograph.

5. Sit or stand  in such a position that you can see each other sketching without moving. This is extremely effective for easy conversation and learning by observation without interruption.

6. Keep the session short. When interest wanes, take a break. For example, wander around and maybe skip some rocks. Then come back to the sketching.

7. Relax and enjoy. 🙂 Don’t worry about the results or giving more than very basic instruction. Children  will observe and ask questions about what they need to know at that time.

Today, with a bit of luck, we shall have a chance to do some en plein air painting with oils on canvas.

 

SPROUT: What tip would you offer if introducing your favourite creative activity to children?

 

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

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

As the Lights Flickered


It is an ordinary charcoal and conte quick sketch that I stretched from 10 minutes into 20 by ignoring the next pose. It wasn’t well placed as the head is at the edge of the paper with the whole figure clustered into the upper left of the page. But over the week I have thought about this sketch several times, remembering the beauty of our model’s pregnant body. The lights flickered as the winds battered the small church house and we drew. Alert to the storm, to life.

Sprout question: What moment this week keeps coming back to you?

Special Notice: I have made a decision. Two Fridays from now on December 3, 2010 I am going to place three of my larger 18 by 24 inch original oil paintings on sale for $950 Canadian over three days. The regular price is $1,200. I am going to introduce the first painting on Friday, the second on Saturday and the third on Sunday. All three will be shown together on Monday December 6, 2010. The sale will end at midnight PST on Monday.  Here is where you come in dear readers. You may want to buy a painting. Or you can tell others about the paintings. If a buyer identifies you as the source of the referral you will receive a $45.00 value gift in cards or a calendar of your choice. (Psst! The referral can even be to your spouse.) The referral gift is for the first referral identified by the buyer and there is only one referral gift per painting sale. The specific three paintings that will go on sale will remain a mystery until the day it is released. However, you are welcome to try to guess by browse some of this year’s paintings HERE. Look carefully though because some paintings are sold and/or are a different size or medium. Terrill-size cyber hugs will be given out for any right guesses.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Human Figure


Marks on a page are as distinctive as each of our human form. There is something profound that becomes apparent when drawing another human being with only muscles and skin over their bones.  There is a trust and vulnerability for the model and also for the artist. I find that the drawing is as much about that relationship as it is about what the eye is seeing.

My husband, David Colussi, and I had been taking figure drawing classes for a few years in a row before moving to Mayne Island. We felt for sure that this was one of the things we had to give up when moving out of the city. But we were wrong. For the first time in three and a half years (and the first drawing David has done since his stroke just over a year ago) we went to class right here on our little island.

I have dispersed two each of our sketches of various lengths. If you run your cursor over the image it will tell you which one of us did the sketch and how long it took.  As the weeks go on, we will see if there are others we want to share.

Sprout question: What is your creative relationship to the human figure?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Squishy hug of thanks WORDPRESS

Thank you WORDPRESS for your user-friendly interchange and freely hosting blogs that can become small virtual communities such as Creative Potager has become. A big squishy, passionate hug is coming your way through cyberspace!

As of this hour today the wordpress Creative Potager blog has met a new milestone. Since its first post, on Dec 27 2009, the Creative Potager blog has published 102 posts and 1,605 comments AND (drum roll please) has had over 12,000 views. I am doing the happy dance (ta, ta, ta) all around the social networks with friends, casual acquaintances and passionate lurkers who are Creative Potager regulars.

Thank you especially to those who regularly respond to the Sprout Question that accompanies each post. Thank you to all of you who comment above and beyond the Sprout Question.  Thank you to all readers who lurk in the shadows. Your views are counted. You are part of the Creative Potager community.

My life and creativity is richer because of each and every one of you. Thank you, thank you thank you.

May the sun continue to rise, in all its glory, over our creative inspiration.

I decided we need a little visual toe-tapping to help us celebrate offered up by Andy the Daft Hermit from the Black Bus in the Highlands of Scotland. The music starts about 30 seconds in so wait for it and enjoy Andy’s photography video…

With much humble appreciation.

Terrill:)

Sprout Question: If WORDPRESS is the host and Creative Potager the post, who are you?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Searching for lost and soft edges


When we see, we see around corners because of our rapid eye movements, our moving feet and bobbing head… and because we touch things.

Tuesday’s post “Seeing and Creating” talked about how the brain builds a visual field using rapid eye movement to create the image we are seeing. Some of the information that the brain uses to build an image comes from a history of spatial measurements that we have gathered through touch.

Seeing takes more than our eyes. We must learn spatial relationship, specifically our spatial relationship to other objects. We discover how to see where things are through practice using our hands and feet to touch and move around our world. Babies reach for our faces. Children will crawl, climb, run and jump with varying degrees of success as their brains and bodies learn to coordinate the distances of time and space. Our brain gathers and reuses these measurements in combination with information received from our eyes to provide context and relational information about what we are looking at. This complex relationship of gathering and building our visual field happens constantly and rapidly. Most often we are not even aware of the process.

However when we are creating it is helpful to understand and consider this information in our work. Some of our work in building a visual field will happen intuitively.  In fact, many situations a lot of our work in building a visual field will happen intuitively. We won’t know why we at first place a certain word in a particular sentence or why we paused the music on that particular note or why we made that particular mark off on the left side of the page or why we decided to include a particular boulder in our photograph. Mostly we just do what we do.

We can strengthen our work by increasing our conscious ability to build a visual field. A current practice of simplifying photographic images through noise reduction and sharpening and taking out what is not adding to the image is one way to play with how the visual field is built in the photograph.

Practices of adding, leaving or taking away in our creativity are not absolute creative positions but a tension we hold during the process of creating. It is in searching for lost and soft edges that I find I can most consciously building a visual field in my photography, painting and writing.

One tool or exercise we can use is to make marks or write words around your desired subject until it “appears” in your work. This helps us discover what clues or cues in the surrounding area are supporting our ability to see. In photography I do this by placing my desired object in various off-centre relationships in the frame. I change the height I take the image or the distance from the subject and so on.

Sprout Question: How do you know when less is no longer more?

Note: Here is a great reference I discovered as part of researching for today’s

The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies by Mark Paterson (2007)

Also here is an online article that is also helpful – Eyes and Hands: The relationship between touch and space http://people.exeter.ac.uk/mwdp201/space.html

A question I can not answer is how people without use of hands or ability to walk develop spatial relationships in building their visual field. Does anyone know the answer or have a resource?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Seeing and Creating

“Bee in salal blossom” View and purchase full resolution image here.

Yesterday, I discovered a bookmark in my memory that gave rise to a set of questions, when I came across some notes from May 16, 2007 about building the visual field that I had made in an art class taught by Glenn Howarth. The following questions arise from my musings about these notes and the use digital and photoshop tools to create images.

What is this passion we have for cleansing images of anything less than perfect?

 

Can it possibly damage our ability to trust our viewer to see?

Let me explain, as best I can, without taking us too far down “the science of seeing” rabbit hole. When we “see,” the brain needs to imagine most of our reality through a system of expectation. This is because the human eye has only a 15 degree visual arc of acuity or sharp high-resolution colour visual field. We commonly believe that we “see” everything as if it were in this a 15 degree visual arc called fovea vision. This is not true. Our human eye must build a visual field using rapid eye movements and short-term memory so the brain can “create” the image we “see.” Most of the rest of our visual field has about 50 percent acuity and 50 percent colour perception with the far reaches of our peripheral vision seeing only movement in black and white.

Photographs like the bumble bee in a sala blossom image above hold more information in acuity than our eye actually can see at one time without using rapid eye movement to create the image for us. You may be able to notice how you look at this image and be able to catch the eye movement between the bee and the blossom both of which are in sharp focus and then notice how you can “see” the whole picture that is in focus.

Rapid eye movement happens very quickly, at about 3 times a second, and is something we are not consciously aware of, so if you don’t notice there is a reasonable explanation.

If you want to know more, I found this youtube video “Human Senses Touch and Visionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2sWE0qaOjg&feature=related About 3 minutes in they explain and show how our eyes and brain build a visual field.

Because our brain must  “create” a sharp, coloured field of vision, it has a selection process for seeing. We fill in blanks and leave out information that history tells our brain is not relevant both consciously AND subconsciously. I am fascinated with the impact this has on our creativity whether it is visual, written or auditory. Here is a series of my quick charcoal sketches from 2007.

wooden forms for making shoes

I did these sketches while purposefully “seeing” using my sight beyond the 15 degree visual arc of acuity by paying attention to what is in my peripheral visual field allowing the hand to record the image with as little as possible interference from my fovea vision.

male nude sitting

This lesson stuck and I continue to create my work while exploring this way of “seeing” or consciously experiencing the world.

reading

It is not too much of a stretch then, to consider that when we create an image that has high-resolution colour and sharp focus over a larger area we are doing the work of the viewer’s brain “to see” or create that image. If we go the next step and take out “irrelevant information” we are also choosing for the viewer’s brain what is important to see. Your created work has become a powerful editing filter for the viewer. To some extent this is what happens anytime we create. The question I pose is more about how much of a filter is too much filtering and can it actually interfering with the viewer’s ability “to see” what we want to express? And can we hold the viewer’s attention when we do the work of the viewer’s brain to build most their visual field when experiencing our work?

Could it be that the gaps in our expression are of as much interest to the viewer as the sharp clarity? Like say this image….

finding the figure quickly

Sprout Question: How does your way of “seeing” impact your creativity?

On Thursday, I am going to explore further how our human visual system must learn to create spatial relationship between objects through touch and memory and what ways this learning may relate to our creativity.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Summer is coming

Creative Potager’s summer blog schedule begins the first week of May

budding possibilities - wild rose

The first post for Creative Potager was December 27, 2009. I have been posting a blog Monday to Friday, except for power outages caused by windstorms battering our little island in the Pacific Northwest. Including today, there are 83 posts each with their own sprout question. There are 1,165 comments documenting our creative conversations and 8, 596 times you have come to visit. Creative Potager has become an enjoyable habit to wake up to during the week where I say to myself “what shall I post today?” However summer is coming. I yearn to be outside in the garden, tramping the trails and painting on site rather than inside snuggled up to my laptop. Like the summer wild flowers in this post, I bloom best in untamed places.

each day is precious - wild tiger lily

So after giving it some serious thought, I am changing my posting schedule to twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the beginning of May until the beginning of September. I may on occasion post an additional submission. But these will be bonus or value-added posts rather than an expectation.

petite lady slipper

I am hoping you can live with this change and that we both will benefit from my scrambling around in the valleys and on the hills and down the beaches of Mayne Island and afar. I am hoping that we can still have rich and engaging conversations between posts even during the long days of summer. I am hoping that the sprout questions will be juicy enough to keep us inspired for the in-between times. I am hoping that you will trust that winter will come with its short days and unpredictable weather and we shall again be glad for our Monday to Friday sprout conversations fueled by the fruits of summer experiences.

drops of rain on white fawn lilies

Please let me know what YOU are hoping and what you think of this change – because most of the fun of this blog is my conversations with you!

Sprout Question: Does your creativity have a summer schedule?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Creative Community

As I mentioned on Monday, I have been reading about Camille Pissarro and admiring his work and that of other impressionist painters that were part of his community. There was Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Cezanne to name a few. The influence of these fellow artists in Pissarro’s work is sometimes mentioned when author Linda Doeser discusses a particular painting.

Ah, to have been part of these passionate (and at the time unacceptable notions) about rendering the quality of light by exploring the spontaneity and immediacy of lively colour and rapid brush strokes with no hint of drama or sentimentality.

“spring salad” photograph rendered coarsely in oils – view full resolution and purchase here.

Then I thought about Creative Potager and those of you who regularly through your comments and my connections to your own sites are part of my creative community. To name just a few…

The use of line and creating greater connection between drawing and painting. Jerry Shawback http://www.thewhole9.com/jerryshawback

Always giving our best and writing from a place of showing rather than telling. Laurie Buchanan. http://holessence.wordpress.com

Bringing the flow of her everyday into focus for the rest of us. Kathy Drue http://upwoods.wordpress.com

Sharing the exquisite world of film as a creative medium of expression. Sam Juliano http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com

Discusses the practicalities of promoting and selling art work. Itaya http://itaya.blogspot.com

Shares her studio process and her success while celebrating and acknowledging yours. Martha Marshall http://artistsjournal.wordpress.com

Sprout Question: With whom are you presently discussing your creative ideas?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Essence of Things

“You should paint the essence of things” Pissarro instructs a younger artist.

“Where we are separate” quick water-colour painting sketch by Terrill Welch

Last evening I was having a love affair with the work of  Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). I have often had comments on my work about its impressionist style. However, having not formally studied art, or the history of art, my self-taught-ways left me replying “I don’t know much about the principles of impressionism. I just like to capture the light and the essence of my subject. The energy in a work should be alive and vibrant even if it means sacrificing correctness.”  Last night when I read The Life and Works of C. Pissarro by Linda Doeser (1994) I understood why people smiled knowingly at my comment and said no more.

“sitting” quick water-colour painting sketch by Terrill Welch

Exactness is not the same as expressing the exact emotion in your work.

Sprout Question: Is there a particular method you use to capture the essence of things?

Note: Due to Easter Creative Potager will post Monday to Thursday this week and Tuesday to Friday next week.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada