SALISH SEA 4 original oil painting by Terrill Welch

I am introducing the painting process of SALISH SEA 4 with a quote from Elizabeth Rosner’s book Blue Nude published in 2006:

It was what he admired about Bonnard, or at least what he loved about the famous stories in which Bonnard was applying paint to works already hanging in other people’s houses. Something about never letting go, always feeling there was one more stroke to be added, one more note of the Unfinished Symphony. As if even death wouldn’t be the ultimate form of completion but just another stop along the way.

(p. 58)

The underpainting that is the foundation of this 24 X 48 inch canvas was included in Monday’s post “The Breath of Stones.” There are 10 images in today’s post capturing the beginning to end… if there is one… of creating SALISH SEA 4. I will make an effort to be brief but there seems to be much to say.

They are a little hard to see but the top right paints are French Ultramarine blue and Viridian. These two colours will play prominently in the development of today’s painting. I sometimes use my own photographs for painting reference but I am not known to “paint” a photograph. I often take several reference images for paintings — similar to how artists used to sketch and then use these as reference for developing a painting when they got back to the studio. Though sometimes a painting may be close to the reference image, the photographs are meant to influence and guide but to not to be copied. Otherwise, I might as well keep the photograph and print it on canvas …. and sometimes I do just that!

Are you ready? She’s a bit bright but here we go …

A gray beginning and it doesn’t look like much yet.

I am using mostly a 2 inch brush here. My aim is to keep the painting loose and flowing. The small palette knife you see there is just being used for mixing. Now to add a little teal blue.

Working for a long while and equally using a #10 brush, along with my 2 inch brush,  I get basic elements of the painting in place.

A part of me wanted to pause right here and not go any further. But after a break I decided to keep working.

Picking up the large 2 inch brush again I whisk paint onto the canvas in big strokes. The sea is rolling in and I am riding each wave. If you remember my challenge was to bring the viewer into the painting from the top left and move their eye forward and down to the bottom right. See at the end if you think I have succeeded.

I have started working with three different large palette knives to build up selected texture. Then I add some highlights but the painting is saturated. There is a glare from bright sunlight and my body and being are tired.

It is time to stop – for now.

Over the next two days I spend a few hours adding a stroke here and there. I brighten up areas that have become muted from painting wet on wet. Mostly, I observe, feel, breathe and let it be.

Then on Thursday morning I started in early painting and had it finished in a couple of hours.

Well, almost… I think!

SALISH SEA 4, a 24 X 48 inch cotton canvas original oil painting by Terrill Welch. This painting will be shown as part of solo summer exhibition opening at the end of June. If you are interested in purchasing in advance of the show please contact me directly via email at tawelch AT shaw DOT ca .

This is one painting dear readers, that I suspect more than one of you will be completely enamored with an earlier version. But that is how it goes when you are privy to the creative process of a painter.

I dedicate this painting to French Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) who also favoured using violet in some of his painting.

SALISH SEA 4 is definitely another stop along my way.

Sprout question: How is your creativity just another stop along the way?

Happy April fools day and best of the weekend to you!

News Flash: Introducing Terrill Welch’s Online Gallery at (okay it is a small flash… there is still a lot of inventory to enter but it would be great to hear what you think)

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada