Sea Spray over Green and Other Fragments

Having had a long and less than meaningful conversation with the still almost-full moon until three o’clock this morning, I am surprised to wake as the sun hits the tree tops in our valley. However, awake does not mean much under these circumstances. I gathered my camera and get a coffee, breakfast treat and sandwiches for lunch later at the local bakery.

Now what? I say to self.

Well, it is Saint Patrick’s Day. In honour of the day of green, a long ago almost forgotten wedding day and the blessing of being alive, here is a splash of sea spray over the green seaweed on the rocks at Reef Bay.

Breaking into Morning Light by Terrill Welch 2014_03_17 142

I am consciously aware of being in this familiar liminal state of neither here nor there, about to cross a threshold, at the edge or margins of life as I have known it. We are not always so fortunate as to have the advantage to prepare for such transitions and markers between this and then that. Today I do, at least as far as I can foresee. Let’s unpack this moment a wee bit before I go and call the banks to let them know about our travels.

On Saturday I worked or rather reworked a 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas.


Fabrication resting 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_03_15 020

This painting is about a deep despair that comes with global unrest and greed. It is about how we humans attempt to contort ourselves into something believable and good. We create fabrications that quickly are shaped into a kind of truth that is meant to secure greater wealth. These creations tarnish any good that was suppose to be the reason for our actions in the first place. This painting is about denying limitations. The limitations of oil, gas, life, beauty, and even greed. We can pretend to sit serenely looking out the window and watch the sunlight dancing on the sea. We can do this but eventually our body will remind us that this position cannot be maintained. We must get up, put our clothes on, and do something… even if it is only to slaughter a lamb for dinner. There is hope. The sky is blue.

This painting, as with the underpainting, will not leave my studio. Some paintings are just like that. The work is not painted using a live model.  I have however painted figures from live models and at one time there was a reference sketch when I did the original underpainting. Now, I think we can safely say that this woman is a complete fabrication a half-truth.

I have the first third of our travels booked from the time we leave Mayne Island with an overnight in Vancouver B.C. to catch a flight to London England and then to Dijon via Paris. From Dijon France we will go to Basel Switzerland before continuing on to Venice Italy for nine days at which time we will go to stay at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence for two weeks. During our time in Florence I will book the next part of our journey until we get to Barcelona Spain. My mind is filled with partial maps of strange cities and countries outlined by the short-stroked colours of pencil crayons as remembered in my elementary school mapping exercises. I am reading short stories by Colette and in between I clean the pantry, buy a new mop and string together the first names of our Airbnb hosts – Lindsay (New Westminster B.C.) , Kathy (Iver England), Tristan (Dijon France), Vesna (Basel Switzerland), Arianna (Venice Italy) and Nicoletta (Florence Italy). An email arrives to say the Queen of Burnaby ferry is remaining docked at Village Bay Mayne Island due to weather conditions. The  CBC radio 2 host comments on a study that says if women have classical music playing when men visit their websites the women are found to be more attractive. For some reason this makes me think of a street image from last evening’s online surfing of Aix-en-Provence and then the paintings of Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir intersect just at peripheral of my mind-map. Again, I mentally comb the Cote d’zur shoreline. Where might we stay?

Ah, as you can see old patterns are fractured and lifted from there routine, making way for a new marker or reference point in my life. There will likely always be a before and after we traveled to Europe. So I must leave you the reefs of Mayne Island as I pack my present in anticipation of an unknown but easily imagined feature. We do not know really what it will be but the cracks of organized thought are temporarily widening between my past, my today and tomorrow.

Yet, there is a shadow on all of this with Russia’s confidence in taking Crimea and the United States and Europe in sanction-imposing but seemingly futile resistance. I am reminded that fate has placed me in an unexpected and unprecedented historical privilege. I must accept this. I must remind myself to be humble as I sparingly hand over wads of cash for our travels while cringing at what it will do to our modest savings account. We are not wealthy travels. We are however wealthy global citizens. We have all we need and at times such as this even some things that we want. I have no real answer for this disparity that I always feel most acutely during times of great expense. The guilt tinges all thoughts of the pleasures about our travels. The greed of it all in traveling for three months to Europe, how could I!? Yet, I will. I will pack that ugly little bag of privilege close to my heart and take nothing for granted. I will carry it so closely and tightly to my body that something good will come from it. I promise.

What green is your green on this Monday of Saint Patrick’s Day?

© 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

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