Where Despair Meets Hope in Steps

Drowning in despair about our dissolving humanity on a particular day in early April, I made myself a promise – I shall post this note and go for a long walk and listen to the spring birds. I shall breathe in time with the waves on the sea. I shall inhale the scent of the blossoms on the breeze. I shall run my hands along the length of the arbutus tree. Then I shall paint. This is what a landscape painter does.

This is the beginning for Where Despair Meets Hope Edith Point – 22 x 28 inch oil on canvas landscape painting.

Several canvases are already prepared with grounds. I decide on the red one. Neither large nor medium and certainly not small, this canvas seems to be the right size for sitting with despair. I choose a simple yet powerful landscape that begins with a lengthy walk through the trees and along the ocean. On this day, the fog is thick and I am smothered in a muted grey for most of the hike. But just as I come out on Edith Point, the heavy mist moved out to sea and golden light covers the old fir tree and the edge of the cliff. In this briefest of shifts, my spirits soar and catch a patch of blue sky before coming back down the disfigured tree, thereby encompassing a lasting sense of hope.

The work is roughed in with a bit of Naples yellow to guide my brushes forward. I decide to work from the outer edges inward until the tree reveals itself and I can no longer avoid its edges.

I work on the point of the cliff, conscious of how it turns slightly towards the south. There is no room to think or worry or fuss. I am fully focused on the quickly changing light of the late morning. I can feel the dampness in my hair and coolness on one side of my face and the soft sun warming the other. My hands and heart guide the brushes across the canvas, as if I am really there.

The room darkens under the skylights as heavy rains pound down on the tin roof. I slip up to the loft and grab one of the studio lamps. I hardly notice that I have put my brush down. I pick it up again and, almost in a trance, continue to work.

Touching lightly, I place various greens into the foreground. I can feel my helplessness shrink like the stones with a rising tide on the bottom right of the canvas. My disillusionment with the larger world is replaced with confidence about the specifics of this moment – I can do this one thing.

As I continue to paint, the fir tree can no longer be avoided. I add the tree’s shadow side and start on the branches.

I reach for where the sun is touching. I am reminded of the winter’s high winds and heavy rains as I circle the gnarled and bent branches. I am reminded of long dry spells during the late summer where the moisture cannot be held in the sandstone rocks. I can feel my nose tighten against dearth of moisture while grasses crinkle under foot as I place in the dead branches on the bottom left of the thick tree trunk. I am reminded how this old fir tree has endured and gained elegance and strength through its trials. It is perfect in its imperfection.

Darkness is gathering in the corners of the room. My hips and knees are telling me that we have been standing at the easel for many hours. I must leave this work now, until tomorrow.

Rising early, I flick on the studio lamps. I put on my painting apron. I continue. Eventually, I stop to make coffee and a late breakfast. Sometime during the morning my husband has woken and made his own eggs and toast. He has closed the door to his office so as not to disturb me. He may have even spoken to me. I doubt that I answered. Living with a painter one learns not to be offended by such moments. Like me, he has learned to trust the process. He knows that eventually I will say – come have a look and see what you think…

I tell him how I wanted to be able to feel the breeze off the water in the branches and how they needed to be reaching to greet the sun and how the shade is cool in this golden light, cool enough to want your wool sweater. He replies – it is gorgeous! Privately he is crossing his fingers hoping that his remark will lead us out the door to find some supper. I am not fooled.

Well, it is resting I say.

In this case the “resting” must last for a week before I can make the final adjustments during a demonstration for an oil painting class I am teaching. But I do believe it is now done. I do believe in this place where despair meets hope, we can understand that nothing lasts. With this truth, firmly rooted on the edge of the cliff, I shall continue to walk and paint and breathe – until I can no longer, however long that is.

For now, I present to you Where Despair Meets Hope Edith Point – 22 x 28 inch oil on canvas

 

Where does despair meet with hope in your life?

 

© 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

 

Wabi-sabi

Wabi-sabi castes a familiar womb-like shadow into the emptiness of creative possibility. We know wabi-sabi by what is left in the muted abundance of emptiness. As I sweep the deck with a straw broom, I hear its brush against the floor’s surface – first the wood then the jute rug. I hear my breath. I hear the pair of Canada geese honk as they land in the pond below, followed shortly by a jet gaining altitude overhead. I stop my sweeping. My hand slides over the back of the bamboo chair on my walk toward the railing. I sniff the night’s rain soaking into the ground, feeding the fir trees as they bask in the morning sun.

Winter is coming to an end. Wabi-sabi then, is spiritual in its practice of simplicity.

Read more about this topic on my post about wabi.

Read  about this topic more on my post about sabi.

Sprout Question: Does wabi and sabi meet in any part of your creativity?

Primary reference: The Wabi-Sabi house: the Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty (2004) by Robyn Griggs Lawrence.

p.s. I am away today and will reply to sprout responses tomorrow.

© 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.

My Art for Haiti

As I am catching up, after two days of being off-line due to high winds, I drop in on Martha Marshall’s blog and discover her Art For Haiti post. I must participate. Below are the three images that I will donate 100% of post-production profits until the end of February 2010 to AVAAZ Stand with Haiti. I’m providing my redbubble link for each image for full resolution and purchase of various products including cards, matted and framed prints and canvases.

View “Sandstone Shoreline” (a new image) in full resolution and purchase here.



View “Last of the Season” watercolor image in full resolution and purchase here. More about publishing of “Last Rose” in River Poets Quarterly Journal here.


View full of resolution of “Stand with Haiti” image and purchase here. More about the rose-hip and Stand with Haiti image here.

If you are on twitter, you can help by tweeting “RT @terrillwelch  My Art for Haiti http://bit.ly/77EG0b #art4haiti ” in your update.

In closing, I offer a special thank you to Martha Marshall and her outstanding An Artist’s Journal Blog for this inspiration.

Sprout Question: How has your creativity been useful in contributing to the greater good of others?

© 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.

Stand with Haiti

View full of resolution of image here.

Yesterday, in a sea of compassion and despair for Haiti, I went for my usual walk with camera in hand. The image Stand with Haiti symbolizes renewal and hope. The rose-hip is the brightest element in our gray, wet, January, West Coast landscape. One can be consumed by the gloom, if it were not for the rose-hip hanging from a leafless branch drawing attention to the new shoots starting to sprout. As the waves washed the sandstone with rhythmic regularity behind me, I discovered the possibility for renewal and hope for Haiti in this rose-hip.

Sprout Question: Is your creativity ever a call to inspire action?

(I have a very special connection to Haiti as my step-daughter, Nikki, volunteered twice for Clean Water for Haiti. But even if I didn’t have familial insight into Haiti, I would want to do something. For those interested in donating, here is the link to AVAAZ Stand with Haiti: http://bit.ly/7t0CN6 )

© 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.