Is there more than one Monet?

A Monet is a Monet is a Monet – or is it? If we only think of Claude Monet as an impressionist painter then there are paintings in his life’s work that one might be reluctant to claim as a good representation of Monet’s work. In this sense, I am going to propose that there is more than one Monet when considering his work and also that he has offered us more than he is usually given credit.

The tight small dabs of sometimes pure colour associated with the “impressionist years” and his large lily paintings come from different approaches and the latter from a mature use of all that he knew. I come to this understanding following my visit to “Claude Monet’s Secret Garden” exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery which has a dozen or so works from his impressionist period and then goes on to focus on his late years of painting when he was troubled by cataracts and a legitimate fear of having surgery at the time.

The impressionist paintings are of medium size, easily portable and distinctive in their approach using small short brushstrokes and dabs of colour to capture the effects of light on a landscape. Here are a couple of my favourites from the exhibition.

Snow Effect, Sunset by Claude Monet 1875

Field of Yellow Irises at Giverny by Claude Monet 1887

Later Monet lived on his garden property for 40 years. This is where he started to study light in its deeper complexities. This is where he observes light changing every seven minutes and lamented that if he didn’t finish a work one day the next could not be counted on to give him the same conditions to continue the work. To compensate, he worked on up to 20 prepared canvases at one time changing them out as the light shifted or if the day was different.

The Seine at Port-Villez, Rose Effect by Claude Monet 1894

The Seine at Port-Villez, Evening Effect by Claude Monet 1894

The “Claude Monet Secret Garden” exhibition has many large canvases which Monet was able to work on in his 70 and 80s because he was working from home in his garden and the paintings could be moved in and out of the studio as needed.

Life can either knock the stuffing out of us at times or allow us to reach something we may not have been able to do otherwise. Sometimes it does both. During the First World War Monet could hear the fighting from his home studio as he worked. Around this time he was also grieving from the death of second wife and one of his sons. Grief and not being able to see clearly from his cataracts are both possible causes for a change in work during this period.

These rich deep hues are so different from his earlier works, yet there are clues that these are indeed by his brush. These renderings are completed with large expressive brush-marks with the colours blended right on the canvas! Clearly these paintings are something different from his early impressionist paintings and definitely leading us towards what was to come next in post-impressionism and expressionism.

Water Lilies by Claude Monet 1916-1919

“I only know that I do what I can to convey what I experience before nature and that most often, in order to succeed in conveying what I feel, I totally forget the most elementary rules of painting, if they existed that is.” – Claude Monet, 1912

What he couldn’t see he could still feel, hear and touch. Monet had been painting for so long that he had a well established habit of placing his paints in the same place on the palette. He did not need to see well to continue to paint with excellence!

Monet painted the oval lily paintings and the wisteria paintings (which were suppose to go above the lily paintings) while he had cataracts. In 1923 Monet had cataract surgery. By this time he had suffered with them for 11 years.  He destroyed some of the paintings from that time and reworked others once he could see clearly again. And yet, other paintings feel like they were left as they were – though the date of completion on this one suggests otherwise.

The Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet 1918-1924

The information card tells me that Monet completed twenty paintings of this bridge and the body of work is among his most abstract. These later works often show bare canvas in places along with these free loose and large brushstrokes. Would Monet consider the paintings finished? I believe so simply by looking at the continuation of his work during this period of his life. However, these works were in his own personal collection. They were never sold. So it does beg the question of whether he was unsatisfied with them and so didn’t put them up for sale or if he made a decision to keep them for his own appreciation.

The exhibition shows two gorgeous wisteria paintings having some 5- 15 layers of paint and still feeling like each brushstroke has been applied distinctively, accurately – alla prima! In the end, there was no room for showing these wisteria paintings with the lily pond paintings as originally planned. To honour Monet’s original intention for the wisteria paintings, the Vancouver Art Gallery did a curved display wall.

The paintings shared in these images (for personal study use only) are some of the 38 paintings out of 94 that were in Monet’s private collection at the time of his death. These paintings will be showing until October 1, 2017 at the Vancouver Art Gallery in British Columbia. The paintings are on loan from the  Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to take a half day to be with these works so close to home. If you get a chance, do go and do take the tour after spending sometime getting to know the paintings being shown. Then go through and look again with your new understanding of why these particular works were selected.

If someone was to ask if there was more than one YOU worth knowing what would you say?

© 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

Another Visit with Claude Monet

I have been visiting with Claude Monet since I was a teenager, even before I knew who he was.

“Late Morning in August by the Sea” – 9 X 12 inch oil on canvas, not for sale.

So strong was Monet and the other Impressionists’ influence of our understanding of light colour that is likely true for many of us. In my first oil painting classes at 14 years old, I remember the process of underpainting and then following the light in patches and shapes of colour across a whole canvas building it up to the same level of completeness at once. I remember the joy of mixing the pigments right on the canvas as I went, layering them wet-into-wet until I was satisfied with the end result. The paintings weren’t much – the work of a child learning her craft. But the process, oh how I loved the process! These were evening classes or Saturday classes and work was created from memory or reference images mostly. At home though, I worked mostly from life, observing the fast moving light and seasonal changes. This is still a significant part of my painting practice today more than forty years later .

Finishing “Melancholy Seas” – 14 X 18 inch oil on canvas, available.

What was missing in this early education was explaining to me that the oil painting approach I was using was that of the impressionist painters and Monet in particular. Or possibly, I was too young to remember as I was too busy actually painting. Whatever the reason, it would be many years before I realized that my approach to oil painting and painting in general came from this specific school of understanding light, colour and shapes. So, in this way, I first visited with Monet without even knowing his name.

Plein air painting “Early March Snow Japanese Garden Mayne Island B.C.” Walnut oil on gessobord, available.

Since then, I have read whole books about his life and work, studied many images of his paintings, taken in talks by art historians and seen his paintings in person in Toronto, Canada and Paris, France and Basil, Switzerland. To say that his work has had a profound influence on my approach to painting may be taking it too lightly. People teasingly call me “the Monet of Mayne Island” with good reason! At one time, in the summer of 2012, I even vowed (unsuccessfully) to divorce Monet and shake his hold on my painting hand. I argued and demonstrated the strength of letting the darks be dark. I pointed my brushes towards Cezanne and the necessary strength and influence of form. But it was no use.

“Blooming Point PEI” 8 X 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch, not for sale.

In my mind’s eye, Monet lightly shrugged and went back to painting his pond, the light through the trees and the lily pads. Over time, I conceded to my love affair with light, even in the shadows. Hence, though we have an amenable separation, Monet’s painting process and sensibilities and my own painting practice will never be divorced. The confluence of history and our mutual love of light and colour has not allow it, at least not yet.

“Storytelling Arbutus Tree Bennett Bay Mayne Island B.C.” 60 X 40 inch oil on canvas, available.

So Monet and I have visited again, yesterday, at the Vancouver Art Gallery where 38 of Monet’s paintings are on exhibit. Later, I shall decide if we have more to say to each other. For now, this is enough.

What great master in your field of expertise has visited with you the longest?

© 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

 

 

Three Large Plump Peaches in the Studio Today

There are just three large plump peaches, fresh from the fields, sitting in a bowl on the table.

Almost done still life painting sketch of peaches by Terrill Welch August 26 2016 IMG_9338

I paint the still life sketch promptly because there is a great risk of there only being two.

Study of Peaches 11 x 14 inch acrylic still life sketch by Terrill Welch August 26 2016 IMG_9390

The result is slightly larger than life contemporary impressionist style painting sketch.

Still life painting sketch of peaches by Terrill Welch  IMG_9400

Because this is all there will be, no larger painting anticipated, the 11 x 14 inch original acrylic still life painting sketch on gessobord has been released immediately HERE.

I have also released this work as a print and products in my Redbubble storefront HERE.

The studio study was completed simply for the pleasure of summer, peaches and paint.

 

What simple pleasures of summer are you enjoying?

 

Happy Friday to you!

 

© 2016 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

Wanted alive not perfect – still life painting with Paul Cézanne

There is an immediacy to painting still life that is even more evident than when painting landscapes. The subjects are closer to the painter and therefore the light moves even quicker when painting alla prima or wet-on-wet then when painting the sea or the forest using the same method. But it is my favourite way to paint and with the west coast being so perpetually grey this winter, I wanted some colour. So colour we shall have!

I grab some available subjects and pulled them together on the kitchen counter and then I snug my old easel up to it. After roughing it a view lines with paint, I am ready to begin.

defining the canvas space for Wine vase pears lemons and blood oranges  by Terrill Welch 2013_02_09 041

The newsprint is intended to help keep the subject close to us and to provide additional reflected light and lightness to the composition. In the end, as you will see, I let go of some of this in favor of more depth and warmth. With an afternoon of painting large loose brush strokes of delicate colour, we come to about here.

set for wine vase with pears lemons and blood oranges by Terrill Welch 2013_02_09 052

There is something about a still life for the impressionist painter that brings home the need to render it alive rather than perfect. If in doubt follow the light and colour. This is what I tell myself anyway – render the light and get it alive.  It is not my idea but the wise perspective of Paul Cézanne. I set it aside to “rest” and at bedtime it looked something like this.

Wine vase pears lemons and blood oranges resting 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_02_09 072

I mean “something like “because every time I looked at the painting I made an adjustment. While the painting was “resting” I cleanup the still life set up, eat one of the pears and set a blood orange aside for morning. I am not completely happy with the painting yet. There is a lost space on the left that leaves the composition more centered than I would like. I wonder what would Paul Cézanne have to say?

Let’s ask the Web Museum in Paris:

Paul Cézanne, one of the creators of modern art, was called the “solidifier of Impressionism”. And indeed he does not draw his picture before painting it: instead, he creates space and depth of perspective by means of planes of color, which are freely associated and at the same time contrasted and compared. The facets which are thus produced create not just one but many perspectives, and in this way volume comes once again to dominate the composition, no longer a product of the line but rather of the color itself. His still-lifes, in their simplicity and delicate tonal harmony, are a typical work and thus ideal for an understanding of Cézanne’s art.

Most of his pictures are still lifes. These were done in the studio, with simple props; a cloth, some apples, a vase or bowl and, later in his career, plaster sculptures. Cézanne’s still lifes are both traditional and modern. The fruits and objects are readily identifiable, but they have no aroma, no sensual or tactile appeal and no other function other than as passive decorative objects coexisting in the same flat space. They bear no relation to the colorful vegetables of Provence — gorgeous red tomatoes, purple aubergines, and bright green courgettes. In his pursuit of the essence of art, Cézanne had to suppress earthly delights.

(reference: Web Museum Paris at http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cezanne/sl which includes several images of his still life paintings)

Well, I am not sure I agree that his paintings “have no aroma, sensual or tactile appeal and no other function other than as passive decorative objects coexisting on the same flat  space.” However, he did focus on using planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields of viewer recognition. This is what I am after in this painting. But I want to be sure the viewer experiences the life and sustenance of the subject. These bosc pears, sweet lemons and blood oranges are ready for eating. Delicious in fact. How do I get past the idea of decorative? How do I create more weight on the left side of the composition? Ah yes, questions to sleep on.

It is morning. I cut up the blood orange. I look at it. My mind goes into a long pause. I pick up the cutting board with the orange slices still on it and climb the stairs to the studio.

Rightly or wrongly, there are now slices of blood orange slid in beside the rest of the fruit in the painting. Of course, as always, when one things changes in a painting there is the need to change a dozen others. So here it is. Finished. Not perfect but still alive I think.

WINE VASE, PEARS, LEMONS AND BLOOD ORANGES 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas

Wine vase pears lemons and blood oranges resting 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_02_10 015

The still live painting’s softness and colour harmony in this morning’s light pleases me. And do have a slice of blood orange. They are delicious! The painting will be released over at Terrill Welch Artist at some point in the future.

What might you be wanting to render alive not perfect?

All the best of Sunday to you and wishing you a marvelous week ahead!

© 2013 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

Coastal Winter Storm original oil painting by Terrill Welch

This morning as I stepped out in the dark on our side deck to hand grind my morning coffee beans, fine snow brushed my cheeks. It smelt of winter and reminded me of damp wool and hot chocolate.

COASTAL WINTER STORM  (12 X 12 inch oil on canvas) is like this.

 

It is like today on the southern Gulf Islands.

Yesterday’s post “Begin a painting with no punctuation” is the only process image I captured.  But here is a detail of the final image so you can better see the loose layering of paint.

The painting still must have its edges painted so is not quite ready for the online gallery ArtsyHome where I am the feature artist this week. (feature has the capacity to leave a comment too – which would be nice if you feel so inclined) But soon. However, you can lay claim to it now if you want. Just send me a direct message and we can work out the details. The price is $550.00 U.S. including shipping.

When I become a really famous artist I will have an assistant who will paint the edges of my paintings, add the picture wire, put them in the inventory program and then package them up to send to buyers. I shall paint and only take a break to make soup and go for long walks with my camera.

I am also a featured member in the Beautiful BC Art redbubble group this week.  You may want to drop in and see all the stunning work that is on display by other photographers, including an image by a fellow Mayne Island photographer Toby Snelgrove.

A happy customer posted the arrival of my painting STORM COMING and talks about the dilemma of where to hang the painting so everyone in the family can enjoy it.

So it seems it is a good week to be an artist and I am ever-so-grateful for you company, support and encouragement. Thank you!

SPROUT: What will you hire an assistant to help you with when you become famous? 

© 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

 

Begin a painting with no punctuation

Starting with the underpainting, grab and sway the emotions of light, form and structure without pausing to add punctuation. Allow your brush to skip and fly across the canvas in bold strokes of unrefined passion and fragments of expression. Do not edit. Please do not edit at this time. Leave it be raw and calling.

There will be time later to decide how much to define. A paragraph or a single word will become clear only after this first brush with expression.

These are my guiding demands of self as I reach out to choose a brush, squeeze out the oil paint, set the canvas and I stand squarely to begin my painting day — a day that began with reading Laurie Buchanan’s post “Painting a Word Picture

SEED: Laurie asked the question: Who is your favorite word painter? This got me to thinking about my relationship between painting, photography and writing. My reply is as follows:

My first choice is Colette and in particular a passage from BREAK OF DAY (1928)

“He bent his bare body, polished by sun and salt. His skin caught the light, so that he was green round the loins and blue on the shoulders, according as he moved, like the dyers of Fez. When I said “Stop!” he cut short the thread of golden oil and straightened himself, and I laid my hand caressingly for a moment on his chest, as one does with a horse. He looked at my hand, which proclaims my age — in fact it looks several years older — but I did not withdraw it. It is a good little hand, burnt dark brown, and the skin is getting rather loose round the joins and on the back.”

My second choice is Elizabeth Rosner and a short piece from BLUE NUDE (2006)

“He imagines this: cupping her breasts and testing their weight in his hands to be sure they fit when his mind has already predicted it and his palms already tell him Yes. To press himself against her, to fold themselves together seam to seam, the way certain insects mate into one flying being.

He imagines them ascending.

The body exists in space, he says to the class. There is something solid she is resting on; that shape is part of what makes her stand the way she is standing; her feet are on the ground, or she is sitting on a chair, or leaning against a wall, or reclining on pillows. The body is part of the world. Do you see?”

I have purposefully chose non-landscape or seascape passages. I wanted to share how word pictures can link our internal worlds to our external observations – that this combination is how we “see” and experience what is around us. Both of these writers do this extremely well as does the passage you have shared with us Laurie. As an artist both as a painter and a photographer I attempt to “write” this language in my visual work. Sometimes I add just a dash of words to assist me – word pictures combined with pictures expressing words. All forms expression – impressions left for the viewer to complete.

I now come back into my studio space and prepare to pick up my brushes.

SPROUT: Who is influencing your creativity today? 

© 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

FIR TREE original oil paintings by Terrill Welch

This week my hard drive crashed and it is not recoverable. Fortunately, most things were backed up and my photographs were on an external hard drive and most of them are backed up again on flash drives. I lost a few images but not many. Lucky! However, I did lose all my newer email addresses so if you have exchanged emails with me in the past year, and would like to continue to be in touch, drop a line and I will add you to my address book.  Somehow this all seems to be less of an issue now that we have facebook, twitter and such. I might even be persuaded to pick up the phone 🙂

I plan to write a more about this experience on Monday in a post called “impermanence.”

Now, let’s have a look at this week’s painting. I started out just going to paint a few edges but these two small canvases had a ground on them and were sitting beside the easel. Well I looked at the edges of another painting and I looked back at the two canvases. The 8 X 8 inch pair just had to be done.

I knew what I wanted to paint. We have been getting a lot of evening sun here with glorious gold light hitting the trees just before it leaves us for dusk.

Starting from “ground.”

A ground is different from a underpainting even though it may be the same colour. With a ground there is just a layer of paint that is put down with no intended painting blocked in or even in mind. Yes, I dislike wasting paint so these canvases were just too close to the last underpainting I was doing and they were grounded 😉

The painting took shape quickly.

I didn’t stop again until close to finishing.

When hung, the two paintings would be separated by a couple inches – I think, maybe more. Or they could be hung like this ….

This side by side is possibly my favourite.

Here they are trimmed up pretty with no distractions.

FIR TREE SKY original oil painting by Terrill Welch

FIR TREE POND original oil painting by Terrill Welch

I haven’t had a chance to decide if I will sell them separately or only as a pair. What do you think? Should they be kept together or be allowed to go into the world separately and be a surprise to some unsuspecting buyer that there is another half to their painting?

These paintings will be part of my upcoming solo show “Study of Blue” opening June 30, 2011 at the Oceanwood Resort here on Mayne Island.

UPDATE: FIR TREE SKY has been SOLD at the opening on June 30, 2011. FIR TREE POND has been SOLD to a separate buyer at the close of the show on July 27, 2011.

Sprout question: What keeps you rolling through unexpected events with ease?

© 2011 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

Impression of an Artist

Week after week I visit myself on the canvas of a painting, through the frame of an image or between the words of a paragraph. Do these impressions provide any further insight into my being and my interpretation of my world?

I like to think they do. I like to believe that these creative endeavors cast at least a shadow of truth on what I often think of as my core essence – that part of me that isn’t body or earth-bound in this life time. But is this really a possible truth?

As the paint is chosen, mixed and applied without thought, I like to believe there is a subconscious part of me that knows what it is doing. But maybe it is all accidental fragments of my conscious mind colliding with the paint, the canvas and the movement of my brush.

I am doing a study of blue – a series on the shades of blue. What I am discovering is that blue is more than a colour. Blue is a spiritual void for reflection… as I paint the sea… the shadows of the trees… or the sky. If I had known how wide this void would open up, would I have committed to the series?

Ah, no point in musing about what might have been.

This week I have one 10 X 12 inch cotton canvas underpainting ready for completion. In my imagination the heavy clouds press down with formidable force over the dark seas. May I be able to hold this moment long enough to reach in and pull out something that is the essence of me, of you and of the very world itself.

Sprout question: What impression best describes your creative self?

© 2011 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

New Oil Paintings BREAKING THROUGH and FOREST

How does the song go? Two out of three ain’t bad?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post heavy cloud cover made it undesirable to paint. Hence, only two of three paintings are completed. But better two than none which might have been the case if I had not set the intention on Monday morning. Can I admit to being just a little excited about sharing the results of this weeks work? I hope you don’t mind but if you could see my face there would be this grin from ear-to-ear.

I will likely take other photographs of both these oil paintings on a brighter day but for now this is what we have…

BREAKING THROUGH

(36” X 48” by 1 ¾ inch cotton canvas original oil painting)

FOREST

(18” X 14” by 1 ½ inch cotton canvas original oil painting )

If  you are interested in purchasing either of these paintings please contact me directly at tawelch@ shaw.ca .

I am sure we may all agree that these two paintings are very different.  Yet, I recognize them both as being painted in my usual impressionist style. As the artist, I can stand back and see my struggles and successes to capture, to express and to embrace my creative process. This is why I am excited and why I am beaming with satisfaction – it is for the love of painting and seeing something through to completion!

Sprout question: What are you noticing about your creative process this week?

© 2011 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

Wrap up of three paintings over three days

Welcome to Monday morning at Creative Potager. Shall we start with a little sandstone, sea and blue sky before getting into the three paintings over three days wrap up? I thought you might be like that.

(view full resolution – available for purchase here.)

This photograph is the first of several I will introduce this week from our walk on Saturday in the beautiful clear blue of the winter sun.

The special sale event for three paintings over three days has been amazing. Guess why? Because of you! All the views, the comments, the emails, the tweets, and the writings on my FB wall have left me full of gratitude with a powerful desire to take my work forward. What a wonderful way to bring a close to my work in 2010. Thank you. Thank you each and every one of you for being part of my creative journey in such a profound way.

Now for the details because today is the last day….

The sale price of $950.00 Canadian for each of these paintings regularly $1,200 Canadian each will end at midnight PST tonight, Monday December 6, 2010.

The first painting East Point Cliffs is still available at the time of this posting.

The second painting Owl’s View is still available at the time of this posting.

The third painting Far Shore is still available at the time of this posting.

 

 

 

TO BUY THIS PAINTING: Critical information for Buyers including the price is posted on a separate page HERE.

And some more great news that I am extremely excited about – my work as been accepted into the new ART of DAY online gallery. James Day is a sculpture and great supporter of artists. His artist features on the ART of DAY wordpress blog are widely read and appreciated. You may remember his feature of my work  “Impressionist Painting of Nature by Terrill Welch” in October of this year. Well, I now have five paintings of various sizes listed in the ART of  DAY online store. Please feel free to drop by and browse.

Sprout question: What do you do when you are feeling absolutely full of gratitude?

© 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