The Ordinary and the Painter

Our attention is called to focused on the grand, the absurd and the unbelievable while our everyday ordinary life is often trivialized and overlooked.  I mean who hasn’t seen a clip about the predator who lovingly cared for dinner that was still a baby? Or a new discovery of a brilliant someone who was overlooked or found in an unexpected place?

So what is a painter’s life about anyway? Is it stylishly waving a brush across canvases in the studio? Or is it acquiring art collectors, collecting fans, preparing for solo exhibits, wishing for galleries shows and meandering museums? Is it dreaming of having work recognized and valued enough to make a thriving living? Well maybe, in a small part, it is these things. Mostly for this painter though, it is about tending to the ordinary. In my response to a long time blogging friend Laurie Buchanan’s post “A Twist on Impressionism” this morning, I said “I like to think that I am leaving an impression about the value of the ordinary – the things that we have the best chance of giving and receiving freely and in abundance like listening, laughing, kindness, caring, helping, sharing, observing, being present and being thoughtful.” But what does this really mean? As a painter how are these ideals expressed? What is it to tend to the ordinary?

Come for a walk or three with me and then we will come back to the studio and a current solo exhibit. We shall see if we can sort it out together.

First let’s ring the bell in the garden for attending to what is around us.

A bell for attending by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 015

It could be the heavy mist hiding a view next to the trail.

grainy dampness of land next to the sea by Terrill Welch 2015_01_10 024

Or a pair of reading glasses carefully hung in a tree for their owner to come back and find.

eye level by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 166

It might be a hand-knit mittens that warm small hands left on a picnic table.

warming small hands by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 162

Or it could simply be the winter light taking a sideways entrance into a Japanese garden.

January sun in Mayne Island Japanese Garden by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 028

Whatever it is that we attend to in our observation is occurring whether we notice or not. It is the ordinary everyday aspects of living. But we see them in fresh and frequently meaningful ways. The mitts reminded me of my childhood and the effort my mother put into making them for us. I desired to see them returned to their owner and placed the photograph above in a local private Facebook group. They were discovered on the post and retrieved by the owner. I have very poor eyesight without my glasses so a pair of reading glasses missing on an island where another pair can not be purchased sparked the inclusion of that image on the same post as the mittens. The image of the mist hiding a familiar view reminds me that no two days or moments are ever exactly the same and different does not mean less intriguing or valuable. This is reinforced by catching the lengths of low sun in the Japanese garden. Only for a very few minutes will it be there and then these tree too will slip into the background shadows.

But what do these experiences have to with being a painter of our natural environment?

Well, sometimes on a walk where this image was captured of the willow tree

Mayne Island winter rain by the willow tree by Terrill Welch 2015_01_05 074

I go back with my paints, paintbox and brushes to paint. But remember how I just noted that no two days are ever exactly the same?

Mayne Island willow tree in fog by Terrill Welch 2015_01_07 009

Even though the fog is so thick that it settles in damp layers on my skin, I set up anyway and go to work.

plein air painting down by the willow tree by Terrill Welch 2015_01_07 026

In fact, it the humidity is so high that the acrylic paint won’t dry enough to allow me to layer it on painting sketch. So in the end, I know without a moments worry or hesitation that it may be less than an accurate translation of my ordinary everyday experience of the willow tree. But it is still the result we have isn’t it?

“Mayne Island willow tree in winter fog” still wet plein air acrylic sketch 8 x 10 inches

Mayne Island willow tree in winter fog still wet plein air acrylic sketch 8 x 10 inches by Terrill Welch 2015_01_07 046

Back in the studio, I may visit the subject again. I will have my photography and my painting sketches for reference. Again, it may or may not lead to a successful final work but this we will both know – I have attended to an aspect of my everyday with observation, appreciation, curiosity and gratitude. It is a good day for this painter when this is so.

These collections of experience and memory are rendered in multiple layers using my full-sensory awareness of an ordinary day. This is what I wish to capture in my work. Here are three of the twenty-two paintings in my current solo exhibition at International Fine Art Collaborative – Zen Gallery curated by Sukhee Kwon that I feel are exemplary in this aspect.

Title: S t o r m . W a t c h i n g
Media: 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_11 003

Title: T h e . R o a d .t o . t h e . W o r l d
Media: 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas

The Road to the World 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2012_09_02 019

Title: B o w l . o f . W i n t e r . F r u i t
Media: 12 X 16 inch oil on canvas

Bowl of Winter Fruit by Terrill Welch 12 x16 inch oil on canvas 2014_02_08 099

Many of you know the stories between all of the 22 works in this collection but the sharing of these three here will do for now. My thanks to curator Sukhee Kwon for presenting my work so beautifully. Thank you for coming with me on an ordinary day, in an ordinary life of a painter.

What are you observing today in your ordinary life?

 

© 2015 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

Good Morning Rapallo Italy

With oranges picked from a tree and sliced to eat to lemons, fresh eggs from the hen-house and an enthusiastic young niece to our host to greet us we felt right at home in our tiny house style apartment up in the hills of Rapallo Italy.

orange from the tree in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 001

This morning before walking down the hill to get groceries I walked up a ways until I could see the Mediterranean Sea.

May morning in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 037

We are surrounded by hills with little spots of inhabitants scattered around.

From the hillside in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 030

I believe there is a bus that goes around to the area across from us. I hope so because it would fun to have a closer look at this hilltop.

Hilltop near Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 048

But it is the sea that is calling me right now.

over the palm tree is Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 039

The Bird of Paradise blooming outside our door

Bird of Paradise in Rapallo Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 007

nor the abundant number of prickly beauties

prickly beauties by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 019

and not even the roses will keep me on the hillside today.

A rosy kinda morning by Terrill Welch 2014_05_08 057

We are off on the twenty or thirty minute walk to see the sea and get a feel for this place.

 

What is holding your attention today?

 

© 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

Early Autumn Misty Morning Blessings

When September begins to draw to a close, early morning arrives much later for a photographer. It is almost a sensible hour to be out catching the first light of the day.

Sunflower maidens milk the scant light as they swing their heavy heads through the mist towards the drifting dawn. These beauties are both received and given as blessing one.

sunflowers in morning fog by Terrill Welch 2013_09_23 012

Detailed view and purchase of quality prints available HERE.

I am counting my blessings both received and given on this Monday morning and for every Monday following until the end of the 2013. This proposed practice has come about because of an invitation from Kathy Drue in her Lake Superior Spirit Blog post “Count our Blessings” blogging practiceEven though life can be contrary at times there is no particular reason for accepting her invitation other than, well, there are so many everyday ordinary blessing that I feel compelled to notice. Such as these sunflowers in the fog above.

The day’s colour is caught on the ridge and chases the mist across the field in a sparkling two-step. Autumn is almost upon us. She is not in her grandest finery yet. But her undergarments hold out a promise as we caress the landscape – seeking and hoping. Softly, her golden jewels remain slightly hidden from our wanting eyes. Her beauty is profound, hushing our pleas before we dare to speak. I bring her to you as my blessing two.

early autumn morning in the field by Terrill Welch 2013_09_23 051

Detailed view and purchase of quality prints available HERE.

The poplar trees stretch as if they have an invisible string attached to their bushy early autumn crowns with the other end anchored in the heavens. It is too early for leaf-kicking and too late for a swim. But the trees give it no mind as they shine and shine through the morning mist. I bring these trees as my final blessing in threes.

tall trees early autumn by Terrill Welch 2013_09_23 065

Detailed view and purchase of quality prints available HERE.

These photographs were taken on September 23, 2013 at Sturgeon Point Farm, Vanderhoof British Columbia and the home of my parents. I am back on Mayne Island now and up late or maybe possibly it is now considered early 🙂 In any case, I shall release this post immediately and then be off to catch a few winks.

What Monday morning blessing are you feeling compelled to notice?

© 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

Spurious relationships between photograph and painting pairs

I have been requested several times to create another art book that includes pairings of my photographs and paintings. The difficulty with this task is that I don’t generally paint directly from one particular photograph. I sometimes paint en plein air and other time using my whole experience and a large handful of my own reference images will paint in the studio. The two approaches are simply used as tools to capture my impressions of the world around me – a world that emotionally and physically influences my everyday because it IS my everyday. Here is a pairing that demonstrates this almost spurious relationships between what looks like a natural pairing.

The photograph “Good Morning Galiano Island” was taken yesterday at about 9:30 in the morning.

Good morning Galiano Island Dec 30 2012  by Terrill Welch 2012_12_30 299

(available for closer viewing and purchase  HERE)

The oil painting “Far Shore” was painted in the spring 2010 using a set of very grainy reference images from an earlier afternoon day when the fog was so heavy that the sun could just barely break through lightly onto the tip of the rock face.

Far Shore 18 x 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch  IMG_9804

(available for closer viewing and purchase HERE)

Is there a connection between these two works? Yes, but it is likely that the photograph is more influenced by the previous painting than the other way around.

Here is another example. The sunrise was deep in bruised mauve yesterday. “Mayne Island Dawn Dec 30 2012” is one of my favourites from this shoot.

Mayne Island dawn Dec 30 2012 by Terrill Welch 2012_12_30 060

The oil painting “Winter Sun” which was also completed early in 2010 using a different location as reference yet the feeling is the same, the light is the same and I can smell the same cool sea air when I look at both the photograph from yesterday and this painting from a couple of years ago.

5 winter sun May 10 10

(available for closer viewing and purchase HERE)

Well, here we are. This will be our last Creative Potager post in 2012. Also, it is a post that hints at what is ahead. I desire to take you deeper into the creative process and life of this artist. Right down into the unfinished tangle of thoughts, unfinished ideas, quick sketches and daily explorations. The posts will likely be longer and full of musings, more of a shared record, if you will, of the history behind the finished work that will eventually emerge.

ALL THE BEST OF THE NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS!

© 2012 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