Lost in the Light Edith Point Mayne Island work in progress

The day delivered breadth and inspiring beauty as so often happens on my walks. I came home with a much clearer mind and a lighter heart than when I left. Just how I like it! 🙂

Now to render those same fingers of light and sea onto a canvas. This particular Sunday in the Terrill Welch Gallery was quieter than usual so I set up on the little patio to paint.

Just a few paint marks on the yellow ground should get us started.

Then the blocking in begins.

I keep painting but it is slow going and pretty soon the day is over and I need to bring the work into the gallery and close up shop.

The very next day, I move the wet painting to the home studio and continue working on it there. Finally! The blocking in process is complete. This might be it for today… the 24 x 30 inch walnut oil on canvas landscape painting is covered in wet paint indicating its major elements. Though things are still rather fluid, I have a fairly good idea where all bits are located. Now comes my favourite part of finding all the light and shadows. But this might be tomorrow’s work. I still have the brushes out though so anything is possible. 😉

Steady goes it as patches of light and shadow move across the landscape. There is still a ways to go before the first hints of light shift the forms into place. But for now a break.

Done! Well, maybe resting. Nope it is done!… I suppose you don’t need to listen to me arguing with myself 😉

Now for some distance so it is easier to see what we have here.

Ah well, it really was only resting. I have made a few minor changes to address a small visual tangent. If you know what such a thing is, see if you can find the change I made.

“Lost in the Light Edith Point Mayne Island” by Terrill Welch
24 x 30 inch walnut oil on canvas

The edges are now painted and drying. A hanging wire must still be added, a final photograph taken and the work added to the inventory program. But almost there!

When was the last time you had a tangent – visual or otherwise? 😉

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For the Record I am Still Very Much a Living Artist

The other day I had a long-time friend ask if I had any health problems. I was a bit puzzled about what prompted this inquiry but answered that I was fine other than being slightly rounder than I would like.

He continues “Oh, I was just wondering if I could cash in on those paintings of yours anytime soon. But I think you have to be dead first.”

He was teasing but it is not such an odd question to ask about an artist as I first thought. At a recent international art fair this was a common curiosity for art buyers – was the artist still alive and are they in the mature or later stages of their career? This is all a polite way of asking if the artist is dead yet or how much longer until we can expect them to be dead. Of course, then the collector or potential purchaser has to decide if they have a chance of outliving that artist in order to cash in on their holdings. This is the rather lifeless, dark side of the whole art business which I am not so fond of thinking about.

I admit to being a little weirded out by this whole line of decision-making or checking up on your art investment. So I just want to say, for the record, I am in good health, eat well, exercise regularly, do not smoke, spend ample time in nature breathing clean air and sometimes have a glass of red wine with my dinner. Chances are fairly good that I have several years of painting left in me yet and I shall be around for a long, long time. No quick return on your investment is reasonably expected here. Then again we never really know do we?  After all, I am closer to 60 than 50 years old now. But I provide you with summary this  information and leave it with you to calculated your odds.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way, there is another kind of being dead as an artist that is far more dangerous than a last breath. This is the death of risk taking. Playing it safe, in whatever creative medium an artist uses, is not recommended. Sometimes the worst thing for an artist is to figure out something that works and is appreciated by viewers and collectors. Under these circumstances, we can lose focus, desire, drive and passion quicker than the heart can skip a beat. We must keep ask – I wonder? and – what if? and then go for it! The life in our work depends on this risk taking as much as our body relies on fresh organic fruit and vegetables. Yes, we can stop asking the questions for a short-while. But we will develop artistic scurvy if it goes on for too long. Let me show you an example of the kind of risk taking I am talking about….

My paintings don’t just appear on the canvas with each bit perfectly formed. They are coerced, poked and enticed into existence. I start with an idea about how I want to handle a particular subject and gradually it starts to take shape as the layers of paint and brushstrokes are moved onto the canvas. Bell Towers of Florence Countryside – 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas has been more than a year in the musing and thinking process.

I start the landscape with my usual warm underpainting …

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 1 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 002

I began working right on top of the wet underpainting. I wanted this warmth to be come integral to the later stages of the painting.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 2 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 003

The main themes and compositional elements of the painting are still fluid and transitory. It is coming along nicely.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 3 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 011

Slowly my ideas start to solidify – just a bit…

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 4 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_30 014

I begin building up what seems to be working…

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 5 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 001

I keep going…

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas in progress 6 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 008

There is some variation in colour between stages because of the lighting condition at different times of day. But you get the idea. Finally the painting is getting close.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 7 resting 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_08_01 070

If you are walking from Florence south via del Podesta which is part of the old road to Rome take via del Portico to the right that is above Galluzzo. It is the medieval Chiesa di Santa Lucia in the foreground. The church has two bells from the 14th century. The Monastero della Certosa del Galluzzio founded by Niccolò Acciaiuoli in 1342 is on the hillside in the background. Today there are cars and freeways running lengthwise between these two places but from this view one can imagine there being only foot traffic moving along the narrow roads between stone walls from one place to the other. Thinking about what it was like standing in this spot, I make a few more changes and then I am ready to leave the painting to “rest” and decide if it needs anything else.

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside 7 resting 16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas 8 still resting by Terrill Welch 2015_08_02 002

Well, I slept on it and I thought about this place some more. I then thought about the state of the world and so on. I could have left this most pleasant, idealized scene just as it is. The painting is fine. No risk taking is necessary really. But what would be the use of that? Do we really just need one more perfect picture of a grand view? No we don’t. I know we don’t. I have more to say than that and I had best figure out how to say it. We are often dazzled by dramatic light and memories that deny an imperfect past. This is even more pronounced to me when looking at these old churches, monasteries and bell towers in the Florence countryside. The whining hornet-sounds of motorcycles on the narrow road are an invisible reminder of our fossil-fuel reliant present. The young olive trees on the hill are young because of a hard frost a number of years ago that was attributed to changes in weather patterns. We seem to be wiping out our past and our present even as we observe this magnificent view. Like cataract suffers, we keep focusing on the bright spots and missing the rest. We are slowly going blind and this beautiful view will soon be lost to us. How can I possibly show this with paint and my brush?

Bell Towers of Florence Countryside  16 x 20 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_08_02 062

Risk taken. I believe we now have more than simply a beautiful landscape and one that is very much alive, just like the artist who painted it.

 

What risk are you currently taking in order to be very much alive?

 

© 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

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

SEA AND CLOUDS original oil painting by Terrill Welch

About a month ago I set a day aside to paint a new work SEA AND CLOUDS. I had completed the underpainting already and it was simply sitting there in its 36 X 36 inch glory tempting me to pick up the brushes.

It was a big canvas and the day was pleasant so I decided to work on the side deck. I have a rather odd approach I guess to setting up my palette. I start fresh each time and choose all the colours I am going to use before I start painting. In this case I used one of my photographs as a reference point. From there it is a matter of mixing which I often do on the canvas as much as I do on my palette.  So here is what the paints look like as I start painting.

Next it is a matter of getting some paint on the canvas.

And a bit more I think…

and some more paint!

Three hours later I start to build up the image.

I work without thinking – breath after breath I move the paint with brush and palette knife over the canvas. I move the canvas to avoid shadows. But at last I must stop. I am out of light.

I move the wet canvas to another deck and capture a late-in-the-day image of the painting in progress.

For the past month I have mused and walked by this painting almost everyday. What is it that I need to do? What will pull these pieces together into a completed work? Oh I grumbled and I worked on photographs. I thought and then one day it came to me. I knew exactly what had to happen. I set aside the morning and finished the painting.

SEA AND CLOUDS 36 X 36 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 

Update October 6, 2012 : This painting is now SOLD.  Other paintings currently available can be viewed in the Artwork Archives online Gallery HERE.

Sprout Question: How long have you waited for the right combination of information to finish a creative work?

 

© 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

If I were an owl

If I were an owl I would spend a lot of time looking at the middle of trees, as I dozed away an afternoon. The view we have of our big fir trees is like that. I set my easel up on the west deck and decided to paint an owl’s view.

The big easel I’m using was a gift from my parents the year I graduated from high school. That was awhile ago. I’ve packed and moved it so many times I don’t even care to count. It’s a treasure.

Now back to an owl’s view….I started with one of my favourite yellow-orange underpaintings but neglected to take that first photo when it was set aside to dry. Here is the next pause in painting.

And the next.

Then I made a mistake. I didn’t let it cure long enough… only a couple of days. I just couldn’t wait. So I painted. And I painted. And I painted some more….

It was okay but the painting had lost its life. The darker and more vibrant colours had lifted and mixed in with the lighter ones I was painting. Basically, I had a muddy gray mess. I was pretty sad and I felt kind of silly. I knew I couldn’t work the painting that hard so soon and I stubbornly did it anyway. So this time I left it sit for a couple of weeks. I looked at. I mused and I considered.

Did I want to try and breathe life back into it or should I just leave its carcass on the canvas?

Ah, what the heck nothing much too loose. I gave it another try.  Here are the results.

View and purchase print of original here.

18X24 by 2 inch 100% cotton canvas water miscible oil painting.

Now I am happy. I love painting trees. Just for fun, here is a close up of one of my favourite parts of the painting. I decided it would make a nice card or print in its own right.

View and purchase print of original here.

Sprout Question: Do you have a favourite subject that has kept you creative company for years?

Note: these images are available at my online store front http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch for viewing and purchase. But they seem to be having some website issues this morning so I will go back and make direct links for you later today.

© 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