Life during Hazy Days in British Columbia

British Columbia is burning. The wildfires have devoured a land mass larger than the province of Prince Edward Island. The fire season is not over yet. There might be a little rain on Sunday but it won’t be enough. Air quality warnings are frequent but unnecessary. I only need to breathe in next to the open window to know how many particles there are in each square inch of smoke-filled air. The sunsets are as eerie as they are beautiful.

No long hikes for me. A casual stroll to sit by the water is all that this week can offer.

I did manage to get out to do a small plein air painting though.

Hazy Morning Active Pass 5 x 7 acrylic plein air sketch

The painting sketch is now off on an adventure of its own – the eighth painting to do so this past five weeks.

But the Terrill Welch Gallery! Now it has enjoyed the soft light from outside through the feature window.

I will be there again on Friday at 10:30 to do a live recording on my Art of Terrill Welch Facebook Page for the first Friday Art Stop feature. If you have a moment, drop on in. I did an introductory video, a sort of sample,  for this new project that you may enjoy in the meantime.

 

I suppose today’s post is my best efforts to find my way forward during uncertain times.

 

How do you process things that you cannot change? Like wildfires? Like threats of nuclear war?  

 

© 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

A Sunrise Series in May

Just as the skies started to lighten the shapes in the valley below, I rise and quickly make coffee. It is just after 4:30 am. I am ready to leave the house at 4:50 am which will put me in Reef Bay at 5:10 am. Sunrise is at 5:26 am. I park down the short trail by the beach. I am the only one here at this hour. Gathering my camera, cell phone, coffee; I meander over the sandstone as the tide slips farther out to sea. The light is still in the blue pink range.

But it warms quickly and the gulls toss themselves up in the air, before circling around and landing out on the reef beside me.

Pouring my second cup of coffee, I settle into an occasional breeze picking up salty licks and hints of seaweed as it reaches the shore.

Then the sun is up!

My heart clings to the moment as my eyes run up the beam of light across the Strait of Georgia.

Stay with it…. hold…hold…hold…

I marvel at the prisms of light on the sea. Glorious!

And now, we have started a new day!

As you are reading this I am waiting for the ferry to Vancouver with a carload of paintings and a few long days ahead of me with the Art! Vancouver Fair. However, at any moment I can check back and find my centre with this sunrise. It is like a tether anchoring me to my best self.

What tether anchors you to your best self?

Note: If you are in the city I encourage you to come down and say hello. It is not often I show my work in Vancouver and I don’t have any immediate plans to do so again anytime soon.

© 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

Until later Prince Edward Island as I leave with more painting sketches

Has the past three weeks really gone so fast that I have not intrigued you with my gallivanting from shore to hill to shore again? Well it seems so though I did share ten sketches on the website update, there has been more – so much more! But one must choose what to share I think, otherwise boredom will have you on the next global surf for website spectacular viewing. We must get on with it!

Let’s see…. oh yes, we shall start with just a few of the latest painting sketches and then a handful of photographs of subjects I find particularly fascinating.

I can never seem to get enough of the red dirt and sandstone of Prince Edward Island!

South Shores PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

South Shores PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5264

Cape Bear on edge study 12 x 9 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Cape Bear on edge study 12 x 9 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5259

Wind Swept Murray Head PEI study  11 x 14 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Wind Swept Murray Head PEI study 11 x 14 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5245

Hilltop View Above DeSable River PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch

Hilltop View Above DeSable River PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch IMG_5492

But in truth, it is the relationship between land, sea and sky that keeps my attention no matter if it is red or white sand and stone.

Fogged In At Basin Head PEI Study  8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Fogged In At Basin Head PEI Study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5530

But there are also the lighthouses…

West Point Lighthouse 1875 PEI

West Point Lighthouse 1875 PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_4851

Colourful fishing huts…

Georgetown Harbour PEI

Georgetown Harbour PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_4896

And the churches…

This one comes with a story about its photographic capture even:

I almost didn’t get this photograph of the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, built 1848, in Brae, PEI. You see, there is at least one or sometimes two churches, of some sort it seems, within walking distance of pretty much every farm and fishing village on Prince Edward Island. There are large churches, small churches, plain churches, beautiful churches and unusual churches. Many, like this one, only open the doors for special occasions and eventually may be lost to more central houses of worship that can be reached easily with a vehicle. But, in a day’s adventure on this gorgeous island, we see a lot of churches!

Traveling with a landscape photographer, who is also the driver, can get more than just a little bit tedious. There is a lot of stop and go. There can be lot of turning around and going back even. So, by the time I spotted the Brae church through the trees and a ways over the fields and trees, my sweet husband was just about ready to crumble into a two-year old’s meltdown of angry despair. He is an extremely patient man but there are limits. Turning on the signal and thinking as fast as I can, I shout – LAST PHOTO OF THE DAY! while simultaneously and silently praying to the gods of fading light that I might be able to keep my word without regret. I didn’t dare look sideways at him, not even out of the corner of my eye. I just kept driving and searching for a photograph of the church from various angles as we approached. I knew I was only going to get to stop the car once without the floodgates of frustration overflowing the banks of spousal goodwill… and I was going to have to be quick about it. We were approaching the end of a long day, both of us hungry and tired.

At first I couldn’t find the shot. There were power lines everywhere and very little to use for context. Then I saw a small bridge and zipped across. Turning into the Brae Harbour Rd, I spin a slow u-turn and park. I leap out of the car and jog across the road. I had it! Last photo of the day – with nothing more than a heavy sigh and a grinning shaking of his head as he asks – did you get it!?

Phewffff! Love wins another round!

Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception 1848  Brae PEI

Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception 1848 Brae PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_4862

And then there are red dirt back roads….

Eliot River Rd PEI

Eliot River Rd PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_5362

Fresh leaves gracing Currie Rd PEI

Fresh leaves gracing Currie Rd PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_5394

Farrar Rd PEI

Farrar Rd PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_5397

No matter where we went, from North Cape to Cavendish to Summerside to St. Peters Bay, to East Point to Georgetown, to Murray Head to Rocky Point or just on the streets of Charlottetown, we were welcomed with exemplar Canadian kindness! Prince Edward Island has managed to cultivate the best of rural and urban living in its small province and it is a place that warms the heart and lifts the spirit. We will be back. We have made a promise to ourselves to have me come and work in the fall to early winter, maybe in 2017, to capture the landscape again in painting sketches and photographs during the autumn season. For now, I must go home and start working up the Prince Edward Island landscape onto larger canvases using the reference material I have gathered over the past seven weeks. I owe a huge thanks to all the islanders who have welcomed me and shared their favourite places and advice. There are too many to name but you know who you are! Thank you!!! Until we meet again!

 

I usually end with a question but I actually have not one to ask today so…

 

What question might you like to ask today?

 

P.S. Save the date for Mayne Island, B.C. – West to East Coast Art Show featuring new landscape painting sketches and recent large oil paintings by Terrill Welch on Sat. July 9th 1-4 pm and Sun. July 10th from 11 am – 4 pm at the Mayne Island Community Centre, 493 Felix Jack Road.

Terrill will be displaying over 18 of her new east coast painting sketches (prints of these works can be ordered) from her trip to Prince Edward Island this spring along with recent west coast landscape paintings that will be available to purchase.

During this pop up show, Terrill will be painting live and demonstrating how her work goes from a collection of sketches and photography reference materials to the final large oil paintings.

Come experience the magic of these landscape renderings of Canada’s west and east coasts as they are captured and translated by Terrill Welch with her brushes and paints onto medium and large canvases.

 

© 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

West Coast Sunrise New Year’s Day 2016

A shirt, a sweater and a down coat. Wool socks and gloves. No it is not the far north but the seaside on Mayne Island off the southwest Coast of Canada. The temperature is -2 Celsius and white frost drapes over the landscape while a light mist rises off of the water. It is is just before 8:00 am with still a bit of time until sunrise.

Looks like we have a blood orange start to 2016.

Blood orange start to 2016  by Terrill Welch 2016-01-01 IMG_7158

But it doesn’t hold for long and farther to the northwest the blue-mauve hues still dominate.

Mist off the sea New Year's Day morning by Terrill Welch 2016-01-01  IMG_7166

The light is breaking shore on sea. Gulls cry and geese call against the quiet of gentle waves. I yearn for something that has no name.

Breaking Shore New Year's Day 2016 by Terrill Welch 2016-01-01 IMG_7191

But before any rational clarity can surface, the sensation is gone, replaced by softer notes on Mount Baker across the way.

Across the Way New Year's Day Sunrise 2016 by Terrill Welch 2016-01-01  IMG_7206

Such is sunrise for this being on the first day of a New Year in 2016.

Dawn on New Year's Day 2016 by Terrill Welch 2016-01-01  IMG_7255

Nothing terribly dramatic nor unusual. But a good start to the day!

What is on the rise in your New Year?

This about it for now I think. Happy New Year!

P.s. If you would like to view my choices for the Best 15 painting of 2015 they are now posted over on the website HERE.

© 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

Mystery of the Ordinary in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island

If you know only one aspect of my creative intention, I would like it to be my gift of the ordinary in our everyday. Yes, there are grand moments, brilliant moments and even tragic moments in our lives. But it is the everyday, the ordinary which holds the greatest mystery. On this day, Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I feel compelled to take you with me on a quiet walk of thankfulness in our local Mayne Island Japanese Garden. This garden is a work of volunteer love and healing in recognition of the Japanese Canadians who lost their homes and lands on Mayne Island during their interment during the second world war.

Through the trees in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 036

Looking through the trees and standing in between I am thankful for all that is.

Standing in between in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 031

Standing still and quiet as the winter birds shuffle the last of the fall colour on the ground, I breathe easy.

Last of the fall colour in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 020

Have a seat and we shall stay a while longer.

Have a Seat by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 012

Then, when you are ready, we shall walk across the bridge and out onto the small inner island of the Japanese garden.

Bridge in Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 022

There is evidence that the seasonal Christmas lights are being strung. Today though, it is just the natural warmth of winter light and the last bits of gold in contrast to a thin layer of ice on the pond.

What is your own most powerful mystery in the ordinary of your everyday today?

© 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

A Narrow Artistic Perspective on a Mayne Island Morning

Let’s count them. There are eighteen photography sketches taken within 45 minutes of each other and no further apart than fifty steps along a chunk of the Mayne Island shoreline. It is a painter’s morning for gathering reference material. Why bother you might ask? Well, it is about seeing and mostly about how we see and choose to construct our world using sensory information.

I woke just before daylight. After blinking several times and making coffee I decide to go and see how the sun is making out.

Mayne Island late August morning 1 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 001

She is getting a little slower to rise on this late August morning but still beat to the shore.

Mayne Island late August morning 2 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 016

It is a gentle rising with a soft elegance that never fails to release the last bit of tension between my shoulder blades.

Mayne Island late August morning 3 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 033

I gather myself together and glance narrow and long… searching.

Mayne Island late August morning 4 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 039

And searching again.

Mayne Island late August morning 5 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 046

Low clouds play with the light as I look south.

Mayne Island late August morning 6 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 057

Back around I turn and venture deeper into exploring just this one aspect of the shoreline.

Mayne Island late August morning 7  by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 060

Which composition is most satisfying?

Mayne Island late August morning 8  by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 065

Which elements do we see most clearly?

Mayne Island late August morning 9  by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 073

Is it the sea or the land we most sympathize with?

Mayne Island late August morning 10 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 094

I want to reach into the camera and pluck out my own secrets!

Mayne Island late August morning 11 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 097

But I cannot.

Mayne Island late August morning 12 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 100

Like the blue heron I can only keep fishing using my past experience and best guesses. Maybe this one!?

Mayne Island late August morning 13 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 106

No not that one replies the heron.

Mayne Island late August morning 14 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 112

The sandstone chortles and then hefts a sigh, as if in commiseration, about this endless seeking.

Mayne Island late August morning 15 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 133

Calm but slightly dejected I turn around yet again. I haven’t unraveled this dawn yet.

Mayne Island late August morning 16 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 148

After a few steps, I turn slowly and then crouch low… there…

Mayne Island late August morning 17 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 155

and then again here….

Mayne Island late August morning 18 by Terrill Welch 2015_08_25 157

Morning has broken and the landscape is shattered by my viewer’s eye! I must leave now with my quick photography sketches. I must take these fragments and make something of them just as we do with every image we created in our mind’s eye. these are my few soft gestures of contemplation before picking up my brushes and rushing them over a canvas with heaps of expectation and too much substance to do any of it justice.

 

What has your morning brought to you?

 

© 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

Ten Days Over and Under with Nature is Calling

A deer browses outside the studio window as I ponder how much easier it is to be in nature than it is to record being in nature. Since my last post many days have past. I am reminded of weaving and the over and under of life, living and my complex relationship to nature. Let see if we can pick up the pattern and weave it together.

The rooster crows over top of the small forest birds as I try to decide whether to paint the third of three California surf paintings or write this blog post.

beginning the 3rd of 3 surf paintings by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 062

The other two are complete and under review with other new work in the main part of the house.

early morning review of recent work by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 057

While I should be musing over this body of work in the early morning light as I gather my apple and toasted whole-wheat raisin bread, instead I think “darn those windows need washing!”

Canadian geese announce their departure as I climb back up stairs to the studio. I am fixated on a painting problem and it goes like this – how does one paint the sound of the surf?

how does one paint the sound of the surf by Terrill Welch iphone

This problem about painting the surf took over following an Oregon and California road trip this spring. It has rooted itself into my consciousness like invasive Scotch Broom on Mayne Island – a beautiful problem but still one that there is a community desire to resolve.  But Scotch Broom is an issue that is complex and not easily addressed. Practically speaking, both my painting problem and the broom take hard work as much as anything else to resolve. This is where #NatureIsCalling and the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge gives me a boost and possibly even a reason to sidestep the second issue – getting rid of Scotch Broom.

If we propose that over and under is a repetitive motion that in weaving and nature never allows a person to return to exactly the same place twice, what have I discovered?

The Georgina Lighthouse park on Mayne Island is beautiful in the direct midday sun.

at the lighthouse Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_07 005

or plein air painting in the early morning grey of heavy haze and cloud.

“Scotch Broom and Arbutus Tree set in grey quick study” – 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

Scotch Broom and Arbutus Tree set in grey quick study 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_05_11 016

We have come back again and again these past few days for picnics and reading.

afternoon reading in the park by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 044

Sometimes I am distracted by the sounds of ferries entering or leaving Active Pass. But mostly, the seals and sea lions surface on the water and the seagulls and eagles call from the sky while I feel free to sprawl on the grass with nothing more to do than take it all into the core of my being – even the Scotch Broom.

Scotch Broom at the lighthouse by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 049

Scotch Broom you see is not really suppose to be here. The invasive shrub got away from gardens and has a habit of taking up any vacant space available regardless of who usually would be seeking residence – kind of like humans. It has definitely made itself permanent on Mayne Island as it has elsewhere. The best way to keep shrub out is not to disturb the ground. This patch has developed due to shore erosion. It is a tough beast with deep roots. Possibly it is a natural solution to the erosion in this case.  I am willing to entertain this idea for the moment anyway. By the way, if you look long enough and carefully enough there are two humans in this photograph sitting quietly looking out to sea.

The lighthouse park is sometimes included in our longer walk each the day which are usually five to six km long and the same equivalent as climbing eight flights of stairs. These walks frequently include trails leading to and from the sea.

nature walk by Terrill Welch iPhone

Maybe it is a low tide…

low tide Georgeson Island by Terrill Welch iPhone

or the beauty of an old fir tree curved from winter storms…

fir tree west coast curl by Terrill Welch iPhone

or the strength of light, wind in the trees and patterns of roads sometimes are best understood in a painterly paintography fashion that catches my attention.

walking close to home painterly by Terrill Welch iPhone

These last four images were taken with my iPhone as it was all I had with me. My iPhone is sometimes a secondary part about being in nature. I leave my good camera at home in order to limit the distraction of framing images. It helps a small amount but not a lot. This habit of seeing light patterns and recording compositions is like a musician playing their daily scales on the piano – it is necessary practice. I would argue it is as important to my well-being as being in nature  for its own-sake. I mean, how does one even come up with a crazy question about how to paint the sound of the surf if not from years of observation?

receding Califonia Surf  in progress 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_05_07 016

During the past ten days storms pass through…

Sky is all I can see  by Terrill Welch 2015_05_05 062

first visit with five day old grandson take place…

baby L five days old by Terrill Welch 2015_05_05 039

A Cinnabar moth is spotted (found in Europe and western and central Asia. It has been introduced into New Zealand, Australia and North America to control poisonous ragwort, on which its larvae feed.)

Cinnabar moth by Terrill Welch iPhone

and a  first Iris that hold my attention. It too is not native to this area. Like me, it is a transplant from someplace else.

first iris by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 041

This close up is what I want to remember but it is not what I first saw in its raw awkwardness against the foundation of the lighthouse.

first iris standing tall and alone by the wall by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 004

What I have noticed during the past ten days of #NatureIsCalling is how good I am at sorting, sanitizing and sensationalizing what are ordinary, messy and complex experiences in our natural environment. While I think that what I am deeply aware of is that the sun on my shoulder, the rumble of the jet overhead, the rain in the garden, the rise and fall of my breath I also become aware of a world where humans want to be right and to be good. It is a world where human sharing uses the shortest route to what is considered best and worst, good and evil or right and wrong. Time in nature reminds me of the complexity of our daily lives by its examples. Maybe the time and energy to eradicate Scotch Broom is ill placed? My wrenched shoulder from doing this task a few years ago agrees – today anyway.

Now, I am off to paint the sound of the surf in my third of three paintings on the subject. With a bit of luck, my next post will introduce all three completed California surf paintings.

 

What complexities are you musing about?

 

Note: #NatureIsCalling is the hashtag for the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge. I am outside more than 30 minutes in nature each day as a matter of work and life style but I committed to being particularly observant for the Month of May. As time allows, I will share these experiences with you here on Creative Potager.

© 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

Happy Fifth Birthday Creative Potager Blog

It has now been five years since the beginning of Creative Potager. Happy WordPress blog birthday to us!

What a journey we have had together!

OPEN STUDIO 24 x 30 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_01_01 267

(Open Studio is 24 x 30 inch oil on canvas and is a new work in the artist’s private collection)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is the home of sharing this artist’s creative process inspired from her everyday life.

work-in-progress Villeneuve lez Avignon France 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_07_07 010

The underbelly of paintings are displayed in all their naked glory.

work in progress 1 Trail along the Ridge 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_10_21 090

The design ideas for the fabric that covers these bare-bone canvases is the substance that has graced many of the 538 posts.

Throw Pillow Breaking Patterns Large 20 x 20 inch by Terrill Welch

Photographs have captured long walks at home,

Mayne Island Christmas Arbutus Tree visit 1 by Terrill Welch 2014_12_25 006

the rise of a super-moon

And so supermoon rose May 5 2012 by Terrill Welch IMG_2001

and meandering international travel.

plein air painting by the Rhine river Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 102

And you dear readers have been so much a unique contributor through your comments and shared links. In this way, I feel Creative Potager is a community as much as it is blog. Thank you for being you. Thank you for your support, sharing and collecting of my paintings and photographs. More than 50 paintings and many more photography prints are now in private collections around the world. So, as much as Creative Potager captures a process, it also delivers results. You are so very much a part of making this happen.

Open Studio online and in-person event Nov 8 and 9 2014 Great Room by Terrill Welch 2014_11_07 013

But how can we celebrate today? Five years are a survival milestone for a blog and for a small business as an independent artist. How might we honour and recognize this moment?

Well, just as this blog is about the everyday life and work of an artist who frequently invites you simply to sit with her –  maybe to celebrate we should do just that?

Open Studio morning by Terrill Welch 2014_11_08 002

Feel free to pour a cup of tea and dig into the cookie jar while we reflect. Thank you for pausing with me. Thank you for celebrating this milestone.

 

Do you have a special Creative Potager moment or memory you would like to share?

 

© 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

Pillaging Five Essentials From Florence Italy

I suggested to David that since we were walking the old road from Rome to Florence this morning we could pretend that we were Roman Soldiers sent on a mission to the city of Florence.  He replied – if we were crazy we could. Ah well, I tried but he wasn’t up to carrying all that armor clinking and clanking down the narrow echoing street. So we left as two starry-eyed Canadian tourists with two water bottles, a camera and sufficient funds to ward off starvation.

It truly is only a 30 minute into town but by the time we did our circle route and return trip four hours had passed. What did we find you might ask? Here are our five spoils from a first photography pillage of Florence Italy.

Papier – I surely cannot have been the only camera person who sat on the edge of the sidewalk listening for fading foot steps to get a clear shot of this store and side street?

Papier in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 045

Then there is the Ponte Vecchio – which even from here you can see is it is brick-to-brick bodies.

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 059

A stretch of the city wall is a must! But which one? Did you know there are six different city walls that were constructed over the history of the city? Judging from where I was standing this is a piece of the sixth wall.

city wall in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 117

From the Piazzale Michelangiolo there is of course a great view of the city and particularly of the Piazza del Duomo.

Piazza del Duomo Florence Italy  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 137

Yet, the most arresting view is possibly that of a replica of David against a Florence blue sky…

replica of stature of David in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_26 149

Even a copy is a charming sight to behold. But it is getting near the hottest part of the day and we must slip out the back way with our bounty and then trudge up the last part of the hill out of the city.

 

We will be back – so what image of Florence do you wish we might have taken instead?

 

© 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

Venice Italy on a Short Tether

Venice Italy on a short tether by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 115

Where is Venice? Silly question you might answer. It is in Italy of course. Well, it can be. But I am going to postulate that Venice Italy is mostly in our imaginations. To demonstrate, I am going share my unscientific nine days of observations and reflections. You see, we are under rather peculiar restrictions while in this ancient city of canals. We must, for the most part, avoid frenetic crowds.  To avoid dragging a snarling frothing-at-the-mouth tourist through the narrow complex pathways of Venezia, I must pick our times and our locations with care. The most noted touristy locations and activities are therefore passed over.

Though I did get a nice shot of the Canal Grande from the Ponte dell’Accademia

Canal Grande from the Ponte dell'Accademia 1 by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 050

and the long view…

Canal Grande from the Ponte dell'Accademia by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 062

and another Canal Grande from Porte degliScalzi

Canal Grande from Porte degli Scalzi Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 026

Plus, there is the gondalier polishing away while waiting for riders…

gondaliering 6 by Tierrill Welch 2014_04_17 034

and an inspired painting sketch…

Plein air painting along the Grand Canal in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 030

or two

Low Entry Venice Italy 18 x 24 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch linen finish paintblock by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 060

oh, make that three!

Afternoon canal watch in Venice Italy 18 x 24 cm acrylic painting sketch on linen finished paint block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 005

and there is the laundry I showed in my last Venice post.

Cannaregio Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 046

There are also the narrow wabi-sabi alleyways…

wabi sabi street in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 092

So far so good, we might say. It all seems to be just about what one might expect in Venice. But this is where the imagined truth begins to slip and the many faces of Venice start to show themselves in the shadows.

We know that much of Venice was built by the 1500 as it is recorded in a woodcut print by Jacopo de’ Barbari. This aging and declining beauty hosts about 50,000 tourists a day. Finding a narrow calli not streaming with a procession of guests is often a challenge. Still, amidst the frantic excitement, its swaying elegance can still be hunted down to stand alone, quiet and charming in the afternoon sun. Distant clicking of carry-on luggage fades as it is jostle over the masegni then silenced when the owner picks it up to carry it over one of the more than 450 bridges connecting the city of islands. I have two full days left of my nine in Venice. My feelings are mixed. This photograph is the city I imagined. Yet, it is only one, and often seldom seen, expression on a declining, trampled profile of romance, elegance and power. I am not sorry I came. I am not even sorry I stayed long enough to see past the glitter and shiny bobbles. I am however slightly melancholy to visit this elderly lady on her last breath being sustained by tourism, mythology and will.

Let’s take a deeper view, one where I hope to still leave this fading darling of the world with some dignity – yet let the wrinkles of time add to her story.

400 years long by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 100

we are connected

We are connected Venice Italy  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 099

Italia in Venice

Italia in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 047

or just Italia?

Italia by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 046

1776 someplace in Venice Italy

1776 someplace in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 070

I smell a  rat nearby

I smell a  rat nearby by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 108

Who broke the nose of Venice?

who broke the nose of Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 154

and then bit off her hand!?

larger than life statue at Canal Grande Hotel by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 020

Is this where Venice collects herself then?

Reflections in an antique shop window Venice Italy

reflections in an antique shop window Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 052

Or is it here in the campo Nazario Sauro?

The many faces of Venice expressed at once by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 125

No, I think possibly the Venice we expect can be most frequently be found on this wall…

within reach of Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 146

Venezia posted by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 140 on the wall in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 141

Wandering the back alleys in search of Venice Italy, I come across a happenstance poster collage that includes Ruth Orkin’s best know photograph early 1950’s “American Girl in Italy” amongst the mix. I carefully frame the collage within its original context and then edit the photograph to become a new image, a new work of art which emerges as a study of this earlier piece. There are bits of debris, wrinkles and wear showing on the paper. A piece of the brick wall is showing through the plastered images. Nothing is quite straight and true. There is more nostalgia than truth and this is Venice in April 2014.

In search of Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 131

More about “American Girl in Italy” can be found on a post written by her daughter at Ruth Orkin’s Archives:
http://www.orkinphoto.com/photographs/american-girl

Such a small cup Venice!

such a small cup Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 020

Yet, siblings can be seen looking at something from a bridge in Venice just above the daily beer delivery.

siblings looking at something from the bridge in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 088

Canals are as much for heading to work in Venice
heading to work Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_16 042

as they are for gondaliering.

gondaliering 4 painterly by Terrill Welch 2014_04_17 098

Such gondola pride…

gondola pride 2 by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 104

as they pass the open storage door.

storage Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 036

and the practical posts at the edge of the canals.

practical posts at the edge of the canal by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 040

The fancy ones are over in the Cannaregio district where the streets are wider, quieter and maybe not so interesting…

Cannaregio Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_20 017

It is where Venetians live. It is where your coffee is only drank with milk before 11:00 am and the restaurants are mostly closed from 3:00 in the afternoon to 6:30 in the evening. It is where the boat with fresh fish makes a special stop before going to the larger open market over by the Rialto Bridge. It is where a small boy can through a plastic pop bottle in the canal and no one takes any notice. Still, just like the rest of Venice, the sorted refuse and recyclables will be hung out between six and eight in the morning where they will be picked up and trudged to the edge of the canals to be hauled away before the tourist day begins.

Who is this Venice with such a notorious reputation for love, superb expresso and fish that can sold in a restaurant for 13 euros a 100 grams – with the head still attached?

Who is this Venice behind these many masks?

Venezia masks by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 045

Shuttered more often than not, she gives few clues…

shuttered in Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 032

As I make my way up and down the old marble stairs of our apartment again and again in the Santa Croce district,

old marble stairs in our apartment building  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 011

as I reach for one old door handle after another,

door handle in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 007

and the city’s church bells swing a resistant ring against the graffiti walls…

Graffiti of Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_19 019

I ask – where is Venice?

Then it rains. Sidewalks pool with water.

rain on the sidewalk of Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 003

Canals welcome droplets as if being caressed awake from a deep sleep.

rainy day in Venice by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 050

The passageways empty and leave the heavy light to a photographer on her knees. He brushes the red clay that is caked to the shoulder of her shirt where she leaned steady against the wall.

per Rialto by Terrill Welch 2014_04_21 015

Darkness comes and still they walk – umbrella to umbrella, touching lightly on the delicate underbelly of  exposed skin that is Venice. He asks what she is doing. She says she would like to frame those lights there, the ones dancing on the water. But she doesn’t. Instead, they keep walking, passed where the hustlers have packed up their purses and glow sticks, and passed where the usual sound of rolling carry-on luggage is louder than laughter and past where a couple is having difficulty deciding which restaurant they should go to for dinner.

Damp and satisfied, she leads them past the couple, and  up the three flights of stairs to their apartment, opens a bottle of cheap red wine and makes sandwiches on white buns with local cheese for a late supper.

Early the next morning, there is Venice, waiting on the street for the garbage to be collected. A Venice that knows she can order a standing up espresso for a euro at the bakery where she will buy only what bread is needed for breakfast. About then – the light is just so! The masks fall from her imaginary vision and she says…

suggested Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 040

I am ready to say good morning to you Venice. I am willing to say I am in love with your many faces.

morning by a Venice canal by Terrill Welch 2014_04_22 069

Only now, it is time to say good-bye – a long goodbye like that of Katharine Hepburn in Summertime (1955)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h67MxIl795w

Venice, I think you will surprise me again.

Tomorrow,  I shall be packed. It will be time for this humble artist to stow away her work and leave only her impressions behind.

 

Where is YOUR Venice? What one of her many faces do you love most?

 

Note: The painting sketches and some of these photographs are now available for purchase at my Redbubble Storefront.

 

© 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