rocks and mussels

"rocks and mussels" oil painting by Terrill Welch

11X14 by 1.5 inches water miscible oil painting.

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rocks and mussels” is inspired by a piece of remote the beach at Point No Point on south western Vancouver Island. It is a rugged area close to the end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and open sea. The rocks are of mixed texture and form. Some are large hard slate black stones rubbed smoothed from the surf and others are smaller, rounded and warm ochre and cream in colour. Seaweed seems to drape themselves over either. Though the when you look closely mussels appear to like the darker rocks. But since they are sometimes clustered together it is often hard to tell.

I have been coming to this area for over twenty years, sometimes for lunch and a stroll through the trails and other times to stay for a few days in one of the cabins. The last time I was there was in December 2009 for our honeymoon.

I had set a challenge when painting this piece to be able to paint the darker seaweed on top of the lighter rocks. However when I look closely, the light was the dark seaweed just at the crest of the rocks. Which made much more sense to me but the painting was still very challenging. I wanted us to feel like we were the sea about to wash over the mussels, the rocks and the seaweed. I also came to understand that the rocks are often washed away from the bottom quicker than the top as the sea pushes its way over the sand and withdraws back into itself. This leaves the stones with overhangs where there is no sand and the shadows seep in.

At some point this painting took on a life of its own and became separate from my reference images and slide down a path that was more about remembering how it felt, the smell of seaweed, the salt air, and the roar of the surf on distant rocks with the sun on my back lifting the mist off the trees on the bank above me.

Sprout Question: Have you ever discovered something different than what you thought you knew while creating?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada