Taking photos of the moon

I dreamt I was taking photographs of the moon last night. But when I awoke, this is the image I was musing about.

It is the late evening flight of a great blue heron to its fishing hole where there is still a slight shine on the water.

I thought of this image rather than this one of the moon over Georgeson Island I took a little over a years ago.

Or this one of the moon at the waters edge.

I have always been a low-light or fall and winter photographer. Having extremely light sensitive eyes, it is in this light that my eyes are most relaxed – and my being is most receptive to what is going on around me. Still, I haven’t spent a lot of time setting up to shoot at night. Yes, setting up is required because a tripod is almost an essential. I did take these moonlight photographs without one – it is not recommended.

Every night

the owl

with his wild monkey-face

calls through the black branches,

and the mice freeze

in the snowy fields —

and then there is the long, deep trough of silence

when he stops singing, and steps

into the air.

From “Lonely, White Fields” by Mary Oliver

Sprout Question: Do you create using both your day and your night experiences?

© 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

Slice of Sun


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Today being Friday, it is a good day to play with techniques and have a little fun. I am practicing the art of painting without a brush by using photo editing tools to paint for me. I have been doing this for awhile but it is starting to get easier to stretch into the resonance of what I am seeking.

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Please note that starting next week my posts will be Tuesdays and Thursdays until the beginning of September. But please come by for tea and a browse anytime.

The best of the weekend to you all.

Sprout Question: Where are the growing edges of your creativity?

© 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

What are you waiting for?

Brave the unknown…
Quick whistle of shore birds…. longer notes of an eagle in solo flight over head… waves cresting – moment by moment…

Rush, swish, rise and fall – connecting in a dance – moment by moment

Crisp dusk moves swiftly, heading off the last of today’s sun – moment by moment.

Cedars lose themselves in shadow yet remain unyielding in their whispered fragrance – moment by moment.

Last light is often the light most cherished. May darkness wrap you in a warm blanket of possibility,

as moonlight serenades the sea…

I have come to trust and know that nothing stays the same. We are all in our physical existence for but a split second of eternal time.

Sprout Question: What are you waiting for?

© 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

Walk by the Sea

I never tire of walking trail along the sea. I hope you are not yet tired of my images from these walks. The photos today are from a walk that you won’t find on any map. The walk is only known by locals. It is on private land and permission is granted at your own risk. It is a privilege and a honour that I do not take for granted. So I am not going to tell you exactly where this is on Mayne Island. If you know, smile wisely and enjoy the photo essay along with everyone else.

Come with me….

The trail is rugged in places. I often stop to be able to look up from placing my feet carefully between tree roots and sandstone sticking up on the rough trail. In the next few years, you won’t see many photos like this one where to show the trail in the deep shadows, the sea and sky over exposed. We will all know how to do HDR... but when we look in real time we must choose what we can see at one time… so I have also chosen in this photograhy.

As I walk, a sea lion surfaces off the shore. I know it is there because when it breathes I can feel it on the back of my neck. I look. There she is. I do not try to take photos as past experience tells me, my lens won’t reach. She rolls up to the surface. Breathes. Then rolls her long sleek body over and down she goes, surfacing again many yards ahead of me. I don’t see her the next time she surfaces.

About 45 minutes later I make my way to the point.

The sandstone is warm from the sun. I sit and wonder at the beauty of its shape.

Looking over on the other side I catch a wave coming in.

And then I think I know…

High tides and winter storms have carved out such a place where I now admire its beauty.

I don’t want to go. I want to stay and be part of the sandstone and then part of the sea, then part of the sandstone… until day becomes night and night day and time has no relevance.

I do go though. I am not sure what makes me leave, but I do.

Two hours later, I am putting the key back into the ignition. I go home. I make lunch. I leave these images in my mind until last night… or rather early this morning as I was still editing at 1:00 am. Now I have savoured them long enough… I can now share them with you.

Sprout Question: If you could do only one more creative of work in your life time – what would you do?

© 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

field of daffodils

Field of daffodils on Mayne Island

During the past few days on Creative Potager we have been talking about shadows and the power of darkness in our creativity. When I saw this field of daffodils, its brilliance was only enhanced by the shadows. In fact, this naturalized field of bright yellow flowers comes from a dark shadow in Mayne Island’s past. I was told that the land was once owned and farmed by a Japanese family who grew the daffodils along with tomatoes that were shipped and sold in Vancouver, British Columbia. During World War II the Japanese on Mayne Island were gathered up and taken from their land to war camps in the interior of British Columbia for fear of espionage. Their land was later given to soldiers returning from the war. The daffodils stayed and bloom every spring – reminding us.

Mr. Lenard Cohen’s “Anthem” comes to mind with the line “There is a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in…

Sprout Question: Do you have a piece of work exists because that is how the light comes in? (links to your work are welcome)

Note: This field of daffodils is private property. No trespassing allowed. These photos were taken from the public roadway. The community has built a Japanese Garden in commemoration of early Japanese settlers.

Addition: After fielding several questions, I am adding the following historical references….

“On Tuesday, April 21, 1942, the CPR steamship Princess Mary came for the fifty Japanese men, women and children who waited on the Miners Bay wharf. Most of the Mayne Island residents were in attendance to shake hands and wish them well. It was a sad time for all… A week after evacuation, the first tomatoes of the season, so optimistically planted by the Japanese, were picked by their Mayne Island friends and sent off to market…. [between 1942 and 1943 growing season] In all, between 150,000 and 200,000 pounds of tomatoes were harvested. The school lost seventeen Japanese school children. Classes limped along until June and then the school closed until September 1944 for lack of pupils.” p.69-70 in Mayne Island & The Outer Gulf Islands A History by Marie Elliott (1984)

A Japanese Canadian Timeline by John Endo Greenaway

© 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

Distortion

Exactness is not the same as expressing the exact emotion in our work.

Our discussion in yesterday’s post “Shadow Memories” entered into my dreams, leaving various images and reflections scatter around at dawn where small birds and coffee tell me it is now morning. Shadow memories are distorted reflections, yet their fleeting brilliance, can engage our emotional responses more deeply than the original image or experience.

From my training and experience as a counselor, I know that some memories are stored in our brains differently. These memories can be trauma memories or any experience that is overwhelming. We store these experiences without “feeling” first. When the time is right, we can “reflect” on those memories and experience the emotions connected with that moment for the FIRST time.

Why am I telling you this? What does this have to do with writing, painting, photography or other forms of creativity? I believe it may have everything to do with creativity. Creative work that moves us, positive or negative, must elicit an emotional response. Countless examples tell us that it is not the perfection or accuracy with which the creator has captured the original experience but rather, the accuracy with which an emotion is captured that makes, impactful work. The entrance to that emotional connection is likely a distorted emphasis or reflection of a subject.

Take for instance the sketches above. When sketching, I have little ability to edit. I sketch quickly. My marks are made in rapid succession on the paper. I “feel” rather than show you exactly what I am seeing. The feelings are not just the ones present at the moment but also the ones that flicker in the shadows connecting through all time and space that I define as my experience. The sketches are far from being an exact replication of the nude male model I was drawing. Yet, in the distorted strokes of the charcoal on paper there is little doubt that they reflect a nude masculine form. Shadow memories flicker through or prance in the forefront of our creativity providing passages into deep emotions for ourselves and then for others.

Today I shall write as I sketch. I shall not edit. I shall write and allow the distorted brilliance of shadow memories to catch my imagination with vivacious autonomy.

Sprout Question: How do you access the exact emotion expressed in a piece of work?

© 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

Shadow Memories

Shuffling the source material for my new book Mona’s Work, I’m having difficulty deciding what story to write next. It is not the material that is difficult. The bits of paper, the scribbler and the recipe book are all straight forward. It is the shadow memories.

The memories I want for the book are also connected to ones I would rather not revisit. Is this why I have been working on Mona’s Work since 2007 with only a slim volume of stories to show for my efforts?  I have seen enough therapists, made my way through enough healing circles and drawn enough pictures about these experiences to feel the work I need to do is done. I wish not to haunt my readers with these stories as it seems unnecessary. The memories are not related to the same people, or the same places just the same time in my life.

I’m determined that these shadow stories not become part of the final cut but will I need to write them anyway – so that I can mine deeper into the my memory for the stories I do want to retrieve? Or can I just note them and place the memory on a “parking lot list” such as I use when facilitating so that groups do not derail? Items placed on a parking lot list are revisited at the end of a process to see if there is anything that must be done with them. They are seen as valuable in the first instance – just not part of the immediate work. They are placed in the parking lot so as not to be lost (as if that is ever going to happen).  Can I do this with the shadow memories? Or should I write through the memories, allowing the darkness in behind the bright colours of Mona’s Work?

I wonder if, as in the image below of “city morning in spring,” I can find the balance and beauty of my shadow memories – as is evident in the buildings showing their shadowy bulk behind the trees illuminated in the morning sun.

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Sprout Question: How do your shadows impact or influence your creative process?

© 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

Cheating

Bravely going off in another direction

Does it ever happen to you where you set an intention to do something only to find that you have done something else? That is what happened to me yesterday. I was all set to start writing up some story cards from the source material for Mona’s Work. As I turned around to pick up the material, I locked attention on my oil painting in progress.

(18″ X24″ 1.5″ canvas)

That was it. Next thing I know my creative energy was thrumming at a low hum and hours had disappeared as follows…

I paint the sandstone cliffs with their heavy underbelly colours. The sea rushes towards my brush – pushing and pulling. I witness the internal tension.

Exactness is not the same as expressing the exact emotion in your work.

I knew I needed the cadmium underpainting to hold the seascape together – I did not know it would also hold me together as I painted.

I remind my self to breathe through my nose as the sea air catches me – yet the only sound is the swish, swish, swish of my brush on the canvas. Stretched tight under my enthusiasm every now and again there is throng drum before the swish. Linseed oil seeps through where there had been the smell of the salt from the sea.

I haven’t forgotten, I know the spring of the canvas, I know that sandstone needs a hint of crimson in its tan mix, I know – yes I know. Ohhhhh! I know nothing! What is this tangle paint scrapping it out on the canvas? Time to stop.

Will it make a painting? Yes, it already is a painting. Will it make a gallery painting? This is never my painterly question.

Swish, swish, swish – brush on canvas – a sound as soothing as the surf coming ashore.

Mona’s Work is pushed forward into tomorrow, March 2, 2010 (the painting will take a few days to get tacky enough to work on again anyway).

Sprout Question: Have you ever felt like you cheated on your creative intention?

Oil painting is very different from my usual medium of water colour painting. With water colours I go from light to my darkest colours at the very end. I still block in my composition with underpainting but I have to be able to “live with” what shows through. With oil painting, I start with a contrasting underpainting colour to block in the composition. Because of the strong divergence of colour that will be in this finished painting, I stayed with one range of colour in the underpainting. In both mediums, I build the painting up over a series of sittings. However, it has been over 30 years since I have painted with oils. My brain feels the stretch from working the colours from dark to light, as I had been taught by an Australian trained artist, Sheila Timmins, when I was about fourteen years old. The water miscible oils paints I’m using now are a little different but I’m not sure exactly how yet.

Bonus: Here is a photo of a finished oil painting “The Cow” by my sister Sue Wiebe whose work some of you had asked to see. Excellent control of shadow and light.

And here is a close up of Sue Wiebe’s “Water Lilies” that shows the layering of paint which allows the water to flatten on the canvas and the lily pads to float on top.

Thank you sis for sending me these images to share. Artist Sue Wiebe lives in Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada. With an undergraduate degree in English, she has also completed a year at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Every once in a long while she finds a free moment to sprout on Creative Potager.

© 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

Time Found

View full of resolution of image here.

Today is a sketching and painting day. While I work in the studio, I bring you a poem I wrote in October which may hold the treasure-chest of gray I live today.

Time Found

Run away with me –
I’m leaving now following a warm trail of imagination.
Slipping between – moist vapor swiftly moves,
trees appearing and disappearing – deception a namesake.
Moments pass quickly when noticing the slice of moon
sliding across night’s gateway to tomorrow.

Darkness settles into the corners of the room as lamps are silenced.
Be my imagination not that of Goya’s ghosts –
I seek a warmer, friendlier, more hopeful place.
Lifting evening’s gentle cover close under my chin,
time greets me as familiar as an old friend –
one I have been missing.

On this West Coast, mid-January day … as dawn carries the rain into rivulets down earth’s spine – I shall live each moment of each day to my fullest.

Sprout Question: What creativity might be hidden in your shadow?

Additional reading for the unwilling explorer of darkness: a powerful article by Lissa Rankin –  Owning Darkness: Accepting The Shadow

© 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.