The red poppy oil painting “Serenity by the Sea”
is from a specific day at the end of May in the year 2017 on the island of Galiano off the Southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada.
The mist turns to a light drizzle as I sit on a low chair looking out past the cedars to yet other islands across the sea. What can possibly cut through these west coast greys? Then I remembered.
Earlier in the day I had seen large red poppies growing in the garden near the water.
“I wonder!?” I said to myself.
Slipping on a raincoat and garden clogs I stuffed my way-too-large iphone in my hip pocket and my big camera with its rain cover over my shoulder. It is about 5:00 am and the sun is still high enough in the west to push its way through the low clouds, providing a noticeable filtered light. But it is not enough to keep the warm greys using the big camera. Those gorgeous greys were running into the blues. But the iPhone 7 plus seems to get the idea. I gather several references images with both devices and find one that I particularly like.
Six days later, I am back in the studio and have mulled the idea over long enough to pull out a canvas and get started. The method is straightforward.
Start with a ground that will pull on those muted tones and make a few modest marks to guide the composition.
Establish the relationship between the sky and the light reflecting off the water.
Drop the darks unceremoniously into place.
Leave the red ones for last and keep the brushstrokes simple, clean and decisive.
Work in the highlights, stems and texture of the lower foliage, using a painting knife as needed. Then stand back, one last time, and ensure there is a humming kind harmony of emotion and aliveness to the work.
Yes, I think we are there!
Serenity by the Sea “resting” 18 x 14 oil on canvas
As usual, the painting needs to rest and dry before it is considered finished. I intended this work to be a composition study for a larger painting. However, I may have said all I need to say in this one. Painting the subject larger won’t make for a better painting. It will just be bigger. Yet, I am not completely sure if I want to give up on splashing large amounts of red around on huge surface though. I shall think about it for a while and see. In the mean time…
What bright spots have cut through your grey moments of late?
© 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