Work Life In Progress

A great big sign at the entrance of the driveway may accurately read: PROCEED WITH CAUTION WORK LIFE IN PROGRESS. Not that this is a bad thing. The alternative is much less appealing.

It is just means that the question usually asked about how are things going will be answered by –  “Oh, round and round!”

Or – “Busier than a painter with three brushes in her hand.”

Neither of which tell us much at all.

So a better question might be – “Terrill can you tell us one thing that pleases you today?”

Yes I can. I have a new painting roughed in on the easel that I am going to muse about while I drink my morning coffee. Let me show you….

The canvas is 12 x 24 inches and started with a yellow ground and a few marks to guide the scale of the composition.

The spring morning sky brightens all in its path including the green firs on the hill across the way. Song birds sing, grass grows and an eagle cries somewhere in the distance across Active Pass.

First leaves are soft and translucent in the warm light as the blues of sea catch my breath and swing it skyward and back again. How many mornings has the Springwater Lodge, the oldest continuously operating hotel in British Columbia, seen like this one?

There is the scent of fresh coffee filling the loft with a hint of linseed oil underneath. I decide to leave the studio lamps off for just a little longer. But I will sort out the angles of lines, the relationships between objects and the spaces in between later today – one brushstroke at a time.

Update: Now as the end of the day nears and the work has come to “resting” all shiny and wet on the canvas…

Early Spring Morning at Miners Bay “resting” 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

How about you? Can you tell us one thing that pleases you today?

Note: “The Beauty of Oils Class of 2017 Art Show” was a wonderful success. All the pieces are falling into place for the Art! Vancouver Fair at the end of May and the background material for advertising has been sent in for the six week solo show opening June 30th 3-5 pm in the afternoon. Next will be a focus on getting the last of the edges painted on the selected work for the solo show.

© 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

Today is a Wash Right up to its Painted Edges

Oh no! Is that the weight of the other being moving to the edge of bed? Fog-filled blinking tells me it is so – and is it daylight? How did that happen? My day is a wash right up to its painted edges. I am done for! Grasping for my glasses on the windowsill, I leap, hobble and half-run and then stumble past the surprised being still sitting slumped on his side of our shared nightly nest.

“Hey!” He bellows. “I was up first.” But I am already up the four steps and rounding the last corner of the curved hallway to the second most important room in our dwelling.

“No matter” I silently grumble and push the lock into place on the bathroom door. Mine first.

Returning to the kitchen the mighty he is thinking about putting the water on for coffee. I swoop in grabbing the kettle just as his fingers are about to curl around the handle. I don’t look his way. In fact, I pretend that he has vanished into the mist. Filling the kettle I slide or possibly slam it back onto the stove.

I lament “I hate it when you get up at the same time as me. It ruins my whole day!”

To his credit, this other being knows when to retreat. He also knows when not to take things too personally. He grins and goes to his study until I give the “all clear” call. My coffee is in the thermos and I am existing past the counter. It is not really okay to brush my shoulder on your way by yet but I won’t bite as you pass.

We both know it is not his fault that I have slept until the leisurely hour of 9:00 am. We both know that it was not his idea to book a solo exhibit, design a catalog to go with it and plan a three-week trip to California and returning only two weeks before the show opens. Nope. This ill-conceived planning debacle belongs to me – the artist who has no problem imagining what is possible beyond our wildest dreams.  So help me, do my rational, conservative, though underdeveloped, personality traits have no spine at all? Don’t they know we are in this together? If one part of us is set adrift – well there goes the rest of us – castaway with the next high tide and headed for The Great Pacific Trash Vortex. And the Creative Potager blog post isn’t even written!!!! It all sucks! The whole thing sucks! For tree frogs and garden worms I have no idea how to float this boat back to my west coast shore!

Okay-okay, let’s calm down and do it by the trusted “to do list” review. It isn’t really completely a loss – yet! The twenty-two paintings for the exhibit are all done. There are only two more to set up to paint their edges like the three that I just finished.

Today is a wash right up to its painted edges - artist's lament by Terrill Welch 2015_02_10 011

If we don’t think about the fact that these last two will require an extension in the to the kitchen table and leave us eating off the coffee table, it isn’t really all that bad. The postcard announcements are printed.

West Coast Landscape as Home

The venue menu at Camassia Cafe for opening night April 4th is set. The posters and local ads have been contracted out and are on schedule. The catalog is 80% complete – even though we all know that the last 20% takes 80% of the time.

If only he had slept in later than me! If only I had those three extra hours I usual have in the morning. If only I had a separate much larger studio space so there was room for my assistant to work and me at the same time. If only my mother was a fairy godmother and I had inherited her wand. Sigh.

Welcome to my artist’s morning. Now back to work….

What is your first strategy to escape bobbing in the water of unreasonable blame when panic sets in?

 

© 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

Storm Watching and its progress on a large canvas

At 10:00 am today the morning light was not strong enough to work without the studio lamp. It is heavily overcast and last I checked there is a wee bit of snow expected. However, I was able to put the finishing brushstrokes on this large 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas painting this morning. It may be weeks before I can get a decent photograph of it so we will take a look now at the shiny-wet resting point of STORM WATCHING. Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas still on easel by Terrill Welch 2013_12_09 034

We may think that this painting began with this quick painting sketch on the canvas. Not really the beginning of Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 001

But we would be wrong. It all started on Friday December 6, 2013 at about this same time of day when the power went out. I was surprised as there was little wind at la casa de inspiracion. But then the email notifications started coming in with Ferry boat cancellation and they were for the Inside Passage which is not common at all. So I knew then that there had to be wind somewhere and took a guess that it was on the east side of the island. Sea View Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2013_12_06 024

Sure enough it was blowing a bit out there. But this isn’t the spot we need to be. We have to walk out to Campbell Point in the Gulf Island Park Reserve because the waves are break on the rocks in a big way. Let’s go and have a look. Dress warm and still expect to the wind to go right into a person’s bones and starts sawing away with an ice-cube. Rough Sea  by Terrill Welch 2013_12_06 142

Scrambling out onto a rock ledge the wind whips my big lens and me around with the same ferociousness as the sea. But I am determined. I hunker down low and steady myself against the roar. WILD SEAS WITH MOUNT BAKER IN THE DISTANCE

(Detailed view and quality prints available HERE.) There was no chance of using a tripod in these conditions. It was all up to my stabilizers and years of practice of framing and shooting waves. There wasn’t much time because I would get to cold to be able to work the camera and it was no place to be getting stiff and wobbly when I stood back up from where I was crouching. So steady does it. FULL STOP

(Detailed view and quality prints available HERE.) BREAKING OVER TWICE

(Detailed view and quality prints available HERE.) Sunday as in yesterday I pulled out the large canvas and placed it on the easel. I wanted the immediacy of this moment while it was still fresh to me on a cellular level. Choosing the overall colour of the filtered air with seaspray by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 004

The continuous motion of the winds and the sea stir sea-spray high up onto the cliffs above. I want that. I want that feeling of stirring and motion. I decided no underpainting so that spray would have the advantage of the white underneath. I had noticed the spray shadow in one of my reference images and took advantage of this to create additional depth. I worked on getting the painting down with as few brushstrokes as possible. Building up the movement in paint Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 007

I want us to be slightly queasy from it as we are swayed in the waters and crash against the rocks within our viewing of this painting.

Storm Watching resting 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 021

At the core there is a knowing and a thimble-size of silence which makes it bearable. This too shall pass. This is the stage that the painting rested overnight. This is where I started earlier this morning and finished at the first photograph which will not be its final of course. For this we must wait for better light.

UPDATE OCTOBER 13, 2014: Link to detailed viewing of the completed painting with purchase information and a link a short (less than six minutes) video where I talk about this painting can be found on the Terrill Welch Artist website HERE.

In conclusion, my Monday morning blessing is patience, admiration and determination. If we are willing to try we can most often do more than we believe we can. A large wave from a large canvas as you forge through the week ahead.

What are you determined to accomplish this week even if the winds of doubt are fierce?

© 2013 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

Deep into the painting process of West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay

Dear readers, I know you are used to regular posts about my work-in-progress and I admittedly have been more than a little tardy in supplying them.

1 underpaintings on three large canvases by Terrill Welch 2013_06_24 003

However, I am hoping that this rather vulnerable, revealing exposure of the painting process for my latest large 36 x 72 inch oil on canvas WEST COAST BLUES ROLLING WAVES OYSTER BAY will make up for this.

I find it hard to define where a painting really begins as each work is usually in the middle of a longer artistic exploration and painterly discussion. But for the sake of starting somewhere let us start with March 3, 2013.

The waves are rolling midnight blue on one of those rare days when the winter sky is just right and the west coast mountains remain visible across the Strait of Georgia.

2 West Coast Blues Oyster Bay Mayne Island

(Quality prints of this photograph  in various formats are available HERE.)

Not long after this day a small 12 x 16 inch painting WEST COAST BLUES STUDY is completed.

3 WEST COAST BLUES study 12 x 16 inch by Terrill Welch 2013 04 13 037

(Quality unlimited prints of this painting study are available in various formats HERE.)

The painting SOLD still wet and “resting’ in less than 24 hours after it is completed. Fortunately, I am able to make arrangements to keep the painting in the studio as I prepare to work on the larger canvas. Sadly though, my external hard drive fails at this point and all but one other reference image of this scene are lost. I usually work with about 20 – 150 captures of a scene I want to paint but must now settle for two which includes this one…

4 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2013_03_03 094

Driven by the movement of the sea which is far greater than the camera can capture, I choose a primary composition to guide the large painting…

5 Painting reference West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2013_03_03 094

Several months after painting the small study, I begin to work up the underpainting and with modern technology I am going to take you with me.

Oh to get that energy on the canvas from the very beginning! We now must leave the underpainting to dry for a few days before, with bare feet and all, I am ready to start building the whole canvas up at once – mostly working wet-on-wet or alla prima.

6 Progress 1 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch

I paint for several hours at a time as the canvas is mammoth to cover, even with using large brushes.

7 Progress 2 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch

I am always happiest at this stage of any painting because the possibilities feel limitless and exhilarating. There are often smiling moments of gems like this detail that will eventually disappear as the painting progresses.

8 Progress detail West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_06_26 010

As always I am conscious of the light direction, the season and also the movement and energy resistances within a landscape. My desire is to have the viewer inside the painting rather than sitting comfortably as an observer of the scene. This next video clip hints at how I go about accomplishing this.

At this point I want to caution that what I am sharing here is how I paint and my painting process. It is not “the right way” or “the only way” but rather it is my way. Other artists have their own well-developed approaches and techniques that works for them just fine. So this sharing of my process is NOT a “how to” sharing but rather an intimate personal sharing of my own painting process. I am allowing you into my artist’s head and heart as I work.

I am now to the point where the painting is at risk of the painting tightening up more than I want…

I keep working adding some studio lighting to try to even out the light hitting the canvas.

9 Progress 3 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch

I continue and time passes until my physical ability becomes fatigued and yet I am reluctant to quit.

I must eventually leave it and walk away until the next day when, with some help, I get the painting down the stairs of the loft studio and outside for a good look.

10 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay resting 36 x 72 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_06_28 009

Now is as good a time as any to tell you that between the first painting study that I did as part of the reference work for this large painting I also painted fifteen other smaller works and of these seven or almost half are already in private collections.

In a moment, I will share two of these smaller paintings that I feel are most relevant to this specific work and that are still available for purchase. But first let’s set up the iPad again for one last video clip…

11 iPad video set up for West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_06_28 020

A nifty new use for my French Box easel 😉

My disappointment is almost overwhelming. The painting is not measuring up and I am unsure as to what to do about it. This is the hardest part of the process for me both in experience and to share. All the hours, days, weeks and months have left me with what I feel at this stage is an unsatisfactory result. This moment is not new to me as I mention in the video. It is a common experience I have at or near the end of a painting. What to do? I wait it out by placing the painting where I look at it while working on other paintings.

This leaves me with one of the two other significant small studies that I mentioned early.

END OF STORM GEORGINA POINT MAYNE ISLAND 8 x 10 inch oil on canvas was painted midway through.

12 End of Storm Georgina Point Mayne Island 8 x 10 oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_06_25 017

Detailed view and purchase information available HERE.

THE MT. BAKER REACH 8 x 10 inch oil on canvas was painted during that difficult resting period of uncertainty.

13 The Mt. Baker Reach 8 x 10 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_07_02 015Update October 8, 2013: This painting is now SOLD to a private art collector in California U.S. A.

Somehow, unknown to even me I was able to determine what I needed to do on the larger canvas because of the work on particularly the second of these two small landscapes of the sea. After several days of letting the painting “rest” I went back in and did another day’s work and came away much more satisfied with the final results. The relationship between these smaller works and the large painting is best observed in these details from the larger work.

Detail one and each of the following details are about 15 X 20 inch portions of the overall 36 x 72 inch canvas.

14 detail 1about 15 x 20 inches of West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_07_16 064

Detail 2 with a good slice of the land, sea, sky relationship.

15 detail 2 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_07_16 063

Detail 3 with an up close view of the water movement.

16 detail 3 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_07_16 062

Detail 4 showing the largest rolling wave.

17 detail 4 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_07_16 061

Recently a studio visitor asked how had I learned to paint water. I gave my best effort to explain that in order to paint something with its energy and with conviction I become that element and I feel the tension that surrounds it in relation to other aspects of its environment. This is a process of painting the light and space between the forms evident in a painting rather than painting the forms themselves.

Detail 5 showing a small piece of the sky.

18 detail 5 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay by Terrill Welch 2013_07_16 065

Now I must leave for 10 days. I will not look at the painting and with a wee bit of luck I won’t even think about it.

Okay, here we are. It is August 3, 2013, five months after I began formulating the reference material for this painting and a total of sixteen smaller paintings and two larger paintings have been completed besides this largest of the large work. I have walked around the painting and allowed it to surprise me. I have had more than a handful of individuals through my home studio and I have seen the impact the work has as its presence reaches them.

Finally, though I may privately wish the painting was more, I am ready to say it is complete. Done. Ready to stand on its own.

Please allow me to introduce you to WEST COAST BLUES ROLLING WAVES OYSTER BAY 36 x 72 inch oil on canvas

19 West Coast Blues rolling waves Oyster Bay 36 x 72 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_07_16 055

Update January 16, 2014: This painting has now been release on my website Terrill Welch Artist post “Sea Tree and Fruit – new paintings by Terrill Welch

What creative process has held your attention over the past five months?

© 2013 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

In the PINKS and other rose painting efforts

When I blinked my eyes open just before 5:00 am they met the moon smiling down on us in the soft hues of a clear dawn. I could have gone and got my camera to capture its deep yellow-orange but instead we just gazed at each other until the moment passed.

Now, still early, the day is well underway and I believe with a bit of luck it will be a painting day. Yesterday, in a 20 minute window, I did up this quick 5 x 7 inch study “in the pinks.”

The study is to assist me with what I need to do on a larger 24 x 36 inch canvas “Always Roses” that is in progress.

I wanted to try a new red that I thought might make a better pink for my roses. But I am not sure I am convinced. None the less, my sweetie is taken with this study so I thought I would share it with you.

Each colour has its own learning curve and it seems an infinite set of possibilities as we often discover when we go to paint a wall. I remember watching Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House (1948) a few years ago and the wife in the movie was trying explain to the painters the colour she wanted in the kitchen or something. She is going on and on about how it was the yellow of fresh butter she was looking for but not quite. She gets more and more specific with her description in her attempt to request the exact colour she is wanting. The lead contractor final turns to his side kick who has the pencil and paper and says “you got that!” The other guy is looking at his paper and nodding as he replies “uh-um, yellow!”

In this painting I feel like the wife in the movie in search of just the right pink and my palette is recording my desire about the same as the guy with the pen and paper in the movie “uh-um pink!”

For the larger painting, I had found the perfect light one afternoon but of course the day I started painting it  is different and my squished studio space doesn’t offer anything close. So I did the best I could in combining my painting day  with the light from the day before. The lighting is completely backwards. However, I wanted to paint so we just went with it.

I decided on an approach of working from the outside in until my subject revealed itself out of necessity. You can get an idea about how this works in these two images.

But is there anything left to say about a still life vase of flowers with roses? After hundreds of years of paintings of this subject it doesn’t seem like there is much. Yet, I cannot resist. I must! In fact all of the other “to do” items have been shoved aside – including getting some food in the house to eat. Well I did find a chunk of cheese and a pear. Not starving – just limited in choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I notice now how I shifted the shape of the vase to fit the compositional differences in the frame dimensions I am for the painting. That definitely wasn’t a conscious choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s see what the painting in process looks like now though the glow of wet paint is making some parts look lighter than what is actually on the canvas. I am fascinated how the image changed perspective so that the viewer is looking slightly down down on the arrangement. This is not the case with my set up. However, the canvas is so tall that I had to reach way above me to paint.

So here is a canvas that rest while humming an old familiar song of roses and other flowers arranged in a vase. It was painted just for the joy of it and to please me. Thanks for tagging along with me 🙂

Now I am off to see if I can find us the perfect pinks and see if I can finish it with some measure of success!

SPROUT: What colour have you most wanted for something and had the least ability to describe?

© 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