Plein air painting or painting in the open air seems like it should be a leisurely Sunday picnic in the park. A person sticks on a floppy hat, sets up an easel on a sunny afternoon by the sea and there you have it - a dab, dab and dab of paint and you are done. What could be safer than that right? Well, the truth is that the worst light for a plein air painter is the middle of a sunny afternoon near the longest day of year. Flat, faded, lifeless and uninteresting mostly. So what is a painter to do? Paint when the light is at its best of course... and maybe ride the new e-bike with a pair of pannier bags filled with plein air painting gear? Well, maybe not such a good idea -unless you want to do yourself a mischief. 😉
Plein Air Painting Late in the Day
From beginning to end, my evening plein air by the sea at Georgina Point on Mayne Island. What ended up on the linen board seems merely incidental. (When I was done, I left it safely in the back of the car overnight and decided to look at it again later to see what was really there.)
It is 7:25 pm and I am just about to set up to work.
Fifteen minutes later, the paints are on the palette and the first guiding lines of brushstrokes are on the linen board.
An hour later the sun is setting so fast it is impacting the paint on the canvas enough that I am not sure what I have. I stop.
A quick reference with my phone for later.
By 9:07 pm I am all packed up and take a moment to sit in the red chair as the earth turns and the sun dips below the horizon. A good plein air painting day! :)
The 11 x 14 inch painting sketch is now dry and waiting for a final photograph before going in the inventory. The beautiful warm glow showing on the painting before is the special magic of the setting sun and is not part of the actual paint, as we can see below.
Plein air Painting in the Morning
There was fast changing light, a bit of wind and crooked easel support while I painted an 8 x 10 inch linen board using M.Graham walnut oils. But I just double checked and the horizon line on the actual painting is straight! Pheewwwfff! Would have been a pain to correct and glad I don’t need to after all. Let’s go back to this morning session and see how it unfolds...
It is a little wild at 7:50 am and the sea is almost black.
Two other painters joined me and though the wind and light were challenging, we had a great time. Kelly Scullion snaps a photo of me just as we are get started.
Later she comments “It was intense getting there and feeling the wind and realizing we are still going to paint!!!”
And paint we did! Palette paper was torn from palette board and some work was packed up to finish later in the studio. But we all painted and laughed at the craziness of it all because the seascape was so brilliantly pulled together in all its movement and colour.
I work quickly with decisions made on the fly about what would stay and what would change as the light changed. By 8:59 am, the painting sketch is done.
The wind and waves have started to calm as the tide goes out and the light starts to lose its magic. I take one last look at the painting before adding a signature.
I am home and ready to wash brushes by 10:12 am. There might be a hot cup of peppermint tea in order as well.
Plein Air Painting using an E-bicycle
Okay, this is where things got really interesting! If you haven’t ever heard of the phrase “don’t do yourself a mischief” it means don’t do yourself bodily harm while doing something silly or doing something that you know you shouldn’t be doing.
It all started off really quite well. I picked up my new e-bike in Victoria, figured out where the throttle was, made a running start, swung my leg over and tried shifting gears. I had a demo on folding it up to go into the car. We put on the empty panniers and I road off up Fort Street from Wharf in the bike lane until I got to Cook Street. David was waiting for me at the bakery and we walked the bike to the car, folded it up and went home. Easy!
I was definitely sure I wanted to take it plein air painting in the morning. In fact, as I told a friend, thundering wild horses coming right at me likely couldn’t have got me to change my mind.
And I did.
I whizzed up and down the Mayne Island hills and was at Miners Bay before the paint tubes had settled in the bottoms of the panniers bag. It was a great morning for painting!
Then it happened. I packed up and pushed my bike to the top of the hill. A fellow painter was waiting in her car for me to go before she pulled out herself. Great! I even had an attentive audience for what was about to happen next.
I put my left foot on the pedal gave a couple of pushes with my right and swung my leg over. The heavy bike didn’t roll easily forward as I expected. In fact, the heavy beast wobbled and lurched as I maneuvered the handlebars in an ever increasing over corrective pattern.... as you can guess, there was no hope. Down I went landing squarely on my dignity and bruising it badly - along with my ribs and elbow and scrapping my knee.
My fellow painter is out of her car and I am holding my side.
Trying to get rapidly to my feet I shout and wave the other arm madly “I’m okay! I’m alright!”
I felt rather like I might throw up or pass out and had what was left of my good sense to sit on the side of the ditch until everything stopped spinning. Then, getting up and finding everything still intact, except for my pride, I picked up my e-bike, refuse the kind offer of a car lift home, get back on it and ride home.
No plein air painting sketch was harmed in this incident.
I road the e-bike the next day to work and then didn’t ride for two more weeks until my ribs healed enough that I thought they might be able to handle another tumble... should such a thing happen. I have yet to load the panniers up again and take it plein air painting. Soon though. ;)
What has SOLD
And another one is off to a great home...
Restless Salish Sea, acrylic on gessobord panel 8 x 10 inches
Move your newsletter to “Primary” in gmail
I get asked how to do this a lot and since between 30% and 40% of you use a gmail address for your subscription, here you go!
Note: if you are subscribed with a different kind of email skip on down to the next section.
Here are the steps:
1. Go to the Promotions folder or tab and drag and drop one of my A Brush With Life emails into your Primary tab/folder which is your main default inbox in gmail. (This can be at the top or one of the bars on the side top left if are on your iPad or iPhone...if that doesn’t give it toy out, keep poking around because it is there some place)
2. A pop-up box will come up and it says -
This conversation has been moved to “Primary”. Undo
Do this for future messages from ........ ? Yes
Click the Yes and you should be set.
3. Now in the future - A Brush With Life newsletter emails should come into your “Primary” gmail tab/folder. To be doubly sure you can add a few but it should work with just one.
4. What it says for where the email is from in place of the ...... above in point 2 is still a mystery to me but it is whatever the email distribution program at Revue will have set it to be. If the email is my A Brush With Life newsletter issue then this is the one you want to drag and drop into your Primary tab/folder. I have now subscribed my own gmail to the newsletter so I can better see what it will look like on your end.
5. Here is a short YouTube video that will help with doing the steps I have outlined:
Gmail Inbox Trick - I show you a cool trick on how to move your friend's email from promotions tab into primary tab. For my friends, please make sure to foll...
6. I share this option for A Brush With Life newsletter issues because so many of you have asked me how to do it or some of you didn’t even know that you had a promotions account. If you want to leave the newsletter coming into the “Promotions” tab/folder, please do. Just know that once you have not opened 5 in a row, you will be unsubscribed and sent an re-engagement email. If you miss this re-engagement email, you are then be removed from the subscription list. I have implemented this practice to keep the engagement with my work strong and as personal as possible by knowing and engaging with my serious fans and art collectors. After all, if you are not opening the newsletter, there is no reason to keep sending it and creating more cyber clutter. ;)
Note: there is another way to get the emails into your “Primary” tab/folder and that is to go to settings (on the top right) and un-click the Primary tab/folder setting and then all of your emails in this tab/folder will go into your Primary gmail tab/folder. I personally don’t recommend this option as it is useful to be able to sort things to some degree which is why Google came up with this option. However, again, do what works best for you.
So hope this helps. I will try and reach as many of you as I can individually because if you haven’t found your promotions account, you won’t see this option. The joys of modern communication. Don’t we just love it!?
BC Guide to Art & Culture inclusion
Page 57 folks! The Art of Terrill Welch Gallery is included in BC’s Guide to Arts & Culture 17th edition brochure. Didn’t they do a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of our art offerings? I am thrilled to participate in a guide for culture loving travellers.
While featuring the Art of Terrill Welch gallery in this brochure, they managed to slip in a general paragraph about Mayne Island for culture loving travellers. It reads as follows:
Mayne Island has only 1,000 residents, but they are an artistic and musical bunch. A gallery visit brings the discovery of dramatic landscape paintings by Terrill Welch. Take in a lively jam session at one of the cafes with talented local musicians and culinary local fare.
The brochure is distributed throughout B.C. and a new publication comes out every 2nd year. I had my first new-to-me visitors from Parksville on Friday who came specifically to see the gallery. I am almost certain (though I forgot to ask directly), that this visit was planned as a result of BC’s Guide to Arts & Culture. If you would like a brochure, or a few to share in your own establishment, feel free to drop into the gallery or write to me. I don’t have many but just a few that I am happy to share.
New releases coming for next time! :)
Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch Landscapes and more by impressionist painter Terrill Welch
Canadian landscape painter, Terrill Welch, exposes the mystery in an ordinary day, reminding us that there is only one moment – this one.