Great art is the work of thieves! In fact, Pablo Picasso is attributed with saying “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” And, if he didn’t say this, he should have because he was a master thief as well as a great artist. So what is the difference between copying and the concept of stealing I am discussing here?
When a work is copied, it is often obviously derived from a specific work. The copy repeats the strength of another’s work with little interpretation or possibly even understanding about what made it great in the first place. Or possibly, the artist may have copied the work of another as part of a study practice to learn the secrets of the work which is an age-old and valid learning tool. However, when a work is stolen and the idea or concept or approach is the building blocks for a new work that retains only hints of familiarity, then the work frequently hides the original influence in plain sight.
Sometimes the viewer will say something like “it reminds me of the work of so-and-so because of the brushstrokes or the attention to light or use of colour but it is still so uniquely your work.” Mostly though, the viewer will only get a shiver of remembrance - like an unidentifiable cat running past them in a dark alley. Other times, an artist outright gives tribute to the master painter or a fellow artist who has influenced a work. As painter, I understand that great art comes from building on the best discoveries from both the present and the past. Great art is seldom created in a vacuum and the concept of “original” is likely the most slanderous notion of all when applied to an artist’s body of work. A great work may be unique, fresh, awe-inspiring and leave you trembling in tears or completely disgusted but it is seldom a completely original idea. Artists study, hunt, explore, combine and pull great concepts, ideas and approaches from historic and current bodies of knowledge together in new ways. Great artist, in this sense, are thieves!
And so we start this issue by visiting Cézanne influence in current work by David Sandum and myself. For to be a great artist one day, one must study the masters... and steal for ourselves what works.
A Painting Pairing
The Terrill Welch Gallery is pleased to introduces a painting pairing from Terrill Welch’s private art collection.
This small work, framed matted under museum glass, is by David Sandum and inspired by Cézanne and his mountain. The painting by David, one of two in Terrill’s private collection, has been paired with two of Terrill Welch’s paintings also inspired by Cézanne and his mountain.
Standing on the painters’ ground in the morning light I think of Cezanne and his mountain. A painting sketch leads to this later studio work after returning ...
I climb to the painters’ ground twice in Aix en Provence. This is evening with its mysterious shadows and warm light.
Though Terrill thinks of David as a Norwegian painter. He is clear on his profile that he is a Swedish painter living in Norway. (Terrill’s Norwegian grandmother would smile at this refined clarification.) David is the founder of the annual artists Twitter Art Exhibition fundraiser. His award winning memoir I’LL RUN TILL THE SUN GOES DOWN shares his experiences with depression and how painting and art has saved him. David’s art work (which includes more than paintings) is internationally shown and collected. Terrill and David’s paths have crossed so many times over the years that their exchanges constitute a friendship though they have never laid eyes on each other in person.
It is with deep pleasure that we provide a link so that you can check out his paintings and writings further.
More about David and his work can be found at:
David Sandum Creative | David Sandum, Painter & Author of "I'll Run Till the Sun Goes Down" | When David became ill with depression, he turned to writing and art to grapple with his symptoms. Inspired by Edvard Munch’s philosophy that we should all write or paint our life story, David is now a thriving artist...
Between Islands and the Salish Sea is up until Friday October 26th at the Galiano Library. Here are a few images of the show...
Thank you so much to the Galiano Library for selecting my proposal for this opportunity and Pearl Roberts for warm welcome and generous assistance with hanging the show. Detailed viewing and purchase information for the 18 paintings in this show can be found at:
View the full portfolio of artwork from Terrill Welch
The day ended with a double rainbow as we were heading to our dinner reservations. Now how cool is that!?
A Story from an ordinary island day...
Island life - Yesterday afternoon, we walked about a mile-and-a-half through the woods to visit neighbours.
We picked up the keys for the gallery,
had a tour of the gorgeous house they are building themselves (like really physically building),
laughed and told stories,
played with the dogs,
were given a dozen eggs as a gift because the hens were out doing themselves, and
then we walked home
which is when I took this photograph.
This morning, I was browsing the news about hurricane Florence, Premier Ford considering the notwithstanding clause to downsize the Toronto city council and how Trump never helped anyone out of the rubble during 9/11. Then I ask myself - did I really need to know any of this?
I am not in the way of the hurricane.
There are lawyers and politicians and citizens of Ontario that need to resolve their dispute - it is a place and situation where I have no voting power or influence of any kind.
And what Trump did or didn’t do during 9/11 is of no consequence compared to what he may or may not do today.
However, as I crack open each one of those eggs, I will think of our friends. I will see their comfort and pride of place, I will hear them telling us fondly about something the other had accomplished. I will see the smile on my husband’s face as he engages with the dogs and joins into the conversation while sometimes gently teasing me about reminding him of his own general contractor experiences when we renovated his family home.
I will remember every time I walk through these woods how the light falls just so at certain times of the year.
In these moments, I am reminded that there is enough, I am enough - just how I am and just how we are.
These moments will matter ten years from now. They are the times that keep us whole, healthy and resilient. These times give us hope, love, compassion and acceptance.
These simple hours of joy, companionship and reflection were plucked out of long lists of things that need to be done.
We need these moments more than ever. May you find yours and hold them close, creating a harmony of experiences beyond the worries and terrors of terminal illness, climate change, rogue politicians, wars, brutal dictatorships and famines. These aspects have always existed together, tumbling and overlapping in our everyday lives.
So accept your gifted dozen eggs from a neighbour and crack each one purposefully with a full heart and open mind. In this way we will live in a better place and live a better life, no matter what else we must address.
All the best of an ordinary day to you!
Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch | Landscapes and more by impressionist painter Terrill Welch
Landscapes and more by impressionist painter Terrill Welch