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A Brush with Life - Issue #10 Sit and Wait

An artist’s life is often filled with transitions, pauses, reflection and bewilderment. Where do I go
A Brush with Life - Issue #10 Sit and Wait
By Terrill Welch Gallery • Issue #10 • View online
An artist’s life is often filled with transitions, pauses, reflection and bewilderment. Where do I go from here? What is next? Is this the right path? These moments can create the most severe anxiety if one does not learn the practice of “sit and wait”. During these times I often ask myself - what is it I know for sure? Well, I know that I am creating my life’s work rather than developing my work life. I know that my intention is pure and direct - I want to save the world by connecting us to our natural ordinary day, one person at a time for all time. I want us to know we are enough and that we have enough. I want us to feel the wind in our hair, hear the cry of the gulls and the roll of the sea. I want us to step lightly through the trees and lay firmly on the earth’s surface feeling her heart beat in rhythm with our own. I suppose, it is a lot to ask…. yet, I find there is no other way to wake up. There is no other way to step into each day. This is what I do. This is what I must do!
So during this luminal time when the Terrill Welch Gallery changes over to my winter studio and is open by appointment or when the painter is present, I must decide - what body of work is next? Is it a continuation of current work? Does it have a slightly different anchor? I am not sure yet. I must sit and wait. As I do this I am reminded of the a few words attributed to a German-speaking Bohemian Jewish writer - Franz Kafka (1883-1924):
You do not need to leave your room… Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite, still and solitary. The world will freeely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
These words were were introduced to me by John Daido Loori (1931-2009). I will expand more on this connection later in the section about what I am reading.

Soon but not yet!
I sometimes find that I am in this place of a long pause where what is next hasn’t quiet become complete. I am about to launch an online virtual gallery that will allow you to browse through work on the walls from online so that it is possible to see them in scale and then zoom in to learn more about them and inquire about purchasing. I will also have an augmented reality option that will allow you to print a “target” and then place it on your wall so you can use an app to see what a painting will look like in that location and even take a photograph of it. I am almost there but not quiet ready. Soon but not yet!
I am about to start the winter’s painting project and there is a folder of possibilities just waiting for my brushes. Yet, the weather is fine and I mustn’t waste this good light and sunshine in the studio. There will be time for studio work soon, but not yet!
Come with me for a bit while I gather references…
When the Sun Shines in Gold
Autumn light! There is no other time of the year so filled with gold. I have been out along the trails, down by the sea and up on the cliffs of our Southern Gulf Islands. Would you like to come with me? Put on your walking shoes, grab a cup of tea and be prepared to catch a few ferries. Or just sip your tea and scroll down the newsletter ;) It is a lengthy adventure and so I shall share just a few of the highlights and images that are now stuffed into my reference folder for winter!
Arbutus Guard, St. John’s Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Arbutus Guard, St. John’s Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Where Paths Lead Us, St. John’s Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Where Paths Lead Us, St. John’s Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Reflections of Time, Georgina Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Reflections of Time, Georgina Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Anchored at Port Browning, North Pender Island B.C.
Anchored at Port Browning, North Pender Island B.C.
Morning at Port Browning, North Pender Island B.C.
Morning at Port Browning, North Pender Island B.C.
East Point Glass, Saturna Island B.C.
East Point Glass, Saturna Island B.C.
Tumbo Channel, East Point, Saturna Island B.C.
Tumbo Channel, East Point, Saturna Island B.C.
Clouds Lifting on Brown Ridge, Saturna Island B.C.
Clouds Lifting on Brown Ridge, Saturna Island B.C.
With the Ravens, Brown Ridge, Saturna Island B.C.
With the Ravens, Brown Ridge, Saturna Island B.C.
Caught in Boat Pass, Saturna Island B.C.
Caught in Boat Pass, Saturna Island B.C.
Fiddler’s Cove, Saturna Island B.C.
Fiddler’s Cove, Saturna Island B.C.
And finally back to the shores of Mayne Island at Georgina Point…
Georgina Point, Mayne Island B.C.
Georgina Point, Mayne Island B.C.
This time though, I set up my easel…
Plein air painting a restless sea at Georgina Point on Mayne Island
Plein air painting a restless sea at Georgina Point on Mayne Island
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What I am reading...
I am not so much reading but rereading, for a countless number of times, what is now a rather tattered, marked-up book The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by photographer and zen monk, John Daido Loori, publishes in 2004.
I am not sure when I received my copy but I know it was before Loori’s death in 2009. This book has been my guide and touch stone since I turned the first page. Loori, speaks to a world in which I am alive within. His words, techniques, philosophy and practices match my own. I am less alone on these pages. I become more visible to the essence of what I call myself.
Sometimes I read whole chapters over again, unhurried and with thoughtful purpose - like “Dancing Brush” that starts on page 169 .
Other times, I read just the quotes - such as the Japanese Proverb “… Even monkeys fall out of trees.
Often though, I find a passage I have underlined such as “From the Buddhist perspective, the self is an idea. It doesn’t exist, except in our mental constructs…. then what is the self that is expressed in self-expression? Zen’s Answer would be that when the self disappears, the brush paints by itself, the dance dances itself, the poem writes itself. There is no longer a gap between artist, subject, audience and life. This is no accident or a chance occurrence. It is rather the result of personal training, spiritual development, and insight, which then manifests itself through artistic expression
So this is why, sometimes, I must sit and wait - zazen… just sitting with correct bodily posture, while emphasizing the quality of being whole and one in time and space. Other times, I walk and wait, noticing, observing, without expectation.
May the Golds of Autumn be within you...
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A Brush with Life is the good bits! Insider stories, discoveries, snippets, opinions, new works and shows for fans and art collectors of Terrill Welch paintings. Published every 2nd Friday.

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