Travel as narrative and metaphor

le Pont Neuf evening on the Seine – Paris”   painting in progress and sketch in my studio   9″x 12″    2017

I have to let myself go…sitting in my studio, some good, twangy Alison Krauss + Union Station. Pencil and notebook in front of me. Thinking leads to feeling. The narrative of my life is travel…in some form. It may be through breathing in yoga, where I can let go of tension or blocked energy. Maybe it’s a long walk through my neighborhood, just letting my feet take me without a plan.  The best?…a big adventure, planned and packed, for the road or plane, to far away cultures.  I listen to others tell their stories, through music or paintings or writing and I’m awakened and pushed.

We live in a country full of wealth and riches but we seem to lack soul and true spiritual connection to our place and fellow humans. We can’t all be right all of the time. We must pull out our curiosity and give that freely. It just may draw a story out of someone else who might not usually share or connect. There is something to being idealistic…but realistic.

Come travel with me – to Paris.    Another painting drawn from my life moments spent there.

“le Pont Neuf – evening on the Seine – Paris”     acrylic on canvas        9″x 12″      2017

Sometimes travel can be transport through a memory, conversation, or a work of art…not necessarily getting on a plane to somewhere. I always hunger for my next big adventure, but just as it is in a painting filled with vivid color, we need neutral tones to create balance. The same is true in life – roots and places to land and reflect, deal with the mundane…help to refuel us for the next undertaking, task or adventure. This helps develop an understanding and deeper appreciation for the inevitable ups and downs in life.

 

tools….never too many brushes 

 

I love the paint on my palette, but I love scraping it off too…ready for more…the next adventure

 

“le matin (morning) 10th arrondissement – Paris” on my easel…is it finished?       10″x 20″ acrylic on canvas

Both of these paintings are now hanging at Le Panier French Bakery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. If you are near, go sit on a stool, eat a beautiful croissant and have a look. If you are interested in my work or would like to purchase, please contact me. cappwiley@gmail.com

 

©Teri Capp All rights reserved

What we carry with us.

“le matin (morning) – 10th arrondissement – Paris”                            Acrylic on canvas      20″x 10″     2017

 

Threads of our stories move with us through our lives – from childhood to middle age. Fresh, raw experience turns into deeper understanding and reflection. We ask different questions at each landing. Some of the sheer, sensory experiences from other times and places hang in the rafters of my memory – stirring emotions – raising goosebumps…making me laugh or cry.

Truly, it can just be the light…the light of a landscape, a city anchored in its geography, a certain latitude, the atmosphere that is slightly different in one place from another.

I have been going back to my life’s moments in France. It is a place that has woven itself into my story. To study art and live in southern France in the 1980’s, as a college student, impressed upon me the riches of immersing my senses in a place…with its people. As I adjusted to four and a half months of life and work there, I expanded and contracted, listened – learned a new language, saw, felt, smelled and tasted deeply of that place.

In the south, the small village of Lacoste and its surrounding valleys were rough, scratchy, imperfect, places. As students, we hiked out of the village, set up our drawing boards and used fat bamboo “pens” that had a long angled cut at one end, which we dipped into ink…to interpret the hundred year old oaks onto our paper. During the hot part of the Provencal day, the tangled oak trees created shade, so it wasn’t a bad place to be working. Here is one of the bamboo pen and ink drawings, (circa early 80’s),  from one of the days deep in the grove. The original is at my parent’s home…so I can pause and look sometimes and remember and feel that place.

Oak groves at the edge of Lacoste village, Vaucluse. Bamboo pen and ink, 20″x 28″

We spent time with the farmers and painted in their vineyards, almond groves and around their olive trees. But really, these are details for another story and images for other paintings.

Any trip that I’ve made to France has included time in Paris. Time by myself, times with friends, other trips with my husband and daughter. I finished this painting recently, after looking and looking at a photograph I had made from the window of our tiny, cubicle-of-a-hotel room one night, north of Place de la Republique. The 10th arrondissement of the city was waking up, and I could hear the footsteps of people below, produce crates hitting the street, bike bells and bits of conversation and a car horn or two.

A thread, a moment of light, in a city that I love. I carry a little of it with me…always.

 

“le matin (morning) – 10th arrondissement – Paris” is now hanging at Le Panier French Bakery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. It is on a 7/8″ deep canvas, 20″x 10,” that I painted with a warm, orange-red under-painting. You can see bits of the color popping through and the edges of the canvas are painted the warm tone.  $475, unframed. It would look good in a floater frame too. Please contact me if you are interested. email; cappwiley@gmail.com

©Teri Capp  All rights reserved

Stranded

Stranded”         Acrylic on canvas    6″x 8″             Whidbey Island

 

On any given day, we don’t know what we will find along our path.

To find this small fish…something in such a state, startled me to pause – look – think – wonder and feel. I don’t know how long it had been there.  I was a quarter mile behind my husband, walking up the beach. He found it first and made some photographs, which I used for reference to make this painting.

Sometimes we get flipped upside down – we ride the wave.

 

I felt compelled to paint this little stranded fish…tossed in the tide, out of control, landed on a rock…in the big universe.

I have sketched this as a vertical and a horizontal composition…and here I finished the vertical painting.  The horizontal will follow sometime soon.

“Stranded” graphite sketch – Whidbey Island series

 

If you have questions or are interested in my work, please let me know.  cappwiley@gmail.com

John’s work: http://www.johnwileyphotography.com

©Teri Capp   All rights reserved

No perception of time – A long walk

No Perception of Time – A long walk”      Acrylic on gessoed paper     5″x 7″         Whidbey Island

 

A rock – all of those minerals smashed together – a solid piece of earth. I imagine that this unusual green-hued mound has sat there awash in salt water, kelp, sand, sun and wind, since before my ancestors landed on this continent. And there it is. It certainly has been on this spot the four decades that I’ve meandered this beach on Puget Sound.

I have walked past this rock many times, absorbed in conversation with a companion – or “making time” to cover the four mile distance, out and back. The rock is unconcerned with my passing…sitting there, as I hike my round trips.

Other times, I have walked to the rock – slowing and stopping – surprised by it. This is how any good encounter in the wild hits me. By chance, I saw it and stayed for a while.

Its color, softened by fog-filtered sun – I wonder, how did it come to be all of those shades of green? Why is it right here? I don’t know. I’m drawn to it, to sit on it – run my hands over its smoothness while it’s here…and I’m here. My sense of time slowed – connected for some minutes to a beautiful rock that doesn’t care about my schedule.

This connection is good – it’s real – to sit on a rock and feel the tide move slowly around me…while I race through my life.

I have painted one of these moments. I have looked – sometimes I see. You can look too. Of course, I hope to build my audience for my art work, but more than that, I hope to awaken a sense of seeing and connection to the natural world. Awareness and knowledge lead to care and conservation.

The rock is a physical place to land, to pause and just be. I hope that place will always be there. Maybe my painting can offer a place to land – to feel a stirring, or to just be…in the fog, on a beach, on a good rock.

Here are the stages of this small painting as I worked in my studio.

graphite sketch of A Long Walk

 

initial under painting

 

A Long Walk in progress…not quite done

 

Any questions or interest in my work? I also work on commissions and would love to interpret a special place of yours. Please contact me here or at cappwiley@gmail.com

©Teri Capp   All rights reserved

Ready for this day!

Porch View”           acrylic painting in progress,     5″x 7″

 

Oh! All praise to this earth today!

After days…turned into weeks, of rain – feeling heavy and soaked and colorless.  I thought I couldn’t take one more day of clouds that hovered so low; as though they sat on my brow and wouldn’t lift.

Then came today! This day in mid-March. The gift of the sun and a spring wind – buds, branches, shoots and twigs all stood up and showed their colors. The Olympic mountains lifted their snowy shoulders toward the blue and the sun…beacons of our shared wealth in this territory of Puget Sound. Free for all to see, feel and ponder.

We were ready for this!

The “painting in progress” above is another in the group on which I’m working, from Whidbey Island. If there is not enough sun in Seattle, I can at least bring some into my studio in a painting! I’m working from sketches and photographs made on a summer day…many summer days, while sitting on the one-hundred-year-old porch of the Officer’s house where our family stays at Camp Casey. So much life shared, so many stories told in the line-up of chairs perched on that porch. Fog rolling across in the morning, blowing out in the afternoon, with the glorious winds of summer, to clear views of water and mountains. It never gets old.

There has also been a lot of time spent in and around the tree in the left part of the painting. It has framed that view, stood as sentinel and landmark, for all of our years spent on the porch…it would be strange if it were gone.

Here is a sketch of “Porch View.”  The painting is on gessoed paper, taped down on my masonite backboard. I’m working some of these out to see which ones I want to paint in a larger format.  Parts and pieces.

“Porch View” graphite sketch, 4.5″x6″

 

If you have questions or are interested in my work let me know.  You can reach me at cappwiley@gmail.com

©Teri Capp  All Rights Reserved

A Long Walk

Painting in progress.        “A Long Walk”        Acrylic on gessoed paper.      5″x 7″

Another small piece trying to express some of my life spent in the glorious wilds of Puget Sound.

Whidbey Island…a place of great significance and deep attachment for generations of my family. Some set down roots and lived (live) on the island. We have spent a couple of weeks there, almost every summer…for the past forty years. The distances I’ve traveled on this particular beach, Casey beach, cannot be calculated. Hundreds of hours spent picking through rocks, balancing on driftwood, bare-footing through sand and finding prize agates.  On a map it’s four miles long…if you make the trek to Ebey’s Landing.  It’s not just about the linear distance…it’s about running there quickly to see an amazing storm front move in over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s about the hide and seek played…the perfect sticks and logs found and turned into magical forts. Racing each other, up and over driftwood, without touching the rocks.

It’s about running into and out of waves…walking and talking with friends or family…airing our lives…sharing ideas, problems, sadness, joys, hopes. Miles and miles covered every hour spent on that beach. A long walk.  Hope.

Hope is like the constantly moving front edge of a weather system. It is not the same everywhere or for everyone. There will be clouds, there will be sun. There will be wind. There will be rain…and many variations of those elements.  We are constantly reminded of “hope’s” companion – despair. Without it we don’t push to find hope.

Maybe I am tired, maybe I am battered by the elements – but I move through, I don’t sit down and stop or give up.

That action is hope personified. We are all capable of action. I can’t help it…I search for the moments and movement that put me in the company of beauty – exhilaration – and that which stirs the soul.

This painting is taped onto a masonite backboard on my easel. I prepared a number of these pieces of gessoed paper, painted them with a warm, red under painting and that is what you see popping out between the brushstrokes. This is an enormous green-ish rock that I have visited many times, after walking over a mile to the north on the beach. Working from memory and cropping photographs and sketching to get the composition as strong as possible, I start to put down the first layers of colors. I will post photos of the painting when it is finished, but thought you might like to see a bit of the process.

A Long Walk. graphite sketch, 4″x 6″

 

If you are interested in my work, please inquire via email. cappwiley@gmail.com

©Teri Capp All Rights Reserved

Hope – at the beginning and the end of the day

Castle Rock - Casey beach Whidbey Island, WA acrylic on gessoed paper, 5"x7"

Castle Rock – Casey beach,  late sun through fog –     Whidbey Island, WA  –    acrylic on gessoed paper, 5″x7″

 

I know… I have been gone from this place of storytelling and sharing work for a while.  A break, a bog, another path for a time, but I have been working in my studio. Not in a straight line, but working.

I have been drawing and pulling together some different story lines from my life…pieces of the every day around me and from places that carry immense meaning to me.

I have also been thinking a lot – about what art making and sharing and spectating means to me. I signed the petition put out yesterday by the Americans for the Arts Action Fundwhich I have included here if you want to have a look. http://www.artsactionfund.org/. I pulled out my notebook and pencil and began writing.

The concept of art; that art is a shared societal value, must be a part of our national philosophy…from the top down and the bottom up. It is a sign of a healthy nation. The government does not fund all individual artists or art organizations just by stating its support of the concept and value of art in our nation’s culture. Support in the form of statements and affirmation count. They set the tone and convey an important symbolism that we have a desire to encourage creativity and expression in our citizenry. Concrete funding counts too, in validating the relationship between our nation’s philosophy and the individual artists, creators and participants.

What better symbol to support than the expressive health of a human being or a creative group of people working together?

Art is how we live. Art is how we love. Art is how we feel. Art is how we teach and how we communicate.

Art asks questions of us and allows our hearts and minds to soar. Art digs deeply to the core of our emotions, whether it’s our own stories we are telling or painting…whether it’s music or a play…a graphic novel or a poetry slam to which we respond.

Inevitably, what comes out the other side of our participation, is hope. Can any of us say that hope is not needed?

Hope is the essence of being human. We get up every day to face and move through our challenges and joys. At every age, we do it. The essence of art is hope. Artists make work to elicit hope for change, for remembrance, to churn our emotions, to conserve beauty, to make us laugh, to create joy – to connect.

It matters. As a nation, we must have some government representation that speaks for artists and “the arts.”  Symbolism matters, it can be a guiding light…inspirational through dark days and light.

Castle Rock - graphite study, 4"x6"

Castle Rock – graphite study,    4″x6″

 

If you are interested in my work, please inquire at cappwiley@gmail.com.

©Teri Capp   All Rights Reserved

Raw – Wild – Wonderful

“Road D1275”    acrylic on gessoed paper, 4″x 4″ (archival mat – 8″x 8″)   $80

We turned off of the B-1 tarmac road after re-fueling the 4×4 camper in Rehoboth…west, onto the C24, a road like many we had seen before on this trip of a lifetime. Rough, yellow-orange gravel lay before us and there was no turning back. We had been back in the capital city of Windhoek for two days, (after being out on the road for two weeks traveling with my sister and brother-in-law). We had three nights of dinners and partying with great family members of my brother-in-law, and other friends and artists. On the third day it was time to ready ourselves for our next eight days out in the wilds of Namibia! Laundry had been on the to-do list, so the three of us had clean clothes…and we made a trip to the big Maerua Super Spar to provision, filling the long pull-out drawers in the bed of the camper with food, coffee, bottled water, wine, and toilet paper…because you just never knew.

View of back of 4x4 with long pull-out storage drawers for food and essentials.

View of back of 4×4 with long pull-out storage drawers for food and essentials.  Water and cocoa after “dawn patrol” hike of the dunes in Sossusvlei.

Our yellow-orange gravel road turned into a “tertiary road,”…translate – bumpier and narrower, skittery gravel on top of dust…the D1275. It is the connector, the skinniest red line on the map…between the tiny town of Nauchas and the outpost of Solitaire….via the fabled Spreetshoogte Pass.

Spreetshoogte Pass, Acrylic on cradled panel, 8

Spreetshoogte Pass, Acrylic on cradled panel, 8″x 8″ Sold. (Available as an archival pigment print – limited edition of five – 8.5″x 11,” $65 signed and numbered)

These roads etched tiny lines on the massive escarpment reaching heights of 5,800 feet in elevation with sections of road sporting a 22% grade! From the dizzying heights of the escarpment we could see an expanse of desert and distant mountains that seemed to drop off of the back edge of the horizon. I had never been on any road so steep. It used to be all gravel, but some of the steepest sections have now been paved with bricks to cause less washboard and slippage. We made our way down gingerly, never escaping the feeling that the camper with its roof tents was going to tip over. But the angle of the grade lessened and we made it to the bottom of the wild plateau.

road D1275 between Spreetshoogte Pass and Solitaire - close the air vents!

road D1275 between Spreetshoogte Pass and Solitaire – close the air vents!

Onward to Solitaire…for a stop at Moose MacGregor’s bakery for apple crumble pie and tea!

Smell of apples and cinnamon hit us as we climbed out of the truck in the outpost of Solitaire

Smell of apples and cinnamon hit us as we climbed out of the truck at the outpost of Solitaire…saved some for breakfast!

We didn’t pass many other travelers on the Namibian back roads, but if we were following one, we gave them plenty of distance to avoid eating their dust. The small painting above, “Road D1275” was inspired by one of the sections of road from that day. You can see a car and it’s dust plume as it disappears around a curve.

The painting “Road D1275” and others can be viewed on my Available Work page. If you have questions or are interested, please let me know.

Here are a few more images of the outpost of Solitaire in the Namib-Nakluft desert…on the way to Sossusvlei.

Photos by John Wiley. 

©Teri Capp-All Rights Reserved

The season of brittle beauty

“Etosha Pan – Ostrich” acrylic on gessoed paper, matted and framed. $150

I often find myself thinking in terms of temperature when describing color in landscapes.

In Namibia, Etosha National Park was exceptional in its white-hot quality. Rolling and bumping over the gravel and dust in our rented 4×4, ours was several days of first impressions. A strange array of colors kept hitting my senses…rosy grays, pale yellow-greens, tan – silvery blue, white and pink…all moving across my line of sight like a mirage.

The season of our first impressions was winter in the southern hemisphere; June and July. Any bright green that had been produced by the rain in January and February had succumbed to the parched palette we observed.

I liked it. It had a brittle beauty – that I could feel. The days were short-sleeve warm, like the pinks, corals and tans of the plants and earth underfoot. When daylight left the horizon, we felt the coolness descend on us like a cloak. The air became a 3-dimensional veil of magenta, lavender, blue and silver. The earth became tones of cool brown.

Namibia delivered its winter weather like clockwork. Cool sunrise, warm-dry-hot days, sunset, cold nights…all at 3,600′ elevation. Our hats, fleece and puffy jackets that were on call were put into action as the sun dropped in Etosha.

The dry season drew animals to the remaining water holes. One hot afternoon, we drove around a curve in the road and up a slight rise to find ostrich and black-faced impala in our view. They joined together at a blue hole in the shimmering mirage of the Great Pan. (the Etosha Pan covers 1,860 suare miles)!

I loved this place! – Etosha with its thorn trees and rose-white-dust. I felt an aliveness among the expanse…and small, in relation to the giraffe, elephants and rhinos and hundreds of other animals and birds that I was privileged to watch for a few days. My awareness of the trivial part that I play, was heightened by a sense of reciprocity, with all that share this planet.

If you have questions or comments let me know. If you are interested in this painting, please contact me. You can see it and others on my Available Work page.

©Teri Capp  All Rights Reserved

Brush marks, small paintings and flashbacks

“Orange kraal – Road to Tsumeb” acrylic on paper, 5″x 7″ in a rag mat that measures 10″x 12.”   Available for $150.

All I have to do is start reading my journal…look at my sketches and pore over the thousands of photographs and I feel a spark…my memory travels to…somewhere in Nambia, Africa. The music in my studio may be Geoffrey Oryema, from Uganda or Joni Mitchell and I’m traveling…in my mind and heart. I guess that is part of the richness…the value of travel…the “aliveness” that I carry with me even when I return home.

These four paintings are small acrylic paintings on gessoed paper. I had them displayed in my show in June, but they were not a part of the official “Namibian Portfolio project” so I did not talk about them much. Having not posted them before, here they are!        I have added them to my Available Work page.

I will post one each of the next three days and tell you about that moment’s adventure!

They were painted as ideas for larger paintings, but they stand on their own as studies… bits of the story…of travel, of immersion in another place. Decisive sketches and faster brushstrokes…moments that allowed me to release a feeling or a moment in a small painting. These are memories that hit me from my travels in the vast, strange landscape of Namibia. If you’ve traveled in arid, desert country, on any continent, you can probably understand the words, “the land of lost horizons,” as Namibia is described in an older Spectrum travel guide.

Tucked away, many times out of sight of ‘we road travelers,’ were tiny kraals, or villages, where families lived and herded goats or cattle for a meager living. They were groupings of thatched huts with a fence made of thatch surrounding the kraal. The scraped, dry ground inside and out were the result of the constant padding of feet, both human and animal. Fallen branches from nearby trees or thatch were fuel for their cookfires. Sometimes, the kraal fence was made only with wood, depending on the region. Thatch was plentiful in the areas near rivers where the papyrus and reeds grew tall.

The bright orange buildings in this kraal caught my eye as we drove north from Etosha National Park to the town of Tsumeb. John was taking a turn, driving the Toyota 4×4 truck that we had rented. I asked him to turn around and go back so that I could make some photographs. The building materials on this stretch of road, on Namibia’s landscape, were mud and wood…so the kraal was painted brilliant orange over the smooth mud walls. The fence was a spare form made with skinny sticks.   Art in life.

Thanks for reading, if you made it this far! Let me know if you have questions or comments or have interest in my work.

©Teri Capp All Rights Reserved