In the grips of the landscape

Teri’s painting set up at sunset in the Palouse.   It doesn’t get much better than this.

Sometimes there are just moments!

You’re not quite sure how you got there, but you decided.   With a move – you’re standing there.

High plateau in eastern Washington state, near Palouse Falls State Park is where I stood at that moment. The end of day four of an exhilarating, adventurous plein air “paint out” with the Plein Air Artists of Washington. 7:15 pm – our last night of camping…after a dinner at the campground we decided to head out and drive some of the back roads (they’re all back roads out here!) and look for sunset spots to paint over the landscape.

We formed a caravan…our hardy troop of plein air painters…like beads of a necklace we wound our way up the curved road to the high plateau above Palouse Falls. John and I pulled over – look! – jump out and confer – “here?” Weaving our way, we finally dispersed – everyone with their own ideas…found our spots where we wanted to set up and paint…with our one hour left of daylight.


When the sun sets in the desert it gets dark fast – and cold at the end of April!

I was the only one who stayed up high on the plateau…my painting pals descended to Lyons Ferry on the Snake River. John helped me set up my easel and I squirted paint from the tubes, pulled out a canvas panel, my rag and biggest brushes…while battling the rising breeze.

John took his camera and hiked around making some amazing photos of the highlighted forms and moving shadows…the clouds as they changed colors quickly. He made the photos of me standing on this lone dirt road in the Palouse landscape. Wow! Painting fast, with big brushes, trying to catch the effervescent quality of moving color in the clouds behind the silhouetted hills!

Top of the world at twilight.


Painting next to the Westy


With the aid of John and the headlights!


Glory in the sky and land…

I don’t think my 8″x 10″ painting is worthy of the place – in fact, I know that it’s not. But to stand there, look, feel, paint – and try to translate some of nature’s magic and power, sometimes is enough.

And, there is more to this five-day-painting-road-trip story to come! As a newer member of PAWA (Plein Air Artists of Washington) I am excited about many more days outside, with fellow painters.

I’ll post the painting from the sunset in Palouse in a future post.

©Teri Capp   All rights reserved.


Passenger on this ride…

Contemplating – or do I feel memories?

I draw from the bank – nooks and crevices in my mind and soul. Though the physical synapses are always changing – probably re-shaping my memories, an image emerges from the fog and depths. Images of places I’ve been, arousing my senses and reminding me of my experience in that moment.


“Haute Couture” (high fashion)         acrylic on panel                  9″x 12″

Though it’s been years, I can still hear footsteps on the rue St Honore-Faubourg where I walked and saw this vintage Mini Cooper in the “designer shopping district” of Paris. Voices, cars, horns, accelerating scooters…bouncing and echoing off of the stone walls. Timeless in a way – when we walk anywhere that is made of this Earth – even places man-made of stone, soot, lumber and mud – with hundreds of years ground into the surfaces before us.

Before I go too deep, I will say that when I walk through a city like Paris, my senses are heightened – aware of the grit and history, but aroused by the soaring art and design that rise up on almost every street and bridge! A well-turned piece of iron work, head-turning bronze sculpture…massive and ornate…all staged with a back drop of luminous pink-gray granite and limestone. (and concrete)…exclamation points of great human design.

Running through the 1st and 8th arrondissments (districts) of Paris, rue St Honore holds store windows with some of the best avant garde and tongue-in-cheek window displays…more exclamation points! Most Parisians are proud of their city and think it is the best city on Earth. I think they have a sense of humor too!

Here’s to living with our memories…and painting them.

This painting, “Haute Couture” (high fashion), recently completed,  is now hanging at Le Panier French Bakery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. It is framed in a matte black floater frame. If interested, or comments or questions, please contact me.

©Teri Capp      All rights reserved

Being there…”Senssurround”

“Coast kelp – Hobuck beach”      acrylic on canvas     6″ x 8″

One of the northern-most places in the contiguous U.S.  ~  Hobuck beach on the Makah Indian reservation. On the edge of the landscape stroked, bruised and burnished by the Pacific ocean.

I’ve been lucky enough to make my way out there several times in my life. Once you make it to the Olympic Peninsula, patience is required to travel on the winding, slow and narrow Strait of Juan de Fuca Hwy or State Route 112. Camping adventures, even if it’s mid August can mean mist and rain and sun and clouds of many colors…sand in every crevice of any available opening…all in one day!

This small painting came from being burned in my memory…worked out with cropping tools of the photograph on my computer. A pencil sketch formed and finally the painting! Though completed this fall, this painting formed in my mind a few years ago. That’s how it works sometimes.

Kelp at low tide, food and fodder for many other living organisms. This was late morning and post storm, so the light was still a strange mix of darkness with light breaking through.

Organic and sensuous in its form, I loved the shapes and colors of the kelp laying around on the expanses of sand.

This piece, along with others of mine are hanging in the Gage Academy Holiday Small Works Show until December 8th, 2017. Tomorrow, Saturday is a big open house, art work sale and Drawing Jam!! If you are in Seattle in the Capitol Hill neighborhood…go! 30% of the sales go to support the great programs of Gage Academy all year.

This piece is $90.

Here is another painting that is from Hobuck beach on the Pacific coast.

“WA coast surf” painting in progress on my easel

We have camped with a friend who is a surfer and brings several boards. Out into the surf to give it a try…makes you feel alive and vulnerable at the same time on the Washington coast.

I loved the energy and reflections and shapes of some of my photographs from this day, surfing with friends…so figured out a composition and made this small painting. It is hanging in the Gage show too.


“WA coast surf” acrylic on canvas panel 6″ x 8″ finished  $85


One more small painting from the Pacific coast. From a different trip to Rialto beach and Mora campground in Olympic National Park. This place never fails to deliver with wild, unpredictable weather, fantastic waves and surf, magical light and mystery in and out of the shoreline.

This wild coastline is another place that has filled my life with the resources from which to draw when I feel depleted or trapped in the concrete jungle of the city. Our family’s experiences there are multi-generational and cover the span of decades. Life’s fabric woven together by our making, and all of the stories of the people that precede us in that wild, loved, lived-in landscape.


“Stacks – Rialto Beach”       acrylic on gessoed paper      6″x 9″     $85

Enjoy! If you’re interested, let me know. If you can make it to Gage Academy for the show, even better.

©Teri Capp – all rights reserved

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Suspense of something to come…

“Anticipation”    acrylic on deep panel     10″ x 10″

Anticipation – my twelve-year old self shakes off sleep easily when I realize where I am waking up. Camp Casey, Whidbey Island! A week of freedom, sun, swimming, salt-crusted skin, sunburns, family (who are in a good mood), first crushes, sunsets, late nights, dreaming, phosphorescence in the saltwater, stars…

Even now, decades later, I awake with a sense of anticipation – what will the day bring? My daughter now beats me out the door – on her bike or headed to the beach, on that familiar back road – its pebble encrusted surface memorized and etched in my brain.

In the century-old house the creaks in the floor boards summon up stories. Many tidbits – sometimes tomes of our lives shared. Stories large and small of heartache, success, exploration, self-doubt, and most of all laughter and joy. Lots of scratchy-edged conversations have been rubbed smooth after a week on this landscape. With Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains as our back drop  –  the porch, the kitchen, the beach, and the road  – all serve as our forums of exchange.

But the best feeling was and is the anticipation of walking that back road to the beach. Whether I have twenty minutes or hours, it fills my soul with hope, healing, grounding and a sense of the world much larger than myself.

I completed this painting last August. From pencil sketches on-site, and in my studio, it became paint on an encaustic board panel, which has a beautiful slick surface. It is 1.5 inches deep, 10″x 10.”

If you are interested please contact me at You can view it and others on my available work page. I’m happy to make an appointment for a studio visit!

©Teri Capp all rights reserved


Places to land…”life force”


“Late fog – Colonel’s house”     acrylic on canvas    10″x 20″

A painting completed this summer…of a place that is, wind, sand, water and sun. Long days of joy-filled exhaustion – it is a place that has filled my soul, spirit and body for decades. We need places like this more than ever.

This place, on the central west side of Whidbey Island…a beach that feels the energy of nature every day. The rip tides and currents churn and tumble the saltwater at the intersection of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet and the inland waters of Puget Sound. A place of hunker down…hang-on-to-your-hat wind !! …or a place of serene, summer calm. This beach, a place I have returned to over and over feels like home.

This painting is available. I’m happy to work out a studio visit if you are local. Please inquire at

©Teri Capp   All rights reserved.


“vignoble de juillet”  (vines in July)  16×20,  acrylic – framed

From its place on the wall at Le Panier French Bakery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market…I am happy that this piece sold and recently flew to a new home!

I have hung another piece that is soft pastel on Arches cover titled “terre au Sault.”  This is a piece where I painted some of the parts of the place. Some elements of the story, as I saw it and felt it. The old stone houses and the cypress trees that practically walk and talk with their animated shapes. And the cicadas of summer…buzzing so that you can barely get a word in.

“terre au Sault”    soft pastel on paper,   22″x 30″    matted and framed

This terrain…this terroir, where the contours of the hills are drawn with lavender, is southern France in July. We drove and stopped, drove and stopped…getting out to be blown in the hot wind and fill our noses and lungs with the overwhelming scent of the summer plant of the Vaucluse. The town and area of Sault is high in the hills near Mont Ventoux. It’s an area I have been many times to “just be” and to study and paint and live. History, people, landscape and light pull me back…and of course cheese.

A bit of the process; I taped off the large piece of Arches cover paper and outlined the large main image, measured and taped off the small “parts of the story” and sketched those images. After I was finished using the soft pastels, which are very volatile and smudge easily, I removed all of the tape to reveal the clean lines of the finished piece. All the images of the piece are on one piece of paper.

It is matted and framed with a dark espresso wood frame.

If you are in Seattle, it is on display at Le Panier French Bakery in Pike Place Market.

If you are interested in my work please contact me. It is in my Available Work page.

©Teri Capp   All rights reserved.

Make a life moment

“Reflection” Acrylic on gessoed board, 7″x 9″ On the sidewalk outside of Le Panier French Bakery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. This piece was commissioned in 2014 by LP for their 30th anniversary.

Open a door, turn over a rock, turn left instead of right…making choices based on the opportunities that we create.

I dropped my daughter off at work this morning – at Le Panier Very French Bakery (LP), in the Pike Place Market, where I worked as a young adult many years ago.   Time travel. Today, I drove a few car lengths down the cobblestone of Pike Place and parked with ease and luck! The Market was waking up and filling up with vendors and participants of all sorts on this stupendous summer day. I walked back to Le Panier to find my longtime friend, Thierry, who co-owns this fabulous place. He will be leaving in a few days with his family, to go to France for their annual summer sojourn.

He and I were co-workers there three decades ago. And we have been friends that long. His son works there when home from college – this place where my daughter is experiencing her first job.         Open a door.

“Cafe and Croissant” Acrylic on gessoed board, 8″x 9″ Commission by Le Panier for 30th anniversary

I found Thierry in his office and we had a too-rare visit, filled with inside laughs – casual, comfortable back and forth…built on the stones of time. He was interrupted by a phone call from his brother, in France. Listening to him speak rapidly in his native language, I understood words or an intermittent phrase – but my mind floated into a reflection on how rich my life has been – knowing him and his family. These are friends with whom we have shared glorious food…sitting for hours around a table, allowing our conversations to carry us late into the night…sometimes surrounded by buzzing cicadas under a plane tree in southern France. More often our time is spent together during the many seasons in Seattle. What’s better than rainy, dark nights spent around a table with friends?! We have attended each others life events, been there when our kids were born, shared our grief when we have lost someone…or suffered through an illness. We’ve watched and nurtured our kids with humor and joy into the next chapters of their lives.

Wow!   Turn over a rock and you never know what you will find.

We choose our friends – or maybe they choose us. But, we keep them because we need each other. The joy and fulfillment from collaboration is a strong drug. It creates connection…the fiber of being human.  Who do I ask? How do I do that? Here, let me help you.           It’s that kind of need.

Thierry hung up the phone and we stood and said our good byes. I wished him bon voyage for his upcoming trip “home” to France. It will be different for him this summer, having lost both of his parents this past year. He will be with his wife and kids and they will spend time with extended family, but it is bittersweet…a new chapter for my friend. He is strong, with a good spirit, and sense of humor. He is looking toward more joy in his life while weaving in the stories that he was told and taught by his parents.

Meal with family and friends under the plane tree – chez amis- southern France


Thierry grilling at his home in France

He sent me home with a beautiful cafe au lait and a warm pain au chocolat, lifted from a tray in the kitchen at Le Panier. Back in my kitchen twenty minutes later, I dug out my true, cafe au lait bowl..a gift from sister Kristin, when she lived in Montreal many years ago. I poured the coffee into the bowl and gently reheated it. After tossing a few raspberries from our garden on my yogurt, I set a tray with my bounty and went out on our deck to take a moment...make a moment. This moment, sitting on my deck in one of the first warm breezes of summer, was born of family and friends.


ma petit dejuener because of my daughter and my friend


pain au chocolat and boule cafe au lait, plus raspberries from our garden!

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.


©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;

©Teri Capp  All rights reserved


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.

John’s work:

©Teri Capp   All rights reserved