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LIZ WELCH TIRRELL grew up in Midland, Texas: a landscape void of bends, curves or irregularities and a 180° sky, yet I will always think of it and the highdeserts of West Texas as beautiful a place as the ocean. The openness and light of both desert and sea were a great visual influence and photography became a passion. Probably the most significant credit goes to my father, the architect Frank Welch, and his enthusiastic discernments on the world around us. Getting to sit at drafting tables as a girl on weekends at his office with the preCAD precision tools of design of those days left me happily occupied for hours.
I’ve always loved watercolor as a medium and usually had my little Winsor & Newton travel kit with me to paint postcards when out and about, and an old Leica 35mm; now the impressive Iphone 6Plus is my camera of choice. But it wasn’t until last spring after a visit to Marfa and then to La Baule in Brittany that something took hold. It started out photographically, and upon my return I began thinking of pulling all my visual interests together: camera work, painting, and tinkering, to build a simple yet precision device employing a technique that has been around for centuries: the neo lucida or camera obscura.
I often feel that nature is looking at me, rather than I at it; I like to think of my small paintings as nature’s selfies. It can be tedious work to produceto paraphrase Ginger Rogers’: ‘I do it backwards AND upsidedown.’ Yet, like those childhood days playing with the instruments of the architect’s trade, it leaves me happily occupied for hours.