Interview with Terrill Welch by Bill Maylone
It is not the cover of the Rolling Stones but for Mayne Island it is the next best thing. It is the kind of coverage that a person casually hands a copy over to family with a smile and a shrug. I figure blog friends are a close second to family when it comes to being supportive. So with a quiet, lopsided grin… following is an interview by Bill Maylone for our local monthly magazine – the MayneLiner. Plus, my oil painting “Henderson Hill” made the cover.
Bill knows art and is an excellent writer so I was thrilled when he asked to come by and see the paintings for the STUDY of BLUE solo exhibition and to interview me for an article. Enjoy!
TCAC (Trincomali Community Arts Council)
Art On Mayne by Bill Maylone
Terrill Welch, who is active in the Trincomali Community Council and other Mayne Islandgroups, is an accomplished painter, photographer and writer. She has sold paintings to patrons as far away as New York and Switzerland. Her method of working and her finished work intimately reflects her relationship to her subjects. Terrill moved to Mayne Island with her partner, David Colussi, in May 2007. “I need to have access to a natural world and to have a relationship with the environment”. Looking down from her back deck, in a view framed by large Douglas fir trees, eagles fly in wide spirals above Meadowmist Farm. Its fields and meadows are dotted with sheep and deer, and beyond Heck Hill across the valley, a distant squall sweeps across Navy Channel. Here, and in her exploration of the Southern Gulf Islands, she finds the inspiration and the subject matter for her work as an artist.
She always carries a camera when she’s exploring the Islands. “Digital photography really changed the way I go about painting. It was never practical to take a lot of photos of a subject for reference because of the cost and time and inconvenience of chemical photography. So I’d draw a lot of sketches at a location to try to capture the essence of a place or a subject to help me remember what it was like and what I saw. Reference photos are useful, but you need to take a lot of them. I’ve taken up to 120 for one painting. Each one gives you a different angle on the subject, but no single one captures what I try to express through the painting that ultimately ends up on the canvas.”
She begins a painting by exuberantly spreading a thin layer of blue, cadmium yellow or orange paint across a canvas or hardboard surface. One advantage she finds in using oils is that they dry slowly, allowing her lots of time to play with the paint and gradually work recognizable shapes out of the suggestive abstract forms on the surface. The technique, known as underpainting, creates a foundation on which other layers of paint are built upon. It also sets up a basic emotional tone through the use of colour.
The painting process is an active and physical one for Terrill, and it relates to how she perceives her subjects. “I like to work standing up because it lets me dance around the painting and look at it from a variety of perspectives. When you visit a place, you don’t see it from just one angle; every time you take a step or move your head, new parts are revealed to you. The place itself is active, too: the waves and clouds are always changing. The wind moves the leaves. The light is different each moment.”
She works the whole canvas at once, which tends to give her pieces a strong sense of unity. She explains, “I don’t worry about trying to get some detail just right. It’s bringing along the entire painting as a whole that’s important.” What emerges is not intended to be a photorealistic image, but an impressionistic and emotional picture of not only what she sees, but of what she feels about the subject. “The painting I create reveals my relationship to a place.”
Her solo exhibition titled, “Study of Blue”, a collection of new and recent paintings, opens at the Oceanwood Resort at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 30th, and it runs until July 27th.
Why blue? “It’s a personal thing. There’s something deeply emotional to me about blue. It’s a visceral experience that I want to share with others.”….
Note: This article was published in the MayneLiner Magazine Volume 21 – Number 6, June 2011 on page 51. It has been posted here with permission.
Sprout question: If you could be interviewed by anyone, who would it be and why?
STUDY OF BLUE solo exhibition opens Thursday June 30, 2011.
© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.
Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.
Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch
Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.
FromMayne Island, British Columbia, Canada
Terrill Welch online Gallery at http://terrillwelchartist.com