Painting Edges to the Edge of the Sea

The West Point Lighthouse Prince Edward Island, 30 x 24 inch oil painting, is now finished. The Storytelling Arbutus Tree Mayne Island BC, 60 x 40 oil painting, is now finished. A painting sketch was sold immediately picked up for delivery. The grounds have been painted on four blank canvases. And the edges have been painted on three medium size landscape and seascape paintings.

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This is enough for one week don’t you think?

So do you want to skip out and come with me to the gather reference material by the sea? It is sunny. We should have the shores to ourselves, along with the birds of course. Yes? Okay! Off we go for a wee short break. Don’t forget your sunglasses and windbreaker.

Well, that was invigorating!

I suppose, I might as well show you to the latest two completed paintings while you are here.

West Point Lighthouse PEI 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas

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Storytelling Arbutus Tree Bennett Bay Mayne Island BC 60 x 40 inch oil on canvas

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Yes, if you remember from previous posts, this is a good-sized painting and will need a good-sized wall.

I will get them up in the online gallery soon and let you know over on the website at TerrillWelchArtist.com. But today is a town day to get Seaside Mayne Island, the large 60 x 36 landscape painting, framed for the collector before I deliver the painting sometime in April. I will need to pick up more canvases and sleeves for the latest batch of greeting cards too. Then when I get back there are local group shows to submit work to and planning for the booth at Art! Vancouver Fair in late May where I accepted a request to be the lead artist showing in the Artists In Canada booth. Nothing too unusual really, just the rhythm of a landscape painter’s ordinary everyday life on a small island off the southwest coast of Canada.

 

What is the rhythm of your ordinary everyday life these days?

 

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

A Start on the PEI West Point Lighthouse Painting

A warm grey ground has dried and is ready for the next work. I have decided on the West Point Lighthouse in Prince Edward Island for this 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas. I have been dancing around this work for a while. How does a painter get a lighthouse painting beyond a caricature of its own specific unique presence? Not an easy task but let’s see what we can do.

First we gather up a couple of reference images from the day at west point and a quick acrylic sketch of a location just south of the lighthouse.

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The sketch holds more sensory images than the photographs and remind me of how muggy it was that day and that the back swampy area was already starting to hatch mosquitoes. The smell of the sea and the intricate lacing of greens and reds between the sand and the grasses were pulled into focus. But what was I going to do with that large black and white monstrosity!? Because of the structure I decided that I best start with a few brief lines in yellow paint to guide my hand into the composition.

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Now what? Well, possibly the best approach is to sneak up on the lighthouse and let it fit into the environment rather than the other way around. I am going to need strong supporting actors to anchor this star subject.

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I keep working and the palette needs additional paint now and again.

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But an hour later, we are finally getting somewhere….

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The painting is now blocked in. I am going to give it a bit of a break before I dig in and complete the work as I want to use it as part of an example for an advanced colour-mixing demonstration in this week’s painting class. There are lots of other wonders still to partake in though.

Maybe we could enjoy an evening sunset to watch the full snow moon rise?

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Or how about a meditative walk on another day along shore by the sea? If you turn the sound up, there are sections where you can hear running water or the waves softly coming ashore or if you are really good at recognizing sounds, someone is cutting up firewood across Campbell bay.

My intention is to do more of these meditative walk clips from our wanderings. I find they hold much more sensory information then a simple photograph because of the addition of movement and sounds.

What natural wonders are stoking your creative fires?

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Painting Melancholy Seas and other events

The week has shifted from warm winter afternoon sun to stormy jade grey sea, to snow cover trees causing power outages and then back to sun with more snow on the way. What is a painter to do with such dramatic changes? Gather reference materials, write a haiku, make hedgehog biscuits and paint of course!

With the sun trapped behind a tree, I squint through the branches at the sea.

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Wandering along the shore I consider the path down to the rocks and driftwood.

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Afternoon low sun on the rocks, the sea and a pastel sky are my reward.

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Then later on in the week the jade of high-tide seas remind me of some reference material from earlier in the year. I bring them along to the first Studio Intensive oil painting class that I am teaching for the next three months. I am enamoured by melancholy seas. I can’t seem to help myself. I am pull up to the shore with a belly full of compassion, ready to dry each of the wave’s cold tears on my damp sleeve.

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I bring the painting to rest back in the studio with the week’s snow visible in the background outside the loft windows.

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I have been working most of the day on the large canvas from the week before and the melancholy sea painting is my unwinding work after being corkscrewed up in the branches of that old arbutus tree.

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But what about this unusual amount of snow that has lasted for days here on the southwest coast? It really isn’t much. Truly it isn’t, other than gorgeous to look at…

As night comes / the beauty of tall firs / outside my window.

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Oh, the power went out a couple of times with the first heavy wet inches. But we are cozy and comfortable. In fact, we didn’t even go to get bread when we ran out. Instead, I made hedgehog biscuits.

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However, I am familiar with snow, bad roads and power outages. These circumstances cause me neither concern nor stress. Yet, I am reminded that it is uncertainty and the unknown that tends to rankle most into jittery nerves. I am no exception. But snow and power outages don’t do it for me.

Yesterday, the sun came out and danced with the same big fir trees in the valley outside the window . Gorgeous!

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I have, as you might expect, been reading about world events. Of most interest are a couple of articles with a broader, possibly dystopia, perspective. The first is “This is how we can fight Donald Trump’s attack on democracy” by Rob Wijnberg in The Correspondent. The second is an archeologist’s paper “History Tells Us What Will Happen Next With Brexit And Trumpby Tobias Stone in the Huffington Post. Both articles focus on current affairs from a place of context that comes when we step back from the immediacy of news feeds that surface on Facebook, Twitter or from other sources. I am reminded that though immediate situations may be of importance, they likely hold little sway within a longer measure of time. Possibly, I wonder, will we, 300 years from now, remember this era as the great democratic experiment?

This week I am also reading Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in a Mumbia undercity by Katherine Boo. In addition, I watched a mini-series about Juana Ines de la Cruz , the life and work of a seventeen century nun in Mexico City who is considered one of the first great minds of the Americas.

In my collective ingestion of these articles, the book and the film, I am struck by how current stories and old stories are much the same. A few lines from  the Netflix Juana Ines film series, set between 1669 and 1695 in New Spain, seem to summarize my week in totality.

“Silence is not having nothing to say. But being unable… to find words for all there is to say.”

and

“It is not the knowledge I don’t have. But that the desire to learn has cost me so much… This amorous torment inside my heart can be seen. I know that I feel the way I do, but I don’t know the reason why. I feel such a heavy anguish from such a successful dalliance that fills like desire and ends in melancholy.”

As always, I find that so much in this everyday life is left unanswerable or beyond my words. Thus we conclude with the “resting” painting.

Melancholy Seas on a 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas

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How might melancholy and change come together in your life?

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Conversations between Trees Recorded in a Large Painting

The earth turns and the sun comes up. The earth turns again and the sun goes down. This is one simple measure of a day. What time will it be tomorrow morning when the first light reaches the eastern side of the island? At about what time this evening will it be too dark to safely take the compost down the stairs and under the trees at the edge of yard without a flashlight? When will the snowdrops start to bloom on the southwest side of the house?  What difference does a day make, or even a few hours? These questions are possibly best answered by trees. At least, this is what I am musing about today as I continue my inner travels.

Last week I shared with you a large 60 x 40 inch canvas with a red ground. Now, on this most difficult week of racial profiling immigration orders in the United States and terrorist killings of Muslim worshipers allegedly by a white male in Canada, I shall take you through the development of this large painting to the point where it is resting.

(In the beginning a few painted lines guide the compositions on large canvas.)

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I mention these two disturbing horrific North America events because I believe no painter can control their brushstrokes against the influences from within their daily lives. I am no exception. I frequently use my painting to process of everyday life with conscious deliberate acknowledgement.

(Getting somewhere on the  large canvas.)

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But my end results do not often depict this struggle to make sense out of senseless acts. Instead, the canvases frequently conclude with a clear message of hope, possibility and resilience. I believe this is because our interconnectedness is the greatest gift that the landscape continues to offer me.

(Blocked in with major decisions made about large composition.)

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I did have it in mind to simplify this painting and leave out the young fir tree on the bottom right and the old fir tree on the left. But the storytelling arbutus tree was having none of it. These trees need each other to create harmony and balance in their ecosystem and for that same reason they are needed in this composition. It would be a mistake to think that this ancient storytelling arbutus tree has survived on its own.

Of course, I am not the first painter, nor will I be the last, who studies the trees. A week ago, I purchased an amazing book of new sketches discovered to be by the hand of one of my mentors, Vincent Van Gogh. The sketches have remained hidden for 120 years and have created all sorts of scholarly disputes and discussions about their authenticity since the book was published in November 2016. The author, Bogomila Wesh-Ovcharov, is a Canadian art historian and specialist in Van Gogh. She is also a good writer. The book, with its 65 actual-size sketches, makes for tantalizing study.

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One of the sketches in this book of four people in an olive grove has particularly captured my attention.

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I am specifically reminded how in the past our daily work would often take us out into a forest or a grove of trees. Currently for me, this connection is my daily walks or plein air painting to gather reference material for larger landscape canvases. But the relatively recent changes to urban living means my experience is a much more rare. In 1800, only 3 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. By 1900, almost 14 percent were urbanites. In 1950, 30 percent of the world’s population resided in urban centers.  At times, in some locations this is still a routine practice. But for most of the 82 percent of urbanites in North America and 54 percent in the world, it is history, leaving large segments of our populations with no direct experience of their relationship between trees, and the landscape. These are the many individuals I believe who may have lost their ability to see the moon. Their lack of awareness, appreciation and understanding about our interconnectedness to trees, the sky, the sea and the land leaves them blind to the moon. For many our natural elements and our dependency on them for our well-being is an abstract concept, rather than an intake of breath with a thank you to a tree. For these individuals the moon is no longer there. I am guessing that with this loss comes another lost, the loss of knowledge about our interdependency and interconnectedness not only to trees but also to each other. In these conditions greed, fear and hatred can take root in the fertile ground of disconnect.

This is why I paint this grand storytelling arbutus tree on a large canvas in my home studio. I am hoping that, when a viewer sees this finished painting, they will remember and experience their connectedness to all things in our natural world. They will again be able to see the moon, the tree and each other with kindness and appreciation. This is my wish anyway. It may be a naive and foolish wish but I must try. And no I do not think a daily walk in the woods will cure all the ills of human short-comings. I do believe it can do no harm and that it has a chance of allowing us to reconnect with our own goodness and act with care and compassion in the face of hatred and greed.

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The painting is not quite finished but it is close. Another couple of sessions with my brush and paints will see it complete. Here is where the painting is at this week.

Resting “Storytelling Arbutus Tree Bennett Bay Mayne Island BC” 60 x 40 inch oil on canvas.

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The next time we see this storytelling arbutus tree painting it will be released in a post on the website. But for now, we can enjoy our interconnectedness to it and all that is. We have in this an opportunity to build our resilience, to gather our energies in the face of possibly some of the most difficult times in recent history in Canada and the United States.

This what I heard from the trees this week.

 

Have you found a storytelling tree near where you live? If so, what is it telling you?

 

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Worthy of Waiting for Paint to Dry

I’ve heard the marching chant often – “When do we want it?” “Now!” I internalize as meaning something before immediate, something that demands my response, similar to the wail of a newborn. During my internal travels this week, where deeply worn paths of immediacy are noticeable, alongside my restorative practices, I am reminded of these rallying-the-troop cries. Well, try shouting this at an exquisite impasto swipe of hansa yellow. Talk about being promptly escorted over to where the sun doesn’t shine, right next to the raw umber. Okay, maybe too much oil painter’s inside humour voice for pleasant company. But you get the idea. There are two basic approaches with oil paints. The first is to apply and keep applying while it is still wet. The second is to apply and wait for it to dry and then apply some more. This week’s ground on a large  60 X 40 inch canvas is in the second category.

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In fact, there is a serious amount of waiting in this artist’s life. Take that gorgeous brand new hunk of beechwood easel, twenty years of contemplation before I said yes. If I had taken as much consideration with my first two marriages, there would be two less Canadian divorce statistics to count. My reasoning delaying the purchase of a new easel was that I had a perfectly good folding mast easel my parents gave me the year I graduated from high school….. and it wasn’t quite used up yet. I have to admit though that the easel had been repaired several times over the past forty years and was getting bit wobbly at the hinges. But still!

However, this next work finally tipped my scales of reasoning and I broke. My longing and desire forced open my hand from around a large wad of cash and the next thing I knew we are pulling up to the art supply store loading area.

The subject for this next canvas has been studied with regularity for about seven years. There is a particular “story telling” tree from one of our regular walks in Bennet Bay that shall grace this canvas. I know this arbutus tree in my bones.  While I am putting down that red ground I begin curling around the shapes of its branches and trunks, bathed in golden winter light and pushing up against a cobalt afternoon sky. Fifty shades of green skitter across the garish lips of that stretched canvas. But wait. The ground must dry first. Yes, wait, and so must you.

The subject is worthy of the wait. I promise.

While we are waiting, how about taking in a coastal mountain view?

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Or maybe you would prefer to sit with a charismatic tree out on the point?

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Will this do while we wait?

What do you do while waiting for the symbolic paint in your life to dry?

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Practice is a Painter’s Preparedness

Practice risk taking, practice discipline, practice different methods, practice boredom, practice not practicing but practice – insists the imagined studio master. Leading lines, point of view, colour harmony, rule of thirds, breaking rules, painting from life, painting from memory, painting wet-in-wet, using a dry brush method, starting with grounds or underpaintings, studying moving of light, noticing the cool and warm shadows…… practice!

But for what does a painter practice?

“Now, the answer to that” says the imagined studio master with a wink “is good luck.”

Not just any kind of “good luck” but “good luck” as described by Deepak Chopra where “Good luck is nothing but preparedness and opportunity coming together.”

 If we accept for the moment, that this is a workable definition, then what is preparedness to the painter? Practice! If we are enhancing our skills daily, we are more likely to be prepared when an opportunity arises. We will be able to recognize the possibilities in an ordinary and yet unexpected, profound moment.

By way of example I am going to share a story I reread recently in The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori on page 153-154… Ryokan, a Zen master and poet, lived in a simple thatched hut. He was born around 1758 and ordained at the age of eighteen. Shortly after receiving dharma transmission, Ryokan’s teacher died. The poet went to live in a hermitage on Mount Kugami, where he spent his time sitting zazen, talking to visitors and writing poetry. Many stories of Ryokan’s simplicity and his love of children have come down to us, as well as of his indifference for worldly honor. In fact Ryokan called himself Daigo (Great Fool)….. One evening, when Ryokan returned to his hut, he surprised a thief who was naively trying to rob the hermit. There was nothing to steal in the hut. Yet Ryokan, feeling sorry for him, gave him his clothes, and the thief, shocked, ran away as fast as he could. Ryokan, shivering as he sat naked by the window, wrote the following haiku:

The burglar – neglected to take – the window’s moon.

In the next paragraph by Loori continues… To be simple means to make a choice about what’s important and to let go of all the rest. When we are able to do this, our vision expands, our heads clear, and we can better see the details of our lives in all their incredible wonder and beauty.

This kind of simplicity and daily practice are what I seek for this next intention or project of The Moon is No Longer There. I believe it requires that I make a few changes in order to gain the perspective and rigor that is necessary. The moon is just an anchor and symbol of this intention, an everyday reminder.

But we know this don’t we? One of our greatest pianists today, Mitsuko Uchida, was recently quoted in an interview by The Telegraph as saying “It is not enough to play the piano – it takes a lifetime to understand music.” As I listened to her release each note of Mozart’s Concerto No. 20 in D minor K.466, with such preciseness, passion and excellence, I hear the music for the first time – every time that I listen. Her rigorous practice is visceral. I am, in that moment of listening, the breath between the notes. This same quality of practice is required for painting our natural world as well. It is not enough to paint a tree or a mountain or the sea – it takes a lifetime to understand our ordinary, everyday natural environment and translate these sensory experiences onto a surface. Painting from life by itself is not enough – it takes a lifetime to understand our universe. I can only hope that I may paint someday in the same way as Uchida plays! It is in the preparing or the daily practice, that I may possibly find an opportunity which provides me with the tools to render the essence of the universe in say – a single tulip.

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Why am I so compelled by this project? I suppose it is an action that is driven by despair. I believe humanity has broken a sacred trust with nature. We are consciously destroying our natural world and ourselves in the process because of a pervasive character flaw – GREED. Our survival and the survival of our planet depend on our ability to understand and recognize our interconnectedness within the universe. We each have a responsibility to do whatever we can to address this situation. We are the only hope for one another and a large number of plants and animals. By our very breath, we depend on each other. Unfortunately, as an urban populous, we tend to be alienated from this simple fact. We can no longer see the moon and nor do wish to seek out its presence. For far too many of us, we have become intellectually and emotionally blind to nature and so the moon is no longer there.

This is why I must practice until I can bring you “the moon.” I must practice rendering our ordinary everyday with the best tools that I know how to use – my paints. I must practice until humanity collectively changes its ways. This is not work for a hero. It is work for the humble, the simple and possibly the fool. I find it comforting that I am not alone. This is work that is done with the companionship of many. It is collaborative work, as survival always is.

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Paul Cezanne, shortly before his death in 1906, asked himself “whether the short time given us would be better used to understand the whole of the universe or to assimilate what is within our reach.” He goes on to say “I have to work all the time. I must strive for perfection, only for the satisfaction of becoming truer and wiser.” (The Life and Art of Paul Cezanne, May 5, 2014, Film, PBBS)

I find Cezanne to be an excellent companion to take with me on my travels.

The small slice of the moon or my practice that I bring you this week is…

Tulips in the Studio 18 x 14 inch oil on canvas

This is an alla prima work completed in the quiet warmth of a January afternoon in the loft studio. When I saw these beauties at the grocery store, I knew I would bring a few home as a reminder of our pending spring. Even on Mayne Island, there are no tulips this time of year. These flowers have been imported from some unknown location. Our natural world has traveled far to reach me this week and undoubtedly precious fossil fuels were burned in the process. So with this acknowledgement, and some guilt, I am determined that the sacrifice is not wasted. The elegant vase is on loan from a good friend. These kinds of colourful winter still life painting days warm my heart and keep my spirit light.

 

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What practice is your preparedness?

As always, I would deeply love to hear from you and feel free to include links to your work. If this is your first time commenting on the blog, be patient, I will need to approve your comment this one time only.

If nothing comes immediately to mind, one simply practice that will engage others is in this project is to thoughtfully share this post and my work. By thoughtful, I mean introducing the post with a sentence or a paragraph of your own considerations and then invite others into conversation with you by hosting a question or an idea related to the post. Because together, we can do this hard thing – because we must! Our natural world, which includes humanity, is worthy of our efforts and is depending on us. In this I am hopeful!

And welcome to all the new Creative Potager blog followers! Thank you for joining me in my inward travels.

 

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

 

The Moon is No Longer There – notice of extended travel

Dear friends, colleagues, fans, collectors, followers and random connections, starting immediately, I shall be on an extended leave to travel. My purpose is to bring you “the moon” in a way you will remember and notice for all time.

Mayne Island Blue Moon rise July 31 2015 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 170

In order to do this, I must live my best life. I am required to travel deeper and even more focused than ever before. My intention is clarified. My inner compass is set. My resources and research materials are organized. I am about to begin my journey to capture something unforgettable, rare and valuable – our ordinary, everyday, natural world.  The new series of work “The Moon Is No Longer There” may take a year or a life time. Only one thing is absolutely clear – my spiritual, emotional and physical bags are packed. I am ready.

Christmas Day Full Moonrise 2015 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas

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To my 780 friends and family and the 190 followers of my personal profile and the 1,360 likes of my Art of Terrill Welch Page on Facebook, you are important, generous and supportive individuals. You have been significant and instrumental in getting 90 or so of my paintings out in the world since 2010. As I begin traveling this quiet and sacred inward journey, I shall keep you in touch by sharing links to weekly posts on my Creative Potager blog  HERE.

To the over 100,000 followers of my West Coast Landscape collection and the more than 47,000 followers of my Artist in the Art Studio collection on Google Plus, once a week postings will continue. Or, you may want to join the over 5,000 direct and indirect followers of my Creative Potager blog  HERE.

To my 4,100 tweet friends on Twitter, my experience tells me that you will most likely miss my weekly tweets completely. If you are truly deeply connected to my paintings and photographs, I suggest subscribing directly to my Creative Potager blog  HERE.

For all other social platforms such as Instigram or Ello, please be advised via this shared post that I shall only infrequently send a signal in a new post to let you know I am alive and well. You are great. You are even awesome and this is not about you. It is all about me. If you are still reading this, I am sure you have figured out what to do if you desire to come traveling with me. Yep! Follow my Creative Potager blog HERE.

For those that only wish to be notified when new paintings are released, the best option is to follow my website posts on TerrillWelchArtist.com  HERE. If you are looking for something in particular or want to see if you have missed a recent painting release just go to the Galleries page on this website and head on over to my Artwork Archives online gallery  HERE. This online gallery will always have the most current released work and let you know what is sold.

So, that is it my lovely fellow human beings. Having captured a spray of tulips in the studio this morning, I am sending them along with compassion, love and humility! I am traveling light, with conviction, trust, integrity and a small measure of reckless abandon!

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If, for any reason, you do need to contact me, email, painting inquires in the online gallery, private messaging or telephone calls and text messages will still be monitored and answered along with comments on posts.

I wish you all the best in living your very own best life!

Terrill

p.s. I understand that this is going to be different and a little strange for both of us. And it will be fine, it may even be great.

p.s.s. The Beauty of Oil Paints class and its private Facebook group are not impacted by my travel schedule.

What arrangements are you making to live your best life?

© 2017 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

Happy New Year with the best 7 paintings of 2016

Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch

In 2016, there are 24 oil paintings and 32 acrylic painting sketches for a total of 56 completed works by the Canadian artist Terrill Welch. Many of these oil paintings are larger canvases and cover specific geographical areas of both the west and east coast of Canada. Most of the painting sketches were completed during a spring seven-week art trip to Prince Edward Island and remain unavailable in the artist’s private studio collection. In total, 30 paintings or painting sketches were released in 2016 and overall 15 works from the available pieces left Terrill’s studio into private collection.

The selection for the best paintings of 2016 is limited to an arbitrary number of seven works because choosing 16 for 2016 out of a total of 56 works just didn’t seem to create enough of a meaningful selection process. So here it goes, in no particular, order, the artist’s choice of…

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How a rainy day by the sea painting saved a west coast Christmas morning

This is a true modern-day story about how a “Rainy Day by the Sea” painting saved a west coast Christmas morning…

The shopping mall was stuffed with shiny objects, seasonal jingles and the grimaces of determined shoppers during the last weekend before the holidays. A woman stood stoically in the middle of the good cheer with her children draped casually against her side. There was one present left to get for her person, the love of her life, and the father of her children. Disappointed, she concluded that nothing in these many shops of splendour really seemed worthy of this occasion. What was she going to do?

Meanwhile, on a small southern Gulf Island, there was an artist noticing the evening settling in around her. The quiet valley was expecting another rare snowfall overnight. Despite the weather warning, she was cosy and content in their strawbale timberframe home. There were still a few presents to wrap but, the parcels that needed to be mailed had been sent. The new range had arrived that morning in time to make the seasonal shortbread. Life was peaceful and good.

The island artist has a studio home with oil paintings and acrylic painting sketches that lean two and sometimes three deep against banisters, walls and even windows. She has a great online gallery and social media presence but limited and sporadic bricks and mortar storefront exposure. Hence, holiday seasons are usually quiet for the artist. Besides, original oil paintings are often too personal and too expensive to be purchased as Christmas gifts. This is usually her reflective time, family and friends time and planning for the next year time.

However, upstairs in the studio loft was a petite oil painting, a small gem that measured a wee size of 5 x 7 inches. It was a tiny study for a larger painting from a few years earlier and had lost its place on the studio walls to later works. Now the small painting sat rather forlorn in the loft window seat. Even the resent dramatic southern west coast snow seemed to conspire against the quiet colours of a “Rainy Day by the Sea.” What was the tiny work going to do?

Just then, with all the brilliant zazzle, shouting gizmos and screaming gadgets swirling around her, the woman in the mall became calm and centred. She had an idea. Pulling out her phone, right there in the bulging shelves of opportunity, she sent a private Facebook message to an artist she knew and whose work she admired on Mayne Island.

“Hi Terrill! Hope you are well on this crisp day. I just had a last-minute brain wave of buying X a painting of yours for Christmas. However, my budget is small… $xxx. I realize this might not be possible, but thought I’d ask anyway. I think your daughter mentioned you are coming here for Christmas, so perhaps transport could happen that way. Anyway, I have other ideas if it isn’t possible, but wanted to see what you thought. I am standing here in a mall feeling depressed at my surrounding options! Let me know your thoughts and I hope I haven’t insulted you with my budget!”

The artist assured the woman that she wasn’t insulted by the budget size at all. She thought for a moment and was sure she could help. She prepared her response and gathered the specific links to a couple of tiny paintings listed in her online gallery and sent them off.

The return message from the woman with her children in the shopping mall was prompt.

“Okay! The kids and I agreed on Rainy Day By The Sea!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!”

“Shall I pay with an e-transfer? Or what do you prefer?”

The artist confirmed that an e-transfer was great and that gift wrapping and delivery on Christmas Eve day were also included in the price. She then went up to the studio loft window seat, where the small painting now sat in the winter darkness. Carefully, the painter lifted the painting up, selected an appropriated box, and carried both downstairs to the table with the wrapping paper. She thought she could see the little painting smile. It was wearing a badge of local, original, handmade significance. It was the “Rainy Day by the Sea” painting that would save a west coast Christmas morning for a true love, a best friend and a cherished father. The petite painting’s last wish was that the artist would choose the brightest wrapping paper so that the small box wouldn’t be missed on Christmas morning. The artist was sure this final wish could be granted.

And this is the true modern-day story about how a “Rainy Day by the Sea” painting saved a west coast Christmas morning.

SOLD! Rainy Day by the Sea, 5 X 7 inch oil on canvas.

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View other paintings and painting sketches currently available at: https://www.artworkarchive.com/artwork/terrill-welch

 

Do you have a modern-day Christmas story to share?

 

© 2016 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

The Process of Painting Centuries of Seasons

What follows is the process of painting “Centuries of Seasons” inspired by the Currie heritage road on Prince Edward Island.

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On this day, November 11, 2016, the painting “Centuries of Seasons Heritage Road PEI” 24 x 30 inch walnut oil on wood comes to rest, overturning most of the grey disillusionment of the past few days with the curious unexpected results of the United States election and the more anticipated death of Leonard Cohen at the age of 82 years. It is also a day of remembrance for all of those who have fought for our freedom. And finally, it is my grandson’s fourth birthday. This hodgepodge of events, experiences and emotions are most fitting to brushes, paints and a painting surface.

Today, I am drawn to the words of Canadian painter Ozias Leduc (October 8, 1864 – June 16, 1955) who lived to be 90 and was born and living much of his life in Saint-Hilaire Quebec. During his career he decorated more than 30 churches and chapels in Québec, Nova Scotia and the eastern US. The last major project he accepted at the age of 76 was a request to providing the mural paintings for the Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation, Shawinigan-Sud. The work was completed between 1943-55. Besides his religious commissions for churches, he rendered many easel paintings including portraiture, still life, and landscape paintings. The latter paintings were mainly from his intense study of the landscape that were then painted from memory and imagination in his studio home.

“Art teaches, informs. It uncovers the soul. No doubt it also has the power to sort the chaos of the unconscious into an orderly cosmos. It leads from disorder, suffering and unbalance to stability, harmony and joy.”

(Ozias Leduc, in a letter to Paul-Émile Borduas, 1943)

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“The sole mission of the artist is to express beauty. Beauty without servitude. Beauty as unconstrained as space and time.”

“If the earth were strictly utilitarian it would not be so dear to us. Our eyes seize all of its dazzling sights.”

(Ozias Leduc, sometime in the late 1920s, from the “Ozias Leduc Documentary Canadian Painter” directed by Michel Brault, 1996)

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Leduc was not influenced by contemporary Canadian artistic currents and trends, and he held only one important exposition, which was at the St-Sulpice Library in 1916. By helping to promote the career of Paul-Émile BORDUAS, he became quite popular late in his career. He also left many texts, poems and short reflections on art. His feelings about modern painting are expressed in the mystical thought that man lives searching for the paradise he hopes to regain through a knowledge of nature and the beauty of art.

(Canadian Encyclopedia.ca)

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“I do not have a style of my own and do not choose to have one. Every time I paint I am seeking something.”

(“Ozias Leduc Documentary Canadian Painter” directed by Michel Brault, 1996)

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This painting has been completed during these events and with these guiding words from a Canadian painter from before I was born. It might be said to have begun on a drive down the Currie Heritage Road on Prince Edward Island this past May.

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It might be said that I only trust my brushes today and not my own words and convictions. This is true though not uncommon I would think to seek the experience of wise counsel when processing ones own experiences.

It might be said to have begun with the first trees I ever painted. This likely equally true because to know a tree well enough to paint is to spend years in its company.

It might be said that the centuries of seasons in this painting have no beginning and no ending. This too is true as we can observe that the road has worn away from years of passage over its red dirt surface.

But the work has come to rest and this is a record of the process of its completion.

Centuries of Seasons Heritage Road PEI 24 x 30 inch on wood “resting” by Terrill Welch

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The painting will be released once it is truly considered completed, has dried and a final photograph taken.

Now my brushes shall be cleaned and the painting shall rest. Good day to you!

 

What wise counsel is guiding your day today?

 

© 2016 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com