Creative Community

As I mentioned on Monday, I have been reading about Camille Pissarro and admiring his work and that of other impressionist painters that were part of his community. There was Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Cezanne to name a few. The influence of these fellow artists in Pissarro’s work is sometimes mentioned when author Linda Doeser discusses a particular painting.

Ah, to have been part of these passionate (and at the time unacceptable notions) about rendering the quality of light by exploring the spontaneity and immediacy of lively colour and rapid brush strokes with no hint of drama or sentimentality.

“spring salad” photograph rendered coarsely in oils – view full resolution and purchase here.

Then I thought about Creative Potager and those of you who regularly through your comments and my connections to your own sites are part of my creative community. To name just a few…

The use of line and creating greater connection between drawing and painting. Jerry Shawback http://www.thewhole9.com/jerryshawback

Always giving our best and writing from a place of showing rather than telling. Laurie Buchanan. http://holessence.wordpress.com

Bringing the flow of her everyday into focus for the rest of us. Kathy Drue http://upwoods.wordpress.com

Sharing the exquisite world of film as a creative medium of expression. Sam Juliano http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com

Discusses the practicalities of promoting and selling art work. Itaya http://itaya.blogspot.com

Shares her studio process and her success while celebrating and acknowledging yours. Martha Marshall http://artistsjournal.wordpress.com

Sprout Question: With whom are you presently discussing your creative ideas?

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

When the universe says YES

First, I say “good morning” to the painting I worked on yesterday.

11X14 inch water miscible oil painting in progress

Then taking my coffee, I slip on my garden clogs and meander towards the gate. Robins chatter and other morning birds sing in the new growth on the maple tree.

I closed my leadership coaching practice at the end of December in 2009. Or at least I thought I had. I made an announcement. I took the website down. It was after that I noticed something odd begin to happen.

Clients began calling and emailing asking “you will still see me, won’t you?” I said, “maybe in the future – can I give you a referral?” No they said. They will wait until I am available. I explained that I may not be available – at least not for a long time. But they were prepared to wait and see.

Then I was interviewed for a coaching article by Noomii.

People contacted me in a panic because my website was down and they were looking for my book, my by-donation approach to service design and so on. So I put Terrill Welch – A Woman behind Women back up.

Then there was the interview last week by Midwife for Your Life. Of course, there is also the book reading for Leading Raspberry Jam Visions: Women’s Way April 24th. What is a woman to do?

So feeling a little like a carpet salesman who is always going out of business… I turn the handle to the studio.

I switch on the lamps and smile.

The universe is saying “yes” even though I was saying “no.”  I hope we can agree on a both/and – doing both creative work and a little of my unique by-donation triple bottom-line coaching… say maybe just for a part of a day on Tuesdays. I do so much love the work – all of it.

Sprout Question: What do you do when the universe says yes?

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Essence of Things

“You should paint the essence of things” Pissarro instructs a younger artist.

“Where we are separate” quick water-colour painting sketch by Terrill Welch

Last evening I was having a love affair with the work of  Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). I have often had comments on my work about its impressionist style. However, having not formally studied art, or the history of art, my self-taught-ways left me replying “I don’t know much about the principles of impressionism. I just like to capture the light and the essence of my subject. The energy in a work should be alive and vibrant even if it means sacrificing correctness.”  Last night when I read The Life and Works of C. Pissarro by Linda Doeser (1994) I understood why people smiled knowingly at my comment and said no more.

“sitting” quick water-colour painting sketch by Terrill Welch

Exactness is not the same as expressing the exact emotion in your work.

Sprout Question: Is there a particular method you use to capture the essence of things?

Note: Due to Easter Creative Potager will post Monday to Thursday this week and Tuesday to Friday next week.

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Question of Who

The sea snatches at sandstone mounds as gulls plead their case with the winds – which am I, sea, sandstone, gull or wind?

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Early morning – Flexible and Flowing… one of 64 cards drawn for today.

I can say more but this feels just right.

Sprout Question: Does the question of who come up in your creativity?

Have a wonderful weekend.

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Practice of a little each day


I express my creativity in various forms. The main three expressions are photography, painting and writing. Monday through Friday I provide a blog post on Creative Potager with a sprout question designed to help us take our creativity further.  I have been noticing a thread or theme coming up in both my life and in our sprout responses. The thread is like a strawberry plant sending runners out in all direction seeking fertile soil. Since I like strawberries and I like sprout responses on Creative Potager, I thought I would provide some rich ground to expand on what I call “the practice of a little each day.”

This practice has been part of my life for a very long time and harkens back to the work of  William Glasser, and choice theory and reality therapy (which I took both the basic and intensive training in the 1980’s). Today this work also seems to have sprouted up as part of coaching and brief therapy but its roots are also identifiable yoga, mediation and other eastern practices. Now that, for recognition and reference, I have identified my personal lineage to the practice let’s get on with fertilizing these Creative Potager creative runners with “the practice of a little each day.”

View and purchase full resolution image here.

What is “the practice of a little each day?”

1. Each morning listen deeply to what your creative need is for that day (different from your wants or desires needs are like the basic needs of the air and water for our creativity to survive).

2. Make a commitment and a concrete specific plan to action you are going to take to fulfill that need just little before the end of the day. No excuses, no judging. Gently and firmly ask yourself these questions “Is what I am committing doable? Is what I am doing now working for me? If yes, how can I keep doing it? If no, what will work better?”

The key to this practice is clarity about your long-term creative intention and doing “a little each day” which is something I call a living vision. In this case, a living vision for expressing your creativity.

View and purchase full resolution image here.

The practice is simple in design and takes a life time to appreciate – it is a practice. We can start again each day – or even each hour if need be. Please take from it what works for you and let go of the rest.

Sprout Question: How does “the practice of a little each day” inform your creativity?

Note: Today includes some of my more meditative images that support my own deep listening. The first one is currently the background on my laptop.

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Painterly Challenge

I have been doing underpainting on two canvases. I like to paint on site but that is not always possible so I gather photographic reminders. I rarely sketch or draw on my canvas except to capture rudimentary placement of forms. I do however routinely start with an underpainting which gives me the beginnings of depth and positioning for the development of the painting. Underpaintings are kind of like looking at an ultrasound of a baby in the womb when you don’t know the parents… not very interesting. So if you find this post rather boring – I won’t be offended. Come back tomorrow. It will be something different.

You may wonder how I choose what to paint (besides the obvious of a theme for solo Exhibition Sea, Land and Time at the beginning of September). Long ago I decided that rarely would I paint something that I felt I had fully captured with photography. My painting in is an intuitive relationship with my subject. I want to give to the painting something beyond what is in the seeing. In addition to a compelling subject, I also decide what to paint by choosing a painterly challenge – something I want to explore or a skill I want to strengthen.

For “Sea” my challenge is to be able to create depth in the water while capturing the waves on the surface… I want the viewer to be able to look at the painting and feel as if the water is still moving, wave after wave. Starting with an almost blank canvas, I begin.

Stopping as the underpainting becomes too saturated to allow new colours and shapes to emerge without erasing earlier ones.

With paint still palette, I decide to begin a second underpainting for “rocks and mussels” to address the challenge of giving bulk to something that is dark on the top and light on the middle and bottom… the mussels are added in to keep me amused and give me a break when the rocks become tiresome and frustrating.

I am reminded of a passage in Emily Carr’s painting journal on July 27, 1933 where she writes:

“Oh, these mountains! They won’t bulk up. They are thin and papery. They won’t brood like great sitting hens, squatting immovable, unperturbed, staring, guarding their precious secrets till something happens. At ‘em again, old girl, they’re worth the big struggle.”

My rocks are only little sitting hens – but getting them to “sit” is still my end goal. We shall see over the weeks ahead what we can do with them.

Sprout Question: What specific creative challenges are you setting for yourself right now?

Bonus: An interview with me posted today by Stacey Curnow at Midwife For Your Life Blog “Walking in the Sunshine of My Soul: Special Shoes Not Required.” http://www.staceycurnow.com/blog/2010/03/walking-in-the-sunshine-of-my-soul-special-shoes-not-required

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Soft Caress of Patterns

Do you ever just look at a pattern and know that it is telling you something? This happens to me often. When I’m painting or framing up an image I usually keep the pattern within its context so that it is recognizable and also “discovered” as part of the whole. But sometimes, just for me, I indulge in a mental soft caress of the pattern by itself. You know? – those patterns that your fingers run themselves over before you hands realize what they are doing….

Washboard glass in the historic Bedford Regency hotel bathroom window in Victoria.

Sediment stone washed by the sea on Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island.

Ancient stone work in Machu Picchu, Peru.

Winter clouds in Georgia Straight.

A monster size batch of cookies.

Okay, I guess you didn’t need the context of my kitchen counter to appreciate this batch of cookies but I bet you found your fingers reaching for them.

Sprout Question: Are there patterns or surfaces that attract your creative attention?

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Photographic tribute to oldest Chinatown in Canada

Fan Tan Alley, Victoria, British Columbia

View and purchase full resolution image here.

According to the research of professor David Chuenyan Lai, Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and the only one in North America to retain its 19th-century townscape. It is the second oldest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco’s.

Retaining the townscape hasn’t been easy. As some parts are being repaired.

(These men are throwing, and catching, balls of cement to repair the top-side of this entry way.)

Other parts are awaiting new construction.

And still others are under construction.

The morning delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables…

has been happening for as long as the history in these roof lines.

The Gate of Harmonious Interest constructed at Fisgard and Government in 1981 seems most appropriate.

View and purchase full resolution image here.

The discovery of gold in the Fraser Canyon in 1858 plus famine, drought and war in their homeland led Chinese citizens to immigrate across the Pacific Ocean to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Chinatown grew steadily over the years until its peak in 1911 (3,158 people), at which time it occupied an area of about six city blocks in the north end of downtown Victoria.

Sprout Question: Is there an urban street that inspires your imagination and creativity?

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

30 times Same, Same


View Karl Isakson’s 1918 painting “Nature morte” as part of Wikimedia Commons.

I posted the process I used to paint my first oil painting in 30 years yesterday. “East Point Cliffs” is a rugged painting and rough around the edges, however, it is done. I need to begin again as I trust that not all learning is accomplished on one canvas. Yet, I couldn’t even consider painting the exact same image again, and then again. It is just not in my nature. It is an esteemed practice though. I have on my bookshelf from many years ago Complete Course in Oil Painting: Combined Edition – Four Volumes in One (1960) by Olle Nordmark. On page 123 he states the following:

“Beginners are inclined to think that experienced painters get their effects easily, without travail. This is not so. Great masters are great because they are willing to take infinite pains and do the work over again an indefinite number of times at any stage of the painting. Willingness to erase, or to start all over again on a clean painting surface is essential to good painting, whether you are a beginner or an artist of established reputation.”

Nordmark provides an example of Swedish painter Karl Isakson (1878-1922) known for his exact precision of tone. Isakson often discarded as many as 30 paintings of one subject before he was willing to show anyone his canvas. Thirty times. Thirty times painting the same subject again and again until the artist felt he had mastered his subject. As someone who loves colour, the results take my breath away. The pieces are timeless.

View Karl Isakson’s  1919 Udsigt över Svaneke at ArtNet.

I have provided two examples. To see some of Isakson’s other work explore this Google image search here. I even noticed more than one painting that has survive of the same subject.

So… I am publicly making a commitment to paint 30 paintings by the end of 2010 on the theme of Sea, Land and Time. I will, as much as my vulnerability will allow, let you look over my shoulder as I do so.

Sprout Question: Whose creative work before 1940 do you admire and what have you learned from them?

Note: If you, as some of you I know do, have a practice of creating from the same subject many times please feel free to provide a link to your work and tell us what you have learned in the process.

Best of the weekend to you:) Terrill

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Oil Painting East Point Cliffs

On February 26, 2010, I began putting a melon orange underpainting on an 18”X24” gallery quality 100% 2” thick canvas. Oh the spring the canvas, the smell of linseed – so familiar from more than 30 years ago. Yes it has been more than 30 years since I have painted with oils. And these are Grumbacher water miscible oils something completely new. The instruction I was given when I purchased them was – “just paint!”

I have been painting with water colour paints since I was twenty so I just smiled and thought “we shall see.”

A muddy lump of colour is the end result on February 28, 2010 but it felt good – and I needed new brushes. The ones from 30 years ago are toast. So I picked up new ones when we next went to the city. Much better.

March 1, 2010 the painting is starting to take shape and I am lost in sea, land and time.

Over the next couple of weeks I sit and paint several times until the painting starts to tighten up and become the most unruly “problem child.” Where was the painting I had originally given birth too?

I stayed with it – painting and feeling and painting some more. I may fuss a bit with presentation but I think this cooked.

View and purchase full resolution image here.


Sprout Question: What do you do when you have a creative “problem child?”

© 2010 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.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada