The Distance Between


The distance between summer and winter is the glorious colours of fall. The leaves on Mayne Island make for very subdued frocks compared to other parts of the world. Still we are not left out.

The maple trees are the biggest and brightest dancing and spinning before the winds and rains undress them.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased my redbubble calendars this week. You know who you are and I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did creating them. For those that are still interested, take your time, there is no rush yet. It is still a couple of weeks before redbubble sends me a notice to say they can’t be sure that a delivery will get to its destination before Christmas.

Speaking of redbubble, they just had a major re-design. Here is a link with a thumbnail of my All-Time-Popular images shown together http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch/portfolio/art . Very cool.

 

Sprout question: What creative seed are you planting so it will sprout for spring?

 

Best of the weekend to you!

 

© 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

 

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The Duck That Came Wagging Its Tail

Yesterday we went for our usual afternoon walk and were greeted by an unexpected new friend.

The duck came talking and wagging its tail up to the property fence to say hello. I am sure one of the regular passersby must have offerings in their pocket. I was sorry we didn’t. What a delight. The duck had the softest voice and the most pleasant desire to have a good tongue wag – or rather tail wag…. bringing new meaning to the jingle “it’s not the size of the tail that matters but how you wag it.”

Of course we stopped to visit for a bit.

 

Sprout question: What unexpected creative guest has come wagging its tail lately?

 

Psst! Sam let us know on yesterday’s post that he has purchased a calendar – says he doesn’t think he will write in his either. Laurie said she isn’t either. I suggested that the large images on the heavy card stock can likely be framed for years of enjoyment – or as Sam and Laurie suggest the calendar can be kept as a piece of art in itself. Such fun!

If you are still thinking about ordering a calendar, here is a quick link to all three http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch/shop/calendars

 

© 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

 

Sweeping

Winds come in off the water, bending and moving the tree’s branches. Even still, these branches are sweeping, catching wisp of songs on the lips of the Salish Sea.

View and purchase full resolution image here.

 

The composition of this image is unusual, bringing the eye in from the left to the silhouetted trunk and closer as it crosses the frame on the sweeping branch, dropping down on the rocks and out to sea, only to come back again onto the far hill of misty trees. The sight line is an angled backwards Z. Like a piece of complicated music, it requires time to gather in its intricacies. This type of image, like a sentence with several parts connected by commas, is often broken down into smaller bites so we can devour it more quickly. I resisted. I kept its complicated-sweeping-whole and place the image in the Mayne Island Tree Spirits calendar’s month of June. It is there for me as much as I placed it there for you.

 

Sprout question: What creative principle have you resisted recently?

 

© 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

 

Dentist Doctor and Birthdays


How many of you still use a hard copy calendar hung on a convenient wall to keep track of appointments, birthdays and holidays? Come on put your hand up. Way up so I can see it. Don’t be shy. Surely not everyone uses a blackberry, iphone, or the back of their wrist to keep track of things. Most people still have a big calendar with all sorts of notes written on it that they can easily reference with eyes blinking sleepily in the morning. Don’t they?

Actually, I have no real idea. I only know it is fun to take my new images for the year and make these lovely large calendars. Here are the three new calendars for 2011. Just click on each one and have a browse – much better than trying to remember to send a birthday card to Aunt Myrtle by the smudged ink on the back of your wrist…

Sea, Land and Time MAYNE ISLAND 2011

Mayne Island Tree Spirits 2011

And something a little different…  Kitchen Company 2011


If you would like one to arrive before the New Year or get one for a Christmas gift, now is the time to order.

Yes, I know. I am shamelessly marketing but if you don’t know what I have in the store, how can you decided if you want to buy it? At the very least, you will get to have another look at some of the best images posted this year on Creative Potager. Now that shouldn’t be too painful. Enjoy!

Sprout question: How are you going to keep track of important creative dates in 2011?

AND if you have a calendar with your own creative work for 2011 be sure to leave a link with your response to the question above. I love looking at these calendars and seeing all your favourite pieces for the year.

© 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

A moment with Frank Jordan



After his daughter found my book and letters he was keeping, I was notified today that a special friend, Frank Jordan, died last Sunday. He was 90 years old. He lived a full life! I will miss him. He has had such a powerful influence on me. It was so nice of his daughter to phone. She asked if she could keep his book and the letters I had authored. I said “yes” surprised that she asked but happy to reassure her that yes she should keep them.

Some people I connect with deeply, regardless of age or gender. Frank Jordan was one of those people. He loved life even with its tears but mostly he found its joy, love and wonder. Others might miss it – not him. I know he was at peace with his life because he told me so the last time we spoke on telephone in the early summer. I know he will meet his tomorrow with enthusiasm.

Here is a passage from my book Leading Raspberry Jam Visions: Women’s Way about the man of whom I speak….

[Frank Jordan] is a personal mentor I have been honoured to have in my life since childhood. For me his life represents a high measure of success. You will not find his poetry and wisdom in university libraries but you may find it published on the placemats in small restaurants in the region in which he lives. You will not find his wealth ranked amongst the top 25 families in Canada, nor will you even find him given recognition for his wealth within his own small community. His paid career work ranged from jobs such as driving a school bus to janitorial work. His volunteer work ranged from voluntary ambulance attendant to knitting blankets for the hospital auxiliary and the local transition house for women leaving abusive relationships. He does not own his own home or many other material goods.

Are you beginning to question why I feel this individual is successful?

Frank Jordan is successful because he knows how to love. He knows how to love unconditionally and expressively in every day and in every moment. He goes by many endearing nicknames that are used by his whole community, not just his immediate family. To be in conversation with this man is to know your own humble humanity and to walk away hugging yourself – and the whole world at the same time. He has a gift that is rare and valuable. His gift is complete appreciation for life and living. Most recently, we were engaged in conversation as I walked out with him to his car, and he told me how he used his ‘little helper’ (as he shook the cane used to steady his 83-year-old stride) on days like today – days where he was required to be on his feet for several hours. He told me how blessed he was, because he could still drive during daylight hours. As I stood with him, shivering beside his car, he continued to count his blessings and tell me important stories that he knew I needed to hear. I listened intently, appreciating his calm, confidence as he said “you know god loves me so much that I just can’t help myself! I have to spread it around!” His face is lit with the excitement of his conviction, and even from my rather non-committal stance, I would be hard-pressed to deny the existence of his god or his love.

Then with equal importance he continues to tell me how his wife, who is several years older, has not being doing so well. His face is transformed by the sadness of his thoughts. Then he gives his head a little shake and looks up at me before continuing: “most recently she had been having a particularly bad day, and was in tears trying to get dressed, because she was unable at that time to dress or undress herself.” At this point in his story, his eyes start to squint with pleasure: “well, I went over and gently helped her, as I laid out my own complaint – I said, ‘well woman, you know I love you dearly, and I do not mind helping you take your clothes off at night, but it seems rather cruel to ask me to help you put them back on in the morning!’” He described how her tears gave way to laughter as she called him “an old fool,” and blushed from his continued life-long pleasure in her.

His living is an immediate gift, and his stories of living are a continuing gift that offers up a picture of infinite success, in their telling and retelling. Yet, to acknowledge his success (since it fails to fit the acknowledged and typical definition we as a culture have allowed ourselves to accept), it must be carefully and explicitly stated and justified. He has touched and influenced countless lives in his daily practice of joy, recognition and love. I have unquestioning confidence in the huge worth of the rippling effect of his life’s work, in giving and receiving. The consequence of his influence in my life alone has allowed me to have hope in the darkest moments, to believe in my abilities, to forgive myself when I fall short of my expectations, and to have total fascination and delight in people and in living. He chose to accept and embrace the paid work available to him, and to excel in using these positions to fulfill his true mission in life, which was to minister to those he met in his everyday interactions.

My challenge for us is to question all measures attributed to success – not just those that are beyond the quick and easy definition provided by wealth and position. I ask that we embrace the multiplicity of success, and carefully explore and articulate what we believe is success in a particular situation, and also what consequences result from that success. For me, success is not about getting it right and sailing to the finish line of life. Success is about allowing your persistence to sail your vision through every day… while the breeze of your passion and potential charts your course. (pages 75-77)

I have no pictures of him… isn’t that strange? To have been friends since I was fourteen years old and no photographs? I have never felt I needed any – today is no exception. I can see Uncle Frank anytime I want, by sitting with my heart open, smiling at what the day has to offer.

Sprout question: How might you describe your creative success?

© 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

Mayne Island Tree Spirits

Mayne Island is a magical place and in the rolling fog off the water it is even more magnificent. The dryads, fairies, nymphs and tree spirits are just out of sight or maybe not? Let’s have a look.

The fog is thick and little can be seen along the shore trail.

The pine seems to bend back to let us past.

One branch reaching forward with pine needles harboring hope of something special… do you see anything?

Let’s head inland for a bit.

Light in coming through the mist.

A sense of missing.

Resting.

Reflections of trees caught in webs.

Watchful. Present.

Distant beauty.

Traveling into the mist.

Together.

Trees  growing together.

Tall wonder.

Many of these images are part of Mayne Island Tree Spirits 2011 calendar.

Shall we stay awhile, wondering back through the trees to the shore? Maybe the old crone will be out on the point with her camera. She is often here – squinting when the light is bright.

Have a great weekend!

Sprout question: Do you know of a place that is filled with tree spirits?

© 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

Gulf Islands in Fog

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Ferry whistles wake me this morning as they navigate through the thick fog. The haunting sound is like that of a moving a fog horn being answered by another a little further on.

When we were out for our walk yesterday, I took this image of rolling fog in Active Pass. This morning we are still above it here at la casa de inspiracion but it is creeping towards the valley next to Heck Hill as it moves in off the water. We are only about a third of the way up the cliff side or 81 really large steps on the stairway to heaven but it is enough to escape the fog – for now.

I hope to have more images for us tomorrow of the fog in the trees. It was amazing.

Sprout question: What is your favourite experience of fog?

 

© 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

 

Unusual Light

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Harbour Air is part of the Victoria B.C. morning view. In this image the sun has found a hole in the heavy cloud cover as the float plane taxis out, taking passengers into Vancouver. The lighting was very unusual. It has a surreal effect on our senses. We might ask: “Is it day or is it night?”

Often, an image captures our attention because it is ordinary but seen in unusual or different light. Take for example, photographer Jeff Stroud’s image “waiting II” and the uniqueness of this ordinary bench. Impressive!

Sprout question: When has unusual lighting caught your 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

Three Bandits Spotted

View and purchase full resolution image here.

These three bandits were spotted on the southwest side of Mayne Island on Sunday. It appears to be a mother and her two offspring but this has yet to been confirmed. Eye witnesses state that the three were relaxed and showed no signs of agitation. No looting was evident at the scene. Nothing much in particular seemed to be amiss as the three masked characters strolled away into the trees.

Sprout question: Are there any creative bandits in you midst?

© 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

Emily Carr my kindred spirit

It is morning on Wednesday October 13, 2010. We pack quickly to leave our Mayne Island home and stay overnight in Victoria. We are going to see a screening of a new documentary film Winds of Heaven: Emily Carr, Carvers and the Spirits of the Forest by Michael Ostroff. The write up about the film was one of the few items noteworthy in our withering Saturday addition of the Globe and Mail national paper –which recently went glossy and appears to have dumped the last of its journalistic content. Finding reference to my kindred spirit, Emily Carr, has however, saved one of its pages from the recycling box.

Emily Carr, a larger-than-life icon of Canadian west coast art was born in 1871 and died at age 74 in 1945. How dare I be brass enough to call her my kindred spirit? It is because of her ordinariness along with her greatness. She often speaks in humble frustration in her reflections about her paintings and writing.  There are only a few exceptions in diary entries when she allows herself a quiet moment of pride for her accomplishments. One glance at her paintings tells another story. She held nothing back in her paintings.

Carr’s powerful strokes and clarity of vision bring large cedars and western landscapes to their knees at the feet of her brush, only to release them again to push skyward across the breadth of her canvas. It is within my experience of this contradiction, and her visceral struggle with her art, that I call her my kindred spirit.

“If the work of an isolated little old woman on the edge of nowhere, is too modern for the Canadian National Gallery, it seems it cannot be a very progressive institution.” Emily Carr, On the Edge of Nowhere Gallery quote

When doubts and fears about my ability as an artist threaten to keep my brushes from the paint or my fingers from pressing the camera shutter down, I read the diary pages of Carr. I know if my tears leave stains on the pages she will understand and that we will both be out of bed again in the morning, giving it another go – together.

I now have a new reference point to breathe vitality into Carr’s life and work. It is Michael Ostroff’s documentary film Winds of Heaven. Michael spoke about the difficulty of finding a fresh approach within the many fingerprints that traipse across all primary source documents of Carr’s writing and the many eyes that have critically gazed at her sketches and paintings. Well, in my opinion, he has brought the spirit of Emily Carr alive with the same strong powerful impressions, skillfully tethered together, as Carr did in her paintings. The documentary is being screened across the country and will be released in March. I plan to add one of the DVD’s to my library shortly thereafter. I want it close by so it is within reach when doubts raise their sneering heads in the corners of my studio. Then I will then count my blessings.

“I think I have gone further this year, have lifted a little. I see things a little more as a whole, a little more complete. I am always watching for fear of getting feeble and passé in my work. I want to pour till the pail is empty, the last bit going out in a gush, not drops.” Emily Carr, On the Edge of Nowhere Gallery quote.

Carr had no digital camera and sketched quickly with oil on paper before working up her paintings back at the studio. I can both sketch and take a photograph for reference. Carr had no community of contemporary artists to muse with her through her blog, twitter and facebook. She had to write letters and send them by post to her friend Lawren Harris. He had to reply in the same manner. Something I would find too tedious for daily inspiration. In poetry she had Walt Whitman where I have both Whitman on Mary Oliver. She was isolated in her work as much as she was in her geography.

When, even now women represented in museums around the world is only about 5%, she would not likely have called herself a feminist or a ground breaker for women’s art. She would likely have said that she was an artist who just happened to be a woman. Indeed, if a showing a few years ago at the Vancouver Art Gallery of women artists who were her peers are any indication, she would be right. Her work left those of other women artists in a shadow of insignificance. To be fair, gender may not be the deciding factor of what art work is left in her shadow.

Next, I will give thanks for each diary entry, and each story in the 893 pages of her writings. Finally, I will bow my head in gratitude for the dedicated work of Ira Dilworth, Doris Shadbolt, and now Michael Ostroff for ensuring that I have these unique views and access to the life and work of Emily Carr.

After the screening, Michael Ostroff commented during the discussion, that he wanted to “put Carr in the context of her time.” He has done more than that. He has put British Columbia in the context of its time. He shared her struggle to create a vision as it took him five years to find the funding and complete this incredible film which includes our experience with rugged wilderness and history of unsettled land claims.

Through my life as an artist going right back to childhood, Carr has always been just out of sight, leaving me marks to follow as I forge my own artistic path. I feel Carr’s kindred spirit as I work – not in her brush stroke but in the strength and reverence for her west. I am not a scribe for what is before my eyes but rather that which is before my heart. My Emily understands this. I can tell you facts about her life – such as her breakdown while going to art school in Europe or the 15 fallow years when she lost her will and only painted seven works and stopped writing in her diary. I can tell you that her best work came after this time while she was in 50’s. I can tell you that she was loved but never married. I can tell you these things but it will be far more meaningful if you read her writings for yourself and if you browse the pages of Doris Shadbolt’s The Art of Emily Carr or if you go to The Greater Victoria Art Gallery and stand in front of her paintings and see the trees swaying as they reach skyward or if you watch Winds of Heaven by Michael Gostroff – a documentary that adds value and depth to all other experiences of a Canadian artist, a great artist, a woman artist, Emily Carr. May you also know the life and art of the Emily who sits beside me as I work.

References are linked within the post.

Sprout question: What great artist encourages you while you work?

And you might like this later post as well “Emily Carr Mystery-solved” https://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/emily-carr-mystery-solved

© 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