SALISH SEA 4 original oil painting by Terrill Welch

I am introducing the painting process of SALISH SEA 4 with a quote from Elizabeth Rosner’s book Blue Nude published in 2006:

It was what he admired about Bonnard, or at least what he loved about the famous stories in which Bonnard was applying paint to works already hanging in other people’s houses. Something about never letting go, always feeling there was one more stroke to be added, one more note of the Unfinished Symphony. As if even death wouldn’t be the ultimate form of completion but just another stop along the way.

(p. 58)

The underpainting that is the foundation of this 24 X 48 inch canvas was included in Monday’s post “The Breath of Stones.” There are 10 images in today’s post capturing the beginning to end… if there is one… of creating SALISH SEA 4. I will make an effort to be brief but there seems to be much to say.

They are a little hard to see but the top right paints are French Ultramarine blue and Viridian. These two colours will play prominently in the development of today’s painting. I sometimes use my own photographs for painting reference but I am not known to “paint” a photograph. I often take several reference images for paintings — similar to how artists used to sketch and then use these as reference for developing a painting when they got back to the studio. Though sometimes a painting may be close to the reference image, the photographs are meant to influence and guide but to not to be copied. Otherwise, I might as well keep the photograph and print it on canvas …. and sometimes I do just that!

Are you ready? She’s a bit bright but here we go …

A gray beginning and it doesn’t look like much yet.

I am using mostly a 2 inch brush here. My aim is to keep the painting loose and flowing. The small palette knife you see there is just being used for mixing. Now to add a little teal blue.

Working for a long while and equally using a #10 brush, along with my 2 inch brush,  I get basic elements of the painting in place.

A part of me wanted to pause right here and not go any further. But after a break I decided to keep working.

Picking up the large 2 inch brush again I whisk paint onto the canvas in big strokes. The sea is rolling in and I am riding each wave. If you remember my challenge was to bring the viewer into the painting from the top left and move their eye forward and down to the bottom right. See at the end if you think I have succeeded.

I have started working with three different large palette knives to build up selected texture. Then I add some highlights but the painting is saturated. There is a glare from bright sunlight and my body and being are tired.

It is time to stop – for now.

Over the next two days I spend a few hours adding a stroke here and there. I brighten up areas that have become muted from painting wet on wet. Mostly, I observe, feel, breathe and let it be.

Then on Thursday morning I started in early painting and had it finished in a couple of hours.

Well, almost… I think!

SALISH SEA 4, a 24 X 48 inch cotton canvas original oil painting by Terrill Welch. This painting will be shown as part of solo summer exhibition opening at the end of June. If you are interested in purchasing in advance of the show please contact me directly via email at tawelch AT shaw DOT ca .

This is one painting dear readers, that I suspect more than one of you will be completely enamored with an earlier version. But that is how it goes when you are privy to the creative process of a painter.

I dedicate this painting to French Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) who also favoured using violet in some of his painting.

SALISH SEA 4 is definitely another stop along my way.

Sprout question: How is your creativity just another stop along the way?

Happy April fools day and best of the weekend to you!

News Flash: Introducing Terrill Welch’s Online Gallery at (okay it is a small flash… there is still a lot of inventory to enter but it would be great to hear what you think)

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

14 thoughts on “SALISH SEA 4 original oil painting by Terrill Welch

  1. The sky is delicate yet compelling. Love it! Another title that comes to mind when I study this painting, Terrill, is Sea Rock. Not sure why. Something about the contrast of liquid and solid maybe. But both carry “weight” and “energy” … so also much alike. Manifestations of Earth. (Now there’s a poem I should try to write one day.) Reading a great book about creative immersion by Anne Paris. Came out in ’08 so you may have already read it. “Standing at Water’s Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion” The author would love your painting, I have a feeling! Best weekend wishes!

    • “Sea Rock” sounds like a perfect title for this painting Daisy. I couldn’t think of one that is why it is named as it is. I hadn’t heard of STANDING AT WATER’S EDGE by Anne Paris. I have made it a live link in my comment because I think it is a book other readers may also be interested in. Thank you Daisy 🙂

      • As I ponder this, I’d say you nailed your goal …

        my challenge was to bring the viewer into the painting from the top left and move their eye forward and down to the bottom right …

        since Sea Rock came to mind! Great idea re the book link.

        • Thanks Daisy for taking the time to give my most challenging aspect of this painting a good think and coming back to respond. Most appreciated. Personally I need a break from looking at it to objectively (with a subjective bias of course) assess.

  2. Terrill, I love this painting. The light and the colors. It takes my breath away and like so much of your beautiful work, stirs my west coast/Island soul.

    • Thank you Colleen. We don’t get that turquoise blue here very often. The same day I took these reference photos I also got a photo I call “flight of the rainbow.” There were high winds out in the straight and a huge storm going through – always seems to promote some dramatic scenes.

    • I have told you Leanne how a knitter I knew read that if you wanted to choose colours for a multi-colour sweater to choose them from a painting you love because the artist will have already done the hard part of choosing what works together. Maybe if you knit a sweater inspired from this painting we can photo op and share it with our collective group of readers?

  3. Terrill – I love how you introduced us to this piece with the photograph framed by squiggles of paint, and then gently move us to, “Mostly I observe, feel, breathe, and let it be.” And then bring the series in for a safe landing with, “…but that is how it goes when you are privy to the creative process of a painter.”

    Sprout question: How is your creativity just another stop along the way?

    I read this blog when you first posted this morning and have taken the day to think about it because I was stumped. Really stumped!

    think, Think, THINK

    I discovered that I was stumped because that’s not how it is for me. I realized that I AM creativity. It’s a constant (even when I’m not actively creating). There are no stops along the way.

    A wonderful discovery, to be sure–and all because you asked a wonderful, thought-filled question. Thank you!

    • Well I don’t believe it Laurie! I manage to stump you for an answer for the better part of a day? 🙂 Yahhhoooo! It is good to know this about one’s self – that fluidity of creativity. You must be more like Bonnard – still adding a word or five in the margin of someone’s copy of your book they are reading. Does this sound familiar? I have been known to do this on occasion. I remember once handing a copy of something to David to edit … then I read over his shoulder making corrections before he could even get started. Needless to say he growled gently and chased me out of the room until he was finished.

      Now you have me puzzling over how I might be more than my creativity – the creative flow being one aspect of who I am. Though a constant companion, creativity does rest and build momentum and rest again — but not for long… maybe for a few hours or a few days if I am really sick and running a fever. I am almost always imagining or creating something. But how might be we more than an expression of our creativity? Hum…

      • Terrill – I’m enjoying a cuppa tea while pondering over your last thought, “…how might we be more than an expression of our creativity?”

        think, Think, THINKing

        Do you suppose that because we’re each a unique reflection of source energy that we just might be nothing more than, and nothing less than, but everything?

  4. Another work in progress post that simply defies words. The last few paintings nearing the completed works are stunning, but it’s great top see how you shape, alter and accentuate the work enroute. You simply must remain in a constant state of creative impulses, but this is made much easier with this kind of talent to tap into.

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