Story of the HENDERSON HILL Original Oil Painting

Have you every had that feeling where you know you have made a mess of something and there is nothing you can do but start over again? My painting of HENDERSON HILL has come out of such an experience.

The beginning started reasonably well. I had decided to do my underpainting in blues so I could paint on it wet.

The elements of the composition settled into place without much trouble.

I continued to paint, working happily away until…

It was a mess. I poked and dabbed and added and moved the paint around on the board. It did no good. The painting appeared to be resisting my best efforts. There was nothing left to do. I scraped.

But the idea for this painting still intrigued me. I waited. This past Saturday, ten days after my first attempt, I try again. It needs some finishing touches but I believe it will make a painting.

Yesterday, I finished it.

(prints available of this image here)

HENDERSON HILL 20 X 16 inch original water miscible impressionist oil painting on gessobord with 2 inch birch cradle by Terrill Welch.

This painting will be part of my upcoming solo exhibition “STUDY OF BLUE” opening June 30, 2011 at the Oceanwood Resort onMayneIsland. The painting is currently priced at $900 Canadian. Please contact me directly at tawelch AT shaw DOT ca if you would like to hang this lovely on your wall.

Sprout question: When was the last time you walked away from a creative mess?

UPDATE May 15, 2011:

Every once in awhile a special connection is made between a painting and another creative being. In this case it is with poet and more, Bat-Ami Gordin

Henderson Hill

On Henderson Hill any time of the year
  the branches arabesque in the breeze.
Birds boldly appear, on the tips of twigs
  that smear into clouds from the trees.
As a doe grazes calmly with her twins,
  the heavens and sky, seem to  freeze.
Prepare your mind to paint serenity;
  equanimity pacifies enduring unease.

© 2011 Bat-Ami Gordin, All rights reserved.

Posted with permission. You may have notice her poem posted in the comments below but I decided it needed to also be places up here next to the painting. Thank you so much Bat-Ami Gordin! It is an honour to connect in such a collaborative way.

This week is jammed! There is voting on Monday and going to pick up the truck. Dentist appointments on Tuesday and a full day of meetings and commitments on Wednesday. I shall be able to get back into the studio on Thursday IF I am lucky. Who knows what I will have to share on Friday. We shall just have to wait and see. Have a wonderful week everyone.

© 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.

FromMayne Island,British Columbia,Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

37 thoughts on “Story of the HENDERSON HILL Original Oil Painting

  1. Looks like you created a gem here! I am glad you know your process, paint, view, paint, step away when you need, and come back with a fresh approach. Well done. This is what I so love about your blog, your creative process so vibrant and alive.

    I walked away, sort of from the big exhibition last month because I was not ready, the work would not flow. The opportunity is coming around again, whether I am ready this time, I still have to breathe into and through it.

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Thanks Jeff. It is always good to know ones process and still be listening for what is new each time. There is a unique relationship to be experienced with each painting or each photograph. A new learning. A new way of breathing together. Your show will come together if you stay with it. I just know it will Jeff.

  2. Terrill – Is “scraped” the foul “S” word in the world of painting? It felt hurtful — scraped — when I got to that part in reading your story. However, in viewing the finished piece, it was well worth any amount of “S” words. Gosh, but it’s lovely!

    Sprout question: When was the last time you walked away from a creative mess?

    Yesterday I taught Crystal Therapy 101 for the base chakra. It was a nice-sized high-energy class. When all was said and done and the last student had left the building, Len and I turned out the lights and walked away as well. We just couldn’t face putting the space back to rights just then. We went and got something to eat, and then came back and made quick work of it.

    • Laurie it is a bit like scraping a draft of a story or article you have written and starting again. All the ideas are still there you just need to organize them a bit differently. So no harm done. It is all part of the process of creative clarity. I envy the lucky people that were part of your class yesterday and good for you and Len to take the time to savour that experience.

    • Thank you Maureen. My sweetie thinks it is my best painting yet. It is funny how certain piece of work really attract people.

      The posting of the image of this painting on redbubble has seen 300 views in just a few hours. I wonder what it is about this painting that draws people to it? Hum, always a puzzle to me.

  3. I hear ya on this one Terrill. My hall closet and office closet are testement to ‘scrapped, botched, oh-oh, huh-type creative messes having to do with paint and canvas. These are the ragamuffins in my family of creative projects, the ones I can’t ‘hang’ yet because they are just not ready for prime time viewing. These guys queitly reside behind closed doors until such time as either I or they have successfully forgotten the original intent foisted upon them – or I am so uplifted by the belly laugh they engender as I gape in awe at them that I’m inspired to ‘paint again’. Either way,nothing is evey lost, rather merely rearranged!!

    I love your blue on blue series, it has inspired me to look at the cool colors in a very different light. I’m sure your show will be a great success.

    • Alison your comment paints the most colourful word picture. I am giggling away as I imagine your “ragamuffins” that are “not ready for prime time viewing.” But I sense they are still giving you much pleasure as they bang around into each other from the office closet. I see them as rough-and-tumble, good-hearted, fun-loving lot that will some day get their day in the sun 🙂 I am glad you are enjoying the blue series. I have just printed small 4-6 photographs to send to my parents. Rather fun to see them all together on the kitchen table instead of leaning up against walls in the studio and the great room.

  4. HH has such depth and intrigue — the tree branches seemed to be alive, talking to one another like people. One of your finest works of art, Terrill. (Okay, I love working on titles … a fav hobby of mine … so I’d call this one “Secrets of the Sea” … again the branches sharing those secrets with one another) But the painting is the real story, not the title, so enjoy this wonderful moment of creative satisfaction … it’s life at its finest! –Daisy

    • Daisy your passion for title is a welcomed one. It is often difficult to come up with titles and it gets harder the more photographs I take and paintings that I create. Thank you for your feedback too. I like the idea of the branches sharing their secrets. It does often feel like this when I visit with the trees.

  5. Terrill, we have always loved the beautiful old oaks that are scattered around the Islands. What a wonderful capturing of their essence. And the colors of a winter Pacific Northwest dawn….. beautiful!

    As you can tell we are very much drawn to this lovely painting 🙂

    • Colleen, I am always thrilled when someone finds a resonance with their own experiences in my work. It becomes very much a shared experience in these exchanges. Kind of like unexpectedly looking out the same window. Enjoy!

      Because this an image of this painting is on redbubble you can easily order cards and prints and of course, the original is still for sale…. but it may not be for long. Someone close to me is seriously considering purchasing it. I promise that I will not engage in a bidding war – first one to lay down the cash gets to take the Henderson Hill painting home – after the close of STUDY OF BLUE :).

  6. I am discovering that so much of life is expecting something to happen and then it doesn’t…

    at least when it didn’t you were able to recover, and create it anew…

    today my resistance is once again being the under painting – casting through and needing scraping yet again….I truly think I needed another day of warm sunshine to play in the dirt..:)

    • Patricia from your comments over time on Creative Potager I sense you may be in a healing or deeply regenerating phase of your life. These are times we often want to rush through and get on to the “good stuff” ahead. We often try to chastise, cajole, and threaten ourselves to just get on with it! There may be even a senses of urgency such financial pressures. But I find the heart rules and it isn’t about to move on until it is ready. If need be, it will make the body sick to keep us still long enough to fully recover.

      These are times when I often ask myself – well, how much will it matter ten years from now? Or, I wonder, what direction is my life taking now? So I encourage you Patricia (and everyone else) to take that extra day in the sun and fully enjoy playing in the dirt. Plus do one thing that will take you in direction you want to move. Just one. The easiest one. That’s it. Tomorrow is another day. Repeat this process as long as necessary until you find you have moved to a new place with grace and ease.

      As always, there are exception to these practices. They do not replace therapy or medical attention if a person suffers from clinical depression. It is always good to determine what you can manage to move through on your own and when to seek further intervention. My reply and comment are for the ordinary everyday ups and downs of living life. For these times, a long walk in the trees or along the sea seems to provide balance and set things straight for me more than anything else.

      • Yes I am in a healing mode and deeply regenerating.
        In regards to the what will it matter in 10 years – I always choose the sunshine over the other – but I need to say that having our health care vanish, our income challenged or a daily basis, and being the first to have to not get medicare is a right in my face struggle…..

        I worked for years and years with incest survivors and rape victims – the US House of representatives just redefined those two terms to make the victim have to pay for restorative services by proving they were victims….I have yet to find in my counseling practice a 4 year old who can pay for health care or knows how to prove they are victims. We have the leading health care center in the country for these little victims – Essentially they have lost all their ins. coverage and funding as of July 1, 2011 Our President will have to risk himself to stop this…
        This attack on children and women I am finding reprehensible – as not a good fighter I am busy working on writing grants to help these children and women. I think I am working on my fears deeply too.

        • Good to hear back from you Patricia. As you may know, I worked in the area of women’s services for years and was in a senior position for the provincial government when they started cutting funding. After much soul searching, I left but that didn’t change the course that set out.

          I trust Patricia that you will find the balance and strength to move forward in a way that works best for you. Sending warm thoughts your way!

  7. I love your story with this, how you walked away from it but then it became something beautiful. 🙂

    When was the last time I walked away from a creative mess? A disastrous painting I started. One of my first attempts and I wanted to try a new style. I carefully sketched out the forms only to ruin it with the paint. But it was a good experience, because I learned it’s ok to abort a disastrous attempt and just start over sometimes. Normally I’m a “stick with it to the end” kind of person.

    • Kat I too am one of those “stick with it to the end” too and there is such freedom to be found in occasionally walking way or scraping and starting again later. I read someplace that an artist should always have a few unfinished paintings hanging around the studio – the ones that we are never sure how to finish. It is suppose to help keep us flexible and learning our craft. I am not sure how true that it is but I certainly learned a lot from the painting of Henderson Hill.

  8. Wonderful, Terrill! I so appreciate that you’ve shared this process! Excellent reminder, and inspiring to see how you were able to turn things around to create something exquisite!

    • Antonia the pleasure is mine. In my leadership work I have often done what is intervention or turn-around work with teams and organizations. Sometimes it takes awhile but most times with just the right amount of each ingredient, patience and tenacity things work out. It is probably a little fiendish of me, but I kind of like the turn-around challenge in painting or in leadership.

  9. Henderson Hill
    By Bat-Ami Gordin

    On Henderson Hill any time of the year
    the branches arabesque in the breeze.
    Birds boldly appear, on the tips of twigs
    that smear into clouds from the trees.
    As a doe grazes calmly with her twins,
    the heavens and sky, seem to freeze.
    Prepare your mind to paint serenity;
    equanimity pacifies enduring unease.

    • Zongrik, this is beautiful! A poem to go with Henderson Hill. I am in awe. Thank you so much for sharing your gift of words and welcome to Creative Potager. May I post it in the blog itself so it doesn’t get lost and also on flickr where the image is available for prints? Thank you again – it is just perfect.

  10. Pingback: Henderson Hill « ZONGRIK

  11. I totally understand the process -I have a canvas staring at me right at this moment! I have an idea of creating a modern day triptych and have had moments where I had to stop and rethink it all (I have left it on the side for just over six months -yes that is a long time to set aside a painting (there were external factors contributing towards it); nevertheless, I think now is the time to get back to what I started and finish it as envisioned -funnily it is based on the Canadian landscape (I’m across the pond in the UK)!

    I love your painting -it’s quite impressionistic in style. The collaborated workings with Bat Ami have worked well too -I hope more collaboration’s takes place!

    • Yikici welcome to Creative Potager from across the pond in the UK. Your blog about your creative process is very companionable with the sharing that happens here. Good luck with that painting. If you feel it is time – then it is time. I wish you all the best. Thank you for your kind words about HENDERSON HILL and yes it is impressionistic in style. I love chasing the light , reflections and patterns while painting.

      • The impressionists are my fave art movement; it really stems from my admiration for the grandfather of the impressionists (in my eyes): JMW Turner! You are doing a great job; keep it up.

        Thank you for your kind words about my blog -I’m still a baby blogger (3 months old) so I’m still getting my footing; sharing and collaborating is fun and if we can work together in harmony why not? A good example is you and Bat Ami -I hear that there is a possibility of future collaborations. 🙂 I’m excited already!

        • Ah yes Yikici JMW Turner. Turner’s paintings are often described as romantic landscapes but I find them somewhat tense in his rendering of the human condition amidst these scenes. But look at how he handles light. Impressive! Thank you for making mention of his work. I am not as familiar with it as Monet, Pissarro or Renoir.

          Congratulations on your new baby blog. I look forward to being there to watch it grow.

          There is a possibility of future collaborations…. we shall see. These things just seem to happen kind of like improvisation in jazz. We show up ready to play and things sometimes take on a life of their own.

      • Yes JMW Turner is a romatic landscape painter at heart, having said that; did you know the Impressionist’s were inspired by Turner’ studies of capturing light and atmosphere and from a visit of attending one of his exhibitions did they decide to become Impressionists! If you are interested I will try and dig out the source for that bit of information -I have it in one of my books and also in the dissertation I wrote at University. Monet, Pissarro and Renoir is fab too -all masters in their own rights!

        Thank you for the kind words; I’m excited (I didn’t realise I could sustain the blog this long so yay!) -I too will look forward to hearing your collaborations.

        • If it wouldn’t be too much trouble Yikici, that reference would great to have. In my little book about Camille Pissarro that is part of a series by Linda Doeser she references Camille Corot as his great admirer. According to Doeser, the “outrageous” exhibition of 1874 found media coining the term ‘Impressionism’ in an article ridiculing their work and the term was then adopted by the artist themselves. There is no mention I can find of JMW Turner – but there is no index either. However, the link I provided above has the following comment: “The intensity of hue and interest in evanescent light not only placed Turner’s work in the vanguard of English painting, but later exerted an influence upon art in France, as well; the Impressionists, particularly Claude Monet, carefully studied his techniques.” From the looks of it, the influence comes from Turners later works in oils. It is fascinating tracing some of these influences and explorations. I wonder what will be written into the history books about this time period where artists are able to connect to other artist and other creative beings around the world? A time where collaboration with writers and musicians and photographers seems to happen like spontaneous combustion?

          It is also a time where ordinary people have access to great art through online galleries and such. There seems to be less gate keeping between art collectors and artists as galleries are generally unable to control access to art. This is likely to change in the future with Google supported project at but who knows maybe buyers will enjoy their direct contact with artist enough that it just won’t be possible to put the lid on what collectors have access to viewing and purchasing.

      • Heya, I apologise for not getting back sooner -I still havent been able to dig out the actual quote etc (have had a busy week). I have just did a wee research online and came up with this brief connection also, if you can, try and get a hold of this: -John Gage is one of the best authors to have studied and written about Turner. When I have more time I will pop back with a more extensive answer -I hope that is ok? Have a great weekened. 🙂

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