Mayne Island en plein air painting morning

August is my favourite month of the year and the weather is finally spectacular – feels like summer at last. However, I am not good at beach-sitting but rather prefer to be beach-doing with either my camera or french box easel or both. Such is the case on this fine morning down on Reef Bay, Mayne Island…

I am feeling fairly pleased with myself. I have the 12 x 16 inch canvas blocked in and the sea is singing away as I work away for about 45 minutes. But after awhile I take and good look. It seems nothing is quite right.

The parts in the painting are separate and seem unrelated to each other. I frown and I stall by signing the work. I look out at the scene before me. I walk around eating a golden plum I had brought with me for a snack.  After awhile I acknowledge that I am still undecided and unsure about what to do next. But who can fuss on such a find day? I shrug and I set the canvas aside. I picked up my second blank canvas, slightly smaller at 9 x 12 inches and turn to the view just to my left.

This time I set to painting looking quickly and briefly at the scene as waves roll softly over and over again onto side of the reef. We seem as one – the sandstone, sea and me.

Swish, swish, swish. My brush responds with ease, leaving out the freighter and the driftwood as it focused on the relationship between the sandstone, the sea and the sky. After awhile, my bare arms begin to tingle from the heat of the sun and I am thankful I had decided to put a hat on my head. Stopping to take a long sip of cool water I squint at the painting.

It is done. Complete. Finished – and so am I 🙂

I pack up and head home. My en plein air morning is no longer morning.

Of course, you know, there is that other painting right? Well I sleep on it and get up in the morning to see what I can do with in the studio. Hum! I am not sure this helped much.

Though it is starting to come together, the overall painting is muted and lacks strength and conviction. Now what? I go back to my some reference images  I had taken and look closely at the first photograph that I showed you here. I walk away and do a few chores. Then I take another run at it – or rather brush at it. I am determined though unattached to the outcome.

Now let’s see – yes, there! Now I think we have it.

The day is shot. It is well after six o’clock. I missed lunch and am not up to cooking us dinner. We decide to slip out to the Green House Bar and Grill. I ask David if I had any paint on my face. He said “no darling you look fine.” Off we go.

The first thing the owner says to us as he hands out the menus is “hey Terrill, you have paint on your nose.”

Not only that, some how I had managed to get three different splashes of colour on the front of my t-shirt as well. But they let us in anyway 🙂
Once these two oil paintings are dry and I am satisfied that no further adjusting is needed they will be available in the  Artsy Home online gallery along with my other paintings that are currently available. However, if you are interested in having one of these hanging on your wall and you email me at no later than 6:00 am PDST tomorrow, Friday August 17, 2012 I will cover the shipping for you to anywhere in North America. The 9 x 12 by 3/4 inch “Late morning in August by the sea” is currently $430. The 12 x 16 by 3/4 inch “August morning Reef Bay” is currently $675.

SPROUT: What keeps you coming back to  something until you get it the way you want it?

© 2012 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

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

9 thoughts on “Mayne Island en plein air painting morning

  1. Terrill – I’m laughing as Len would have done the exact same thing to me that David did to you — not see paint on your nose and let you out in public.

    BEAUTIFUL paintings!

    SPROUT: What keeps you coming back to something until you get it the way you want it?

    Tenacity. Sheer tenacity!

  2. Thank you for this enchanting story and lovely art, Terrill.
    To answer: What keeps me going is my desire to know what’s next. I do have an outline when I start but things are subject to change. I’m in the thick of things right now–and loving every moment of it.
    Well, off to listen to Laurie. : )

  3. I have absolutely learned not to trust my partner and go directly to a mirror before leaving the house. I was giving a lecture one morning and all down the back of my shirt was baby spit up….and sometimes I just need to put a hat on my head as they hair is so wispy!
    Your painting is lovely – both – and I see the connected one looks great on the computer from my reading chair too.
    I have requested a copy of your apple blossoms for my birthday….will see if anyone comes through – if not I am going to buy it in cards

    I have not gone back to re-write my book review for the 20th of August. I got so stuck on wanting it to be perfect that I could not write it for 8 weeks – though I kept re-reading the book. I hope every woman will read this book- it is nothing short of inspiringly beautiful. I finally decided while cleaning the bathrooms on this record setting hot day, to just set the timer for 60 minutes and have it all written and edited and in the queue. It is good but nothing like I expected it to be….I see though why the cover of this book is so plain…

    We have fan systems here to cool the house…they came on at 5:20am – I am so glad summer is finally here, but now need to escape to the cooler bedroom level of this house Whew!

    • I woke up at 4:15 am this morning Patricia. I figure that is when it cooled down enough to comfortably sleep with a blanket on. But wide awake, I made biscuits and wrote up this blog post. When I got back from dropping five large prints off to a client I had a bite to eat and a nap. Now I think I am ready for the second half of my day.

      Pssst! Patricia the “Apple Blossom” painting is now safely back in the studio and is not listed for sale online. As a way of a gentle reminder you can let those holding the wish list know that they need to email me directly at to purchase the painting. (I won’t tell you the price because its your birthday and you are not suppose to know. But I will tell you that it is less than the $200 that one of my paintings of the same 5 x 7 inch size recently fetched at auction for a fundraising event.) Just so you know: I am not sure when your birthday is but I will be mostly off-line and unable to mail it to you between August 20 – 30th. I hope someone takes you up on your wish because you have such a spell on this painting no one else has a chance 😉 Good luck!

  4. Bringing us to Mayne Island via your paint brush strokes, “the sandstone, the sea & me” its as if I am transported there.

    SPROUT: What keeps you coming back to something until you get it the way you want it?
    For me it is persistence on the given course. When I begin a project I so enjoy the journey through to getting the final product. It brings such a sense of pride.

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