Remembered Untold Mystery for World Environment Day

The beauty of trees, rocks and the angle of the sun have their untold stories we are forever wanting to tell. These stories are some of the eyes and ears for World Environment Day.

Remembered Untold Mystery – 10 x 10 inch oil on canvas

Remembered Untold Mystery 10 x 10 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_06_01 009

Detailed viewing and purchase information is available HERE.

We need to tell these stories over and over until not a decision is made without our understanding the fragile interconnectedness between ourselves and the world as a whole. How do we do this? By feeling our way into our natural environment until the very cells of this exchange is expressed through our camera lens, our paintings, our writings, our songs, our dance, and our prayers.

This painting reminds me of a very strong memory I have from grade three when a boy in the next row looked at my drawing of “the bush” with a fawn next to it looking longingly at a garden and said with absolute disgust “What a mess! You didn’t draw anything. It is all just scribbles!” So I took him and my hurt feelings farther down the row of desks from where all the drawings were pinned on the classroom wall. Then I said “look again.” He did and though still not terribly impressed he could see how all those lines gave the impressions of trees, grasses, the fawn and the garden.

I am sure if this, now 55-year-old, man was to see this work today he might say the same thing. This is the difference between suggesting the essence of a scene or subject by light and shadow and representing a form with paint or lines. It is far easier as a painter to get caught up in the details than it is to skip happily across the canvas suggesting the breath of the light and relationships between the elements in a landscape. This second approach is an invitation to the viewer to complete the painting using their own visual mapping abilities. Some viewers like to do this and others do not. My classmate did not. It was all just scribbles to him until he stood far enough back that the forms became more visible. There is nothing right or wrong about this painting approach nor in the liking or not liking of the painting. It is just one way of having a conversation with painting.

The reference for this paintings comes from a powerful experience when I found an intriguing visual path along the top of a cliff. I had to lay on my side and schooch out onto a rock ledge to capture the reference image. The amazing thing was that the scene had always been there but I hadn’t noticed it before this particular walk when its beauty was revealed in the angle of the evening light.

untold mystery by Terrill Welch

Prints of this image are available on redbubble HERE.

But just as trees, rocks and the angle of the sun have untold mysteries so does ice. In fact, ice may be able to tell the story of our world better than any other element. Last evening we watched CHASING ICE – a documentary film directed and produced by JEFF ORLOWSKI about  the incredible work of National Geographic photographer James Balog and his team. The story of our world and its demise is in the ice or rather in what is left of the ice. I am including the film’s trailer and also wanted to let you know that it is available on Netflix.

After watching this film I was overwhelmed and close to feeling totally distraught. So, as I told Laurie Buchanan over at her Speaking from the Heart yesterday, I take my worries to the sea. It was a gorgeous warm early June evening with still seas that still a troubled heart.

Tree June evening by Terrill Welch 2013_06_04 003

I did nothing much but sit and scowl about the mess we are in for two hours. I listened to the sea, the breeze in the grass. I notice the warmth of the sandstone and how everything was doing what it must. The sandstone cliff was strong in its presence.

Sandstone Rock Face Mayne island by Terrill Welch 2013_06_04 276

And so must I be in mine. I must continue my work of photographing and painting the stories of our natural world so that we believe and know our connectedness – like in Chasing Ice and the Extreme Ice Survey. Maybe just maybe we will reach a tipping point of understanding before it is too late. I can work with that. I must.


What creative ice are you chasing on today’s World Environment day?


© 2013 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

7 thoughts on “Remembered Untold Mystery for World Environment Day

  1. Terrill – I love the story you recalled from third grade. Golly, I’d love to see the expression on that now-grown-man’s-face if he were to find out your artwork is in homes all over the globe!

    I resonated strongly with, “This second approach is an invitation to the viewer to complete the painting using their own visual mapping abilities.”

    You asked, “What creative ice are you chasing on todays World Environment day?”

    Actually, a glacier could beat me in a race today. I’m sitting very still with ideas that I’m thinking and speaking into being.

    • I know Laurie. It makes me giggle just to think about this scenario. On one of your musing breaks Laurie take the time to watch the movie trailer… I don’t think I ever want to move as fast as the calving face of these big glaciers. Wow!

  2. Pingback: Remember Untold Mystery – Canadian Landscape Painting | Terrill Welch

    • Oh darn Annie, I thought I had nailed it. The painting that was shown in the video before this one is the vase of roses called Always Roses. It is only available directly through me at the moment. But I am not absolutely sure that is the one either without a little descriptive information abut the subject of the painting. Ah well! Thanks so much for stopping by just the same 🙂

  3. We see what we want to see. Confronted by a beautiful painting we can only see the scribbles. Confronted by this beautiful world we can see a place to use and abuse. It is up to us. Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Terrill.

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