Sea Spray over Green and Other Fragments

Having had a long and less than meaningful conversation with the still almost-full moon until three o’clock this morning, I am surprised to wake as the sun hits the tree tops in our valley. However, awake does not mean much under these circumstances. I gathered my camera and get a coffee, breakfast treat and sandwiches for lunch later at the local bakery.

Now what? I say to self.

Well, it is Saint Patrick’s Day. In honour of the day of green, a long ago almost forgotten wedding day and the blessing of being alive, here is a splash of sea spray over the green seaweed on the rocks at Reef Bay.

Breaking into Morning Light by Terrill Welch 2014_03_17 142

I am consciously aware of being in this familiar liminal state of neither here nor there, about to cross a threshold, at the edge or margins of life as I have known it. We are not always so fortunate as to have the advantage to prepare for such transitions and markers between this and then that. Today I do, at least as far as I can foresee. Let’s unpack this moment a wee bit before I go and call the banks to let them know about our travels.

On Saturday I worked or rather reworked a 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas.


Fabrication resting 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_03_15 020

This painting is about a deep despair that comes with global unrest and greed. It is about how we humans attempt to contort ourselves into something believable and good. We create fabrications that quickly are shaped into a kind of truth that is meant to secure greater wealth. These creations tarnish any good that was suppose to be the reason for our actions in the first place. This painting is about denying limitations. The limitations of oil, gas, life, beauty, and even greed. We can pretend to sit serenely looking out the window and watch the sunlight dancing on the sea. We can do this but eventually our body will remind us that this position cannot be maintained. We must get up, put our clothes on, and do something… even if it is only to slaughter a lamb for dinner. There is hope. The sky is blue.

This painting, as with the underpainting, will not leave my studio. Some paintings are just like that. The work is not painted using a live model.  I have however painted figures from live models and at one time there was a reference sketch when I did the original underpainting. Now, I think we can safely say that this woman is a complete fabrication a half-truth.

I have the first third of our travels booked from the time we leave Mayne Island with an overnight in Vancouver B.C. to catch a flight to London England and then to Dijon via Paris. From Dijon France we will go to Basel Switzerland before continuing on to Venice Italy for nine days at which time we will go to stay at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence for two weeks. During our time in Florence I will book the next part of our journey until we get to Barcelona Spain. My mind is filled with partial maps of strange cities and countries outlined by the short-stroked colours of pencil crayons as remembered in my elementary school mapping exercises. I am reading short stories by Colette and in between I clean the pantry, buy a new mop and string together the first names of our Airbnb hosts – Lindsay (New Westminster B.C.) , Kathy (Iver England), Tristan (Dijon France), Vesna (Basel Switzerland), Arianna (Venice Italy) and Nicoletta (Florence Italy). An email arrives to say the Queen of Burnaby ferry is remaining docked at Village Bay Mayne Island due to weather conditions. The  CBC radio 2 host comments on a study that says if women have classical music playing when men visit their websites the women are found to be more attractive. For some reason this makes me think of a street image from last evening’s online surfing of Aix-en-Provence and then the paintings of Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir intersect just at peripheral of my mind-map. Again, I mentally comb the Cote d’zur shoreline. Where might we stay?

Ah, as you can see old patterns are fractured and lifted from there routine, making way for a new marker or reference point in my life. There will likely always be a before and after we traveled to Europe. So I must leave you the reefs of Mayne Island as I pack my present in anticipation of an unknown but easily imagined feature. We do not know really what it will be but the cracks of organized thought are temporarily widening between my past, my today and tomorrow.

Yet, there is a shadow on all of this with Russia’s confidence in taking Crimea and the United States and Europe in sanction-imposing but seemingly futile resistance. I am reminded that fate has placed me in an unexpected and unprecedented historical privilege. I must accept this. I must remind myself to be humble as I sparingly hand over wads of cash for our travels while cringing at what it will do to our modest savings account. We are not wealthy travels. We are however wealthy global citizens. We have all we need and at times such as this even some things that we want. I have no real answer for this disparity that I always feel most acutely during times of great expense. The guilt tinges all thoughts of the pleasures about our travels. The greed of it all in traveling for three months to Europe, how could I!? Yet, I will. I will pack that ugly little bag of privilege close to my heart and take nothing for granted. I will carry it so closely and tightly to my body that something good will come from it. I promise.

What green is your green on this Monday of Saint Patrick’s Day?

© 2014 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

16 thoughts on “Sea Spray over Green and Other Fragments

  1. Thank you for this thought-provoking article, Terrill. It’s exciting for me to read your plans and dream about the adventures you will have. And, so, you see something wonderful has already happened. : )

    What is the green of my Saint Patrick’s day? The dark emerald green of healthy growth. Last night I woke to the moon to write in my journal. The words I captured revealed how far I’ve walked in this life of mine. The road hasn’t always been easy but is a precious journey.

    And as one of my aunt’s often reminded me, when I shared my latest plot, always make room for humour. She is a wise guided and I will try my best to follow her lead.

    • Oh I think I will take some of your aunt’s advice and leave a little room for humour as well Leanne! Yes, healthy emerald green of growth is very much part of today in the sunshine. I think I need to go out for a second walk 🙂

  2. This blog is a journey unto itself. I have never planned such a trip, so conscious, so detailed, or even with a sense of guilt. Generally I just went, maybe a bit like Jack Kerouac following a thought, following a dream, following my lost self to be found.

    My bit of green was to take a little stuff bear dressed in green sweater with a Shamrock on its front to Mom at the Nursing home while she rehabs her body and mind… when I got there, the journey being through more snow, 6-8 inches, the roads were not bad. I found her in the dining room where they were making shamrocks with paint and glitter, the staff dressed in their little bit of green, to cheer everyone up.

    • I am glad your mom seems to be doing better Jeff. Are you going to be able to get her into a nursing home for the long term or is this just for rehab?

      There is a lot of details that go into a trip like this – at least there is for me to feel comfortable putting the two of us on a plane and going off to another Continent. But I am hoping this advanced planning in stages will make the actual trip much more relaxing. We shall see. I did a lot of this kind of travel planning when I was working for government and covering a large geographical area of British Columbia. And David and I traveled together for a month in Peru in very much this same manner. A person gets used to it after awhile.

  3. The green of my day today is finding the daffodils bravely pushing their way through the still cold ground as they reach for the spring sunshine. Spring bulbs emerging after a long winter were, and still are, a welcome signal that spring is on the way. Mom was always excited to see the first green shoots poking their way up through the dirt (and even at times through snow) and now that I have moved to a location much warmer than where I grew up, and where my parents still live, the question I hear over the telephone as the weather warms is “do you have any bulbs up yet?” Tonight I will be able to answer, “yep, daffodils are about 2 inches tall.” And although mom will probably growl that they still have a few feet of snow, she will know that spring is indeed on the way.

    • Yeah for daffodil shoots! Ours are starting to bloom Sue so I am guessing we are about three weeks ahead of you this year. I was remarking on my crocus photographs that they just are not as stunning as when they bloom through the snow. Mom will growl but it will be growl but there will be no bite in it 😉 Happy hunting for signs of spring 🙂

  4. Terrill
    Wow what thought-provoking images you stir up in me! I love your photo of the green on Mayne At Reef Bay!
    Yes to leave home never knowing where your path shall call you, To have edges knowing where your staying with unrealized potential fill the space
    Kind of like creating a painting Of your life And those of course whose lives intersect Present and past
    Enjoy the Wonderlust
    Your heart knows the way
    Today I harvested nettles for my first tasting on this lovely day of green!
    Love and blessings Shakeira

    • I was just thinking of nettles Shakeira! I am planning to have them for part of a dinner I am hosting for our house guest at the end of the month. And this trip is very much like creating a painting. I like that analogy. We are still at the stage where things are blocked in and I am starting to build the paint up. The major conceptual work is done though. It is mostly a matter of execution of the idea.

  5. Terrill – I particularly and especially enjoyed this post. Particularly because it posted on St. Patrick’s Day. Especially because of this sentence which I can visualize you doing with every ounce of your body, mind, and spirit:

    “I will pack that ugly little bag of privilege close to my heart and take nothing for granted. I will carry it so closely and tightly to my body that something good will come from it. I promise.”

    You asked, “What green is your green on this Monday of Saint Patrick’s Day?”

    St. Patrick’s Day 2014 marked the anniversary our elopement 34 years ago. We were fed up to the gills with the trappings that sometimes come with an event that can have “too many cooks in the kitchen,” so we eloped and I’ve never once been sorry that we threw caution to the wind and did it OUR way!

  6. We have bright green moss everywhere outside – so I got out this tool and worked at getting it out of the grass (lawn?) area I seem to have nothing green except food to wear!

    This was such a lovely post, your painting and words…glorious celebration

  7. ‘Having had a long and less than meaningful conversation with the still almost-full moon until three o’clock this morning…’
    I love this opener! I must have seen the same moon only on the other side of our shared continent and a lot further south!!!
    Thank you for such a thoughtful post on your artist-mind, practical self, inner creativity, and observations of our world realities…
    I know it’s a bit late, but my green is/was new creative growth in my soul…
    travel-art-heartpeace to you

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