Painting Spring

Something happened yesterday on the official first day of a late west coast spring. At the end of last week I was still in my contemplative winter mental attire. My grey, northern, rain forest interior is filled with homemade soup warmth, maybe a touch red-wine melancholy, smoothed over with by woolen thoughtfulness and a sparkle from a waterproof jacket garnish. It is a savory mix best served hot. During this time I often explore the underbelly of my daily life both in painting and in words. But the garment of winter fell free as easily as the first night of hearing the frogs in the pond in the valley below. Consequently, I had something intricate and dense simmering about the language of painting for this post. But it is not to be, at least not for this week. The joyous zealous brushstrokes of spring are here. Who can ponder at a time like this!?

So I dug through the archives and have chosen seven springtime paintings or painting sketches representing a variety of locations I have been over the past four years. There is a spring work to enjoy for each day of week. Happy spring!

Spring in Tuscany 20 x 30 cm acrylic sketch on canvas board and a rare painting where I have overtly included the painter in this Florence, Italy countryside.

Prints available HERE.

Villeneuve lez Avignon France 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas with its layers of memories and visible history.

Original painting available HERE.

Fremont Hills California Early Spring 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas. Painted from a plein air day of reference material with a colleague and friend, Lena Levin.  We were just talking last week about how our paintings were so different even though we were standing almost right beside each other.

Original painting available HERE.

Cherry Blossoms Mayne Island Japanese Garden 20 x 24 inch oil on canvas. The gardens are a divine place to be in spring and a local year-around treasure.

Original painting available HERE.

Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC 24 x 48 inch oil on canvas. Know as our real west coast, spring is the time that the sun breaks through the winter rains and spirits are lifted as high as the rollers coming in from the open sea.

Original painting available HERE.

Rolling Spring Storms Rocky Point PEI 20 x 40 inch walnut oil on canvas. Bit of weather out there today, someone will likely comment. Collars of light jackets will be turned up and tightened at the neck but the smiles, they tell us one thing – spring!

Original painting available HERE.

Blooming Point PEI 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord. Spring comes a little later to Prince Edward Island. So on this particular year we had two springs! The first on the west coast Canada and then a most lovely second on the east coast.

Prints available HERE.

Now that we have been to Florence Italy and Avignon France in Europe, Fremont California in the United States, Mayne Island and Tofino on the southwest coast of Canada and finally to Prince Edward Island on the East coast of Canada, what about you?

Is it spring yet where you are?

And yes, I am publishing a day early this week. Why not, it is spring after all.

© 2017 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

Death by Insignificance – Contemporary Landscape Easel Painter

Six inches of wet whiteness filled our long driveway. At its end there is a narrow trail down the middle of the secondary road, with mounds of molded heavy snowballs guarding each side of the single lane made by the plow truck. I power the Outback down the first part of the driveway so as to glide up and over the crest of the steep hill on the secondary road that follows. Now, if I don’t meet anyone until I get to the main road, all will be good. All is indeed good.

Reaching the Japanese garden on the other side of our small island, I notice that the snow has stopped temporarily in the -1 degree Celsius early March wintry weather. I gather a few photographs for a friend and then settle into painting after setting up my French Box easel in the bamboo shelter on the east side of the gardens. I paint feverishly for an hour. It starts to rain and then rain and snow as I am finishing up. My toes are cold from damp wool socks from when I stepped in a puddle getting out of the car. By all accounts the midday light is bleak, the weather miserable and I am thoroughly chilled. But the work is done. I feel like an explorer exhilarated by having clawed my way over a mountain to a new and promising land.

This 11 x 14 inch walnut oil sketch on a panel board is a series of half-finished sentences in a shorthand painting language that provides rough reminders for a later more thoughtful and larger painting.

Early March Snow Japanese Garden Mayne Island BC

Why do I bother I ask myself. Painting as a representational art form offers nothing new to a world that craves discovery and sensational entertainment. Easel painting has been declared dead as art with predictable frequency for the past 150 years. Yet, here I am – painting. Here you are following my adventures, saving the work to your phones, ipads and laptops and even buying a few finished works now and again. The latest of my art books As We Breathe may even grace your coffee table. So why? What is it about these representational landscape paintings and quick painting sketches that repeatedly hold your attention?

My landscape paintings are of everyday moments. They are ordinary easel paintings and the techniques are familiar contemporary impressionists’ renderings. There is nothing new or sensational or entertaining in my. In art history, the subject of landscapes has always been just a little vulgar and unrefined and uninteresting for the tastes of highbrow fine art galleries and juried exhibitions. So right from the start with my choice of subject, the work is placed at the fringes. Eugène Delacroix’s landscape paintings were painted for his own private pleasure and were only sold after his death. Delacroix was a renowned history painter but it is his landscapes that recently discovered and I most enjoy. The impressionist and post-impressionist painters used the immediacy of landscapes to render light and shadow and then to later reintroduce the importance of form before this painting approach gave way to cubism and abstraction. Though a lot of credit is given to the major breakthrough of these painters, it was only towards the end of these impressionist and post-impressionist movements that any of these artists saw what might be considered success. Some were already dead by the time recognition of their efforts, such as Van Gogh whose hard-working sister-in-law was able to successfully promote his work after his death. The history of Canadian Modernism in art exemplifies the landscape paintings of Tom Thomson, Group of Seven, Emily Carr and the Beaver Hall Group in what is touted to Canadians as a uniquely Canadian art approach. But how globally unimportant these works actually are to world art movements is obvious when reviewing a rather extensive European and North America History of Art Timeline. Canadian art is not mentioned – landscape or otherwise.

So I ask again – why? Why do I bother? Why do you bother to view, save images and purchase my work over and over again? What is it that makes you want to feel the sun on your back, the splash of the sea or the wind blowing through your hair as you look at these simple, insignificant, quiet almost meditative landscape paintings? After all, you just need to step outside into nature and notice these moments for yourselves. Possible, though you have stopped noticing as North Korea, U.S.A., Japan, South Korea and China posture on the brink of yet another war on our small planet. Or maybe you read about several famines expected in the next six month that could kill 20 million people? Or possibly you will be impacted by the U.S.A. travel ban or changes in the health care act? Or is it Brexit that is about to separate you from a country you have called home for many years? Under these circumstances, possibly mundane nature moments drift over your sensory apparatus without even a ripple of recognition – until you view one of my landscape paintings. Then you are reminded and even comforted by the work’s ordinariness. I suspect this because it is what you tell me in comments on social media and during studio visits. So it is not a wild guess but rather a plausible hypothesis. This, on some levels, is a good thing. It means there is no immediate danger by your natural surroundings. You do not need to notice the moving light or rising tide or buds on the plum trees. Basically it is safe not to notice the natural landscapes as they change around you. Your energy is free to contemplate other pressing matters.

So why might you notice and use precious minutes of your valuable time viewing these irrelevant landscape paintings? I believe the answer is as simple and uncomplicated as the paintings themselves. These hand-rendered easel paintings speak to our sensory experiences and memories. These paintings help to remind the viewer that they are alive and that this life, their life, is precious, unique and valuable. At least that is my intention and it is something you so often confirm when viewing the results.

There is the potential for this landscape painting language to be vital, fresh, and unique. These landscape easel paintings attempt to capture the essence of a particular time on a specific day. Similar to a snowflake, or a fingerprint, no two brushstrokes of an immediate moment are ever exactly the same. For an art culture, a micro-culture in a larger herd of humanity, that is obsessed with originality and progress, the immediacy of a changing landscape subject and the painter’s individual brushstrokes guarantee uniqueness (please note I am not implying that “quality” and “uniqueness” are the same thing). It would seem reasonable then that landscapes would be the highest most esteemed subject. However, such that “uniqueness” is the strength of landscape paintings, so is “uniqueness” its weakness. Value is most often created by rareness or scarcity. There is nothing rare about the landscape. Further, it is a given that it will always be changing so change is of no more interest than the ticking of a clock. It is a naked fact, that beyond our pleasure from the landscape’s sensory triggers, my paintings are of little of interest and of even less importance to ART with capital letters. For these easel paintings to become significant their subjects, the landscape, would need to become threatened or disappear. Melting ice caps, rising sea levels, or the potential a rupture in the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the next 50 years are not yet enough to declare any kind of rareness. Only once the landscape can no longer be experienced directly and no more painting of it can ever be painted, then there is a possibility, if the paintings were to survive, that they would become important or significant to art movements and human history.

On this note then, I wish for death by insignificance! Whether it is a quick painting sketch like the one above or a more thoughtful work that has been months in the making below, there is something ridiculously freeing in having the paintings overlooked – not by you of course, or by the equivalent of a small city-size of others who follow my work. But overlooked by an abstract subjective notion about what is important contemporary art.

Winter Late Afternoon Georgina Point Mayne Island BC 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas

I can assure you that any description of an important contemporary artist does not include a middle-aged woman living off the southwest coast of Canada who paints the natural world around her. Nope! Her work is of no particular worth in this current context….. and, let’s hope this remains so for the sake of us all!

Besides it leaves you and I to enjoy our time by the sea, in the Japanese Gardens or along the trails under the arbutus trees without the clambering crowds. I kinda like the joy and freedom of this landscape easel painting perspective. It is fortifying, generous, kind and, for the most part, devoid of trolls.  I find it is good and simple way to live in a competitive, chaotic, globally connected world.

Happy International Women’s Day! As and independent artist with a small business, I have my red apron on in solidarity and I shall spare you the details about inequality in the Arts. Maybe another time. Though if you found the fate of landscape painters bleak, we should wait a while. 😉

What do you think? Do I have the answer to the “why” about right?

If you care to browse, new work has been released in my online gallery HERE.

What do you value that has no generalized worth in contemporary society?

© 2017 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

Until later Prince Edward Island as I leave with more painting sketches

Has the past three weeks really gone so fast that I have not intrigued you with my gallivanting from shore to hill to shore again? Well it seems so though I did share ten sketches on the website update, there has been more – so much more! But one must choose what to share I think, otherwise boredom will have you on the next global surf for website spectacular viewing. We must get on with it!

Let’s see…. oh yes, we shall start with just a few of the latest painting sketches and then a handful of photographs of subjects I find particularly fascinating.

I can never seem to get enough of the red dirt and sandstone of Prince Edward Island!

South Shores PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

South Shores PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5264

Cape Bear on edge study 12 x 9 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Cape Bear on edge study 12 x 9 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5259

Wind Swept Murray Head PEI study  11 x 14 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Wind Swept Murray Head PEI study 11 x 14 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5245

Hilltop View Above DeSable River PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch

Hilltop View Above DeSable River PEI study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch IMG_5492

But in truth, it is the relationship between land, sea and sky that keeps my attention no matter if it is red or white sand and stone.

Fogged In At Basin Head PEI Study  8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Fogged In At Basin Head PEI Study 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_5530

But there are also the lighthouses…

West Point Lighthouse 1875 PEI

West Point Lighthouse 1875 PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_4851

Colourful fishing huts…

Georgetown Harbour PEI

Georgetown Harbour PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_4896

And the churches…

This one comes with a story about its photographic capture even:

I almost didn’t get this photograph of the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, built 1848, in Brae, PEI. You see, there is at least one or sometimes two churches, of some sort it seems, within walking distance of pretty much every farm and fishing village on Prince Edward Island. There are large churches, small churches, plain churches, beautiful churches and unusual churches. Many, like this one, only open the doors for special occasions and eventually may be lost to more central houses of worship that can be reached easily with a vehicle. But, in a day’s adventure on this gorgeous island, we see a lot of churches!

Traveling with a landscape photographer, who is also the driver, can get more than just a little bit tedious. There is a lot of stop and go. There can be lot of turning around and going back even. So, by the time I spotted the Brae church through the trees and a ways over the fields and trees, my sweet husband was just about ready to crumble into a two-year old’s meltdown of angry despair. He is an extremely patient man but there are limits. Turning on the signal and thinking as fast as I can, I shout – LAST PHOTO OF THE DAY! while simultaneously and silently praying to the gods of fading light that I might be able to keep my word without regret. I didn’t dare look sideways at him, not even out of the corner of my eye. I just kept driving and searching for a photograph of the church from various angles as we approached. I knew I was only going to get to stop the car once without the floodgates of frustration overflowing the banks of spousal goodwill… and I was going to have to be quick about it. We were approaching the end of a long day, both of us hungry and tired.

At first I couldn’t find the shot. There were power lines everywhere and very little to use for context. Then I saw a small bridge and zipped across. Turning into the Brae Harbour Rd, I spin a slow u-turn and park. I leap out of the car and jog across the road. I had it! Last photo of the day – with nothing more than a heavy sigh and a grinning shaking of his head as he asks – did you get it!?

Phewffff! Love wins another round!

Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception 1848  Brae PEI

Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception 1848 Brae PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_4862

And then there are red dirt back roads….

Eliot River Rd PEI

Eliot River Rd PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_5362

Fresh leaves gracing Currie Rd PEI

Fresh leaves gracing Currie Rd PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_5394

Farrar Rd PEI

Farrar Rd PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_5397

No matter where we went, from North Cape to Cavendish to Summerside to St. Peters Bay, to East Point to Georgetown, to Murray Head to Rocky Point or just on the streets of Charlottetown, we were welcomed with exemplar Canadian kindness! Prince Edward Island has managed to cultivate the best of rural and urban living in its small province and it is a place that warms the heart and lifts the spirit. We will be back. We have made a promise to ourselves to have me come and work in the fall to early winter, maybe in 2017, to capture the landscape again in painting sketches and photographs during the autumn season. For now, I must go home and start working up the Prince Edward Island landscape onto larger canvases using the reference material I have gathered over the past seven weeks. I owe a huge thanks to all the islanders who have welcomed me and shared their favourite places and advice. There are too many to name but you know who you are! Thank you!!! Until we meet again!


I usually end with a question but I actually have not one to ask today so…


What question might you like to ask today?


P.S. Save the date for Mayne Island, B.C. – West to East Coast Art Show featuring new landscape painting sketches and recent large oil paintings by Terrill Welch on Sat. July 9th 1-4 pm and Sun. July 10th from 11 am – 4 pm at the Mayne Island Community Centre, 493 Felix Jack Road.

Terrill will be displaying over 18 of her new east coast painting sketches (prints of these works can be ordered) from her trip to Prince Edward Island this spring along with recent west coast landscape paintings that will be available to purchase.

During this pop up show, Terrill will be painting live and demonstrating how her work goes from a collection of sketches and photography reference materials to the final large oil paintings.

Come experience the magic of these landscape renderings of Canada’s west and east coasts as they are captured and translated by Terrill Welch with her brushes and paints onto medium and large canvases.


© 2016 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

A few painting and image snippets of Prince Edward Island

During the last two weeks, I have taken my camera and brushes to Cavendish, North Rustico, Dalvay Beach, Savage Harbour, Blooming Point and St. Peters Bay on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province. Though it is May, the weather is mostly wool-sweater cool, with the occasional breezy sunny day.  The potatoes are being planted and the daffodils and magnolias are blooming. However, it can still get down below freezing at night. But the light! It is a photographer’s and painter’s jewel-of-a-life-time in the early mornings and anytime before ten o’clock on this fine island during the month of May. Working our way along the north shore towards the east, let’s have a look and see what we have for you in the albums.

Cavendish is the setting for the fictional Anne of Green Gables stories and these stories are the most commonly referenced attribute when I mention Prince Edward Island. I found that it was impossible to resist a wee ramble up to the Cavendish cliffs with its rather tame wild rabbits (there are signs NOT to feed them but, from the behviour of the rabbits, I don’t think this is heeded).

Sitting with the view at Cavendish PEI is for my mother who deeply enjoyed “the Anne books.” I, on the other hand, humbly admit, to never turning a page in even one of these books.

Sitting with the view at Cavendish PEI by Terrill Welch May 11 2016 IMG_3745

When I whispered this to someone in a tweet, she replied “I am pretty sure you can get your Canadian citizenship revoked if this gets widely known… or get voted off the island.”

Okay, I will think about reading them… maybe this fall or winter when I am working in the studio on larger oil paintings of this area. After all, I really don’t want to get dangled off the cliffs of Cavendish.

Cliffs of Cavendish PEI by Terrill Welch May 11 2016 IMG_3816

Something to think about while I am waiting for the ground paint to dry for a quick plein air painting sketch.

waiting for the ground paint to dry Cavendish PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_3797

As you can see, in the few minutes between photographs, the clouds are moving so fast that the sea cannot settle on a colour. I love this about the sky and the sea and how they talk and sometimes even shout at each other.

quick plein air painting sketch at Cavendish PEI by Terrill Welch May 11 2016 IMG_3809

Pulling on my heavy wool sweater, sleeves rolled up, I work as quickly as I can. The waves coming ashore provide a diversion from my stiffening fingers.

Wave connecting on the shores of Cavendish PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_3757

I end my reference work with “Shores of Cavendish in May PEI” 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord.

Shores of Cavendish in May PEI 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_3821

I could stop here and it would be a complete blog post. However, this is not wise. I do not have much time for blogging. Even though the post will be long by the time I am finished, we had best continue. This is a good time for you to get a beverage of choice and snuggle right into the adventure……

Earlier on this same morning, long before it was warm enough to want to stand still and paint, I meandered around North Rustico which is just a little further to the east of Cavendish. Pleased with my reference images, I am not sure yet if I will make it back for a painting session. It was about 7:00 am or so when I took these.

North Rustico bathed in early morning sun PEI

North Rustico bathed in early morning sun PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_3688

There is nary a fishing boat in sight at the Warf because lobster season opened on the 1st of May.

Seagulls Nest Rustico Harour PEI

Seagulls Nest Rustico Harour PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_3701

North Rustico Lighthouse PEI where red sand drifts up from the shore and onto the dirt road.

North Rustico Lighthouse PEI by Terrill Welch May 11 2016 IMG_3733

Continuing east, over hill and dale along the coast, a person will eventually arrive at Dalvay Beach. On this particular day I am joined by CBC Host/Producer of Mainstreet PEI, Karen Mair, who does an interview with me for a 5-6 minute guest appearance sometime next week on her show.

Standing on Dalvay Beach cliffs plein painting PEI by Terrill Welch IMG_3869

I am a happy painter – more red sand and warm hues to work with.

Dalvay Beach PEI 9 x 12 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Dalvay Beach PEI 9 x 12 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch IMG_3903

I am sure that one can’t truly claim to have been to Prince Edward Island unless they have ground red sand between their teeth after being blasted by a cloud of grit on the beach or stomped the red mud from their shoes before going in doors. This was my plein air adventure on Mother’s Day.

PEI red mud by Terrill Welch May 8 2016 IMG_3373

A friend who moved to Charlottetown three years ago took me to her favourite beach at Blooming Point. It is a warm day with fog drifting in off the water. The filtered light is perfect!

Mother's Day Blooming Point Beach PEI by Terrill Welch May 8 2016 IMG_3423

My friend walked with her dog and read while I painted.

Plein air painting at Blooming Point PEI by Terrill Welch May 8 2016 IMG_3418

Blooming Point Beach PEI 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

Blooming Point Beach PEI 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch May 8 2016 IMG_3421

There is a large painting to come from these reference materials of Blooming Point. I can feel it in my bones!

Then there is this one day where the wind howled and I had to hang onto the car door to keep it from coming off its hinges when I stepped out to take photographs. In fact, 92 % if the island’s power was generated by wind on this day. Despite the wind, the afternoon light was stunning.

The relationships between land, sky and sea has never been stronger.

Atlantic Ocean north shores PEI by Terrill Welch May 9 2016 IMG_3505

Shores to sea, Savage Harbour PEI

shores to sea Savage Harbour PEI by Terrill Welch May 9 2016 IMG_3577

St Peters Roman Catholic Church built in 1927 next to a ploughed field PEI

St Peters Roman Catholic Church 1927 ploughed field PEI by Terrill Welch May 9 2016 IMG_3618

The red field brings up the third aspect of Prince Edward Island notoriety – potatoes!

Fields of red St Peters Bay PEI.

fields of red St Peters Bay PEI by Terrill Welch May 9 2016 IMG_3646


Well, there you have it!  A few snippets from the past couple of weeks. There is more of course but it shall wait for another time. I feel as if I have collected what I came to gather. Now? I am on bonus time – with still another month left to explore! I am beaming widely and relaxing into our adventure here on the east coast of Canada. So, I leave you with this novella-length post and I am off!


What creative adventure are you relaxing into today?


© 2016 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

In the Beginning there was Oil Paint and a Canvas

So you want to learn how to oil paint!? How does nine steps or building blocks to accomplishing this task sound? Does it make your brushes start dancing in their jar? Do your tubes of paint start squeezing themselves out on the palette? Okay, maybe that is just a bit too much to expect. But you get the idea. Painters have all started from somewhere near the same place….

The painting supply shopping is done and you are feeling slightly nauseous from the decrease in your bank balance. But you are ready with a few good oil paints and a handful of quality canvases. You have a couple of big brushes, a couple of medium brushes, one or three small brushes plus a tiny one for your all-important  signature. You have chosen some old clothes or a painting apron and you have scrounged up a painting rag. You have wrestled your portable easel together without running screaming into the night. You know to clean your brushes carefully with soap and water at the end of each painting session. You know that you are painting with your whole body and not your wrist and hand. If you can, you will stand to paint and when possible do it barefoot. You know to use all of the information from all of your senses, not just what your mind thinks your eyes are seeing. You know that “alla prima” is an Italian word for painting wet-on-wet in a first attempt. Now what?

With a flick of my painterly brush and fingers fluttering across the keyboard, let’s get started!

Today, we are going to begin en plein air (in the open air). Choose a canvas that is small to medium is size. Once you get to your painting location, possibly feeling a little like a pack mule with an unsecured load of pointed objects protruding from various bags and sacks, you are ready to decide on your subject. Once you have given the subject and composition of your painting careful consideration, set up your easel.  Swearing is allowed if no one is within hearing distance. Now, decide on your painting intention.

Painting intention: What are you loosely holding in mind as you work today? What is your aim? If you could direct the powers of the universe onto your finished canvas, what would the viewer experience?

Now you are ready to paint:

1. Your canvas can have a wet or dry ground colour. In this case, we have a dry ground in cadmium yellow. For our west coast landscape this is often the best ground in order to bring our many blues hues alive on a canvas. But, since this is early spring in a garden, the ground could just as well have been a taupe if it is a wet ground or a thin layer of raw or burnt umber if it is a dry ground. The use of a ground helps to break the barrier between painter and a stark white canvas. You become familiar with the size and shape of the canvas you are using in a very physical way by the time the ground is painted. You have made a start. The ground can sometimes make it easier to see the values or colour relationships as the painting is developing. It is also my preference to have parts of the ground showing through later on rather than the blank canvas.

1. start with a wet or dry ground by Terrill Welch IMG_9194

2. Set out your palette. In this case, I am using Lukas Berlin water-mixable oil paints. The pigments are rich, the clean up easy and the paint requires no use of solvents, making it more environmentally friendly than regular oil paints. My other choice, though a little pricey, is M. Graham walnut oil paints. Again, no solvents are necessary in my painting process. However, if you are using paints that require solvents, please make sure you have lots of ventilation. Eventually, each painter develops their own preferred palette layout. The most important aspect of this is that it becomes habitual in some way. You need to be able to easily remember where each pigment is located – without having to stop and think about it every time you want to mix a colour. I am left-handed. The arrangement below works for me. The lightest blue is at the bottom left. The lightest yellow starts in the top right and is arranged below until it gets to the deepest red. The top left is where I will mix my darkest hues, even though I need to reach across to my deepest red to make this happen. I sometime put out a flesh colour when painting landscapes as an alternative to adding white. Naples yellow is used in the same manner.

2. setting out palette by Terrill Welch IMG_9192

*Tip – Pigments mixed in various mediums and from different brands of paint behave slightly differently and may have different names. Learn how the brand you are using behaves by doing a few colour studies on a scrap of old canvas or panel.

Today, I have no black or payne’s grey on this palette. In fact, I recommend leaving this off until later in the learning curve of oil painting. Notice as well that there is no green or violet. These will be mixed for use as needed. If you haven’t studied a colour wheel recently in order to know what colours can be mixed to make another, don’t worry. For now – put your scientific adventure headband on and experiment. A detailed study of colour theory can come later and will continue for as long as you set about the process of painting. Paints are kind of like being presented with a spice cabinet and a garden full of herbs and then being told to gather together what smells right for the soup you are making. The first few times, you may come up with some rather strange combinations. However, eventually you figure out what you like and what works best for you. You could have just followed a recipe of course. But this leaves you looking up another recipe every time you want to make something new. If you learn by practice, from selectively gathering and using the raw ingredients, eventually you can flavour anything to your satisfaction that you want to cook. You can make adjustments at the start and at any point along the process. Painting is like this. If you experiment, from the very beginning, you have a better chance of developing the skills to allow you maximum creative freedom in the future. Methods, techniques and approaches are all just tools to accomplish the intention that you set out before beginning the painting process.

3. Mix a few of the more obvious colours in your composition or those that you want as reference points. In this case, my intention is to catch the very breath of early spring. I want to ensure I have the variety of pinks, violets, plums and purples of the plum blossoms. To have the best chance of getting this painting to sing the flush notes of spring, I mix these to ensure I have strong reference points for later on. At first, try to use your palette knife for mixing what you want to lay onto the canvas. However, I admit to having always used my brush, at least half the time, and continuing the final mix right on the canvas as I lay the wet paint down beside and on top of what is already there.

3 a. mix some more obvious colour in the compostion start with brief sketch by Terrill Welch

That long tail on an oil painting brush isn’t there for you to dangle the brush off the end of your fingertips. It is there to help with balance and to keep the tension between brush and canvas as you apply paint on a surface that is at an upright angle. Each paint brush is a little different. You will need to learn the balance point of each one by holding it between your fingers with a light grip that eventually allows you to roll it over-and-around with easy. Practice moving your fingers up and down the handle until you find your perfect balance point. If at any point you start to feel frustrated with how the paint is showing up on your canvas, the first thing to do is recheck that you are holding your brush in balance.

3 b. find the balance point to holding brush firm but lightly by Terrill Welch

*Tip – your brush is a tool or vehicle to get the paint from your palette and onto your canvas. To most efficiently accomplish this task, load ample paint on just the tip of the brush. But even before you do that dip the brush in oil or water if you are using water-mixable oil paints and squeeze the excess out. This makes the brush easier to clear at the end of the day and helps to release the paint from the brush onto the canvas.

3 c. for alla prima load ample paint so it sits on the tip of the brush

4. Using a large brush or brushes, we are ready to start making a few marks and points of observation and reminders on the canvas. In this painting method, limited-to-no medium is necessary. You do not need to pay too much attention to fat over lean because the paint, for the most part, will all be of the same medium balance. The fat over lean lesson can be learned later on as it becomes necessary. Since you have spent time considering your composition before setting up to paint, don’t over-think this beginning. Just get started. It is only oil paint and canvas. Nothing is right or wrong at this point. You are starting a painting conversation with your subject. Short, brief sentences are perfect. Hello. How are you? What kind of day is it? I like the shape of that darkness stretching up. Look at that patch of pink!? Where is the movement in this composition? Where is the viewer? And so on…. You are beginning to warm up with the most pronounced darks and lights. Your canvas is being introduced to its subject using colour, shapes and the movement of directional brushstrokes.

4. Begin to quickly block in composition by patches of colour IMG_9203

5. While working on your whole canvas, keep going until shapes start to appear. Now check the strength of the composition. Ask yourself – in this composition, who is the star and who are the supporting actors that make them shine? Make any corrections necessary in the various patches of colour. The painting won’t look like much yet but you should be able to see where it is going. The start should have good bones before we proceed. This is often called “blocking in” your composition. It may literally appear as blocks of solid colour. Or it may be more abstract patches of colour as I have here. If you are just beginning to paint, take the time to organize the bones of a composition maybe fifty or even a 100 times without ever proceeding to the tendons, muscles, skin, clothes and some fine jewelry of a finished painting. Research and learn what elements make a good composition. Study and practice composing compositions for a few minutes each day. You can use your smart phone for assistance or you can make a sliding rectangle with by placing your pointer fingers to your thumb on the opposite hand. If you want to get real fancy, you can even buy a small viewfinder and put it in your pocket. The point is that excellent compositions are everywhere. We just need practice in seeing and composing them. The skill of blocking in an initial strong composition, accomplished quickly with large brushes, is essential to the later quality of a painting. It is the support beams and studs of your painting building. This is not the time to be hanging curtains or putting down a throw rug! For now, large brushwork only. To keep the painting from becoming too muddy, you can use one large brush for darks and one for lights. Wipe the paint off the brush between changes in colour. But you don’t need to be too fussy about cleaning it at this point. The purpose is to get some paint on the canvas in the general location that it needs to be placed.

5. keep going until shapes start to appear then check strength of composition IMG_9209

6. Remember to be flexible. Up to this point it has been raining and I am set up in a little overhang. The air is cool enough that my water-mixable oils are a bit stiff. Ideally, I would have used my M. Graham walnut oil paints. But I wanted the easier clean up of the Lukas Berlin paints for the plein air work this morning. Now, the worst thing possible happens. The sun comes out. I have no place to protect my canvas from the direct light and then to still be able to see my subject. I seldom work with an umbrella over my painting easel so I am stuck. I try moving the easel around a few times. I look at the unpredictable sky that threatens to rain again without notice. I make a decision. I am best off to pack up and head to the studio to complete the work.

I had taken a few reference images before I started painting when I was still deciding on my composition. The light in my finished painting is hiding some place between here…

7. about ten am reference image by Terrill Welch IMG_9180

and here….

8. almost noon with the sun reference image by Terrill Welch out IMG_9219

*Tip – a specific photograph is almost useless to the process of rendering a painting alive. However, several reference images from various angles and perspectives, often captured over a few hours of plein air painting, can be a helpful resource once you are back in the studio. I frequently take between 50 and 150 reference images for a specific canvas. Sometimes I even have years of photographic references collected on a specific subject before I decide on a larger landscape canvas. The most significant difference between a photograph and the process of painting from life is that a photograph freezes the light and shadow. It has one still perspective. On the other hand, a painter, working from what is in front of them, paints the light and shadows in motion. This dynamic experience is combined with the actual motion and movement of the painter. A camera cannot see around corners. But a painter can. The painter also has all of the other information available to them from their other senses. In order to replicate this body of rich information in the studio, it must be gathered in the field to provide the sensory memory-triggers for the painter when they no long have the subject directly in front of them. The human eye darts around continuously recording patches of colour. The brain organizes this information by relevance and in relationship to each other, allowing us to quickly discern objects. This organizing is influenced by more than information provided by the eyes. It is accomplished by referencing information from all of our senses and by past experiences. We have, over our life-time of observation, created a refined system of “seeing” that has built-in short-cuts. In the painting-from-life and alla prima process, we want to unpack this refined system of observation and conclusions that our brain has developed. We attempt to bring our awareness back to as much of the raw data being input into the brain as we possibly can. The single camera image used as a painting reference interferes with this raw data retrieval process and, by extension, will interfere with the painting. However, a collection of images will more easily allow the painter to access what the eye, the ears, the nose, and the physical body observed  – before the brain began to organize and make sense of this information. A painter almost always wants access to the cumulative raw data from all of their senses when painting from life – before they attempt to draw any conclusions with a brush on a canvas. This is how mystery, intrigue and also familiarity is rendered onto a canvas. As a  painter, you are inviting the viewer to organize the raw information you have discovered and skillfully arranged onto the canvas for themselves. Through this painting kind of invitation, you have the best chance of being able to engage the full-body sensory receptors of the viewer when they look at your work.  They then use their own life-time practice of “seeing” and organize the information you have provided for themselves. In this manner the painting conversation will continue with each individual viewer – endlessly. That is the possibility, the promise and the hope anyway.

7. The closer to the actual life-experience one works in the studio, particularly in the beginning when learning to paint, the easier it is to access the first impressions of a subject within its context. So, when I return to the studio, I immediately continue working on my painting. By now, it is evident that the plum blossoms are my star and everything else is my supporting actors. To fulfill my intention of capturing the first breath of spring, all high, low and minor notes in the painting must come together in a full inhale and exhale towards this single purpose. The boldest of the bold must be visible on the canvas. The darkest dark and the lightest lights begin to fall into in place. The shimmering curves of colour must be placed and exaggerated just slightly for emphasis. We are now ready to add a simplistic garment over the bones, tendons of our composition.

9. Plums Blossoms Japanese Garden work in progress 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-03-06 IMG_9240

8. I pause. I stand way back and revisit my composition. Some elements have shifted from their actual placement. Do they work better or worse than what I observed in my initial inspiration? At this point the painting must stand on its own. It must be able to breathe on its own. The painting must begin the process of separation from the actual subject and even from the painter’s own experience. Now, what is on the canvas and the painter’s intention must work together to bring the work to completion. I decide to take bit longer break before venturing into the final stages of completing the painting. A cup of tea. A twitter tweet. A Facebook post. A trip to the bathroom and a walk out on the deck. I glance at that painting from different angles out of the corner of my eye. I do whatever it takes to separate my ego-self from the painting and to allow me to join in an equal partnership with what is on the canvas. Do I want to continue the painting conversation? Is it a dynamic, meaningful and inspiring possibility? It is okay to if it is not, for then I ask myself and the canvas if it is a salvageable relationship. If it is not, then there is no need to go any further. The canvas can be scraped, the painting outlines with its rough paragraphs can be deleted. Or the bones of the work can be left to ponder or reorganize into another attempt. Whatever metaphors a painter wants to use, this is the point where I decide if I am fully invested in completing the work or if it was only a passing thought. The intention I set, before I ever pick up a brush or squeezed a tube of paint, is my best touch-stone in helping me to make this decision. Take yourself back to that loosely held aim for your canvas. In this way you can look at the canvas with fresh eyes. Now, make a decision one way or the other and move forward.

I decide to complete the painting. At this point I can start working with my medium and smaller brushes.

*Tip – to choose the best-size brush for the job of creating the painting impressions of your subject, pick up the largest one you think you can manage. Then put it down and choose one that is just slightly larger than that.

By the end of the day, I can feel the essence of early spring on the canvas. I am close to complete.

10. Plum Blossoms Japanese Garden resting 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-03-06

The next morning I refine the painting’s garments for a slightly better fit with a tuck here and a bracelet there, maybe a bolder pair of earrings for a bit of sparkle and I move the buckle of her plum-blossom belt right into the sunlight. The painting is done. Allow me to introduce you to:

Plum Blossoms Japanese Garden 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch

11. Plum Blossoms Japanese Garden 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-03-09 IMG_9315

You now have all the basic building blocks to paint your first oil painting using an alla prima oil painting method but one. Can you guess what it is?

9. To conclude your painting process, review your palette for clues to what you have learned, what you want to remember for next time and what worked and didn’t work. Ask yourself what you want to start doing, stop doing and keep doing for your next painting. No two paintings that use the method I have set out before you will look the same. Each painter brings their own experiences, temperament and attitude to the process. We each have our own painting fingerprint. Part of understanding these individual characteristics is to review your palette at the end of a painting process. To assist me in this process, I like to start with a clean palette at the beginning of each painting – because I love light and colour and the simple abundance that can be found in an ordinary day. This is part of my own personal finger print. A clean palette at the start of each painting gives me the best chance of mixing what I see before me rather than what I saw previously.

12. palette at the end of painting IMG_9280

Now you are ready to practice, practice and practice some more. As you come across new painting problems there will be new methods, approaches, techniques, painting theories and ideas to learn in order to find a solution. This process never ends. But you have enough information here to get you started. You have enough to allow your painting practice to serve your intentions. Of course, this is not the “right” way or the “only” way to approach oil painting. It is one way. As your body of knowledge and experience grows, you will refine and add to your own individual painting practice. The purpose of this post is to allow you to get started.

For my regular readers, this may seem like a gathering of the highlights from several years-worth of posts about my painting process that has been shared in this Creative Potager blog. Of course, it isn’t everything. Just a beginning. But it is a beginning that gives the reader some of the basics for a life-long practice of bringing the brush to paint and then to the canvas when using a wet-on-wet or alla prima method.

For new and regular readers, that want to learn how to oil paint, I hope you have found these nine steps helpful. If you would like to work together further, I am offering online feedback (for a fee) on your specific painting efforts via my closed Facebook group at Painting with More than Our Eyes. You may private message me from my personal Facebook profile if this is something that interests you. In order to prioritize my own studio time, I only have the capacity for a small number of participating painters at a time. However, please feel free to check in with me and we can see what might work. In the meantime, happy painting!


What intention are you setting for today?


© 2016 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

Intention, Composition and Underpainting are Tools of the Trade used by the Artist

Today’s work set aside to dry ….

Beginning with underpainting of Westerly Winds Victoria BC 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Beginning with underpainting of Westerly Winds Victoria BC 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-01-14 IMG_7555

Sometimes I am asked why do I use this tool of a flowing, rather shapeless underpainting? Wouldn’t a ground colour do? Why not just begin the painting and start with a pencil or charcoal sketch to mark the forms?

The answers to these questions are interrelated and to some extent personal and subjective to my intent. So lets start with my intent with this painting – I want my viewer to be standing along this specific shore on this specific day and be able to feel their presence within the landscape. Admittedly not a small task considering that 80% of the North American population lives in urban centres and has limited ability and time to spend watching how a specific landscape looks at different times of day and at different times in the year. Still, I believe part of my job is to provide this experience which then becomes more familiar to the viewer in the face of the actual physical environment. I make no assumption at all that the viewer is familiar with what it is I am about to paint. If we keep this in mind, it helps to understand the task I must complete with a rather simplistic landscape in order to convey the power of the universe through the sun, sea, and land.

First, in this case I began with a quick 20 minute plein air sketch yesterday.

Westerly Winds coming Ashore on the Sea 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on panel board by Terrill Welch 206-01-13 IMG_7543

I wanted and needed that time on the shore to gather as many sensory notes as possible so that I can retrieve them for this work. So let’s unpack this underpainting process.

To proceed with a loose flowing “sketch” if you will for the underpainting is preferred in this case because the simplicity of the landscape makes it all the more difficult to render the movement and tension between the elements in the scene. This style of underpainting is preferred to a ground in this situation because the process provides a first check on the “rightness” of the composition for the intended purpose. The reds, yellows and oranges are simply a tool to bring the most movement and brilliance to the greys, blues, browns, yellows and whites of the finished landscape. Through trial and error I have found these pigments for underpaintings the most effective for capturing the significant range of lively blues in our west coast landscape. Therefore, the underpainting adds a strength to the end result that is near to impossible to replicate by beginning with the specific colours of the finished painting.

Do I always do an underpainting? No. Its use depends on my subject and my intention for the finished work. I sometimes do a quick painting sketch and work with the white canvas. I sometimes use a ground colour only. I sometimes work with wet grounds too. But this kind of underpainting, used for this work, is a favourite and there are reasons for this that go beyond any visual result and more to an intuitive remembering.

When I work a canvas up with this kind of underpainting, I begin to physically learn the window of space and the painting language that will be translated onto the canvas from my sensory information which I have gathered up to this point. My physical reference material will often include both photography and painting sketches.The sensory information is much more than what I see. It includes what I heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. There was the rolling of the stones on the shore beside me and the steps of people walking past. I could feel wind pushing cold air into my back and brushing my hair across my face. I could smell the cold dampness of snow, rain and salt. My eyelashes were cool. My hands were stiff with cold. But there was a warmth in the gray, the blue-green and the a brightness in the sky that was punctuated by the sturdy cliffs and the jut of land. It is all of this that I must translate into brushstrokes. The movement of the brushstrokes for the underpainting are like rough notes for the beginning of this painting conversation. I am intimately aware of the forcefulness between the elements of this seascape. I want this on the canvas from the very beginning.

iphone capture plein air painting Victoria BC by Terrill Welch 2016-01-13

I hope this helps to explain why I sometimes find this particular process of underpainting necessary to the rendering of my final work. Thanks for joining me and all the best of today.

Here is the finished painting:

Westerly Winter Winds Victoria BC – 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Details and purchase information are available HERE.

© 2016 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

Late Autumn Travel and news from the Studio

The lemon, cadmium and naples yellows are brilliant and the brush quick in the  Okanagan afternoon sun. Peachland reminds me of painting en plein air in France with everyone stopping to visit and comment on the progress as I worked.

This is very different from the usual Canadian standing back and frowning at me as they skeptically ask “Can you make a living do that?”

I always here their parent’s voice in these comments. After so many years of these exchanges, I am mostly use to it. But it can still, on occasion, be a little startling. I wonder, do these same people, if they see someone pruning hedges, or building a fence, or moving their herd of cattle, or tying up their charter fishing boat or cleaning the bathrooms in the provincial park, do they ask those people this same question? It is, after all, one would think, un-Canadian-like to ask such a personal question, tinged with judgement, to a person you see standing in front of an easel (paintbrush in hand) outdoors in our scenic landscape. But not so apparently. When I look up at these strangers, I realize that they just can’t help themselves. They simply must ask. Their curiosity seems to override politeness. I have a plan though.

The next time I am asked this question, I am going to reply “Why do you ask?”

I am sure their answers will be fascinating!

But in Peachland, like it was when I traveled in France, the people stopping by seemed to know and respect the seriousness and dedication that goes into the “real work ” of painting – even a quick plein air sketch. I was impressed and pleased. People could be seen crossing the street to come over to where I was busy working away at the easel.

Plein Air painting in Peachland British Columbia by Terrill Welch October 24 2015

They stopped in both direction on their walks along the waterfront to see how the sketch was coming along. It was a most pleasant 45 minutes on a fine autumn day!

The southern interior of British Columbia in general simply IS different from our southwest coast. Take these reflections on Vaseux Lake.

A little colour…

A little colour south end of Vaseux Lake British Columbia by Terrill Welch 2015_10_30 075

and more colour…

Autumn Vaseux Lake British Columbia by Terrill Welch 2015_10_30 089

and then not much at all…

sleeping giant at Vaseux Lake British Columbia by Terrill Welch 2015_10_30 109

But the reflections! These kinds of reflections we do not get often on the Pacific Ocean. Not like this. I will be back another time I am sure. I have to test out other locations to see if more of the Okanagan has an appreciation of plein air artists or if it is just Peachland.

Back in the studio, another of the paintings that recently sold was delivered and is now ensconced in its new home. Doesn’t it look like it has always been there?

The Olive Tree 40 x 30 inch oil on canvas in its new home by Terrill Welch 2015_10_07 010

I did get one more finished, done excepted for the edges, new oil painting completed during the past few weeks. It started out with the usual underpainting and was built up from there.

The final result is “Winter” an 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas Mayne Island seascape.

Winter 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_11_10 024

In October, the painting shared in the previous post that I had just completed, “Salish Sea No Separation” 18 x 24 inch walnut oil, also sold before I could get it officially released. This work has safely arrived in Michigan and is now gracing the walls in the living room of a large rancher. I haven’t seen any photographs yet but I am sure I will before long.

Salish Sea No Separation 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_08_23 096

Right now, I am feeling the pressure to find more studio time so that the inventory is replenished for the upcoming year. I trust I shall find the time. I know that I will. I must!

Then, we shall smile together when the next person says – “can she really make a living at that!?”

We can simultaneously reply… “Why do you ask?”

In other studio news, there are rumours of a possible pop-up show of my paintings early in the New Year. This will be confirmed once plans are in place. Also, I will be painting and staying in Victoria for the month of January and then traveling to Prince Edward Island to photograph and do painting sketches from the end of April until near the end of June. During the Art! Vancouver international art fair in May, I expect to have a couple of paintings in a gallery group show in Vancouver as well. The year ahead is shaping up to be eventful already.

For now though, I am rolling up my sleeves in the studio to paint!

Best of the holiday season everyone in case we don’t chat here again before then!

© 2015 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

Plein air painting with the company of fellow painter Lena Levin

Seven days and seven nights at a leisurely pace we ferried and drove down the west coast from our Mayne Island home in British Columbia, Canada until we reach Fremont California in the Untied States. The last 30 minutes coming in on the 580  and finding our way to 880 freeway were the most challenging. I do believe every cell in my body was on high-alert by the time we pulled up in front of our Airbnb rental accommodations on Thursday afternoon. There the car has stayed parked until we leave later this morning!

But this Gulf Island rural painter was gifted with rare dancing thunderclouds, early spring-green Fremont Hills and dramatic light for two days of plein air painting. Fellow artist, Lena Levin, took me to one of her plein air locations in the Quarry Lakes Regional Park both Friday and Saturday morning. While Lena worked on a couple of larger surface in oils that she will finish in the studio, I did small acrylic sketches for reference later when I get back home to my own studio. It was fine way to spend a good part of a morning and early afternoon.

Here is an early stage of Lena’s first painting on Friday with my small setup in the background.

works in progess plein air painting in Quarry Lakes Regional Park Fremont California with Lena Levin by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 063

I took the opportunity to capture Lena as she worked.

Painter Lena Levin at work in Quarry Lake Regional Park Freomont California by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 086

There is a steady flow from brush to palette to canvas with pauses like those in music before the rhythm begins again.

Painter Lena Levin work in progress by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 065

At times a kind of squinting concentration, that is familiar for me from the inside, crosses Lena’s face.

Lena Levin plein air painting in Quarry Lakes Regional Park by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 069

If you would like to learn more about painter Lena Levin and see more of her work, here is the link to her website: . I deeply enjoyed the time we spent viewing and talking about her work in her home studio space. So, if you are interested in her paintings and are ever in the area, I strongly recommend connecting with Lena and scheduling a studio visit.

Looking from my easel in the other direction, we can see the first of three sketch I did over the two mornings.

Plein air painting of Fremont hills in Quarry Lakes Regiona Park with Lena Levin by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 078

“big clouds over the green Fremont Hills in California” 9 x 12 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

big clouds over the green Fremont Hills in California 9 x 12 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 133

In the second sketch from the first day, I allow myself to just simple soak up the beauty of those Fremont hills as the clouds created moving patterns across their surface.

“In their best greens Fremont Hills California” 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on claybord

In their best greens Fremont Hills California 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on claybord by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 131

On the second day, I only did one sketch and I spent so much time on it, I am not sure it can be called a sketch any longer, certainly not a “quick” sketch. I was just enjoying the spaces in between and the rhythms of the moving clouds and light so much that I stayed with it.

“willows by the Quarry Lakes Fremont California” a 9 x 12 inch acrylic sketch on canvas board.

willows by the Quarry Lakes Fremont California 9 x 12 inch acrylic sketch on canvas board by Terrill Welch 2015_02_28 064

There are some disadvantages to painting in an area for only a few days. My memory of Fremont, California will forever be referenced to this fantastic dramatic light on the brilliant green early spring hills and the good company of a fellow painter, Lena Levin. It is wonderful reference but maybe not very representational of this landscape overall. But you know what? I will take it and keep it as mine 🙂 This along with the most delicious and succulent free-range duck that we had for dinner prepared by Lena’s partner Eugene. Combined with rich conversation, walls filled with paintings, much laughter and enjoyment the memories are sustaining.

As many of you know by now, my David is NOT one for visiting. During the three weeks or so of our trip, we made plans to only meet with two people who have both in different ways been part of my online inner-circle for several years. So, I am also grateful for his participation and enjoyment of these visits.

While I pack this morning for our slow journey back up the coast of California and Oregon to our home in British Columbia, Canada – my glass of good-living is full. I have exceeded my expectations for this trip already. To those that gave us so many ideas for what to do in San Francisco and where we might like to stop in our travels along the coast, I thank you! We of course didn’t do many of these activities but in knowing what we could do it was a conscious choice. I am not sure if I will have the opportunity post again before we return home but know that we are fine and poking along someplace on a windy highway along the coast heading north.

What are one of your own road trips that remain a sustaining reference for well-being?


© 2015 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

A wild lighthouse chase over on Seven Devils Road and other stuff

The sun is rising all peachy and I have only a few minutes with a low connection so this is going to be quick. Our weather is holding on the Oregon coast it looks like for a bit yet. Here are a few captures from the last few days.

Smaller rocks on Cannon Beach

Smaller rocks Cannon Beach Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_21 301

The brute on Cannon Beach which I walked for 45 minutes to get on the other side of for this portrait.

The brute on Cannon Beach Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_21 324

Sunset at Neskowin with a lone figure standing in awe at its beauty.

Lone figure sunset Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_21 556

First light on shore at Neskowin.

first sun in  morning Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_22 001

Plein air painting a little later in the morning.

morning plein air painting at Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_22 015

I was photographed by Penny Lulich while we were visiting and I was workin.

Terrill Welch painting at Neskowin Oregon by Penny Lulich February 22 2015

As someone commented “a nice place to have an office.” In fact, we liked it so much that we stayed an extra day and watched the sun come up again.

morning sky at Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 017

Threading a day at Neskowin Oregon

threading a day at Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 298

with a long walk up the beach.

morning beach at Neskowin Beach by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 228

But I did promise you lighthouses and a many devils road and we are about to get to that adventure after breakfast at the Hawk Creek Cafe. Well, maybe we will slip over at Seal Rock for a gander first.

Seal Rock Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 340


So as you go through Reedsport start thinking lighthouse, any lighthouse will do but maybe start with Umpqua Lighthouse. Nope it is not out on a rock with waves crashing around it but high on a cliff behind a chain-link fence. Still it is a thing of aged beauty and it was time for bread and cheese and a stretch.

Umpqua lighthouse Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 364

It was after, just as we navigated to the scenic route through North Bend that things got a little confusing. David says “what are you looking for?”

“A lighthouse.” I reply with complete confidence.

“Which one?” he inquires looking at the map.

“The first one.” I confirm. “Someplace near Charleston.”

The GPS is sending us through the city section in a maze of turns until we finally end up at Cape Arago with no lighthouse in site. But there are sea lions on the rocks.

Sea Lions at Cape Arago Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 377

And the view is spectacular

Cape Arago Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 387

In fact there is a red dot on the far row of large rocks which I later believe to be the missing lighthouse. As we go back the way we came I see it once through the trees but that is it. There is no long access to it according to the section of our guide which I didn’t read until after supper last night. At this point David is weary of stop and go and is just as happy to see me punch in “Bandon” on the GPS. Off we go eventually along Seven Devils Road which I am sure was named to taunt lighthouse chasers.  David has his eyes closed and doesn’t say a word as I get close to Bandon and turn left before the bridge after spotting the sign for another lighthouse. The wind is whipping up sand that sticks to your smile as soon as the door opens. David just turns a little harder into the passenger seat and pretends I am not getting out. I take a couple of shots of the abandon Coquille River Lighthouse but nothing pleases me in the early evening light. I give up and drive us back out and over the bridge to Bandon turning into old town looking for a place to stay. I drive right through and off on a side road that gives me a good view of the lighthouse which I am sure is the reason I just had to go this way. David opens one eye but says nothing.

Coquille River Lighthouse Bandon Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 433

I pull out the maps and seriously look for a place to stay. We decide on the Bandon Inn overlooking the old town and are not disappointed. We are given a lower than low season rate by a warm desk clerk for a lovely room with a continental breakfast. For my B.C. folks, it could just as easily be the Super 8 in Williams Lake but with a better view.

Today we should find our way through the Oregon Redwoods and maybe into Northern California. I do see a couple of lighthouses on the map at Crescent City…. shhhh! Don’t tell David. He is still sleeping and it might give him nightmares.

When was the last time you were on a wild goose – lighthouse – chase?

© 2015 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

Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch solo exhibit and auction

Just so you know…

Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch

Twenty-two of Terrill Welch’s paintings open in a solo exhibit today in the International Fine Arts Collaborative (IFAC) ZEN Gallery Facebook Page curated by Sukhee Kwon.

S O L O . E X H I B I T I O N : 1 2
Collection: T E N D I N G . T O . T H E . O R D I N A R Y
Artist: Terrill Welch

IFAC Zen Gallery Solo Exhibition 12 Terrill Welch
To view the exhibit click on the image or HERE.
Intro: Terrill Welch is internationally recognized. Her paintings are sold to art collectors throughout Canada and the United States as well as in Australia, England, Norway and Switzerland. Since 2010, more than 50 of her paintings have found their way into private collections.

TENDING TO THE ORDINARY is a selection of paintings chosen for their moments of engagement with our everyday world. The brushstrokes render the light, shadow…

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