Melded Time

Try as I might, the mix of experiences this past week refuse to be organized into a meaningful story. It all feels like beautiful colours tangled into a day with no breaks in the string, no long pauses and no rest points. New projects, such as getting a gallery up and running, are often like this I think. The past seven days went something like the late ferry sunset building to a perfect moment.

With a couple of thoughts about the morning’s plein air painting time with a fellow painter and friend,

And another thought about the gyroscope jewellery coming in mail from another multi-talented painter and jeweler friend,

and it is over…

As the sun drips into the sea, we turn away preparing for night and see the almost-full moon reaching out to greet us.

In this flow of melded time, knowing one of these moments, someday, will be our last, one is often tempted to think about the strange concept of forever.

 

What moments this past week have tempted you to think about forever?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

Coming Soon Terrill Welch Gallery

Yes, you read correctly and I shall tell you more shortly. But first let’s catch up. I started writing this series of blog posts a little less than seven months ago following a conversation about how everything has been done before that we can no longer see the moon for all its representation in painting, sculpture, installation, film, writing and song. My purpose has been to bring you “the moon” in a way you will remember and notice for all time. In order to do this, I knew I must live my best life. I have been required to travel deeper and even more focused than ever before. My intention was clear. My inner compass set. But how are we faring so far? Is the actual and symbolic “moon” more noticeable in your daily adventures? Please I tell me, I truly would like to know because I am about to approach this moon seeing challenge from a slightly different perspective.

These past couple of weeks have been invigorating, focused, exhilarating and short on sleep. You may have noticed from last week’s shared post from the website “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” solo exhibition is up at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café on Mayne Island. Two painting sketches have sold already and I am working on a request for a small arbutus tree painting sketch that may result in a new series of arbutus tree paintings before “their” work is rendered. Here is the first release as part of exploring where mine and the collector’s vision may meet.

Arbutus Ridge 10 x 8 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

Details and purchase information available HERE.

This past Sunday morning, following the opening, I worked on a plein air painting in oils standing looking out on the view at the gallery.

I went back for a second and final painting session the next morning and it is now released and will be on display at the gallery by this coming Friday.

Summer Seas, 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas

Details and purchase information available HERE.

“But what about this Terrill Welch Gallery business?” you ask.

Well, I have rented a modest commercial space in a 1925 house where there are other retailers and small businesses in the central area of Miners Bay on Mayne Island. I have a vision for this gallery space that will focus on current art and painting conversations – such as “the moon is no longer there.” I anticipate, because of my own placement in exploring these intriguing questions, this will take on a global or international flavour. Selling work to collectors will likely be more of an afterthought or value-added option for in-person and online gallery visitors. The intention and focus instead will be on meeting and getting to know specific pieces of art, including the work of a small number of other artists, through conversations with possibly art historians, art teachers, art students, art collectors, art fans and maybe even art critics. The art in the gallery will primarily represent painters because this is what I am interested in and know the most about. There will be an intimacy and simplicity by design. The Terrill Welch Gallery will focus on depth and meaning rather than breadth and wall coverings. There will always be an online component as well as the bricks and mortar gallery space. Less is more, will be uniquely configured in this fresh (or refreshing) gallery approach. The opening is anticipated for early August. Seasons, days and the hours of the gallery will reflect island life and the needs of a working artist. For now, with the help of friends, I must tackle a different kind of painting – walls! Do I need to say that I how I feel about painting walls is similar to how I feel about painting edges on paintings? No? I didn’t think so.

So there you have it – the adventures of one artist off the southwest coast of Canada. I am fired-up with ideas and blowing purposefully, softly, on the flames of possibilities. There are at least a thousands good and rational reasons to say – no. The calculated risks are that I can fail miserable in front of a very public audience. Still, my heart says – you must do this hard thing. You have no time to stand shy on the sidelines of your own life’s adventure. Get in there and give it your best! Who can argue common wisdom with one’s heart and hope to hold sway? Not I.

For now, the Terrill Welch Gallery will be presented within my usual online platforms. It will receive specific mention in the Creative Potager posts and in my current website at TerrillWelchArtist.com.

 

What about you? What is your heart’s advice to you today?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

A Potpourri of Painting Adventures

In getting ready for the “West to East Canadian Landscapes in Paint” solo exhibition opening on June 30, 2017, I have inhaled the passionate fragrances from many rendered experiences of the last few years.  From climbing along the bluffs recently of Galiano Island

to painting with umbrella rattling in the breeze

while rain, sun and mist tumbling endlessly across the horizon

(The Bluffs Galiano Island 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch)

to maneuvering carefully on the narrow  red cliffs of Prince Edward Island last May,

Canada has an exhilarating and engaging topography!

(Cap Egmont Lighthouse PEI 18 x 24 inch oil on canvas)

From one crashing sea on the west coast

(plein air painting on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, B.C.)

to another on the east coast,

( plein air painting sketch at Cavendish PEI)

my brushes are hardly every still. There is more to capture the heart and imagination then there are tubes of paint to feverishly brush onto a surface. Still, I give it my best!

(Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC 24 x 48 inch oil on canvas)

Though this solo exhibition of 25 works is inspired by Canada 150 celebrations (and it will open on the Canada Day long weekend), there is so much more influencing these canvases, thousands of years more!

What natural environments bring your own heart to crescendo of emotion?

Note: Specifics about the solo exhibition are now available in a recent post on TerrillWelchArtist.com HERE.

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

The Beauty of Oils Class of 2017 Art Show

I have a surprise for us today but first, a little context is helpful.

In my experience most people think they have a pretty good idea what it takes to paint an oil painting of a subject from life. Most may even feel that if they had the time and desire they could dash off a Monet without too much trouble. I mean really! Look at what can be done during paint and drink night at the neighbourhood pub! However, if people have tried to paint, and found it harder than they thought, then they wrongly assume it is because they have no talent. Yes, some talent is useful but it is only about 20% of the equation to render a pleasing result. Few people consider that to become a skilled painter it takes hours and years of practice. You, my dear readers, are a small portion of art viewers who are well-informed on at least my painting process from your years of following Creative Potager. You are a knowledgeable exception to the average citizen. Most individuals have little idea about the range of skills development and study required beyond putting paint on a brush and applying it to a canvas. If they did, I would never be asked – how long did it take you to paint that? Well, none of this can be said about the four students that have completed the twelve session studio intensive oil painting class at the beginning of February. They know intimately what it takes to render an oil painting of a subject from life.

Some of these artists held their first brush in my three session pilot oil painting class a year earlier and then went on to take the eight session fall skills development oil painting class. Another artist started in the fall with previous drawing and basic painting skills in acrylic paints. Yet another painted in water colours and wanted to learn how to use oils. All painters still have painted less than 20 oil paintings in their life. All have been learning my long-hand process of solving painting problems on their own with instructional support from the very beginning of choosing their own composition, sketching and taking photographs of their ideas, making notes about their subject, observing different natural light condition, learning how to mix the colours they wanted, preparing a ground or underpainting, and painting wet-in-wet. They have painted from their own reference photograph and painting sketches in the studio classroom. They have braved the elements and painted en plein air. They have learned a method that will allow them to tackle painting any variety of subjects from everyday life. Then they went on to prepare their work to be “show ready” with painted edges or frames, titles, inventory numbers and so on. Now it is time to show the results! Each artist has six beautiful works to hang for viewing on Saturday, May 13th at the Mayne Island Community Centre between 3:00 – 7:00 pm.

Let’s briefly allow each painter to introduce themselves and share a sampling of their work so you can see what I am all excited about.

Glenda King – Living on Mayne Island allows me to have many possible beautiful compositions, whether it be a seascape, landscape or wildlife & birds. I have left my focus open until I find what my passion is….right now I am enjoying all that I have done & hope that you enjoy it also. The paintings I have done have come from my own photography or plein air, the latter being the preferred way to paint for this style.

Serenity 8 x 10 inch oil on canvas plein air – SOLD

Miners Bay Lookout 18 x 14 inch oil on canvas – AVAILABLE

Elspeth Westby – My focus has been to learn how to use the oils (I chose to use walnut oils by M. Graham and Co.), the different brushes and tools and become comfortable with an easel with the hope of doing “en plein air” painting. I really enjoy spending time observing my environment and long to paint it. To my surprise and delight, I love the oils and seem to be managing landscapes!

Springwater on Active Pass 11 x 14 inch walnut oil on canvas panel plein air – AVAILABLE

Plum Blossoms (Japanese Garden) 14 x 11 walnut oil on canvas panel – NFS

Katherine Cox Stevenson – I paint to more deeply align my soul with nature. From a young age, I craved living life from my heart. Instead due to life circumstances I lived my life from my head – I even have a PhD to prove it. I live on Mayne Island for two main reasons: the abundance of exquisite nature and sense of community. I am now becoming part of the arts communities, a rich and enlightening experience. Being able to stand in awe of the nature scene in front of me and with color, brushes, and strokes I can interpret it for the canvas. My hope for the viewers of my paintings is that they can pause and experience a moment of deep inner peace and perhaps a magical moment of connecting nature with their souls.

An Afternoon by the Sea Shore 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas – AVAILABLE

Time to Reflect 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas – AVAILABLE

Jody Waldie – After two years as a full time resident of Mayne Island I am still in awe of its natural beauty. Through my learning process as a new painter I strive to experiment and discover how to represent this beauty of nature through the use of colour and light with oil paint media. I purposefully chose to focus on colour and light to allow myself to step away from the contrived images that excess attention to detail was bringing to my painting. I am drawn to the rawness of nature and strive to capture this through my painting.

Spring at the Gardens oil on canvas 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air – AVAILABLE

Pause and Gaze on Harmon Hill oil on canvas 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas  – AVAILABLE

As you can see, each artist even at these early stages of learning a new process and medium has a distinctive unique painting fingerprint. Now how exciting is that!? Hopefully over the next couple of years we can bring them back for further cameo appearances and you can see where their discipline and skill development has taken them. If you see a work you would like to purchase or if you would like to know more about a specific painter just send me an email at tawelch@shaw.ca and I will be happy to connect you up with the artist.

For now I ask all four painters to take a bow as we shout, whistle, cheer and applaud their accomplishments.

Note: If you would like to learn oil painting or the process of painting wet-in-wet both using studio reference materials or en plein air you can send me a note at this same email shared above and I will add you to my contact list for future offerings. These classes may also include three-day weekend plein air workshops over the summer in both acrylic and oil – if there is enough interest and I can find the time.

What are you spending hours and years learning to master?

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

Standing with the Sea Painting from Life

“I don’t know how she does it, but Terrill’s paintings make me feel the rush of being there, of being part of it,” comments Anita Lewis, who shared on Google Plus the following completed painting.

I wish I had an adequate answer for Anita. The truth is I am not exactly sure. I can tell you that the landscape painter must have the courage to stand in the moment with as much raw, unfiltered honesty as possible. In this case, I am standing with the sea.

At first this standing is about the grey that shifts continuously in rolling spring storms. It is about a tide that seems to neither want to come in or go out as I set up the easel.

It is about enduring the dreariest gulf islands spring since the beginning of weather records. This has followed on a winter that saw snow on the west coast during most months.

I have come to realize that we are likely to miss out on are usual warm days of spring this year. Now my endurance is settling on an early summer. But at the moment rain is coming. It is time to pack up and leave with the 22 x 28 inch canvas roughly blocked in using walnut oil paints.

The next day it rains a steady drizzle. No plein air painting is going to be possible. I sigh and move on to other tasks. The following day seems like it may be promising. But it isn’t. As the painting class and I huddle under a gazebo in the national park near the painting location, they get a good chortle. The sun is shining through the rain but it isn’t going to be enough to break the spell and let us plein air paint. We retreat to the Mayne Island Community Centre and I provide tutorial examples while answering various painting problems posed by the students. The day is salvaged through our collective flexibility.

It is a long day which becomes even longer that evening when I learn that a long-time friend has lost his gallant 20 or-so-year battle with cancer. We had spoken only a few short weeks earlier. He had basically called to say good-bye. At the time he commented that he wasn’t sure if the cancer would get him or if his heart would fail first from an unrelated issue. In the celebration of life notice his family has asked that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke foundation instead of bringing flowers. I am assuming this might be a clue to how his question was answered.

From the time we could barely call ourselves teenagers, through our wild years, into young adults, on into our mature years and finally to becoming grandparents – we never lost sight of being friends. Even if years sometimes passed without so much as a phone call, there was no question – we were friends. Though I will miss him, I cannot help thinking he suffered more than his share to remain with us as long as he did. He fulfilled one of his greatest wishes and saw his children grown and had time to enjoy his grandchildren. He knew great love and what deep caring really means through his relationship with his partner. His life was fully lived around what I feel matters most – love, family, friends, frank honesty and hard work.

The next morning has offered up the promised sun. I am standing before a grey-scale roughed in painting with a heavy heart, squinting into the sky blues. Yes, I definitely will miss him. I look across the Strait of Georgia which seems to widen with every glance. I put up the sunshade to keep my canvas neutral.

I work diligently as if without skin and bone protecting the most vulnerable parts of my being. I listen to the sea as it rolls waves forward with each passing boat and ferry. The moments are filled with frequent commas from song birds that are occasionally punctuated more heavily by seagulls and eagles. The sea lions roll up to the surface with their unmistakable breathing raising the hairs above my pinched shoulder blades. I am consumed by salt air, spring grass and exposed seaweed. The breeze lifts the branches of the fir trees behind me and the escaping sun warms my back in brief fragmented caresses. What blue? What blue do I need most? I mix and layer and release the colours onto the canvas within the rhythms of the sea, the rhythms of life…. and the rhythms of our immediate and pending death. Finally the brushes still.

I take the painting back to studio. After letting it rest for a bit, I add a few more brush marks over the afternoon and a few more the next day before calling it done.

The painting was only five days from start to finish. Yet, the world, my world, is forever changed. I am reminded of a line from a poem “The Speed of Darkness” by Muriel Rukeyser – The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

A final photograph is still needed of course but this one will do for today.

So the “how does she do it” remains a mystery in some ways, even from me – hidden in unedited, intuitive renderings of experiences from life onto a canvas.

When was the last time you stood by the sea and asked it to share with you its greatest mystery?

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

The Times When We Simply Proceed

A spring cold gathered momentum on Thursday morning requiring medication to keep my fever in check. There were studio guests arriving on the island and a painting class to teach. Both pleasant activities though I was functioning far below optimum. However, I simply proceeded.

Only while doing a quick painting sketch at the edge of the pond in the Japanese Garden did I forget how miserable I was feeling.

This was likely because I did not need to talk and I was warm in the afternoon sun.

Last evening I was reminded of this moment while reading about the chemical attack in Syria. I asked myself, when do we break and crumble under the weight of adversity? When is it that we can no long simply proceed, as if it was only a common spring cold?

Earlier in the day I had read Dina Nayeri’s powerful article “The Ungrateful Refugee: ‘We have no dept to repay’” which was the long read in The Guardian on Tuesday April 4, 2016. I will share with you just her closing paragraph….

“Still, I want to show those kids whose very limbs apologise for the space they occupy, and my own daughter, who has yet to feel any shame or remorse, that a grateful face isn’t the one they should assume at times like these. Instead they should tune their voices and polish their stories, because the world is duller without them – even more so if they arrived as refugees. Because a person’s life is never a bad investment, and so there are no creditors at the door, no debt to repay. Now there’s just the rest of life, the stories left to create, all the messy, greedy, ordinary days that are theirs to squander.”

After dinner, I was reading an opinion piece in the New York Times by Ariel Dorfman bring “A Message From the end of the World” in Santiago Chile. In his climate change impact summary of events on the southern tip of the Americas, he tell us about the widening of the gap in the Antarctica ice shelf and how it will eventually crash into the sea causing a rise in seawater. Chile is the first place that will be impacted.

I leave the table with plans to come write today’s blog post. But I don’t. Instead I simple proceed to clean up the kitchen and stay with these feelings of overwhelming disgust, horror, helplessness and a kind of deep hopelessness. It is too late for a long walk which is my usual line of first defense when the world falls short of my expectations. Instead, I just sit with the feelings, unable to write until this morning.

I should be celebrating with you this week. Two paintings have left the studio for homes of their own and the small postcard size painting sketch that was sent to England for the TwitterArtExhibit sold on opening night. Over $10,000 in U.S. dollars were raised for a local charity, Molly Olly’s Wishes, in the first night. Instead, this morning these bright spots in an artist’s life seem garish, insensitive and above all, unimportant. What to do?

My answer comes easily. I shall post this note and go for a long walk and listen to the spring birds. I shall breathe in time with waves on the sea. I shall inhale the scent of the blossoms on the breeze. I shall run my hands along the length of the arbutus tree. Then I shall paint. This is what a landscape painter does. After this is done, then I shall see if there is anything else I can do. In times like these, first we must simply proceed until we decide what else can be done.

When was the last time you asked yourself to simply proceed?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

 

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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

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 http://terrillwelchartist.com