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

For the Love of Landscapes Art Vancouver Fair 2017

Bringing the wild inside is the ultimate of having a landscape painting that resonates with both a room and your life. This past weekend that room was HUGE with more than 80 booths in total. Every few minutes, people would come and stand in front of my west coast landscape paintings and “sigh” these long exhales. It was like they just needed a few minutes before they could go on to even one more booth!

Often viewers would come close and then back up. Then come close again. Then they would walk slowly sideways and then back to the centre. Sometimes they would tell me that the waves were three dimensional and seemed to lift right out of the canvas. Other times it would be the tangle of the friendly arbutus tree that would hold their attention until a quick smile would appear just before they turned to talk to me. People were inspired by the movement, the brushstrokes, the colours and just the beauty of our west coast captured on the canvases. One of many precious moments was when we were all packed up with the paintings wrapped and ready to move a forklift driver in the complex stopped his machine to make a point of telling me how much he loved seeing my landscape paintings in the show.

I owe a huge thank you to the many online followers who I had never met before who showed up to see the work in person. I lost count of how many times a total stranger to me would say – I have been following your work online for years and it is great to see it in person! Now how cool is that?

Of course, there were the many people who traveled from around the lower mainland and even from Mayne Island and Victoria that made a special effort to come to see my work in person at the Art! Vancouver Fair.  I am thrilled because Paul Constable of Artists In Canada had sponsored me and three other artists to show in this booth. I felt not only fortunate to be showing in this venue but also that my special people made such a point of attending. I was bought glass of wine near the end of one of our days in appreciation. I was asked for so many photographs of the work, of me with the work (just after hanging)

and several of me with visitors with the work. Here are just a few of these….

Monica  with Terrill

Terrill with John

Katrina with Terrill

A video of me on the runway with “Southern Gulf Islands Afternoon” for The Face of Art by Amber Stace.

It was all crazy fun! Well, at least once I had that runway walk done! 😉

There is a story that goes with this next photograph.

Janet with her daughter Tracey and three other family members, including this little girl, made a special trip in from Langley to come and see my work and the art fair. They made a day out of it and came early for a special breakfast before Art! Vancouver opened. Janet asked that I post this photo for her. While I am here I might as well tell you a Sunday story….

You see, Janet has known me through her sister since I was 22 years old with 2 small children painting on the kitchen table in a 610 square foot home in a trailer park. Money was so tight that sometimes her sister and I would combine what we had in order to make supper for both of our families. However, we laughed a lot, went camping often and I always found a bit of time to do a quick sketch, mostly in watercolours. Needless to say, I wasn’t at risk of giving up my day job anytime soon. It would be another 15 years before I did my first solo show and 2010 before I became a full-time artist.

Janet said she just had to offer her support and see for herself how far this little girl from rural north central British Columbia outside of Vanderhoof had come!

There is something sacred when people connect with my work, my life and me in this way. I am humbled and filled with gratitude.

This is just a small sampling of some of the powerful interactions during the art fair but should be enough to give you a flavour of the weekend.

The Artists In Canada booth also included the work of Arnold Burrell (1924-1991) represented by Ellen Mackay.

And Janna Kumi who is right beside me with paintings and collage work.

Then on the far right of our booth space is Teyjah McAren her heavily textured rich paintings.

Or maybe this photograph works better…

Somehow I missed getting a closer portrait of Teyjah’s work. Darn! Because it is quite fascinating.

Here we are all together. Starting on the right is Ellen, Janna, Teyjah and the me!

Oh! Let me share with you my favourite painting by another artist in the Art Vancouver Fair. Wang Chen Guang is not only an extremely talented painter, currently studying at Emily Carr, he is sincere, genuine and direct both in his work and as a person. There is a vulnerability and raw, yet controlled, emotion emanating from his figurative paintings. The power of this work is difficult to experience in a photograph but it is the next best thing to standing in front of the 60 x 40 inch oil on canvas. I was very tempted to bring it home except I feel the work needs a large spacious room with few distractions – which I am unable to offer it.

Wang Chen Guang is definitely an artist to follow and see where his driving passion takes him in the future. I am pleased that we met and look forward to staying connected.

As well, special thanks to my son, Kris Welch, who is a high-end finishing carpenter and the master skill set that managed to get the paintings hung so beautifully.

His 15-year-old son got all dressed up and came to the opening too but he is rather camera-shy so we shall keep that photograph just for family.

I think this is more photographs of me at one event than you have seen all together during all my years of my posting online! I hope that this post allows you to feel at least a little like you were there, even if you weren’t.

Tomorrow morning David and I are off to the neighbouring island of Galiano for a three-day retreat together before  the next big adventure which is the Solo exhibition “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” opening June 30th from 3-5 pm at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café here on Mayne Island. The show will be up until August 13, 2017.

 

Have you ever been to an international fair of some kind and if so, can you share a memory?

 

© 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 Sunrise Series in May

Just as the skies started to lighten the shapes in the valley below, I rise and quickly make coffee. It is just after 4:30 am. I am ready to leave the house at 4:50 am which will put me in Reef Bay at 5:10 am. Sunrise is at 5:26 am. I park down the short trail by the beach. I am the only one here at this hour. Gathering my camera, cell phone, coffee; I meander over the sandstone as the tide slips farther out to sea. The light is still in the blue pink range.

But it warms quickly and the gulls toss themselves up in the air, before circling around and landing out on the reef beside me.

Pouring my second cup of coffee, I settle into an occasional breeze picking up salty licks and hints of seaweed as it reaches the shore.

Then the sun is up!

My heart clings to the moment as my eyes run up the beam of light across the Strait of Georgia.

Stay with it…. hold…hold…hold…

I marvel at the prisms of light on the sea. Glorious!

And now, we have started a new day!

As you are reading this I am waiting for the ferry to Vancouver with a carload of paintings and a few long days ahead of me with the Art! Vancouver Fair. However, at any moment I can check back and find my centre with this sunrise. It is like a tether anchoring me to my best self.

What tether anchors you to your best self?

Note: If you are in the city I encourage you to come down and say hello. It is not often I show my work in Vancouver and I don’t have any immediate plans to do so again anytime soon.

© 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

Work Life In Progress

A great big sign at the entrance of the driveway may accurately read: PROCEED WITH CAUTION WORK LIFE IN PROGRESS. Not that this is a bad thing. The alternative is much less appealing.

It is just means that the question usually asked about how are things going will be answered by –  “Oh, round and round!”

Or – “Busier than a painter with three brushes in her hand.”

Neither of which tell us much at all.

So a better question might be – “Terrill can you tell us one thing that pleases you today?”

Yes I can. I have a new painting roughed in on the easel that I am going to muse about while I drink my morning coffee. Let me show you….

The canvas is 12 x 24 inches and started with a yellow ground and a few marks to guide the scale of the composition.

The spring morning sky brightens all in its path including the green firs on the hill across the way. Song birds sing, grass grows and an eagle cries somewhere in the distance across Active Pass.

First leaves are soft and translucent in the warm light as the blues of sea catch my breath and swing it skyward and back again. How many mornings has the Springwater Lodge, the oldest continuously operating hotel in British Columbia, seen like this one?

There is the scent of fresh coffee filling the loft with a hint of linseed oil underneath. I decide to leave the studio lamps off for just a little longer. But I will sort out the angles of lines, the relationships between objects and the spaces in between later today – one brushstroke at a time.

Update: Now as the end of the day nears and the work has come to “resting” all shiny and wet on the canvas…

Early Spring Morning at Miners Bay “resting” 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

How about you? Can you tell us one thing that pleases you today?

Note: “The Beauty of Oils Class of 2017 Art Show” was a wonderful success. All the pieces are falling into place for the Art! Vancouver Fair at the end of May and the background material for advertising has been sent in for the six week solo show opening June 30th 3-5 pm in the afternoon. Next will be a focus on getting the last of the edges painted on the selected work for the solo show.

© 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

High Desert Dawn revisited

Pungent sage brush rustles with a family of wild turkeys as the heavy clouds lift up from the horizon. It is morning, early morning. Low hills glisten with the dampness of departing rains. Why not revisit? After all, it has been five years has it not?

I pick up my brush and begin reworking the canvas. After an hour or so of stepping back and forth, it seems to be coming along.

The morning light sliced through the heavy storm clouds over the high desert in Orville Washington.

High Desert Dawn – 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

I am happier with it now I think. Those variations of blues make the photo editing program cross-eyed. You will just have to believe me when I say it is much nicer in person.  Details and purchase information is available in the on online gallery HERE.

Mostly, this week has been a time of catching up and preparing for the next show which is Art!Vancouver Fair, May 25 – 28, 2017 at the Vancouver Conference Centre, East 999 Canada Place. I am showing my paintings with three other Canadian artists in 30 feet of booth space sponsored by Artists in Canada. I would love to see you there and your friends too for that matter 😉 The details regarding advance tickets and such are on the website HERE.

Other than that it has been long walks sometimes in sun and sometimes in rain.Spring is here. Taxes were done on time. Life is good.

What are you enjoying most about your week so far?

© 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

Art Studio Gossip

Gossip overheard in the artist’s studio this afternoon…

Standing on end and shouldering themselves into a rough order along the curved hallway, these landscape paintings whisper loudly to each other.

Gossip overheard in the the artist's studio by Terrill Welch

“What are we doing here? I don’t even have my edges painted yet!”

“Me either but I hear that is happening tomorrow. Apparently, we have a big gig coming up for September and October.”

“Yeah, I heard eight of us large ones will be showing in Victoria, BC ” says Seaside Mayne Island, as he heaves himself to a slightly better angle to be heard, without actually shouting, from the great room.

Then Evening And The Arbutus Tree leans over the railing from the loft.

“She told me that she wants to call the show ‘Above The Stacks’ because we are going to be in a new library and most of us will be way up high above the books. I said she had to add ‘Land and Sea’ to the title or no one will know that it is going to be us.”

Long Beach Vancouver Island sighs as the tide recedes farther up her midriff.

“You know” she comments patiently while stretching out one long sandy leg, and then the other “it is way too soon to be getting excited. There are still a couple of weeks to wait. No use wearing out all our shine in the studio.”

Then she winks and the light sparkles off of her sea “I do believe Emily Carr is somehow involved again.”

All the paintings in the studio start whispering at once. In fact one little fellow gets so excited that he falls over flat on his face in the magazine article he had been trying to read upside down.

Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC grumbles “You had to go and wake the little ones didn’t you!? You know they are too small to go in this show.”

“There will be other shows” Long Beach Vancouver Island replies. “After all, there are not many place that can handle the eight of us.”

The late summer afternoon warmth starts to make all the paintings drowsy – large ones, middle-sized ones and small ones. Sssshhhh!

The studio is quiet.

 

What are you whispering about 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

In the Words of Strangers

By now you may have guessed, as a Canadian artist, I often have conversations strangers about my work when I am traveling. It comes with geographic proximity to my landscape subjects and other human beings. These engagements are frequently brief and fleeting in nature but this does not diminish their impact as a kind of concrete gentle-kindness to fortify my solitude as I put brush to canvas over and over again.

detail wave Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC 24 x 48 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch July 15 2016 IMG_7009

This same kind of engagement also happens through the vast and complex inter-connectedness of the world-wide-web.

Oh, I suppose could tell you about new works painted, several art shows and painting sales in the month since I have been home (my website has this information if it is desired). But, it has also been an unprecedented time of quiet recognition of my work. Complete strangers often contacted me to make requests about sharing my work elsewhere online. In the process, they frequently articulated why they wish to do so. Sometimes their words leave me rather stunned and deeply humbled with gratitude. Here are a couple of brief snippets as examples…

Received in my inbox today:

“I discovered your paintings from a Google image search of paintings of the Canadian coast. I grew up in ….. BC and spent much time sailing through Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands. You’re paintings truly capture much of the beauty inherent in the
region. I was wondering if I could share one….”

Fog Inside Passage 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

fog-inside-passage-12-x-24-inch-oil-on-canvas-by-terrill-welch-2013_02_03-064

Details and purchase information available HERE.

What do you think my answer was to this request!?

And here is part of a public comment this week on my TerrillWelchArtist.com website contact page:

“I have to tell you –though I hesitated to write this because I did not want to provoke anything which might disturb whatever wonderful thing it is that enables you to produce these works–I have spent numerous hours at the Musée du Quai d’Orsay fixed on one or another impressionist painting–usually one by Van Gogh. Your paintings have a similar effect. Your artistic sensibilities, while uniquely yours, seem to have a resonance with what I see communicated through Van Gogh’s pieces. Please don’t take offense at a comparison. Your work is truly original and beautiful–as is his. No mere imitator of Van Gogh, however talented, could ever hope to match this peculiar sensibility. I’m convinced that it must be something innately shared and, for me, your work expresses it in a way that’s of course your own. But these works could easily hang beside anything in the Orsay’s permanent collection.

It is no wonder to me that collectors snap up your paintings as soon as you finish them. If I had a fortune or was a curator at a major museum, I’d be collecting your paintings with the same interest that I’d have for any work by Van Gogh or Matisse or Raoul Dufy.”

Signed “P.”

One of the paintings of particular interest to this individual is Spring Tea, 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas, one of three paintings showing this weekend on Mayne Island at “La Vida Rústica” — multi-disciplinary reflections on the rustic life.

Spring Tea 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas plein air by Canadian Artist Terrill Welch 2015_04_25 140

Well, I must say, I really don’t know what to say when faced with such frank remarks…. except thank you, thank you – Thank You!

What is particularly powerful and meaningful to me is the clarity with which the paintings moved these commenters – it is as if the brushstrokes were felt even more than they were seen. There is no higher compliment or recognition as a painter I could ever wish for my work. This is a clean and perfect match to my intention and the driving force that brings me back to the studio again and again.

May the painting continue, without interference, and yet gently supported by the words of strangers!

On that note, I think we shall conclude with one of the latest paintings and the first large works from Prince Edward Island the East Coast of Canada.

In Studio placing last brushstroke on first large East Coast #PEI painting by Terrill Welch  IMG_6453

 

Can you share a time when you were moved by the insight and kindness of a stranger?

 

© 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

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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

Three Painting Secrets Shared Over Tea

Let’s light the wood cook stove in the outdoor courtyard while a gentle rain wakes nearby tree frogs.

morning with a fire in the wood cookstove by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 018

While you are listening, I shall split some wood and set out the makings for tea.

Tea by wood stove in the outdoor courtyard by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 004

There are a couple of cushions on the cob bench that are just right for us. Now, I mentioned a few painting secrets didn’t I? To refine this just a little – these are this particular artist’s painting secrets that I am referencing, not the generic painter from all genres and all times. Lastly, they are painting secrets only in if we haven’t yet taken the time to consider their relevance in relation to our painting language.

The first painting secret is to hold a tension between knowing and the unexpected. To clarify, I don’t really believe in divine intervention or creativity passing through me from some higher power. Admittedly, my conscious mind is seldom in control of my brush except as I begin and at the completion of a work – so possibly “belief” is irrelevant in this situation. However, I start with an intention. I choose a subject, a medium, a surface and an approach or painting problem. I decide which pigments to set out. This is the “knowing” part of the equation which is heavily influenced by frequent practice such as with this first of two acrylic painting sketches from yesterday.

“Arbutus tree  in ray of sun” 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard (update February 6, 2015: this sketch is now sold)

Arbutus tree  in ray of sun 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 057

This painting sketch didn’t come out of nowhere.  Even though it was painted in the middle of an indoor market day with not a glimpse of the foggy sea visible, the sketch is inspired by an experience from the day before.

Slivers of Moments by Terrill Welch 2015_01_30 022

While walking, a friend asks if I had done a painting of this particular arbutus tree. I reply – not yet – as I frame my composition – maybe tomorrow though – and the shutter releases. It is these slivers of moments overlapping one-over-another that find their way onto my canvases. How do I capture our relaxed ease which followed from lunch together and now an afternoon January stroll around a small piece of our island? What colours and brushstrokes will translate these feelings, this remembering? It is so much more than this arbutus tree hunch over the sandstone shore, where the sun catches and the fog shifts upon the sea.

This painting sketch is a first attempt to answer these questions. I really haven’t a clue what the answer is but I find I must set myself to the problem just the same. This is the “unexpected” half of the equation. I must move forward without knowing. I believe this is where some painters and creative beings feel they are merely a vessel for the work to come through. I am not convinced. The focus and full-body experience as the brushes move paint onto canvas is undeniable and yes possibly spiritual in approach. But I still claim awareness of my physical presence and leaning heavily on a large basket of experience both from painting and from life. The unpredictable combination of these elements is what is leads us to the unexpected. It is the tension between this knowing and embracing unknown possibilities that is important. To achieve results I must show up and practice my craft frequently. Relying on divine intervention will only get us so far. Then there is work to be done.

The second painting secret is finding precisely the intimate details that are essential. Then I paint these aspect with all of my senses and layers of brushstrokes to expose this specific intimacy.  For a landscape or still life painter there is always movement even when it is not at first noticeable. This is because the earth is moving. This grants us a readily identifiable intimacy in our relationship to a precise aspect of that time of day, a specific season combined with our years of experience with this spiraling cycle. These years of experience I reference are is “noticing years” rather than “birth years” which is significant. Currently, with the amount of time humans spend in artificial environments, a person can go their whole life with little conscious awareness and possibly no interest in our earthly relationship in the universe. We must notice in a conscious way in order to deepen and strengthen our painting vocabulary of movement and the interrelationship of light and our subjects. I sense this to be true even in abstract work. The paintings of Richard Diebenkorn whose work will be shown at the Royal Academy in London England March 14 to June 7 2015.

Yet, though our urban surroundings mask our awareness to nature, it takes very little to awaken these sensory experience. Repeated deliberate observation is all that is really necessary. Take this second painting sketch “Steveston morning fog” an 8 x 10 acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard.

Steveston morning fog 8 x 10 acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 051

The fishing boats are important but they do not float on their own in the morning fog. They are imbedded in their surroundings and are experienced as small against a grand sky that touches right down to the sea. I made them even smaller in relationship to the sky for this reason than my photography reference information.

Morning Fog Lifting in Steveston B.C.  by Terrill Welch 2015_01_26 231

Maybe even too small perhaps. However, in this translation of my experience it is our human smallness in relationship to the sky and the morning light coming through the fog that was the intimate detail of significance.

The third painting secret I have to share is to release any notion of importance. We must take our work seriously of course but release any investment in a particular outcome of success, recognition or fortune. This doesn’t mean we relinquish these things completely but rather that they remain outside of the painting process and, as much as possible, outside of our lives in general. Yes, well-being is important. Yes, we desire and do much better with safe secure housing and nutritious foods. Yes, we need social appreciation and connection to varying degrees depending on our own temperament. But we need much less of what is defined as success, recognition and fortune than we are led through advertizing and media to believe that we do – particularly in North America. For example, my large old tea kettle has out lasted five electric kettles which I somehow thought were necessary. I gave up on the latter about three years ago. They were costly, environmentally unsustainable due to their continued need for replacement.  But I had decided for some reason that the electric kettle was faster and easier to use. In reality not so. Water boils in about the same amount of time whether in the kettle on the stove or with the plug-in variety. There is nothing helpful about having this extra contraption on the counter. I had unwittingly replaced experience for efficiency which if I unravel brings us back to the notion of my importance. I had important things to do so the most efficient path was the one that was most desirable. Hence, I purchased a series of ill considered electric kettles.

Let’s explore what we notice if we value experience over efficiency as we prepare and drink this cup of tea because this old wood cook stove still makes a fine cup of tea though it will take us about three times as long by the time we get the fire going and the water boiling. When I am sitting here in the outdoor courtyard I have no trouble at all remembering that the earth is on its winter turn and half way to spring. I can almost feel the trees releasing the oxygen I pull deep into the bottom of my lungs. This awareness is far more valuable to my painting than the importance of a huge following on social media, a cover feature in a national paper or financial wealth. The turning of the earth, the trees, the following, the national article and financial wealth are all temporary – just as we are. Therefore, I suggest that our attention is best spent on insuring our minimal needs while affording us as much freedom to be aware of our relationship to our environment as possible. And here is the rub – insuring minimal needs may requiring marketing and selling the paintings that are rendered in these passages of freedom awareness we have created by attending to only our minimal needs. Still I will argue that success, recognition and fortune are not an adequate definition of a painter and are useless and possibly harmful aspect to attend to as an artist. They are distractions that defuse our attention from our own temporariness. Resisting mortality is futile. Success, recognition and fortune are temporary observations that spiral around through time, for only a short while. Then these observations, along with the physical paintings will disappear just a we did maybe a few hundred years before. We can’t cheat mortality and the effort to stall the inevitable interferes with what must be painted today.

With these three secrets, the waves can then roll as if moved by our breath.

detail Sea and Stones French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 067

(detail Sea and Stones French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle)

The sky can open up as never before remembered.

detail Sea and Sky French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 060

(detail Sea and Sky French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle)

Well, the last of my tea is cold and it getting dark. Time to call it a day. Before I go, I want to introduce a new blog by a fellow artist and colleague Lena Levin. Some of the ideas I have shared here Lena explores from a historical, academic as well as personal perspective at “Sonnet in Colour.” She recently introduced this new blog in her newsletter as follows:

There is this almost inevitable flavour of self-display in writing (and showing paintings) publicly, and I am extremely introverted — I really don’t want any self-display. Even now, a huge part of me would prefer to just shut up and go paint in solitude and silence. Or read something, or listen, or see. But there is also this feeling that Shakespeare, and sonnets, and paintings, and art in general — all these things often thought of as high-brow, inessential luxuries — are in fact urgently relevant to our day-to-day lives, even desperately needed. And maybe — just maybe — I might be able to share something which someone else needs; open some doors, show some pathways to what fills my own life with so much joy and happiness.

This is why I’ve decided to structure the site not just around the sonnets, or paintings, but around three themes, which — in one or another way — play a crucial role in everyone’s life: “Self and Consciousness”, “Love”, and “Time and Mortality” (with sub-headings to be added as the site grows).

I hope you enjoy reading her writing and viewing her paintings as much as I do.

Now, while I gather the tea items and carry them back to the inside kitchen…

What is one of your creative secrets?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com