Mayne Island BC in May

The sun is shining and there are beach crawls to be done, trails to hike and wildlife to see. But first a seat in the red chair on Georgina Point.

Red Chair over looking ocean.

The waves keep rolling in relation to an off shore breeze.

Rolling sea coming ashore onto the sandstone rocks looking across towards the northeast of the Straight of Georgia.

Put your hiking shoes one and take care of any personal bodily needs as we are heading into an area without facilities. It is only 5 or 6 km with a couple of hills taking the easy route so you can get by without water or snacks… though they are nice to have if you fancy a wee picnic once you get out on the point. Yes, you guessed it. We are going on an adventure Mayne Island’s newest park – Saint John Point.

Pulling into the empty gravel parking lot, I back into the farthest available space making it easier just in case someone else decides to join us. But it is Monday and the island is still quiet with mostly only year-round residents who are busy gardening and preparing for the summer seasonal crowds that will arrive in full force for the May long weekend. But today, the forest and old road are for the birds!

Remnants of the winter storm are scattered through the trees and onto the forest floor. 

A paleated woodpecker heckles above the softer sweeter songs of the other forest birds…  even making the spotted towee sound feeble. 

The new growth on the firs leaves a toffee tang fragrance on a light breeze. 

We keep walking, over the hill and down again, until we get to the trail beside the sea.

Old fir trees beside the trail on Saint John Point Mayne Island.

The light changes swiftly as it sings through the trees and dances back from across the water.

Forest trail on St John Point beside the sea on Mayne Island.

A wee bit farther along, we come to the point itself with its exposed rocks and old arbutus tree grove. This is the prize on this walk. The point invites one to sit and stay a while.

Exposed sunny sandstone point with old arbutus trees beside the sea on Navy Channel at Saint John Point.

So we do. I pick a place on the east side of the knoll that is sheltered from the afternoon sun and sit. I wait. I get this strange sensation of being watched. I look around. Nothing. Then I catch something moving just at my peripheral vision. I turn my head slowly and focus. There are two fierce dots pointing directly out over a narrow snout in a wee red head attached to a long neck and slender body staring right at me from a crevice in the sandstone boulders. Slow and smooth I switch the settings on the camera and raise it up. But the critter is still just a bit too far away. I wait some more and take a few tentative shots as it pokes in and out of the rocks coming up the bank towards me. These are small, shy and quick animals. They only pause for a short second to get their bearings before ducking back down under the cover. A photographer must be patient and fast on the shutter. But I did it!

American Mink coming up between the sandstone rocks at Saint John Point on Mayne Island in British Columbia Canada.

Here we have an American Mink coming up between the sandstone rocks at Saint John Point on Mayne Island in British Columbia, Canada.

And there you have it! The highlight of another Mayne Island adventure during early part of the month of May in the year 2019.

WHAT IS THE MONTH OF MAY OFFERING WHERE YOU ARE?

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Among The Trees Oil Painting in Progress

The last day of December 2018 is still being lit by a low hanging sun. Yet, the break in heavy rains seem to create a resounding call to the top of the ridge at Mount Parke on Mayne Island in British Columbia, Canada. I was on my way back along the Halliday Ridge trail when I stopped to search for a way around the flooded path. The light grabbed me. I sank low and hoped for the best as the shutter clicked on my 7+ Iphone camera. References. I need painting references! I pulled out my big camera as well but instinctively knew that the difficult light may well be best captured by the phone camera – and it was.

Weeks later, back in the gallery’s winter studio I choose a 40 x 30 inch canvas and brush in a few lines to guide the development of an underpainting.

I just need a few lines to find my way into the landscape. Then I start to add in the bright warm and a few cool colours for the underpainting.

From here, I leave the canvas to dry and continue developing the painting beside this one which you have already seen in an earlier post. Sometimes, I added a few dark and light patches left over from my other canvas. But mostly I wait.

Until the day comes when it is time!

I can feel the painting is there. All I need to do is follow the light from the background to the foreground of the canvas. And so the work to build up the paint begins!

The time has come to settle in with paintbrushes over a period of two days. The hours of standing before the canvas moving back and then forward again were long and yet pleasant. Brushstroke after brushstroke the landscape trail through the trees begins to surround the viewer.

Working forward past the mid-ground, I find that the most of the reds, oranges and yellows of the underpainting have been replaced with greens, golds and violets.

I know where I am! I am among the trees. Tired but unrelenting, I continue. At one point I ask for a second and third set of eyes to wander over the canvas to see what still needs to unfolded, be discovered and revealed. Then I walk away, coming back the next day and the next to search for sparkle, mystery and lost edges. Finally, my eyes travel over the canvas with joy and ease. I am there again at the edge of the pool of water deep in the forest. Just me, the trees and the sun.

From my journal notes:

“Long sashaying switchbacks with winter run off springs near the bottom obscuring dry footing on the trails. As a gentle wind calls through golden green tree tops I surmise that this is the only low angled sun this north western slope might see today.”

WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES “resting” by Terrill Welch
40 x 30 inch oil on canvas

The work still needs to dry, have the edges painted, and a final photograph. But for now, it will sit under the watchful corner of my eye to see if there is anything else that it wants.

What you don’t know is that, on the day I captured this incredible light for this painting, I had fallen. Hard. I was visiting with a friend at the top of the ridge. I said my good-bye and as I half turned and waved while walking away, my feet flew out from underneath me on wet rocks and moss on the trail. At first, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to stand. Once up, I cautiously took a few steps and within minutes knew I would be sore but that I could hike out. My ribs ached for days afterward and I will likely end up with a scar on my knee which was stiff and swollen for the next week. But when I saw this scene before me on my way back, not long after having slowly trekked down the steep back of the ridge, I just knew! I knew that no matter how bruised both my body and dignity were from my tumble, this was worth it! This one moment of incredible beauty was all worth it!

I will add a link here when the painting has had its final photo shoot and is released, but for now, thank you for coming on this painting adventure with me!

Never Miss the Good bits! Sign Up Now for “A Brush with Life” the curated editorial Terrill Welch Gallery newsletter published every second Friday.

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

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Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Rubbing Shoulders with Art Ghosts

Down this historic alley in Victoria, British Columbia, there is a door to my past. Yesterday, I strolled along on a quiet January Monday rubbing shoulders with the ghosts of time. 

 

Fan-Tan-Alley-Victoria-BC-by-Terrill-Welch

Sure enough, the name of my favourite art teacher is still on the door of his old studio. For a moment, the door opens in my mind. 

We shuffle up the steep steps with our portfolios, arrange ourselves elbow to elbow on the easels provided. We take off layers and visit companionably while we wait for the model. I search the room to see if I can discern what this brilliant teacher has been painting this week. The room is crowded but organized for working. There is the scent of charcoal dust, oil paint, wax and old brick building. Warm lights shine on the platform in the middle of the room and the space heater glows. Then, just as the model takes her first short pose and the teacher gives us his instructions in brief, often unfinished, sentences… the image fades. 

The door reappears. Solid. Closed as a tomb entrance to a treasure buried in a past life. 

Glenn Howarth 1946 – 2009 

Glenn Howarth taught seminars and courses at art schools and universities across Canada after he graduated from UVic’s Visual Arts program. In 1987, he began the Victoria Drawing Academy in his studio in Fan Tan Alley. Howarth participated in both group and solo shows across the country and represented Canada at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1982 and at Expo 86. (UVic legacy gallery)

I am so ever grateful to have taken several classes with him in the early 2000s. He refined my understanding of what happens between our subject, our bodies as the artist and that of the viewer in profound ways that I am still exploring. 

What might YOU be waiting and preparing for at the same time?

Never Miss the Good bits! Sign Up Now for “A Brush with Life” the curated editorial Terrill Welch Gallery newsletter published every second Friday.

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

Redbubble painting and photography prints and merchandise

Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

 

A Quieter Time

For much of the year,  I thrive on a creative rhythm of quick short inhales with repeated exhales of joy and possibility in our ordinary day. Blogs are posted weekly. Classes are taught spring and fall. Solo art shows are proposed and curated. Requested application deadlines are met for the following year. I take us on hikes, painting trips, studio views of work in progress and this year into the new gallery. Then it is November. The days are short. Winter storms arrive. My internal rhythm shifts. The inhales are longer, deeper and the exhales reveal little to outside world until early spring. This is my restorative time. Social media posts become sparse. I always announce that I am taking a break during this time. I am not though. Not really.

Road to Everyday – 36 X 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch (available)

What I am doing is diving deep into my own creative well and wandering the trails, reading books, visiting with friends and neighbours and, with few interruptions, covering canvases with paint! This time of year I need this just as the rest of the year there is a steady flow of engagement outward. I know and trust we will all be better for it. Or, at least I will.

So, just so you know, posts of all sorts will be unscheduled from now until early in the new year. They will still happen but on my internal whim rather than a schedule.

What does your winter schedule look like?

© 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 Arbutus Tree and an Ordinary Life

I am about to share how discovering the arbutus tree is a great metaphor for living an ordinary life in a series of photographs from a recent walk. But before I do, I have an update for us on “The Moon Is No Longer There” series of work.

My extended leave to travel is drawing to a close. 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 am living my best life. I am traveling deeper and even more focused than ever before. My intention remains clarified. My inner compass set. My resources and research materials are in full use. I continue my journey to capture something unforgettable, rare and valuable – our ordinary, everyday, natural world.  When I started in January, I didn’t know if this new series of work “The Moon Is No Longer There” would take a year or a life time. Only one thing was absolutely clear – my spiritual, emotional and physical bags were packed. I was ready.

The Moon Is No Longer There” series has led me to some of my best work like the “Storytelling Arbutus Tree Bennett Bay Mayne Island BC.”

In addition, this intention has also set me on a path that has allowed me to share paintings from as far back as 2012 in my brand new Terrill Welch Gallery. In just two weekends, for 5 hours each day, I have confirmed a most compelling personal discovery.

The moon is always visible in my work and most viewers can see it even if they wish not to do so – like the “Last View Chesterman Beach Tofino Tsunami” painting.

What has changed since last January you might ask? Well, since the international art fair in Vancouver in late May and opening the gallery on Mayne Island a couple of weeks ago, I have had the pleasure of watching viewers respond to my work before they can edit their body language or even realize I have seen them. These observations are not just at a brief opening that is hectic and I occupied with hosting. These observations have taken place over several hours on a specific day. It is a fascinating, almost voyeuristic, observation practice I do not get from sharing my work online. I know, you do tell me how you experience my work. This is true but it is not the same as seeing your unedited responses for my own self. This has given me confidence, not just in the work but also in the viewer. The essence of the moon is always there for those that are present and to my profound delight – you are all, for the most, part present! A deep relishing pleasure in an ordinary day in nature is a common desire and a treasured experience. Painter and viewer are most often one and the same in front of the finished work. We understand each other’s language as presented on the canvas. Oh, I will always keep striving to go deeper, to refine the engagement to its purest most intense form but I shall never again doubt my ability to render its significance – nor the viewer’s ability to receive its strength. I have discovered that moon is always there for those that wish to see it and we do!

Now, my latest engagement with arbutus trees.

At first, there is just a massive tangle of branches that confront the sensory apparatus with its confusion.

Eventually, a branch comes into focus but it is not clear yet what is of importance.

I walk on and sink close to the ground observing a whole arbutus tree beside the path.

I look way up at another, naked to the waist, in the cool August evening shadows.

Another juts out into a swiftly moving patch of sun. By now my brain can quickly categories and name even a partial branch of an arbutus tree. The unorganized tangle and variation of each tree is recognizable.

Then I come upon the perfect specimen!

My search is complete. I continue along the path in the fading light, knowing I will never be finished with these special trees… but it is enough for today.

 

How do you learn a subject that gets under your skin and refuses to let go of your attention?

 

© 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 Edges to the Edge of the Sea

The West Point Lighthouse Prince Edward Island, 30 x 24 inch oil painting, is now finished. The Storytelling Arbutus Tree Mayne Island BC, 60 x 40 oil painting, is now finished. A painting sketch was sold immediately picked up for delivery. The grounds have been painted on four blank canvases. And the edges have been painted on three medium size landscape and seascape paintings.

painting-edges-in-the-studio-by-terrill-welch-img_0432

This is enough for one week don’t you think?

So do you want to skip out and come with me to the gather reference material by the sea? It is sunny. We should have the shores to ourselves, along with the birds of course. Yes? Okay! Off we go for a wee short break. Don’t forget your sunglasses and windbreaker.

Well, that was invigorating!

I suppose, I might as well show you to the latest two completed paintings while you are here.

West Point Lighthouse PEI 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas

west-point-lighthouse-pei-30-x-24-inch-oil-on-canvas-by-terrill-welch-img_0278

Storytelling Arbutus Tree Bennett Bay Mayne Island BC 60 x 40 inch oil on canvas

storytelling-arbutus-tree-bennett-bay-mayne-island-bc-60-x-40-inch-oil-on-canvas-by-terrill-welch-img_0405

Yes, if you remember from previous posts, this is a good-sized painting and will need a good-sized wall.

I will get them up in the online gallery soon and let you know over on the website at TerrillWelchArtist.com. But today is a town day to get Seaside Mayne Island, the large 60 x 36 landscape painting, framed for the collector before I deliver the painting sometime in April. I will need to pick up more canvases and sleeves for the latest batch of greeting cards too. Then when I get back there are local group shows to submit work to and planning for the booth at Art! Vancouver Fair in late May where I accepted a request to be the lead artist showing in the Artists In Canada booth. Nothing too unusual really, just the rhythm of a landscape painter’s ordinary everyday life on a small island off the southwest coast of Canada.

 

What is the rhythm of your ordinary everyday life these days?

 

© 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 Start on the PEI West Point Lighthouse Painting

A warm grey ground has dried and is ready for the next work. I have decided on the West Point Lighthouse in Prince Edward Island for this 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas. I have been dancing around this work for a while. How does a painter get a lighthouse painting beyond a caricature of its own specific unique presence? Not an easy task but let’s see what we can do.

First we gather up a couple of reference images from the day at west point and a quick acrylic sketch of a location just south of the lighthouse.

1-reference-material-for-west-coast-lighthouse-pei-painting-img_9954

The sketch holds more sensory images than the photographs and remind me of how muggy it was that day and that the back swampy area was already starting to hatch mosquitoes. The smell of the sea and the intricate lacing of greens and reds between the sand and the grasses were pulled into focus. But what was I going to do with that large black and white monstrosity!? Because of the structure I decided that I best start with a few brief lines in yellow paint to guide my hand into the composition.

a-few-reference-marks-on-the-grey-ground-for-composition-by-terrill-welch-img_9943

Now what? Well, possibly the best approach is to sneak up on the lighthouse and let it fit into the environment rather than the other way around. I am going to need strong supporting actors to anchor this star subject.

blocked-in-sky-and-water-first-by-terrill-welch-img_9945

I keep working and the palette needs additional paint now and again.

palette-after-blocking-in-west-point-lighthouse-pei-by-terrill-welch-img_9957

But an hour later, we are finally getting somewhere….

west-point-lighthouse-pei-in-progress-30-x-24-inch-canvas-by-terrill-welch-img_9959

The painting is now blocked in. I am going to give it a bit of a break before I dig in and complete the work as I want to use it as part of an example for an advanced colour-mixing demonstration in this week’s painting class. There are lots of other wonders still to partake in though.

Maybe we could enjoy an evening sunset to watch the full snow moon rise?

snow-moon-rising-in-reef-bay-mayne-island-bc-by-terrill-welch-img_0133

Or how about a meditative walk on another day along shore by the sea? If you turn the sound up, there are sections where you can hear running water or the waves softly coming ashore or if you are really good at recognizing sounds, someone is cutting up firewood across Campbell bay.

My intention is to do more of these meditative walk clips from our wanderings. I find they hold much more sensory information then a simple photograph because of the addition of movement and sounds.

What natural wonders are stoking your creative fires?

© 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

Cherry Blossom walk in Mayne Island Japanese Garden

Clouds of pink blossoms fill the morning sky with petals drifting slowly onto the garden paths. It is Cherry blossom season in Mayne Island’s Japanese Garden. Come with me and we can stroll along together!

Walking the paths Mayne Island Japanese Garden IMG_2227

Or we can also say: the season of sakura is here! Want to go hanami? Shall we go over the bridge?

Bridge Mayne Island Japanese Garden by Terrill Welch IMG_2224

We turn around in wonder until our gaze settles, just for a moment.

ink outline standing together in Japanese Garden by Terrill Welch IMG_2298

However, there are so many other supporting actors besides these pastel-crinoline-petticoat-wearing drama queens.  Take this dapper Dove Tree blossom for instance. Elegant and handsome as they come.

Dove Tree blossom from China by Terrill Welch IMG_2343

Or maybe Rhododendron blossoms that are as large as my hand.

Rhododendron blossoms by Terrill Welch IMG_2284

Then there are the weeping Crabapple blooms.

weeping crabapple blossoms by Terrill Welch IMG_2350

But if we are honest with each other, I am sure we would agree that all we really want to see are Cherry blossoms!

Japanese Garden Cherry Blossoms Mayne Island by Terrill Welch IMG_2247

Of course, we could sit in the hut and contemplate the question.

ink outline of Hut in Mayne Island Japanese Garden by Terrill Welch IMG_2232

We could study the pond for a while as we debate the issue. But my best guess is that all we are likely to notice is the reflections of….. Cherry Blossoms!

Cherry Blossom reflections Mayne Island Japanese Garden by Terrill Welch IMG_2256

So, Cherry blossoms it is!

Cherry Blossoms by Terrill Welch IMG_2400

We close our eyes and what do we see?

Well, I don’t know about you but I see a cheese sandwich with a hot cup of peppermint tea. I am famished after all this walking, looking, composing images and then photo-editing Cherry blossoms!

What do you see if you close your eyes?

© 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

The Joy of the Ordinary

When a cold/flu virus sends a couple to bed for the better part of four days, with large glasses of water and several seasons Grey’s Anatomy, it is the perfect recipe for appreciating the ordinary. We are maybe not really completely recovered yet today but we made it out of our pajamas with no fevers for 24 hours and down to the Bakery for breakfast. We gave no hugs, asked that everything we touched be wiped off and tried not to breathe on anyone. We are pretty sure we are no longer contagious but just want to sure. This bug was nasty! All I have to say is we have done a darn good job of building up our immunity. In fact, we were feeling so good that we went for a wee stroll.

It is only 9:30 am but the winter light is already changing and becoming harsher on a sunny day. So not too much to show you really, just the joy of the ordinary.

The joy of an old arbutus snag catching the sun in Bennett Bay.

Bennett Bay Arbutus snag by Terrill Welch IMG_8386

The joy of walking up and down along trails on the soft natural earth.

February morning trail by Terrill Welch   IMG_8395

The joy of looking out across the Strait of Georgia and seeing blue sky reflected on the water.

Sun came out for BC Family Day IMG_8401

And then there is the simple joy of taking a moment to reflect.

David taking a break by Terrill Welch  IMG_8417

I have no idea how I will catch up and be ready for everything that is scheduled for the rest of February. But I trust I will be better able to manage these tasks after enjoying just a little bit of the ordinary.

 

What ordinary pleasure did you notice 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

Mystery of the Ordinary in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island

If you know only one aspect of my creative intention, I would like it to be my gift of the ordinary in our everyday. Yes, there are grand moments, brilliant moments and even tragic moments in our lives. But it is the everyday, the ordinary which holds the greatest mystery. On this day, Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I feel compelled to take you with me on a quiet walk of thankfulness in our local Mayne Island Japanese Garden. This garden is a work of volunteer love and healing in recognition of the Japanese Canadians who lost their homes and lands on Mayne Island during their interment during the second world war.

Through the trees in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 036

Looking through the trees and standing in between I am thankful for all that is.

Standing in between in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 031

Standing still and quiet as the winter birds shuffle the last of the fall colour on the ground, I breathe easy.

Last of the fall colour in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 020

Have a seat and we shall stay a while longer.

Have a Seat by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 012

Then, when you are ready, we shall walk across the bridge and out onto the small inner island of the Japanese garden.

Bridge in Japanese Garden on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_11_26 022

There is evidence that the seasonal Christmas lights are being strung. Today though, it is just the natural warmth of winter light and the last bits of gold in contrast to a thin layer of ice on the pond.

What is your own most powerful mystery in the ordinary of your everyday today?

© 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