Early Autumn in the Japanese Garden

Sunshine and cooler temperatures are the perfect time for drifting between productive activity and leisurely strolls. I have sorted, cleaned and reclaimed my office space in the loft. I find it so refreshing to have it “in hand” so to speak. Now it is time to go for that stroll. 


I go off into the gorgeous early autumn weather with its warm sun and blue skies. One of my stops is our Mayne Island Japanese Memorial Garden. 


The bridge is looking more elegant than usual with its orange red boards. I smile to myself remembering bringing students to plein air paint in the garden. This bridge lovingly was referred to as “the dreaded bridge”. 


The bridge can be seen from almost anywhere in the circular walk around the garden.


It is a popular prop for photographing family and friends. 


The Japanese maples are starting to turn red.


Samaras prepare to twirl off in a gust of wind. 


I find myself sitting in the ground beside the path even though there are many comfortable benches tucked into the garden. 


I am sitting next to the new bamboo shishi odoshi that translates as “deer frightening” in English. Thankful all the deer are fences out of this beautiful garden. 


I head home to prepare supper. Before I feel ready, the day is over. The sun is setting through the trees and creating magical light across the room. 


The time on my phone says that it is just seven in the evening. I am not ready yet for the fast shortening of the days in our northern hemisphere. I want to savour the last of our late summer’s warmth, even if it is shaking hands with early autumn before its annual departure. 

Meanwhile, Russia has announced a partial mobilization. First it was for 300 reservists. Now I hear possibly one million. Nuclear weapons are mentioned. Is it a bluff? Likely they say while failing to pause before insisting that we should take this threat seriously and prepare. How does one prepare for a Nuclear war? Is an animal really cornered if they very carefully constructed the corner themselves? The analogy doesn’t seem to work somehow. I listen to the UN security talks. I check with trusted YouTube analysts for updates about changes in the Ukrainian frontline. What shall I prepare in the face of possible war? A prayer for peace? A dedicated meditation on love? Possibly. I will go to garden for a powerful potion of fresh peppermint for my tea. I will watch the bright green leaves swirl in the hot water of my favourite mung and I shall breathe. I shall breathe slowly, purposefully and with an open heart, cradled in strength and a unrelenting force. 

Such are these days of this early autumn here on the southwest coast of Canada. 

What is it like this time of year in your  neighbourhood? 

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Warm Sun with Cool Shadows

I have my sweater tide around my waist and my cheeks are facing the later morning sun. But there is no mistaking that it is fall. A cool breeze drifts gently through the trees and tickles up the length of my spine.

*Please note: Reader warning about challenging material and painting reference sketch for possibly my next large painting are included near the end of this post.  

I want to not much of anything on days like this. It is a good thing I got the edges on four large paintings done yesterday before heading down to sit beside the sea. 

Autumn crocuses are in full bloom. I always feel like they are playing a great hoax on us, as if wanting us to believe it is spring. 

But it was Saint John Point where I wandered yesterday. This place is intimately familiar. Yet, if I learn into that closeness and seek out something more, it always delivers. 

Again…

And again…

The Arbutus woods, the sea and the sky are never the same twice. So I keep seeking with fresh eyes and a willing spirit. 

Every twist is assessed and acknowledged, sometimes with sadness because the end of a life is so near. Maybe one more season. Hopefully. 

However, even in death Arbutus Trees seem to still have so much to offer with their elegant curves. 

I revel in the grand strength and endurance of the healthy giants. How do they do it when so many others are struggling?

At home the painting edges dry.

These three paintings have displaced us from our great room and dining table.

Not to worry, we have done this a few hundred times before. We have a temporary cozy and beautiful solution. The outside deck table is moved to the big windows in our bedroom. Now how fine is this!?

And in the evening if dinner is later, we slide everything over in front of the fireplace. One could hardly call this roughing it.

Today and tomorrow the Gallery Pod is closed. I have a friend and an art collector arriving for a day trip tomorrow though. I could start on a larger painting but I might wait. What I want to work on is dark and grim. I have a small study I did around five months ago about our tranquil place next to the Salish Sea with the devastation left behind by the Russians in the small village of Bucha village in Ukraine imposed in the foreground.

“One World, Two Places” by Terrill Welch is a small 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch 

Artist notes: During mid April 2022 war photographers began releasing images of Bucha Ukraine following Russian retreat. The inhumane atrocities where nightmarishly haunting. I was overwhelmed by the graphic possibilities for sickly human behaviour. I went from our calm, warm, cozy home to the shores of the Salish Sea on the southwest coast of Canada where Mount Baker loomed across the waters in the United States. What if our neighbouring unit were to attack us in this way? What would we do? These lands too have witnessed atrocities by European settlers towards Indigenous communities. There is no place of virtue for how despicable humans can be to one another. The miracle might be that we have even moments of peace, compassion and caring at all. Yet, the seascape of my island home is tranquil and takes the edge off of my inner turmoil. I return home and paint “One World, Two Places” using several reference but with a specific image quote to Den Kazansky who risks his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to document the crimes in Bucha and the war in Ukraine. Kazansky’s tag line on Twitter is “For only in the grip of darkness we will shine amidst the brightest stars” This too could be the title of this painting sketch.


The subject deserves a large canvas. I am just not sure I have the stomach and the courage to paint it. I have a biting, teeth grinding and nightmare kind of concern for those civilians who are on the front lines of the war in Ukraine. I can hike the trails to take the edge off but this doesn’t change the situation. Somehow painting these experiences offers a concrete place outside of my head to record these horrors that contrast so starkly with our daily island life here on the Southwest Coast of Canada.

For now, I am going to make my coffee and see what I decide after that.

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Weaving Together A Weekend Through to Monday

After collecting our basket from the Farmers Market yesterday and spending most of the day putting up the harvest for winter while guests self browsed in person and online, today with the Gallery Pod open from 11-4, I am smiling. 

I am smiling AND painting edges. I would say this is almost a miracle. 😉

I think it is the second batch of oven roasted eggplant, tomatoes and peppers with herbs in olive oil.

Or maybe it is the third batch of rustic basil pesto?

But it is likely the labeled serving sizes in the freezer that is doing it. This and the fall air. Either way, you are most welcome to come self browse in the Terrill Welch Gallery Pod and stop in and see the new show in ISLAND TIME ART both today and tomorrow. I shall be around between painting edges and strolling in the early autumn sun. Plus, there are fresh flowers in the Gallery Pod to welcome you.

If you are only able to visit and browse online this works well too.

Terrill Welch Gallery Pod Private Viewing Room is available HERE.

ISLAND TIME ART “Late Summer Gold” group show can be viewed in a collection HERE

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Breaking Blue and Gold

Starting with Monday, this has been a week of deep connection with nature, family and friends. Nature is at my doorstep. A friend made the trip to the island for a visit and my family has been connecting via telephone across many km from a different part of the province. There is a fragile, yet unrelenting, firmness that whisks itself across the carpet of our pending autumn.

Seagulls gather in rows on the reefs.

Hearing about the death of Queen Elisabeth II at 96 years old and a 70 year reign is a good reminder for me that mortality eventually has its way with us all. This confirmation, and a northwest wind facing down a clear sunny day, slices through any illusions I may have had. Without a doubt, summer has slipped on a sweater on over her light cotton dress and Canada, as part of the commonwealth, has a new King. King Charles III who is already a sprightly 73 years old. Just like that it seems, we have turned a page in time.

However, if we look closely enough, we will notice that endings and beginnings are woven together and when done well, the broken threads pass beside each other twisting to become stronger than just one thread by itself. It could be as simple as where the sea and the shore meet.

Or, in a grander flourish, we might catch the sea, mountains and sky cresting across the horizon.

The seagulls are still conferencing on the sandstone with hardly a ruffled feather.

The next day they have moved on. But the northwesterly wind has stayed.

I try to find a place to paint but I am chilled and shivering just getting references. Unlike our intuitive summer, I have left my warm sweater at home.

After a third attempt along our Mayne Island shores, I tuck up close to the brickworks dock during the morning low tide.

I lean into the crumbly structure and make a wish. Not a wish for something. Just a wish to be present. A wish to hold the space of today. In a wonky out-of-sorts-kind-of-way, everything seems to be as it should.

I’ll take it! That long breath in and then out and in again. In nature, connecting with family and friends. This is it. All that gives us a chance in life.

Low Tide at the Brickworks Dock by Terrill Welch, 10 x 8 inch acrylic on gessobord plein air.

Artist notes: An early September northwest wind was cool even in the late summer sun. I tucked up next to the brickworks dock for shelter and then started admiring its weathered features.

And so it has been for this first week of September. How about you? How has your week been?

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Starting Fresh in September

The first Sunday in September is often like my second New Year. There is this natural pause and reflection just before we seem to roll into the rest of the year in earnest. At first glance this year, my living and work world seems indecipherable like this photograph of the forest from our side deck.

However, with a bit of effort the layers can be lifted off and separated until they make some kind of visual and memory sense. This is what we like to do isn’t it? Make sense of things when they just happen to naturally co-exist in overlapping movements of light and energy. Let’s see what we can make of it all.

Since last September, our physical living and my working spaces have shifted in rather dramatic ways under my guidance and inspiration to solve immediate and difficult challenges. Only in hindsight do they seem daunting. When I was in the middle of these changes it was just a matter of getting things done that needed doing. Now I can appreciate the monumental shifts that have taken place.

The first major project last fall was the completion of our main floor bedroom and ensuite bathroom renovation that had started in the spring and been delayed waiting for windows to arrive. The building contractor did an outstanding job and we were able to move our bed from the great room beside the kitchen table and put an end to feeling like we were camping out in our own home.

This project was taken on to meet my husband’s reduced mobility needs in the middle of the night when he would get up a little too stiff and disoriented to manage the stairs from what was our sunroom sleeping quarters.

What we couldn’t have known ahead of time is what a sanctuary this space would become and how it would change the way we actually lived in our home. The ability to have a separate bedroom closed off in our open plan strawbale timberframe home that still remained visible from other parts of the house has meant easy movement, sleeping and working space without feeling isolated from one another. In meeting a very pragmatic mobility need we greatly increased our quality of daily living in our home.

My home studio moved permanently into the sunroom below the kitchen where our bed used to be for the past twelve years. Even with the unrelenting south exposure it works because of the tall trees and our many west coast soft grey days.

The whole house now works as if it was always meant to be this way.

The second major change came last October when my commercial venue for the gallery rooms provided all the tenants in the building a year’s notice because the owner was going to return the space to residential use. Our small rural island has extremely limited commercial space options and few of those are ideal for showing paintings. However, the first solution came easy with a small room sublet within another business that also was moving. It meant a change in what was regularly being offered as the small space was only suitable for smaller paintings and usable art products.

The huge benefit of this new art room venue is that I do not need to physically be there. Thanks to modern Square payment technology a separate terminal was added for use at the counter of the main business.

The unexpected gift of this unique ISLAND TIME ART room has been the joy designing and choosing smaller useable art products for this space and the ease of curating and hanging new shows with a selected group of gallery artists. The art room is eclectic, lively and delightful. But it is not a gallery space and has difficulty managing to successfully show larger paintings like my other gallery spaces had been able to do. Which brings us to my final major change during the past year. The Gallery Pod.

The Terrill Welch Gallery Pod, that is now snuggled in at our front gate and opened this weekend, took nine months from idea to opening and is the last piece in our live/work solution that my husband and I didn’t really accept that we needed until it was in place. You see, on top of being a full-time landscape painter and running a gallery and art business, I am also a caregiver for my husband who suffered a major bleeding stroke thirteen years ago. The first few years were spent in gaining back skills and abilities. Then there were many years of stability. Now he is experiencing a gradual decline in both physical and cognitive abilities that admittedly has been aggravated by limitation imposed during the pandemic. So being able to have the new gallery space at our front gate has become a huge future planning benefit that we didn’t realize until it was here would also have immediate benefits in the quality of both of our lives and my ability to continue working.

This brings me to a place of realizing this first Sunday in September that we can look to the present as a fresh start in our future direction that has been intentionally and thoughtfully implemented for both living and working on this small rural island on the southwest coast of Canada. Now it is time to set some short term priorities for the last quarter of 2022…. and go make some breakfast before opening the Gallery Pod and the home studio for visitors today from 11-4.

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September is About to Arrive

I can feel fall nipping at my heals even as the nights remain warm and the drought conditions continue likely for at least another two weeks. It is a rambling eclectic time of year with my birthday acknowledged while aggressive wasps crowd around the outside water tap for a drink. I have the road signs up for the official Gallery Pod opening 11-4 each day starting tomorrow through to Tuesday September 6th.

The show is hung and people have been slipping for an early viewing for the last few days.

There will need to be new flowers for the desk today I think but these ones have sure been lovely.

The newsletter is written and will come out as usual on Friday. Never Miss the Good bits! Sign Up Now for “A Brush with Life” the curated editorial Terrill Welch Gallery newsletter published every second Friday. (You will receive a confirmation email. Check your spam folder if you sign up and it isn’t in your inbox. If you do not reply to confirm you are not subscribed yet). 

No painting is happening at the moment. A strong individual is coming to dig a trench for the extension cord to the gallery pod today so that it is not an eyesore. My most treasured team member is coming to clean and polish our home and the home studio. I have so much gratitude for those in my life who step up when needed!

End of summer meals are wholesome but simple. Breakfast of garden fresh local tomatoes on wood fired rye toast with mayo for breakfast.

Spanish omelettes with tomato sauce and cheese with local salad greens for supper thanks to Raven Vale Farm.

I managed a sunrise this week along with an impromptu visit with a friend who arrived for the same beach just a little earlier than me.

Life is good as I get up early and go to bed late while noticing the shorter days and that distinct scent of autumn just around the corner. I tell myself, just get through to the end of the Gallery Pod opening and it will easy up. But not likely all at once I am afraid. It is now time to get everything ready for the winter months. There are off island eye and dentist appointments to get out of the way for both of us and regular twice yearly blood work to do for my partner, along with his prescriptions that will need to be renewed. All the batteries for flashlights and emergency lamps will need to be checked. And the propane tank for the fireplace that provides emergency heat if we have a longer power outage. There! A list has been started.

How is your September shaping up?

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Pulling Canvases Off The Easel

Done and done! Ta-da! For weeks these two very different paintings had been languishing on two of my easels. Neither needed much but I still procrastinated and refused to stand in front of them and finish up. So, in a moment of clarity and gumption yesterday, I picked up my brushes and did the necessary work. Then, without ceremony, I yanked them from the easel and rested them on the stairs for one last peruse before taking final photographs and setting them aside to dry. Upon reflection, they are both early morning paintings. They do have this in common.

The first painting is part of a Red Line Series I am working on to depict the challenges of climate change on our treasured landscapes. If we look at the painting by itself, it is easier to discover.

Red Line Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park by Terrill Welch, 20 x 30 inch, walnut oil on canvas.

For more details and my artists notes click HERE.

Or we could place it in a room view with a floating frame just to give us an idea…

The second painting is primarily a memory that is revisited every year or so when I go home to spend time with my parents. This is a landscape of my childhood and the first that I drew and then started painting in oils when I was fourteen years old.

Early Morning Mist by Terrill Welch 16 x 20 inch, oil on canvas.

For more details and my artists notes click HERE.

And this one really does appreciate a little distance. Breakfast anyone?

Normally, I will place posts about new releases on my website. I was just so pleased to finally get these two completed and into the inventory that it seemed they should be posted with the art practice records. I also worked on a third painting but it was too late in the day for photographs. Another time. Now I can start on something new! Grounds are dry and waiting but I might have changed my mind about what O want to put on them. They had been prepared for a few more mountain Red Line paintings. However, the one I just did could possible have said all I want to say. We shall see.

I do not expect to be writing a post here everyday even though it will happen at times. I thought about setting a specific schedule and decided it wasn’t necessary. I am fairly good about documenting my work process which includes hikes, walks, reading about art and art history, watching art videos as well as painting. I have been doing it for years now. Some thoughts and activities are gathered into “A Brush with Life” newsletters and some will only be shared here. Creative Potager is my everything-out-on-the-tables-and-counters kind of working space. Thoughts and musings are mixed in with my commentary and missteps. I tend to need to document my process to some degree so that I can let go and have room for new ideas and new learning. It is just my way of being in the world. I suspect at times that my ramblings will make little sense at all and at other times, you will be comfortably nodding at my shoulder. Either way, this missives will be a touch point for starting to understand the paintings that come off of my easel.

Do you also tend to find that writing things out or saying them to a friend is useful?

Thanks for listening! 😉

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The Adventure of Visiting Parents

We are halfway home again this morning and I am still thinking about how wonderful it was to get a good visit with both of my parents. It is not easy to catch them in the same photograph as they tend to be like bees and busy working away on their separate tasks until mealtime or if one or the other needs help with something. But this morning I caught them having a brief conference about something or other that needed doing. This is mom (Nell) and dad (Jack) who are now in their early 80’s and still farming with a large garden, hay fields and 40 head of beef cattle in rural north central British Columbia. They were getting a bit pained with my snapping at this point as I had already taken a few with my big camera.

Dad got the last of the hay turned and baled in the field before the rain settled in. We had our first feed of corn without the frost getting it. The car is loaded with a large bag of potatoes, a few beets, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers for snacks. We also ate farm beef and more vegetables from the garden while we were there and even a few peas and raspberries that were hanging on. But it is definitely fall. I couldn’t help but be able to imagine the fields full of snow and the warmth of the wood stove keeping the cold out.

Dad turning the last of the hay in the field closet to the river. There was still a small amount right by the house to finish up when we left. But he has to wait for another chance to get it, if he gets it. The fall rains, heavy dew and fog sometimes have a different idea.

Mom is puttering as she calls it, watering her various flower containers. Everything is reused including this old car and many other items that I will do a separate post about in the next few days.

The view from the top field looking back down to the farm house and buildings by the river is always a pleasure. I had bear spray on my camera belt (just in case) and kept singing and making noise (which is a practice we had as kids as we had no bear spray).

The next day, we looked back up in the field and a beautiful big black bear was standing right where I am now taking this photograph. I think it was the same one we saw at the top of the hill on our way out as well but they do live there and it always something to keep in mind when out hiking or poking around. Mostly, they are shy and will scoot off when they see you. But just in case they don’t, well, mom suggested I take the bear spray.

The greenhouse my cousin did for my mom and dad now has the old windows from the house in it. There is tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers eggplant and a few other things in there with more herbs in the the old watering troughs at the back.

These beauties are the large brandy wine and small chocolate tomatoes on a platter ready to go to the house for supper.

This morning, I make my own coffee, instead of dad handing me a cup, and I tuck into my own daybed, instead of curling up under a blanket on my parent’s couch or at the end of their bed. I am home again. My Mayne Island home. But this childhood home, a full 900 km away, is not far from my thoughts as I gather together images to see if I can give you a wee taste of what it is like go the last 10 km or so before I get to the river.

The last half of the 40 km from Vanderhoof is a well cared for gravel road that can get mucky after a rain (Red Rosie can tell that story this morning) as it has that stuff on it to keep the dust down. There are farms and rural homes on the way out. But, once we are this far, they are set way back off the main road. I always think when I make it to here – not long now!

And it isn’t long at all before we are heading down a narrow track of a road for another 3 km and a bit. This is where we saw a black bear on our way out at the end of our visit. We thought it might have been the same one we saw in the field a couple of days earlier. No photos. The bear ran away as all bears should when they hear you coming.

We keep going down the sand hill and up the pipeline hill until we get to the beginning of the property.

I can smell the over-ripe high bush cranberries in the stand of poplar. I ask my husband David if he can smell them. He says – no. I am a bit puzzled because the aroma was strong. Then I realized he didn’t know what he was smelling. So I tell him that they smelled a little like a wet dog (my mother corrected me later and said more like a wet bear ;). David says – then yes, I can smell them!

We cross the big fields I showed you above.

I pay little mind to the haystack as we pass by.

I pay no attention to the tractor either and pull up to the house, watching for mom and dad to come out to greet us and help carry things in. There are hugs all round first of course!

I hardly glance at the large garden and save it for exploring later. Now that I have said hello to my parents, I have one thing in mind.

We head for the house with our bags and up the steps.

Past the onions drying for winter.

I drop my bag in what I still think of as “my bedroom” though I am sure my baby sister feels the same way. We shared this southwest bright bedroom for a few years after she was born while I was still at home. After that, she had it to herself until she left home. There is a solar light beside the tissue box and a regular flashlight on the windowsill. There is no electricity on the farm but, things are so well set up, one hardly notices.

Then, as soon as things are quiet enough, I gather my camera and head back out the door. I squeeze through a gap in the fence, just beyond the apple trees, and take the last few steps to the banks of the river. It is what one might anticipate from a landscape painter I suppose.

This is the Stuart River and this is Sturgeon Point Farm. The point is visible on almost any map if you know where to look. Two days of driving and, halfway up the province of British Columbia, this spot seems to settle the gritty edges of travel immediately!

Now back at the beginning of my journey, I shall go for a long hike with a friend this afternoon and do this same kind of “settling practice” here on Mayne Island.

This annual trip is like stitching up holes in a favourite well-used sweater of my life. There are still likely a lot of good years left in it yet, if I take care of it! Life is like that isn’t it? We never know its length but the richness of its depth is ours to deepen and to discover the mysteries in each day, from the time we open our eyes until we close them again.

May you have an ordinary day filled with small discoveries that remind you of just what a special miracle you are in this beautiful world we live in!

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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.

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Achival record or mindfulness practice: painting the southwest coast of Canada

Am I archiving our southwest coast of Canada in my paintings?

The very idea has my hands go clammy and a coolness run from tailbone up to the very crown of my head. What a strange assumption I at first thought! But then it came up a couple of more times. But the concept is no longer presented as a question.

“You are creating archival records of these beautiful trees and seascapes!”

Northeasterly Morning Strait of Georgia Mayne Island BC 20 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch

It is a concerning accusation, at least by definition…

“In general, archives consist of records that have been selected for permanent or long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value.” (Wikipedia)

I am more than a bit squeamish about the idea that my paintings might be considered historical evidence collected to preserve something that no longer exists. I have held higher hopes than this for the influence of these works! I have had no intention of creating historical records with my brush. Instead, I have wanted to create a desire to preserve and protect the land, the sea and our humanity that knowingly or unknowingly rely on them. I want to strengthen our direct relationship and connection with our natural environment, pure and yet not so simple it seems.

Have I failed if the paintings, even before I am dead, even before this fragile environment is damaged beyond repair, are being considered as important historical archival documents?

As our Canadian federal government agrees to buy an obsolete, yet-to-be-built twinning pipeline from big oil stakeholders for a whopping 4.5 billion of taxpayer dollars while the Provinces and First Nations head for the courts, I am going to go paint!

I am going to drive to my location in my 2012 Subaru Outback with my water-mixable, vegetable oil, paints that use no solvents. Yes, as you can see, I find this sustainability and transition to clean energy complicated. Yet, I trust we will get there or parish trying. (These are the only two options really.)

I am going it go paint, not as an act of creating a historical record but as a meditation, an act of mindfulness in appreciation of what is.

Therefore, I beg of you – experience these paintings as reminders of what we need to protect rather than coveted records of something that will likely disappear, through oil spills, through climate change, through our collective lack of regard! A painting is nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison to the real thing – in comparison to you experiencing the ordinary moments in an ordinary day somewhere on the southwest coast of Canada. This I am sure of!

Summer Lowtide Morning 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas plein air by Terrill Welch Aug 17 2017 IMG_0461

May the Salish sea breeze ruffle your hair as starfish wink in the low tide, speckled with seagulls, seals, leaping orcas and children playing in the pools of warm water while grandparents watch from under the shade of an old arbutus tree.

We can do this hard thing! In this I believe.

What about you? 🙂

© 2018 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