An Artist’s visit to Paris in June

What remains in my mind’s eye is the soft champagne and pearly whites of morning

Good Morning Paris  by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 056

with the occasional splashes of reds.

Chez Marie by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 059

But there is much more to Paris France than this isn’t there?

Up by the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and through the trees is Paris.

A Paris morning through the trees by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 044

She is a grand city that the world loves with a passion befitting its status.

Paris June 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 049

Even if a visitor skips going to see the Eiffel Tower and prefers to remember the flights of spiral stairs as I did.

Stairs to 1st floor studio in Paris France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 084

Paris will steel our hearts even if we are reluctant lovers.

What artist can resist plein air painting of double courtyard on Rue Rodier in Paris France

plein air painting of double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_17 086
The day before I promised myself that I would photograph and paint this double courtyard. After a full day at Musée d’Orsay, I had little time, light or energy left but decided to make a go of it anyway. To me, Paris is not just about the Louvre, D’Orsay, Jardin Tuileries, Eiffel Tower and street-side cafes. It is not about high fashion either. In fact, I have seen very little evidence of that. Nor is it just good food. What Paris is to me is the ability to share small amounts of private space with such regard and politeness for each other. During the 45 minutes or so I worked on this painting more than twenty people came and went in the courtyard. Some just said Bonjour Madame or Bonsoir Madame but most stopped to say a few words and they did not give me a hard time about not being able to understand everything and were more than willing to switch to English once I asked – in French of course. These courtyards are an intimate connection between neighbours… not quite friends for the most part and not as close as family but more familiar than the street, or the cafe and much more familiar than most North American neighbours are with each other. Once the outside door closes, this is home and it is treated as such even if it is shared with probably more than a hundred people. This is Paris to me. In fact, this is very much France to me. This I know I will remember – fondly.

Double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch

Double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_17 080

 But we did go to Louvre too. Looking out from one of the upstairs windows we can feel its magnificence.

Louvre Paris France June 2014  by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 048
Walking the halls leaves a person with shivers running down their spine.
walking the halls of the Louvre by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 008
Morning sun rolled into Napoleon III apartments and splashed against the ceiling.
morning sun on Napoleon III Apartments ceiling Louvre France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 021
This painted wedding-cake style room in the Louvre is so outrageously over-the-top it almost made me laugh but I couldn’t pick my bottom jaw up fast enough to get out even one “ha-ha.” I just kept turning in circles saying unbelievable, look at that, unbelievable! It seemed most appropriate that we happened upon this room shortly after visiting the queen of the Louvre herself… you know, the one with the smile 😉 We hadn’t actually planned on giving her any courtly attention but the morning was reasonably quiet so we followed the entourage along and dropped in for a few minutes. In case you wanted to know, Mona Lisa is doing well for her age and is still smiling. I didn’t take her portrait as I knew the light wouldn’t do her justice.

Where the Musée d’Orsay  does not allow photographs, the Louvre does. So I took just a few photographs of paintings for my own study. These are shared with you for the same personal use study purpose.

A favourite artist of mine was Camille Corot. His landscape from Avignon called “Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel” from 1843 struck a significantcord with me as I had stood in about the same place painting 171 years later.

Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel 1843 by Camille Corot photo for study by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 033
Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch was a work I had completed just days earlier.
Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_012 106
I now have a completed larger studio painting…
VILLENEUVE LEZ AVIGNON FRANCE 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas
Villeneuve lez Avignon France 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_08_08 069
Camille Corot is mostly known as a landscape painter but it is a few of his portraits of women that are having a lasting impression. This detail of La Dame en Bleu is from the last figurative painting that Corot painting in 1874.
detail La Dame en Bleu 1874 by Camille Corot by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 118
They are so melancholy while holding a solid kind of inner-defiance that has surfaced for me only after careful observation. I wonder – how did he do this? What was his relationship to these women? Below is a detail from “Zingara au tambour de basque” that he painted between 1865 to 1870.
detail Zingara au tambour de basque 1865 to 1870 by Camille Corot photo by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 110
Corot would have been about 74 years old when this work was finished. Is the answer to my question in his biographical information? I have ordered a book this morning from Amazon called “The Secret Armoire: Corot’s Figure Paintings and the World of Reading” by Mariantonia Reinhard-Felice to help me answer this question.

But there is more the Louvre than Corot and so much more to Paris than the Louvre isn’t there?

Well, we shall have to save it for another day. It is time for this artist to get ready for an afternoon of unrelated meetings on this September afternoon back in Canada off the southwest coast of British Columbia.

What does Paris in June mean to you?

© 2014 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

Arriving in Florence Italy

Our hosts, Nicoletta and Roberto, call me “Terri” just like my step-son-in-law who is from Malan, Italy. They said that the people of Florence like to welcome their guests and how true we have found this to be. They met us at a small train station in the industrial west side of the city and gave us a full tour on our way to the southern edges. We were presented with gifts of Easter cake, wine and coffee for the espresso machine. Yes, I did still sleep last night after doing some taste-testing before they took me to get a few groceries which in hindsight I should have made a bigger shop. But, oh well!

Today, when we were shopping for a larger supply of sustenance, strangers readily helped me several times until I was able to independently work the weighing machine in the produce section.  In the stores we have been to in Italy, the buyer weighs their own produce and a purchase slip is then created by the machine and you stick it on the bag of produce for the cashier. Quite handy really and efficient when you get to the checkout.

A little while after that I was enthusiastically given tips about the area by a fellow motor-bike riding local photographer. Needless to say, we are finding the people of Florence the warmest, most friendly and inviting hosts in our travels so far. Granted, we are a bit off the tourist map. Just the same – we feel we are at home in less than 24 hours. The view across the valley last evening didn’t hurt either…

view across valley in south Florence by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 016

It is the end of the day as I walk around the yard exploring and looking.

end of the day in south Florence by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 024

Someplace a little further to the left of this, I am told that Galileo’s observatory can be seen through the trees in the winter. I haven’t spotted it yet but it isn’t for lack of trying. It is warm here but not hot like in the summer when is common to have 40 degrees Celsius.

We are staying alongside a narrow one-way street that runs along a hill and is part of the old via Romana or old road to Rome from Florence. The street is now called via del Podesta.

old via Romana by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 063

One of the side roads has poppies blooming along the edge of the stone wall…

poppies by a stone wall in Florence Italy  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 077

and a great view which I will show you on our return.

We walked over the top and down the other side to get our groceries for the next two days as tomorrow, April 25th ,  is Liberation Day in Italy, a national holiday. The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. This means most everything is closed.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. – See more at:

While shopping, I haven’t had so much fun in a long time. Our hosts had taken me the evening before with their car so I would know where to find the store. I only had a small amount of cash on me so just got enough for supper and breakfast. As we were returning they told me about the national holiday. I knew then that our main task for today was going to be to get a few more things to eat. Well, the great little store with fresh produce and oven-fired bread was packed shoppers. We jostled our way through with the locals who were laughing and joking and being helpful all at the same time. It was a hoot! When we finally got ourselves out on the street again with our pull-cart full of supplies, I told David, we couldn’t get a better experience of local life than shopping on the last day before a national holiday in a neighbourhood store. But, I assure you, now that we are back up the hill and have the provisions tucked away, anything we forgot, we are going to live without 😉

I didn’t take my camera with me but right around noon walked back to that place with the wonderful view.

landscape of churches south of Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_24 121

This is when I ran into a fellow photographer on his motor bike and he gave me a bit of a rundown on other places to check out in the area. He was born and raised in this neighbourhood but had also made a trip to an island of the Pacific Northwest of the United States so he had some idea what it was like where I was from.

In conclusion, I have decided that my Italian name is Terri and to say it properly you have to roll the “r” just slightly – not too much and leave the emphasis on the “i” and give it more of a long “e” sound. It is very pretty said this way and I will answer to it without a moment’s hesitation.


What is your name in another language that you might like to be called?


is ‘Liberation Day’ in Italy, a national holiday.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. 

– See more at:

is ‘Liberation Day’ in Italy, a national holiday.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. 

– See more at:

is ‘Liberation Day’ in Italy, a national holiday.

The country commemorates the day that the nation was liberated from Nazi Germany. 

– See more at:

© 2014 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

How do you pack for three months travel to London, Paris, Dijon, Basel, Venice, Florence, Nice and Barcelona?

The short answer never changes when packing for a trip does it? Let’s say it all together…


But what does as little as possible look like?

Here are three clues:

1. If you need to sit on a suitcase that is as up to your waist and wider than the bathroom door in order to close it, you are not there yet.

2. If you don’t think you can carry your luggage and pull out your passport from your safety wallet at the same time, you still have some work to do.

3. If you are wondering if you are going to be able to hire someone to carry your belongings or you can’t imagine carrying it up four flights of stairs all by yourself, it is time to reassess.

When David and I traveled in Peru for a month we only had one small backpack of carry-on luggage each. When we came home we had one extra small bag to check that contained a few gifts. At the time I wasn’t painting and only had my much smaller film 35 mm film camera. There were no iPads and we didn’t even consider taking a laptop because Peru had lots of internet cafe locations. This time we have much more gear to pack and we are going for a longer stretch of time. Because of this and because we will be in such diverse climates we decided that one piece of carry-on each wasn’t going to work. We purchased one narrow medium-sized, hard-shell bottomed suitcase that expands into two separate pieces if we need it. We will have one carry-on each containing mostly camera equipment, laptop, ipads and toothbrushes… and this one suitcase will be checked.

For clothes think comfortable, versatile, happy being crumpled, easy to wash and layers. Bring only the clothes for what you are going to be doing and half as many as you think you need.

Take as little as possible by Terrill Welch 2014_03_23 070

We are not night club people. We have no wedding to attend. So dress clothes and dress shoes are just not needed. If we change our mind later, then it looks like I get to buy a new pair of shoes 😉 But I won’t pack these things with me. I do have a simple skirt and top that can go anywhere for a nice dinner. That is it. But the skirt and top is also equally suitable for a day traveling on the train or a morning walking along the beach or strolling an art gallery. I don’t wear make up, use face or hand cream and I don’t take any medications or supplements so this helps keep things simple.

However, there are a few don’t-leave-home-without items that I do include in my packing:

Travel things by Terrill Welch 2014_03_23 074

1. a small bottle of liquid hand cleanser. This was so handy on our trip to Peru that I seldom have been without it since.

2. safety money belt with RFID blocker which means only a small amount of cash for daily purchases is ever readily accessible. Extra tip – when choosing your clothes make sure you do not have to strip or risk getting charged with indecent exposure to get at your passport, train pass and credit card and bank cards in the money belt. Hence, I packed a skirt and top not a dress.

3. since we will be checking one suitcase I have included a sewing kit with scissor and fingernail clippers. If you are traveling with only carry-on leave these restricted items at home and purchase them when you get where you are going. Note: dental floss is crazy useful as a thread if you remember to bring a needle big enough to use it this way.

4. electrical adapters if they are needed. This didn’t used to be such a big deal but we have too many electronic toys to leave home without them anymore.

5. your sense of humour! Never, ever go on a trip without it. Ever. There will be times when you will be so tired you want to cry. There will be times that everything will seemingly go wrong no matter what you do. This is when you pull out your rather squished, rumpled sense of humour – give it a good shake, dust it off and put it work – and always remember where you packed it where it is easily accessible.

Now for my nice-to-have items:

Travel essentials by Terrill Welch 2014_03_23 068

1. one quick-dry compact towel shown on the right in the photograph above. This item went with us to Peru and was mostly used to dry my long mop of hair but also can be used to lay food out on and as a blanket when cold or to cover your head when you don’t want to see anyone… particularly the person you are traveling with – I am teasing but you get the idea.

2. a pocket raincoat that is tough and durable. I like my hands free and holding an umbrella is just a pain. Besides I am short so an umbrella is actually a dangerous weapon to be welding on a busy street.

3. a pocket day-pack for maps, hairbrush and food – NOT for money, credit cards, bank cards, passport, camera or iPad or anything else valuable. If the pack is lifted you want to be able to shout after the person…. have a nice lunch!… then be on able to move on with the rest of your day.

4. an inflatable head and chin support. This is something new we are trying but we have one overnight flight and some long day trips on the train. I will report back after the trip to let you know how well it works.

5. maps… if you like maps that is. I will spend a good amount of time looking at maps before and during a trip to familiarize myself with the lay of the land so to speak. I like to be able to imagine how various places relate to other places even before I arrive. This keeps the anxiety down once I am on the ground. It is not a necessity because tourist centers have maps and if you are taking a smart phone then paper maps might even be easy to skip. But physically looking at maps is just something I deeply enjoy and it will keep me occupied for hours of traveling time.

6. one hard copy book for when the iPad or kindle is packed away or the battery has run down.

Then, there are just a few things that MUST be left behind:

1. your travel plan and essential information with your emergency contact person.

2. any sense of entitlement or ethnocentric righteousness. Different doesn’t mean wrong. It only means different.

Now we are all packed and ready to have fun! Yippee! Eight more sleeps 🙂 Oh! Did we forget anything?


What is one little-thought-about item on your essential packing list for three months or more travel?


© 2014 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

Sea Spray over Green and Other Fragments

Having had a long and less than meaningful conversation with the still almost-full moon until three o’clock this morning, I am surprised to wake as the sun hits the tree tops in our valley. However, awake does not mean much under these circumstances. I gathered my camera and get a coffee, breakfast treat and sandwiches for lunch later at the local bakery.

Now what? I say to self.

Well, it is Saint Patrick’s Day. In honour of the day of green, a long ago almost forgotten wedding day and the blessing of being alive, here is a splash of sea spray over the green seaweed on the rocks at Reef Bay.

Breaking into Morning Light by Terrill Welch 2014_03_17 142

I am consciously aware of being in this familiar liminal state of neither here nor there, about to cross a threshold, at the edge or margins of life as I have known it. We are not always so fortunate as to have the advantage to prepare for such transitions and markers between this and then that. Today I do, at least as far as I can foresee. Let’s unpack this moment a wee bit before I go and call the banks to let them know about our travels.

On Saturday I worked or rather reworked a 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas.


Fabrication resting 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_03_15 020

This painting is about a deep despair that comes with global unrest and greed. It is about how we humans attempt to contort ourselves into something believable and good. We create fabrications that quickly are shaped into a kind of truth that is meant to secure greater wealth. These creations tarnish any good that was suppose to be the reason for our actions in the first place. This painting is about denying limitations. The limitations of oil, gas, life, beauty, and even greed. We can pretend to sit serenely looking out the window and watch the sunlight dancing on the sea. We can do this but eventually our body will remind us that this position cannot be maintained. We must get up, put our clothes on, and do something… even if it is only to slaughter a lamb for dinner. There is hope. The sky is blue.

This painting, as with the underpainting, will not leave my studio. Some paintings are just like that. The work is not painted using a live model.  I have however painted figures from live models and at one time there was a reference sketch when I did the original underpainting. Now, I think we can safely say that this woman is a complete fabrication a half-truth.

I have the first third of our travels booked from the time we leave Mayne Island with an overnight in Vancouver B.C. to catch a flight to London England and then to Dijon via Paris. From Dijon France we will go to Basel Switzerland before continuing on to Venice Italy for nine days at which time we will go to stay at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence for two weeks. During our time in Florence I will book the next part of our journey until we get to Barcelona Spain. My mind is filled with partial maps of strange cities and countries outlined by the short-stroked colours of pencil crayons as remembered in my elementary school mapping exercises. I am reading short stories by Colette and in between I clean the pantry, buy a new mop and string together the first names of our Airbnb hosts – Lindsay (New Westminster B.C.) , Kathy (Iver England), Tristan (Dijon France), Vesna (Basel Switzerland), Arianna (Venice Italy) and Nicoletta (Florence Italy). An email arrives to say the Queen of Burnaby ferry is remaining docked at Village Bay Mayne Island due to weather conditions. The  CBC radio 2 host comments on a study that says if women have classical music playing when men visit their websites the women are found to be more attractive. For some reason this makes me think of a street image from last evening’s online surfing of Aix-en-Provence and then the paintings of Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir intersect just at peripheral of my mind-map. Again, I mentally comb the Cote d’zur shoreline. Where might we stay?

Ah, as you can see old patterns are fractured and lifted from there routine, making way for a new marker or reference point in my life. There will likely always be a before and after we traveled to Europe. So I must leave you the reefs of Mayne Island as I pack my present in anticipation of an unknown but easily imagined feature. We do not know really what it will be but the cracks of organized thought are temporarily widening between my past, my today and tomorrow.

Yet, there is a shadow on all of this with Russia’s confidence in taking Crimea and the United States and Europe in sanction-imposing but seemingly futile resistance. I am reminded that fate has placed me in an unexpected and unprecedented historical privilege. I must accept this. I must remind myself to be humble as I sparingly hand over wads of cash for our travels while cringing at what it will do to our modest savings account. We are not wealthy travels. We are however wealthy global citizens. We have all we need and at times such as this even some things that we want. I have no real answer for this disparity that I always feel most acutely during times of great expense. The guilt tinges all thoughts of the pleasures about our travels. The greed of it all in traveling for three months to Europe, how could I!? Yet, I will. I will pack that ugly little bag of privilege close to my heart and take nothing for granted. I will carry it so closely and tightly to my body that something good will come from it. I promise.

What green is your green on this Monday of Saint Patrick’s Day?

© 2014 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

How To Paint Europe While Traveling Without An Art Studio

One of my major puzzles to solve has been – how shall I continue to paint for the three months we are traveling in Europe starting in April? Photography, no problem, even if my camera bag weighs sixteen pounds with out my toothbrush and two pairs of socks, underwear and a clean t-shirt. The limit is 22 lbs. for carry on luggage. I think I can do it. But painting, how can we make THAT light weight and practical at the same time? Here is my solution….

French Resistance Pochade by Terrill Welch 2014_02_14 092

This is a “French Resistance” Pochade box. It is 10 x 13 x 3 inches and weighs only 3 lbs. The palette is a wee lightweight one I rounded up from another source. I have already purchased Golden Heavy acrylic paints for their drying power over my water-mixable oils and I also picked up a dozen 8 x 10 inch primed panels to get me started. The panels and the little water jar are another find along with the pochade box that I discovered at Judsons Art Outfitters. The pochade box mounts onto my camera tripod but will also sit on a table. The packaging has a little note that says “kiss your French Easel goodbye and start a whole new relationship.” I did giggle. Though wee beauty it NOT likely to lessen my love for my French Box Easel. I am however open to a wild, passionate European fling with this little “French Resistance” pochade 😉 The acrylic paints clean up easily and dry quickly. The acrylics are the best substitute for my oils I could find and though not as rich and flexible, they will do the trick for painting sketches. And their other attributes make them a necessity. This light weight and compact set up means many a painting sketch while we are on the go. I will be able to pick up larger panels up to 16 x 20 inches to use with this pochade though a larger panel will likely mean adding weights to the tripod to keep it upright if it is windy. But to start, I am going to keep it quick and small. These will be painting sketches for reference in painting larger oil paintings when I get back to our home on the southwest coast of Canada. Many of these sketches will likely be en plein air because, well, why not!

Wishing you all a fine week ahead!

What is YOUR major puzzle to solve this week?

p.s. In other news, FOUR photography prints of Mayne Island SOLD to a new collector yesterday and will take up residence in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Yippee! Please feel free to have a browse your self at my Redbubble Storefront.

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

A Brush with Europe – an artist’s rendering coming soon

Merci, grazie, gracias, Thank you! A Brush with Europe blogging category begins for this artist who has planned a three month trip by not planning much at all. Right now the best indicator of what is going on inside my head looks something like this…

A Brush with Europe by Terrill Welch 2014_02_03 108

There is a poem in Leonard Cohen Book of Longing p. 46 that adequatly captures my misgivings and doubts.

The Moon

The moon is outside

I saw the great uncomplicated thing

when I went to take a like just now.

I should have looked at it longer.

I am a poor lover of the moon.

I see it all at once and that’s it

for me and the moon.

My fear is that I don’t want to be a poor lover of Paris, Venice, Florence and Barcelona. But right now three months in Europe seems too short to accomplish anything more. I am reading, watching videos, talking to people and learning as much as I can in advance. However, this just seems to increase my doubts rather than relieve them. What to do?

Well, anytime I feel like I am in over my head, which I am confident is a reasonable description of my current situation, I slow down and eat some greens.

Winter Salad by Terrill Welch 2014_02_03 054

Winter in a northern climate is not the easiest time to create a summer like salad but it can be done. Then with the addition of a good handful of pecans and a couple of warm hard-boiled eggs I a ready to go to work.

Salad with pecans and eggs by Terrill Welch 2014_02_03 081

First things first – revise the travel planning list. Ah yes – return tickets from Vancouver to London and medical insurance, suitcase, RFID blocker money belt, and plugin adapters are purchased. Next, sign up for AirBnB and arrange for a caretaker house sitter. See? Not so hard. Non capisco? Mi dispiace…

What is your first response when you are in over your head?

Note: I will be starting a new blogging category for this trip called “A Brush with Europe.” I thought about setting up a separate blog but that just seemed more trouble than it was worth. Since I will be doing painting sketches, photography and writing as we travel by train from London to Venice then on to Florence, the Cote D’ Azur and Barcelona (beginning in April until near the end of June) this in-progress blog should work just fine. Besides you all know how to find me here and this way I won’t be lonely 🙂


© 2014 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