Wabi Sabi Feng Shui Nature and Photography

Sometimes the grand seascapes of the west coast winter are just too gray and flat to hold my attention.

Break in storm Strait of Georgia bnw by Terrill Welch 2013_02_25 074

When this happens I look elsewhere to see what I can feel and see by the sea. This is when I am most often consciously drawn to beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” or the wabi-sabi nature of our natural environment.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. Andrew Juniper in Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence describes wabi-sabi this way: “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

Feng Shui on the other hand comes from the discipline of Kan Yu or the Tao of heaven and earth. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feng_shui

In both wabi-sabi and feng shui there is an element of human use or organization to replicate and appreciate our natural world. So, when the view on the horizon is less than inspiring, I sometimes seek to photograph these natural relationships between feng shui elements with their full embodiment of characteristics of wabi-sabi at sources – without human use or organization.

These wabi-sabi, feng shui nature photographs seldom make it to my blogs or my online galleries for purchase. They are a meditation or spiritual practice rather than an end result. However, today I am going to share a few of these images with you.

In the trees…

Arbutus Splendor

Looking into the deep woods on Henderson Hill gives way to the splendor of the the arbutus trees. Their tangle of light-seeking branches reach elegantly under and around in search of the sky.

Arbutus Splendor by Terrill Welch 2013_02_08 096

A new conversation

Though it is just the end of February there are many signs that a new spring season is beginning here on Mayne Island. One of these is the shedding of the bark on the arbutus trees and the revealing of the fresh new skin on of these sensual trees. It is such a tactile sensory visual experience that I walk along running my hands over their smooth exposed trunks.

a new conversation by Terrill Welch 2013_02_25 114

Arbutus Bark Natural Design

The pealing and curling captures natural the movement of time in its everyday way of being.

Arbutus bark natural design by Terrill Welch 2013_02_25 147

Out on a limb

Trees seem to have invented the strength of the spiral. In our occasional high winds I am often amazed that so few trees are blown to the ground. This spiraling is I believe part of the mystery.

Out on a Limb by Terrill Welch 2013_02_08 165

On the forest floor…

While, when the big landscapes fail to impress on a heavy overcast west coast afternoon, the little things sometimes become more beautiful than ever. This is fresh new moss growing on the rocks. So very soft and lovely on the eyes and to the touch.

Take time to notice the little things by Terrill Welch 2013_02_08 233

By the Sea…

A Dance through Time

Over and over they tango the sea and the shore until they are shaped as one. I am squished between the land and sea begging the sky to intervene. Have you been there?

A dance through time by Terrill Welch 2013_02_25 185

Shell Sand Sea – a love story

The tide is going out. As the water leaves in a wave of salty tears, the shell of a varnish clam remains, embracing the sand.

shell sand sea a love story by Terrill Welch 2013_02_01 365

Butter Clam 1

The round butter clam brings vitality to the gray and the stones by the sea.

butter clam 1 by Terrill Welch 2013_02_01 297

Mussels and Seaweed

The connected and passage of relationships crush and sweep away any sense of isolation. Yet, the inner scream of longing cries out to be heard, noticed and cherished.

mussels and seaweed by Terrill Welch 2013_02_01 248

Plump Oyster

What belly can grumble with such nourishing abundance for the taking?

plump oyster by Terrill Welch 2013_02_01 246

Another Layer

There is yet another layer of temporary impermanence. We know in this continuation we are but a moment of moments lost to infinity.

another layer by Terrill Welch 2013_02_01 444


Our live bits drifting with the dead, the dying and such shall we become.

Drifting by Terrill Welch 2013_02_01 452

Such is the nature of wab-sabi feng shui in my natural world of photography. May this imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete Tao of heaven and earth bring you a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing.


What wabi-sabi feng shui nature influences your life?


© 2013 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


Wait and See

My last 2 weeks have been an emotional soup of events. Hence, you have not seen a new post on this Creative Potager blog. The story goes something like this….

Wednesday, November 7th – fell down the thirteen steps of the stairs from the loft and had to go to Victoria to get x-ray of arm to make sure it was not broken. Badly bruised on right side but fine.

Will my right shoulder freeze again from the trauma? I hope not and it feels pretty good right now but we will have to wait and see.

Saturday, November 10th – hung a new  show of small oil paintings and photographs at the Green House Bar and Grill. There are seventeen works up one of which is this one…

(Navy Channel early November – 9 x 12 inch oil on canvas is now SOLD! updated January 18, 2013. Other paintings that are currently available can be viewed in detail and purchased HERE)

Will work find its way to new homes over the holidays? Maybe. We will have to wait and see.

Sunday, November 11th – received phone call at 5:45 am from son-in-law that new grand baby was on its way. Caught the first ferry at 8:45 am, arrived at the Duncan hospital at 10:50 am. Grandson born at 11:36 am. Ivor Lewis is 7.7 lb. Everyone healthy and well. I was there for the birth.

He meets is brother before going home the next day barely 24 hours old.

Will they be close to each other? We will have to wait and see.

Thursday, November 15th – Return home to Mayne Island arriving shortly after noon. A short time later receive call that life-long friend is gravely ill and in hospital. The next couple of days extremely intense as we wait and see if his condition will stabilize.

Saturday, November 17th – I write a poem.

Wait and See

Not all mornings begin with bright glorious light,
that soars across the sky,
offering a colourful welcome to a new day.

Some mornings seem to uncover the dawn,
with the quiet heaviness of damp wool blankets.

There is no immediate pleasure or drawing up of the spirit.

It is the kind of dawn that says  – we will have to wait and see.
Sunday, November 18th – I complete the underpainting for a large 3 x 5 foot canvas.

What will the painting be like? We shall have to wait and see.

In all of this, I am thankful for the support and love of my husband David, my children and my step-children and their partners and my extended family. They are an amazing lot…  full of strength, compassion with just the right amount of  humour. My love goes out to those that are close to me as they face the challenges ahead. And just as I write this I received a phone call that my very close life-long friend is on the mend. Yippee!

Sprout: What might you be waiting to see?

ONLINE GALLERIES with Terrill Welch paintings and photography include-

Xanadu Studio Gallery for large original paintings

Artsy Home for most original oil paintings currently available

Redbubble for photography prints, greeting cards and posters

Current Local Mayne Island VENUES –

Green House Restaurant – small original oil paintings and photography prints

Farm Gate Store – one large painting

And by appointment at Terrill Welch’s home studio

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch Artist website at http://terrillwelchartist.com