I have just released six new plein or painting sketches for the November 1-10, 2019 “Paintings of the Salish Sea” solo show. What adventures are are captured in these brushstrokes! Would you like to wander through just a few of the summer plein air adventures with me? Let’s do it!
Yes, you are seeing correctly. I used my new e-bike to transport my plein air gear to the painting location in Miners Bay in Mayne Island.
And this small 8 x10 inch acrylic painting sketch is one of the new works released.
This is the start and what might be next? What an evening this was with an 11 x 14 inch walnut oil on linen board. Though released over the summer, this work is also in the current show.
The evening sunset eventually influenced both the subject and the canvas to such an extent that it was difficult to see the work until the next morning…
Then there was the evening that I painted in the shadows using a light for assistance.
The results made the effort worthwhile and the little light is now part of my toolkit.
Oh why not! How about just one more? I hike in about 30 minutes with all of my plein air gear in a backpack to paint at Saint John’s Point on Mayne Island. An old stump became my painting table beside the easel.
I used a larger 12 x 16 inch gessobord since I knew it was going to be an effort just to get to the location to paint.
Bringing the wild inside is the ultimate of having a landscape painting that resonates with both a room and your life. This past weekend that room was HUGE with more than 80 booths in total. Every few minutes, people would come and stand in front of my west coast landscape paintings and “sigh” these long exhales. It was like they just needed a few minutes before they could go on to even one more booth!
Often viewers would come close and then back up. Then come close again. Then they would walk slowly sideways and then back to the centre. Sometimes they would tell me that the waves were three dimensional and seemed to lift right out of the canvas. Other times it would be the tangle of the friendly arbutus tree that would hold their attention until a quick smile would appear just before they turned to talk to me. People were inspired by the movement, the brushstrokes, the colours and just the beauty of our west coast captured on the canvases. One of many precious moments was when we were all packed up with the paintings wrapped and ready to move a forklift driver in the complex stopped his machine to make a point of telling me how much he loved seeing my landscape paintings in the show.
I owe a huge thank you to the many online followers who I had never met before who showed up to see the work in person. I lost count of how many times a total stranger to me would say – I have been following your work online for years and it is great to see it in person! Now how cool is that?
Of course, there were the many people who traveled from around the lower mainland and even from Mayne Island and Victoria that made a special effort to come to see my work in person at the Art! Vancouver Fair. I am thrilled because Paul Constable of Artists In Canada had sponsored me and three other artists to show in this booth. I felt not only fortunate to be showing in this venue but also that my special people made such a point of attending. I was bought glass of wine near the end of one of our days in appreciation. I was asked for so many photographs of the work, of me with the work (just after hanging)
and several of me with visitors with the work. Here are just a few of these….
Terrill with John
Katrina with Terrill
A video of me on the runway with “Southern Gulf Islands Afternoon” for The Face of Art by Amber Stace.
It was all crazy fun! Well, at least once I had that runway walk done! 😉
There is a story that goes with this next photograph.
Janet with her daughter Tracey and three other family members, including this little girl, made a special trip in from Langley to come and see my work and the art fair. They made a day out of it and came early for a special breakfast before Art! Vancouver opened. Janet asked that I post this photo for her. While I am here I might as well tell you a Sunday story….
You see, Janet has known me through her sister since I was 22 years old with 2 small children painting on the kitchen table in a 610 square foot home in a trailer park. Money was so tight that sometimes her sister and I would combine what we had in order to make supper for both of our families. However, we laughed a lot, went camping often and I always found a bit of time to do a quick sketch, mostly in watercolours. Needless to say, I wasn’t at risk of giving up my day job anytime soon. It would be another 15 years before I did my first solo show and 2010 before I became a full-time artist.
Janet said she just had to offer her support and see for herself how far this little girl from rural north central British Columbia outside of Vanderhoof had come!
There is something sacred when people connect with my work, my life and me in this way. I am humbled and filled with gratitude.
This is just a small sampling of some of the powerful interactions during the art fair but should be enough to give you a flavour of the weekend.
The Artists In Canada booth also included the work of Arnold Burrell (1924-1991) represented by Ellen Mackay.
And Janna Kumi who is right beside me with paintings and collage work.
Then on the far right of our booth space is Teyjah McAren her heavily textured rich paintings.
Or maybe this photograph works better…
Somehow I missed getting a closer portrait of Teyjah’s work. Darn! Because it is quite fascinating.
Here we are all together. Starting on the right is Ellen, Janna, Teyjah and the me!
Oh! Let me share with you my favourite painting by another artist in the Art Vancouver Fair. Wang Chen Guang is not only an extremely talented painter, currently studying at Emily Carr, he is sincere, genuine and direct both in his work and as a person. There is a vulnerability and raw, yet controlled, emotion emanating from his figurative paintings. The power of this work is difficult to experience in a photograph but it is the next best thing to standing in front of the 60 x 40 inch oil on canvas. I was very tempted to bring it home except I feel the work needs a large spacious room with few distractions – which I am unable to offer it.
Wang Chen Guang is definitely an artist to follow and see where his driving passion takes him in the future. I am pleased that we met and look forward to staying connected.
As well, special thanks to my son, Kris Welch, who is a high-end finishing carpenter and the master skill set that managed to get the paintings hung so beautifully.
His 15-year-old son got all dressed up and came to the opening too but he is rather camera-shy so we shall keep that photograph just for family.
I think this is more photographs of me at one event than you have seen all together during all my years of my posting online! I hope that this post allows you to feel at least a little like you were there, even if you weren’t.
Tomorrow morning David and I are off to the neighbouring island of Galiano for a three-day retreat together before the next big adventure which is the Solo exhibition “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” opening June 30th from 3-5 pm at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café here on Mayne Island. The show will be up until August 13, 2017.
Have you ever been to an international fair of some kind and if so, can you share a memory?
By now you may have guessed, as a Canadian artist, I often have conversations strangers about my work when I am traveling. It comes with geographic proximity to my landscape subjects and other human beings. These engagements are frequently brief and fleeting in nature but this does not diminish their impact as a kind of concrete gentle-kindness to fortify my solitude as I put brush to canvas over and over again.
This same kind of engagement also happens through the vast and complex inter-connectedness of the world-wide-web.
Oh, I suppose could tell you about new works painted, several art shows and painting sales in the month since I have been home (my website has this information if it is desired). But, it has also been an unprecedented time of quiet recognition of my work. Complete strangers often contacted me to make requests about sharing my work elsewhere online. In the process, they frequently articulated why they wish to do so. Sometimes their words leave me rather stunned and deeply humbled with gratitude. Here are a couple of brief snippets as examples…
Received in my inbox today:
“I discovered your paintings from a Google image search of paintings of the Canadian coast. I grew up in ….. BC and spent much time sailing through Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands. You’re paintings truly capture much of the beauty inherent in the
region. I was wondering if I could share one….”
“I have to tell you –though I hesitated to write this because I did not want to provoke anything which might disturb whatever wonderful thing it is that enables you to produce these works–I have spent numerous hours at the Musée du Quai d’Orsay fixed on one or another impressionist painting–usually one by Van Gogh. Your paintings have a similar effect. Your artistic sensibilities, while uniquely yours, seem to have a resonance with what I see communicated through Van Gogh’s pieces. Please don’t take offense at a comparison. Your work is truly original and beautiful–as is his. No mere imitator of Van Gogh, however talented, could ever hope to match this peculiar sensibility. I’m convinced that it must be something innately shared and, for me, your work expresses it in a way that’s of course your own. But these works could easily hang beside anything in the Orsay’s permanent collection.
It is no wonder to me that collectors snap up your paintings as soon as you finish them. If I had a fortune or was a curator at a major museum, I’d be collecting your paintings with the same interest that I’d have for any work by Van Gogh or Matisse or Raoul Dufy.”
Well, I must say, I really don’t know what to say when faced with such frank remarks…. except thank you, thank you – Thank You!
What is particularly powerful and meaningful to me is the clarity with which the paintings moved these commenters – it is as if the brushstrokes were felt even more than they were seen. There is no higher compliment or recognition as a painter I could ever wish for my work. This is a clean and perfect match to my intention and the driving force that brings me back to the studio again and again.
May the painting continue, without interference, and yet gently supported by the words of strangers!
On that note, I think we shall conclude with one of the latest paintings and the first large works from Prince Edward Island the East Coast of Canada.
Can you share a time when you were moved by the insight and kindness of a stranger?