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? 🙂

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

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From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

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Sunshine and Rainbows in Pink Skies

We could focus on the larger threats to our coastline such as the potential for earthquakes, rising sea levels from global warming or oil spills from large tankers or the imminent risks of a task of extraordinary delicacy and danger that is about to begin at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station. These are all real threats and possibly inevitable outcomes – at some point. I don’t ignore them. We do keep in mind what we need for emergency preparedness in case of an earthquake. I do sign petition, share information and swear sometimes about oil and gas tanker traffic and global warming risks to our coastline, and I worry about the extraction of the fuel rods and contaminated water storage at Fukushima nuclear power station. But once I have done what I can do, then it is time to get on with my day because there are a whole host of other possibilities that could give rise to it being my last. We just never know do we? I am practicing the lesson from many elders of opening my eyes and giving thanks that I am alive and well. It is a good practice – one that serves us  in both easy and hard times.

This then, in a wee patch of west coast winter sunshine and in remembrance of yesterday’s rainbow , is my Monday morning blessing to you and to me.

Rainbow in Pink Sky by Terrill Welch 2013_12_01 362

I give praise for this life, thanks for this body world, and remember our great universe of love. With compassion, we start another day in our week, our month and our year.

Now I am off to see if I can make a painting out of this.

Late November Great Room Studio sepia  by Terrill Welch 2013_11_30 033

(Quality prints available HERE.)


What Monday morning blessing might you give for today?


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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 Autumn and Studio – A Canadian Thanksgiving Monday on Mayne Island

Whether it is the cool rhythm of the sea we crave

Passing Time by Terrill Welch 2013_10_12 658

and long to reach

finding an edge by Terrill Welch 2013_10_12 636

or the crunch of fallen leaves

Country Farm Lane on Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2013_10_13 157

in the warm sun

Mayne Island Farm Thanksgiving weekend by Terrill Welch 2013_10_13 109

being in the studio, with its basket of paints,

Basket of Paints by Terrill Welch 2013_10_13 013

and waiting brushes,

Waiting on the Studio Window Ledge by Terrill Welch 2013_10_13 005

takes a backseat for most of a luscious Canadian Thanksgiving on Mayne Island.

Well. almost. Today is the day that my new studio assistant will come by for his orientation. We will wander through the work place that I have cleaned and organized in his honour.

Painting Edges by Terrill Welch 2013_10_13 038

Then we will go through a typical work order to do the final work on a piece of work so that it is ready for purchase. You know, all those tasks like getting it into the online inventory, putting on the hanging hardware and if needed, painting the edges. By now I am sure you know how much I really do not enjoy painting the edges of my paintings, yes? I am so excited about finally getting this help in place as I am a wee bit behind as I keep painting new work without doing this final bit of administrative work.

I am most thankful for the sun, the sea, the autumn leaves, a clean studio, a studio assistant and the health and well-being of my large family. I am truly blessed on this fine and great annual day of thankfulness.  All the best of a Canadian Thanksgiving and Monday blessings to you!


Can you tell us about a time when you stopped fighting yourself and hired work done that you could do but were not?


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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

Tribute to Canadian Artist and Painter Joseph Plaskett

Recently I had the good fortune to see an exhibition of Joseph Plaskett’s most recent paintings at the Winchester Gallery in Oak Bay, Victoria B.C. The date on many of the paintings is clearly marked as 2011, a practice we do not often see on the front of a painting anymore. The wisdom is that it may impact its saleability if the painting has not sold for a few years. But in this case, my mouth dropped when I realized that the exhibition was  celebrating Joseph Plaskett’s 95th birthday year. He was 93 years old when he painted many of the paintings in the exhibition and by my observation may be some of his best work in a long life of painting.

Here is a quote from the artist that is posted on the Winchester Gallery page:

“The work I have produced in a long life has always been in constant change.  What I show this year at Winchester Galleries is, I like to think, only the beginning of another change which now becomes more obvious with each canvas, but will not reach the public exposure for a few more years.  This present show was chosen months ago. The changes have become more drastic.  There is, I like to think, a complexity and a daring to experiment with both colour and composition.  Only one canvas goes back more than a few years.  It is a large still life which I have been refusing to put on the market, wanting to keep it in my possession as long as I survive.  It is a brilliant example of an earlier and safer act of creation.  But now I am producing work that is the beginning of something more complex and dangerous.  I am taking risks, letting myself go.

I like to think I am not repeating myself.  I am influenced by much of what I see in contemporary art.  I will give one example.  Two years ago I was excited by the huge exhibition of the work of Peter Doig which I saw in both the Tate in London and in Paris.  It made me proud to think of him as a “Canadian” painter, as, though born in Scotland, he spent much of his childhood and early youth in Canada.  I can only envy the originality of his work.  My work is changing, but it is still a way of painting that is my own.”

reference: (first painting shown on the Gallery’s page of the artist’s work is one of my favourites.

The photograph of the work I am sharing here is from the BAU XI Gallery in Toronto website. The title of the painting is “Still Life with Apples (2)” 38 x 45 inch oil on canvas listing at $21,800.


Joseph Plaskett is considered to be one of Canada’s most talented and established painters. In the spring of 2001, he was awarded The Order of Canada for excellence in the field of visual art. Since the 1940’s, he has had over 65 solo and group exhibitions, with work in major public, private and corporate collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. He has exhibited with the Bau-Xi Gallery, both in Vancouver and Toronto, since 1973.

Born in 1918 in New Westminster, B.C., Plaskett studied art in Banff, San Francisco, New York, London and Paris. He has lived in Paris since 1951, and more recently in England. His chosen subjects have always been intimate expressions of everyday life – interiors, still life, and portraits of friends and models. There is a warm humanity to his work, a love of light and form and colour that is evident in every painting he produces. The works are composed with such superb quality of painting that the ensuing results are masterworks of visual delight.
(the several web pages of Joseph Plaskett’s paintings on this Gallery site are actually very easy to view)

Joseph (Joe) Plaskett studied with many prominent Canadian painters like A.Y. Jackson, Jack Shadbolt, Lawren Harris and Jock Macdonald. Joe Plaskett was a pupil of Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown in 1947[1] and 1948.

In 1950, he arrived in Paris where he studied with Fernand Léger, and Jean Lombard, etching and engraving with Stanley William Hayter. He taught intermittently in Canada until 1957. After that date he settled definitely in Paris where his studio became an informal salon for Canadian painters, writers, poets and filmmakers, interfacing with artists from other countries.

I hope you have as much fun poking around and exploring his work as I have done over the past couple of weeks.

May at least some of us still be painting some of our best work this late in a long life of painting. As an update, I did hear from the staff at the gallery that he is now no longer able to paint and is quite frail but still – what a painting adventure to still be painting quality work at 93 years old!

How might you want to be celebrating your 95th birthday year?


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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

Capturing the Emotion of the Canadian Landscape is No Easy Task

Share Your Love of Art! Share Your Love of Canada!

ARABELLA invites you to become a part of our Great Canadian Landscape Painting contest!  Register and cast your vote for your favourite artists and their works!

A while back, I was invited to consider competing in the Arabella Canadian Landscape Contest. The six year old Arabella magazine had made an audacious proposal to tell Canada’s story through contemporary art by creating an outstanding collection of current works that examine the emotional power of landscape art in shaping Canadian identity with a full sense of past, present and future. Though I do not usually bother with art competition, with a proposal like this how could I refuse?

The contest is now at a point where I need your help. The Exhibit of over 100 participating artists and 300 paintings is now open for voting and commenting in the People’s Choice Award. I would greatly appreciate it if you could take the time to register, vote and comment on my three paintings that are part of this Canadian landscape art competition. Also, if you could share this blog post in your networks I will be ever-so-grateful. The direct link to my three paintings in the competition is at

The paintings that I submitted will be familiar to most of you. They are:

SLICED WITH A TEAR – 36 X 60 inch oil on canvas

RHYTHM OF THE SEA EDITH POINT – 20 x 40 inch oil on canvas

And EVENING AND THE ARBUTUS TREE 36 x 60 inch oil on canvas

To register to vote and comment on these paintings in this Canadian landscape art competition, go to the Login details on the upper left on my competition page HERE. I know registering, voting and commenting in an art competition is a lot to ask. However, a comrade on Google Plus has helped me to reframe this request with his comment as follows:

It is hard to ask of others for some people – I’m one and you are as well. But you are really not asking for anything..You are giving it!  If you did not post this I would never have known or suspected that I could make a difference in your world other [than] by comments.  You are giving me a way to thank you that I never had.  Your paintings and musings make me feel good and take me away from concrete and glass.  For this I am grateful and am in your debt–not vice versa..   Someday I’m going to see you in the McMichael*….You deserve to be there!

By Dennis Rogers

* Renowned for collecting only Canadian art, the McMichael Gallery permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to the development of Canadian art.

Isn’t this a nice way to look at my asking you to drop by register, vote and comment on my paintings that are in the competition? Since so many of you are regular readers and often comment here on the blog I decided to be brave and ask for your support. So thank you and special thanks to those of you who have already dropped in voted and commented. I deeply appreciate the effort.

Your votes will count in determining the winner of the People’s Choice Award, just one of the great prizes being offered in this contest.  All prizes will be awarded in August 2013 at the conclusion of the jurying process. Please note that in order to vote you must register an account. Email data requested is only used for the contest and will not be used for any other purpose.

Now I am going to do something that may seem odd for a participant in a nation-wide art competition. I am going to share with you a few favourite works by other artists. I feel that these works collectively do a brilliant job of fulfilling the task of expressing the emotional impact of the Canadian Landscape. I have hyperlinked each artist’s name so that you can go directly to their competition profile and see any additional work they may have contributed. Possibly you may even take the time to vote and comment too.

Holly Friesen – an artist I have introduced to you in the past.

Holly’s connection between our inner world and the landscape moves me deeply as the painting stretches, encircles and holds my emotions.

Maryanne Jespersen

Maryanne has a lovely colour harmony and loose expression in this painting leaving lots of room for the viewer’s imagination.

Michael O’Toole – with just this one painting in the contest Michael has captured so much about the west coast of Canada.

There are six artists whose first name is Peter in this competition. I am not sure if this says something about the popularity of the name Peter in Canada or not. But you are excused if you have a hard time keeping them straight and instead resort to just using their last names. I am going to share four of these six “Peter” artists next – with both their first and last names 🙂

Peter Adams

There is strength in less when we dare to be bold and vulnerable as is  so aptly demonstrated by Peter Adams here.

Peter McConville – again with only one work in contest it is worth going to his profile and following the link to see others of his pointillism style paintings.

Not often is so much movement captured in such detailed work as in Peter’s landscapes.

Peter Rotter

Slipping into to the woods is easy in Peter’s painting. Yes there is an opening beyond but my viewer’s eye is in no rush, allowing the trees to fold me into their peace, their stillness.

Peter Stuhlmann

The gorgeous use of design and colour by Peter allows me to pull away from the specifics of the scene and appreciate the whole and then be drawn back into the landscape – again and again.

Rich Bond  – a fellow British Columbia artist with six paintings in the contest making it hard to choose just one to share with you.

Patches of colour, harmonious and pleasant, seeking the trust of the viewer’s eye to find and accentuate the landscape elements independent of the painter. It is a rare gift to paint with such strength and conviction that any ego remnants of the painter are submissive to the landscape and its relationship to the viewer.

Well, this gives you a small taste of eleven of the over 300 paintings in the Arabella Canadian Landscape Contest. There are many more to browse and enjoy on the contest Exhibition website – which collectively really do capture the beauty and emotional spirit of Canada.

Yes, I am fully aware that this kind of sharing of the other participants art is not actually conducive to winning a People’s Choice Award for this competition. However, this is not my motivation for sharing the work of these fellow artists. Five years from now the People’s Choice award will likely be lost in the litter of our everyday lives. We will have moved on (artists and viewers alike) – we will have forgotten about the registering, voting and commenting. But just possibly the Canadian landscape itself will be strong and present to you through the work of these artists and through my own paintings. This chance to have a lasting impact on your experience of the land I love and the country I love is why I share these additional works by my fellow contemporary Canadian landscape artists. I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Now wish me luck and I look forward to reading your comments on my paintings in the Arabella Canadian Landscape Contest for the People’s Choice Award.

What emotions most aptly capture the Canadian Landscape for you?

© 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

New west coast winter Canadian landscape painting FOG INSIDE PASSAGE released today…


Canadian Contemporary Terrill Welch Gallery

Winter fog in the southern gulf islands is often dense and close to the sea. Islands appear and disappear as the ferries take passengers through the inside passage. The mysterious landscape has a beauty that is hard to know unless one lives with it for the long winter months of off-season quiet. This 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas is my rendering of this tactile west coast Canadian landscape experience.


Fog inside passage 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_02_03 064


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Overture in mist – the southern Gulf Islands in November

Four o’clock in the afternoon the day before the time change in November 2012 the southern Gulf Islands rolled and heaved the light and mist across sea and land.The Mayne Queen has just left Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island.

When I shared a few of the photographs on Google Plus a fellow artist C.J. Shane asked what music I heard.  I replied – with my lungs filled with sea air and the mist leaving intimate jewels on my skin and hair, I heard the sound of the diesel engine of the small ferry and the rolling wake of the water along the occasional cry of the gulls.  But if I was to think of music, it would be a classical overture such as maybe the Italian romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi’s 1862 , The Force of Destiny-Overture

Verdi – The Force of Destiny – Overture

There are great spaces of quiet with the seascapes building and building into these surprising moments where even the deepest breath does not seem to provide enough. It is like – breathe in and in and then exhale into such a sense of inner peace a person wants to hold themselves in that place for as long as possible. Then the tension of the landscape will start to build all over again as the mist and fog moves in its mysterious ways across the sky.

Alone in the mist…

in early November.

The sky rolling and heaving as if it is breathing and extended breath of awareness, inviting, demanding that I do same.

The golds of autumn are only hinted at beneath the cloak of November mist.

Mist is threaded across the landscape with such speed we are witness to the seamstress.

Hiding and revealing with equal wonder…

the southern Gulf Islands in November.

A welcomed beacon blinks against the lowering light.

Then land seems to escape from sea and sky – protruding in its deep and dark glory.

We move on to the outer edge of the November mist.

The hour, the moment has passed. Not the memory though. The moment is captured here in this overture in mist so we can breathe it again and yet again.

SPROUT: What music do you imagine would accompany your creativity?
P.S. none of these mist images have been made available for purchase yet. I need to let them sit for awhile before deciding which ones will go.

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch Artist website at

Mayne Island May Day Celebrations

Mayne Island May Day celebrations on Saturday were an amazing colourful and entertaining event where a mime artist helps us wait for the fun to start

children grow wings for the day,

a queen is crowned with a garland wild flowers,

adult cloths are layers of frolicking miss-match

and shoes go missing as the community dances together in circles

while all is softly punctuated with very short greetings from our federal MP the Honourable Elizabeth May.

But what is this Mayne Island celebration with its dancing around the May Pole and organized each year by the Mayne Island Conservancy ?

I could tell you but a Mayne Island musical group Jaiya has an incredibly detailed post that will fill your cup with delightful details.

There are more of my photographs for your viewing pleasure in my smugmug album that is dedicated to this event.

Also, our good friend and writer  Leanne Dyck has a special post that has a photo-essay of even more about what was happening on this special Mayne Island day.

Happy May long weekend  from Mayne Island, British Columbia Canada!

SPROUT: If you could come to the Mayne Island May Day celebrations next year what will you be wearing? 

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

Mayne Island Super moon on May 5 2012

What a moon! What a Saturday night day night out here on Mayne Island, British Columbia Canada. A crowd of about a dozen people joined me at Seaview Beach in Bennett Bay for the moon rising. It is the first time in my five years of living on the island that I had company join me on a photo shoot. Quite festive really and great to see others out capturing the experience first hand as well.

But let’s begin at the beginning shall we. A long time ago on May 1, 2012 I was out in the evening on Reef Bay – a pleasant evening though there were rain showers in the distance.

It was then that I looked up and saw this amazing moon high in the sky.

I had been seeing things posted here and there about some super moon. So I said to self – what if you made a plan to see if you could do a Mayne Island photo shoot of the super moon? Would that be a good idea? Self answered – but you know very little about night photography. I informed myself that there was no time like the present to start learning and I reminded myself that I always learn best by doing. With a frown and shrug Self agreed.

The next few nights were cloudy and though I went out and managed to capture the light on the shore at low tide.

No moon. So instead I read about photographing the moon. It was recommended to have something large in front of the moon to emphasize its grand size. This might not happen here at Reef Bay, plus I was likely to get house lights in the foreground if I was guessing the right place where the moon would come up. Where should I be then? I though and thought and on the evening of the May 4th I went to Seaview Beach in Bennett Bay.

But thankfully the moon wasn’t rising on this side of the view with those heavy clouds. Thunderclouds rolled through swishing their wet skirts across the sky last evening. The moon was well up in the sky before the sun kissed him goodnight.

So with after taking this shot I knew exactly where I wanted to be for 8:39 pm on May 5, 2012 to watch the super moon rise. I cast one of my best spells for a clear sky though heavy cloud had been predicted. I check the weather first thing Saturday morning. Yes! It was suppose to be mostly clear this evening. I arrive early at 7:30 pm with a book and watch the evening settle in around me. An otter swims by and the small swallows dart across the water. The tide is in and I am ready for the magic to begin. Just before the prescribed time of the moon rise, to my surprise I started to get company. For the first time in my five years living on Mayne Island others joined me to also photograph the moon and to simply watch it rise with rattles, chants and sage given in offering. It was quiet festive really and nice to share the moment with others. But the super moon, I am guessing you are waiting to see the super moon right?

The super moon starting to appear…

Then a cloud takes a taste…

Soon we have a super moon beam…

And so the super moon rose as seen from Mayne Island…

The light turns magically mauve as it the moon gets higher in the sky and beacon lights and boat lights shine dimly in comparison.

And now to conclude with one portrait shot of the moon alone in the night sky…

There you have it folks – the super moon of May 5, 2012 from Mayne Island.


SPROUT: When was the last time you courted the moon?

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

Embracing Life Happy International Women’s Day

You say – what? no seascape!? Well, not this morning. It is March 8th and International Women’s Day today. This is a photograph of my mother I took a couple of years ago. She is on holidays and we are having a picnic after going on a garden tour with “just the girls” which included her sister, my sister and my sister’s daughter. I love this photograph of my mother because it shows her natural beautiful self. She is about to shake her finger at me and say “don’t you dare!” But I was faster. Being a farmer in rural British Columbia Canada my mother has worked hard and lived close to the land not far from where she grew up. She reads with exuberance checking out armloads of books each week from the public library. She knows most of the Latin names for her plants and studied genetics to be able to improve her breeding stock of Hereford cattle. Her daily walks take her past bears, moose, elk, deer, geese, swans, grouse and the fox sleeps on her doorstep. Her cinnamon buns are still the best in the world and I love her. Her quiet and sometimes not so quiet belief in me is part of why I am who I am today.


© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at