The day delivered breadth and inspiring beauty as so often happens on my walks. I came home with a much clearer mind and a lighter heart than when I left. Just how I like it! 🙂
Now to render those same fingers of light and sea onto a canvas. This particular Sunday in the Terrill Welch Gallery was quieter than usual so I set up on the little patio to paint.
Just a few paint marks on the yellow ground should get us started.
Then the blocking in begins.
I keep painting but it is slow going and pretty soon the day is over and I need to bring the work into the gallery and close up shop.
The very next day, I move the wet painting to the home studio and continue working on it there. Finally! The blocking in process is complete. This might be it for today… the 24 x 30 inch walnut oil on canvas landscape painting is covered in wet paint indicating its major elements. Though things are still rather fluid, I have a fairly good idea where all bits are located. Now comes my favourite part of finding all the light and shadows. But this might be tomorrow’s work. I still have the brushes out though so anything is possible. 😉
Steady goes it as patches of light and shadow move across the landscape. There is still a ways to go before the first hints of light shift the forms into place. But for now a break.
Done! Well, maybe resting. Nope it is done!… I suppose you don’t need to listen to me arguing with myself 😉
Now for some distance so it is easier to see what we have here.
Ah well, it really was only resting. I have made a few minor changes to address a small visual tangent. If you know what such a thing is, see if you can find the change I made.
“Lost in the Light Edith Point Mayne Island” by Terrill Welch
24 x 30 inch walnut oil on canvas
The edges are now painted and drying. A hanging wire must still be added, a final photograph taken and the work added to the inventory program. But almost there!
When was the last time you had a tangent – visual or otherwise? 😉
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The winds had howled for days. It was the second storm in just a few weeks and though not as bad as the first we were still without out power for 36 hours. As the storm edged its way back from our shores I headed for the shores and gathered several images for later painting references. The breaking light was stunning and the waves were still smashing up against the rocks with gusto.
Now it is time to pull out a large 36 x 48 inch canvas for the first in what will likely be a handful of seascapes…
I often use no ground with these large wave painting because I want to take full advantage of the white of the canvas.
There is only one place to begin and it is to start adding paint.
Brushstroke after brushstroke the Canadian west coast seascape starts to develop.
Eventually the work is blocked-in and it is time to wash the brushes for today.
This morning saw me back in the gallery winter studio, brush in hand, palette knife at the ready to continue the work to a point of “resting”.
ALL IN ONE, REEF BAY, MAYNE ISLAND “resting” 36 x 48 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch
I will leave it for a few days now as I begin working on yet another canvas. Maybe a smaller one this time. Once I am satisfied that it is done and the canvas has dried to the touch, a final photograph will be take and the work will be release.
For now though, this is a wrap! All the best of a fine Sunday to you!
The curved deck and angular presence hints mysteriously as it sails through the trees. I have walked all angles, from the expanse of lawn, to ground zero, where the building towers steep above me. After musing over several possibilities, I settle on this view. There are curves of arbutus held tightly among the straight firs, all cradled by a high shore path. And of course, there is the sea. This is the view that intrigues and keeps me coming back for a second, third and even fifth time.
Except there is one problem. I want the late afternoon light kissing the face of my subject and this is a painting problem that will require some resolve or speculation. Likely it will take both. In January, the later afternoon light doesn’t reach this far. The sun slips behind a slight hill before it can make it around to this northwesterly cove. I am stuck. I am left waiting for the earth to turn itself into a longer day. What to do?
Well, I could just wait… but the canvas size has been decided… and I shall head to the city to pick the 30 x 40 inch surface tomorrow afternoon and I do so want to get started. I have ideas for this work! The brushes are splashing paint around so violently in my head that a shipwreck might occur if I don’t begin. So then, a painter must start with what she has.
I had planned to dive right in, using only my 30 or so photography references from three different shoots, for this painting. But in light of the slowly-turning-earth towards longer days and a higher sun stretching farther westward, I decide a painting sketch to study composition and imagined light effects is in order after all.
The work is raw, rough and full of exploration as I imagine where the light is going to be – eventually. Yet, it is enough to hold my initial ideas – at least until I can get an underpainting on the large canvas anyway. The small study is my “notes to self” and the brushes are now temporarily quiet in their jars. We have successfully avoided becoming marooned on a sandbar during the violent seas of my imagination. Hopefully, it is clear sailing, with just the right breeze of suggestion, from here to our destination.
House in the Trees Study – 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch
It truly is not much of a reference but I believe it will be enough to contemplate while I work up an underpainting next week. Then I will go back each week and see how the sun is doing as it labors to set a little farther west each day. I might be asking too much of myself to wait for it. We will see. Maybe by the time the work is blocked in, the sun will be ready? Here is hoping!
What might YOU be waiting and preparing for at the same time?
Who loves the little paintings, the small works, the pieces that are always perfect to hang or rest or prop in your modest space? Maybe one like this small 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord? Yes?
Or maybe this wee work is more to your liking?
Or possibly this one?
The online Le Petit Show opens Thursday, October 25th for International Artist Day and will close Saturday, November 10th. The show will include the available work in the Acrylic Painting Sketch collection and the Small Oil painting collection and the small works is easy to browse in the latest TerrillWelchArtist.com website post.
If you happen to be “on island” for the Remembrance Day weekend the Terrill Welch Gallery is open Friday evening November 9th from 4 – 5 and Saturday November 10th during the day from 11-4 at 478 Village Bay Rd in Miners Bay on Mayne Island in British Columbia, Canada. The gallery is also open by appointment during the winter months any day or time that is mutually agreeable.
Do enjoy this small works, Le Petit Show, opportunity to add to your art collection with a Terrill Welch original painting and support an artist for International Artist Day.
Road trips! Long or short, they always leave me with a sense of living in a bigger place that is much smaller than I often realize. What do I mean by this? Well, the best way to explain is to provide an example of traveling from Mayne Island to Williams Lake British Columbia in 9 hours including ferry, big horn sheep, two large herds of deer and too many cows and calves to count.
I was delivering 20 paintings to The Station House Gallery for a solo exhibition of my work. My “thank you” note after the opening evening says it all…
I would like to thank the Board Members and Executive Director, Diane E Toop, and Clayton of The Station House Gallery and the sponsors (Community Arts Council of Williams Lake) for a beautiful opening evening and their warm welcome for the “Light of Place Exposed” solo exhibition.
I also want to thank Terri and her mom who traveled down from Vanderhoof and Sue who came up from Armstrong B.C. today. Both directions are 4-4.5 hours of driving time.
It was a pleasure to meet many new people, including someone who had lived on Mayne Island for six years and to visit with everyone in general.
Below are a few photographs of the show before the opening. Enjoy!
When you first enter the room, its spaciousness for viewing large contemporary impressionist paintings is immediately apparent. Later I appreciated how many guests it would hold during the opening.
Yesterday, when I was driving back down the Province I remember someone looking at at the painting on the left and saying “that is the Stuart River” without even a glance at the title for any other clue than my brushstrokes. The viewer knew the area well.
There were lunches with old friends and cousins and a long visit or two with my aunt and my sister.
There were people who knew where I went to school and lived beside the remote area of the McIntosh Lakes outside of Williams Lake.
There were people who knew my parents and the paintings from the farm were immediately recognized… even though this place is about a 5 hour drive away from where the show is located.
I lost track of the number of times I was asked if I knew so-and-so who now lives in such-and-such a place.
There was a friend who honked her horn at my sister and I walking down the street (which we didn’t hear as we were deep in conversation) who was in the area working but lives in Langley, British Columbia.
So you see, though I was born in Vanderhoof B.C., I moved with my parents often to various rural areas outside of Williams Lake starting when I was three years old and then back to the farm they still have outside of Vanderhoof the summer I turned twelve years old. But once I graduated from high school, I continued to travel the province from one end to the other for work and school. Some of these connections have lasted and others keep getting added. Our province is large and this recent trip didn’t even take me as far as the geographical middle. Consequently, we will travel a long ways to meet up with each other and always want to pass along “hellos” to those we might know in common. So, it occurred to as I was driving through the snow, sleet and rain yesterday, that my hometown is actually the Province of British Columbia.
Do you too ever feel like your “hometown” is as large as a Province or State and as small as a village?
“Light of Place Exposed, Landscapes by Terrill Welch” can be viewed in the main gallery at The Station House Gallery in Williams Lake, British Columbia from Thursday, April 5th to Saturday, April 28th of 2018.
As we approach the end of the calendar year, we again select the artist’s choice for the best paintings of 2017. This year, we have decided on 5 out of the 29 new works that have been released – and three of those are just being released today in the online gallery! So be sure to check it out. The link is included below.
Here is the 1st and likely the public favourite…
Storytelling Arbutus Tree Bennett Bay Mayne Island BC
By Terrill Welch
Size (h w d): 60 x 40 x 1.5 in Medium: Oil On Canvas
In 2nd place for the artist’s choice of the best five paintings completed in 2017 is…..
Northeasterly Morning Strait of Georgia Mayne Island BC
By Terrill Welch
Size (h w d): 20 x 40 x 1.5 in
Medium: Oil On Canvas
I am still paintings as we are rounding the last corner into the home stretch for the Terrill Welch Gallery to open Friday August 4th. This is my new normal as I learn the rhythm of both/and between studio and gallery.
Yesterday, saw the eight painting sketches arrive at the gallery for the first show.
The lights are now up and I am thrilled with the quality of luminescence I will have to work with for photographs.
Last Thursday, Friday and Sunday were painting days. The first is a plein air over two mornings of an arbutus tree caught between the sea and the road.
Morning along the Island Road Mayne Island BC 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air
The second is a small study of a favourite arbutus tree from reference images.
Arbutus Tree with a View 8 x 10 inch acrylic study on gessobord
This one is sold already. Other new works are released in the online gallery HERE.
On Friday morning with a bit of luck we will have a live video of the opening of the gallery on the Art of Terrill Welch Facebook Page. If you want to be there in our virtual world head drop by the page at 10:00 am Friday August 4th. A few people who helped with the raising of the gallery and collectors will be there and the gallery will open to the public at 11:00 am.
How do you stay in the flow when adding something big to your life?
is from a specific day at the end of May in the year 2017 on the island of Galiano off the Southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada.
The mist turns to a light drizzle as I sit on a low chair looking out past the cedars to yet other islands across the sea. What can possibly cut through these west coast greys? Then I remembered.
Earlier in the day I had seen large red poppies growing in the garden near the water.
“I wonder!?” I said to myself.
Slipping on a raincoat and garden clogs I stuffed my way-too-large iphone in my hip pocket and my big camera with its rain cover over my shoulder. It is about 5:00 am and the sun is still high enough in the west to push its way through the low clouds, providing a noticeable filtered light. But it is not enough to keep the warm greys using the big camera. Those gorgeous greys were running into the blues. But the iPhone 7 plus seems to get the idea. I gather several references images with both devices and find one that I particularly like.
Six days later, I am back in the studio and have mulled the idea over long enough to pull out a canvas and get started. The method is straightforward.
Start with a ground that will pull on those muted tones and make a few modest marks to guide the composition.
Establish the relationship between the sky and the light reflecting off the water.
Drop the darks unceremoniously into place.
Leave the red ones for last and keep the brushstrokes simple, clean and decisive.
Work in the highlights, stems and texture of the lower foliage, using a painting knife as needed. Then stand back, one last time, and ensure there is a humming kind harmony of emotion and aliveness to the work.
Yes, I think we are there!
Serenity by the Sea “resting” 18 x 14 oil on canvas
As usual, the painting needs to rest and dry before it is considered finished. I intended this work to be a composition study for a larger painting. However, I may have said all I need to say in this one. Painting the subject larger won’t make for a better painting. It will just be bigger. Yet, I am not completely sure if I want to give up on splashing large amounts of red around on huge surface though. I shall think about it for a while and see. In the mean time…
What bright spots have cut through your grey moments of late?
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?
“I don’t know how she does it, but Terrill’s paintings make me feel the rush of being there, of being part of it,” comments Anita Lewis, who shared on Google Plus the following completed painting.
I wish I had an adequate answer for Anita. The truth is I am not exactly sure. I can tell you that the landscape painter must have the courage to stand in the moment with as much raw, unfiltered honesty as possible. In this case, I am standing with the sea.
At first this standing is about the grey that shifts continuously in rolling spring storms. It is about a tide that seems to neither want to come in or go out as I set up the easel.
It is about enduring the dreariest gulf islands spring since the beginning of weather records. This has followed on a winter that saw snow on the west coast during most months.
I have come to realize that we are likely to miss out on are usual warm days of spring this year. Now my endurance is settling on an early summer. But at the moment rain is coming. It is time to pack up and leave with the 22 x 28 inch canvas roughly blocked in using walnut oil paints.
The next day it rains a steady drizzle. No plein air painting is going to be possible. I sigh and move on to other tasks. The following day seems like it may be promising. But it isn’t. As the painting class and I huddle under a gazebo in the national park near the painting location, they get a good chortle. The sun is shining through the rain but it isn’t going to be enough to break the spell and let us plein air paint. We retreat to the Mayne Island Community Centre and I provide tutorial examples while answering various painting problems posed by the students. The day is salvaged through our collective flexibility.
It is a long day which becomes even longer that evening when I learn that a long-time friend has lost his gallant 20 or-so-year battle with cancer. We had spoken only a few short weeks earlier. He had basically called to say good-bye. At the time he commented that he wasn’t sure if the cancer would get him or if his heart would fail first from an unrelated issue. In the celebration of life notice his family has asked that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke foundation instead of bringing flowers. I am assuming this might be a clue to how his question was answered.
From the time we could barely call ourselves teenagers, through our wild years, into young adults, on into our mature years and finally to becoming grandparents – we never lost sight of being friends. Even if years sometimes passed without so much as a phone call, there was no question – we were friends. Though I will miss him, I cannot help thinking he suffered more than his share to remain with us as long as he did. He fulfilled one of his greatest wishes and saw his children grown and had time to enjoy his grandchildren. He knew great love and what deep caring really means through his relationship with his partner. His life was fully lived around what I feel matters most – love, family, friends, frank honesty and hard work.
The next morning has offered up the promised sun. I am standing before a grey-scale roughed in painting with a heavy heart, squinting into the sky blues. Yes, I definitely will miss him. I look across the Strait of Georgia which seems to widen with every glance. I put up the sunshade to keep my canvas neutral.
I work diligently as if without skin and bone protecting the most vulnerable parts of my being. I listen to the sea as it rolls waves forward with each passing boat and ferry. The moments are filled with frequent commas from song birds that are occasionally punctuated more heavily by seagulls and eagles. The sea lions roll up to the surface with their unmistakable breathing raising the hairs above my pinched shoulder blades. I am consumed by salt air, spring grass and exposed seaweed. The breeze lifts the branches of the fir trees behind me and the escaping sun warms my back in brief fragmented caresses. What blue? What blue do I need most? I mix and layer and release the colours onto the canvas within the rhythms of the sea, the rhythms of life…. and the rhythms of our immediate and pending death. Finally the brushes still.
I take the painting back to studio. After letting it rest for a bit, I add a few more brush marks over the afternoon and a few more the next day before calling it done.
The painting was only five days from start to finish. Yet, the world, my world, is forever changed. I am reminded of a line from a poem “The Speed of Darkness” by Muriel Rukeyser – The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
A final photograph is still needed of course but this one will do for today.
So the “how does she do it” remains a mystery in some ways, even from me – hidden in unedited, intuitive renderings of experiences from life onto a canvas.
When was the last time you stood by the sea and asked it to share with you its greatest mystery?