Standing with the Sea Painting from Life

“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?

© 2017 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

I Hung My Nightgown to Dry in the Tuscan Sun More Than Twice

Today the sun shines but we have had some great thunderstorms  and we were glad we could borrow umbrellas during this past week.  On a particularly miserable day, while we were tucked into our apartment that is part of an old Farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence Italy, I read advice in a travel guide on how to see four towns in a day while traveling by train in Europe.

Farmhouse courtyard Florence Italy 18 x 24 cm acrylic painting sketch on linen finished panting block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_27 004

(Farmhouse courtyard Florence Italy – acrylic plein air painting sketch.  Art Prints available HERE)

Let’s just say we are slow travelers in Europe. Our minimum stay is three nights. Our more lengthy settling-in-visits are up to fourteen days. We have done some long days on the train a couple of times but mostly a five-hour trip is enough.

What does this really mean as far as being able to say we have been someplace?

Well, it means that we actually live like we would at home in the communities we are staying. We buy  groceries, mail letters, go to the pharmacy and run out of toilet paper, garbage bags and coffee. We need to do our laundry and hang it out in the sun to dry. That is the best part. Clothes that flap in a hot breeze under the Tuscan sun can never be taken for granted again. That white cotton nightgown of mine with the tiny bit of embroidery around the neckline knows that it will be worn until there are only tatters left for painting rags.

It means we don’t make it to all of the highlights and sometimes we hardly make it to even a few. Instead, I can be found painting on a hillside.

plein air painting southern Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 136

The painting sketches are a quick way to deepen my understanding of the light, the land and a place.

Galluzzo Valley in southern part of Florence Italy 18 x 24 cm acrylic sketch on linen finished paint block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_25 145

(Valley in Galluzzo southern part of Florence Italy – acrylic plein air painting sketch. Art Prints available HERE)

It means there is time to be given not only to a lemon but a cedro which is not a lemon and about the size of a grapefruit.

cedro cut in half by Terrill Welch 2014_05_01 006

There is time to find a recipe by Elizabeth in Rome on how to make a salad using the sweet pulp of this fruit while the rind and dry center are composted.

Cedro insalata Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_05_01 015

There is time to do a composite painting sketch in a makeshift studio that combines five different experiences that happened over about as many days.

Spring in Tuscany 20 x 30 cm acrylic sketch on canvas board by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 030

(Spring in Tuscany – acrylic painting sketch. Art prints available HERE)

I begin to become familiar with the changing light in the narrow stonewall-lined lanes where the walls of homes sometimes converge with the pathways.

country lane in Florence Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_29 056

The fields and the hills start to speak in clear notes of recognition.

rolling thunder on the Tuscan Hills by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 001

The courtyard becomes well worn with memories of breakfast, lunch and afternoon painting.

garden pots 18 x 24 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch on linen finished painting block by Terrill Welch 2014_04_29 030

(Garden Pots – acrylic plein air painting sketch. Art Prints available HERE)

There is time to use different photography editing tools to express the light’s dramatic effect on the courtyard

storm breaks  poster edges by Terrill Welch 2014_04_30 005

or a curved building at the top of the hill on the road out of town.

ink outline on the old road to Rome by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 042

Whether it is a villa

villa across a Tuscan Field by Terrill Welch 2014_05_03 035

or a more humble dwelling

Via Dell' Amore Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_29 053

Florence or Firenze is so much more than crowded streets in the old town or the lookout over the city. The Village Road painted by Italian Macchiaioli leader  Giovanni Fattori in 1904 is very little different from the village roads here today.

(Village Road by Giovanni Fattori)

We have only today and tomorrow left in our two-week visit to Florence. David has headed off on his own to do a bit of shopping. I am considering if I have time for one more painting sketch. But mostly, it is time to start packing up our belongings and our hearts. It is time to say good-bye to the Tuscan hills, the fields and the narrow village roads. We promise, as good visitors sometimes do, to return. It is a sign of our love and appreciation rather than a true commitment. That is okay too, for such a possibility will be a welcomed gift during the short daylight hours of heavy rain back at home on the west coast of Canada.

We leave for Rapallo Italy on Wednesday from which we will then do a day trip into the Cinque Terre. From May 13th – 16th we will be in Nice France. The primary intent of our stay there is to see the museums of Matisse and that of Chagall. On May 16th we will travel to Aix en Provence where we will wander (and I shall paint) in the footsteps of Paul Cezanne until May 20th. We follow this up with three days in Narbonne France which will be our last stop before Barcelona Spain and our next longer stay of ten days where we will spend time with the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi who we have both long admired. This will take us to June 3rd with slightly more that three weeks left until we return home. As you can see, we have some shorter visits in this next stretch as we travel towards one of our major goals to visit Barcelona Spain. We will not know these places in between nearly as well but we can say that we gave them more than one-quarter of a day on high-speed town hopping European excursion. Yes, it is work to book trips independently, to plan each stay and each train trip and each meal that must be made. But I wouldn’t trade it for a fast trip. No that would never do. For it is not what we see with our eyes that sustains us but what we visit with our hearts. This is what drives my creative will, my desire to interpret and translate and this is what leaves me just a little sad with each good-bye.


Where have you most not wanted to say good-bye but instead promised – until we meet again?


© 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

The Story of three Sunday to Sunday Oil Painting Sales

A long, long time ago on April 14th in the year 2013 and far, far away on an Island off the southwest coast of Canada lived an artist. This wasn’t just any island. It was the most beautiful Mayne Island with its own Ferries that were so big they could carry people, cars, and trucks from other far away and not so far away places. The artist who lives on this island is no more and no less eccentric than artists anywhere else in the world. She often paints out in the open air or “en plein air” – very French! She paints painterly paintings mostly wet-on-wet or “alla prima” – more French! And though she is often referred to as “the Monet of Mayne Island” she is not even a tiny bit French and has never been to France. Her two children did do their primary schooling in French and this is about a close to anything French as this artist has ever experiences. But this would be another tale from even longer ago. So let’s get back to the story of the three Sunday to Sunday painting sales that began so long ago.

The morning of April 14, 2013 begins with rolling low clouds and a slight promise of breaking sun. The artist has risen from her bed next to the tall fir trees and the stars. She drinks her coffee and packs her French Box easel, paints, jars, linseed oil and brushes into Red Rosie her almost, sort of, still very new Outback Subaru. Then, humming one of her mostly tuneless tunes, she heads off down a slightly bumpy road to Miner’s Bay and the Mayne Island shore next to Active Pass. She had a plan. Today she was going to paint the Springwater Lodge.

Beginning of Spring at the Springwater Lodge plein air by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 076

While she works the light across Active Pass is dancing shadows onto Galiano Island. The artist knew she didn’t have time to paint the scene and she also didn’t want to stop working on the plein air painting of the Springwater Lodge. So she quickly photographed some reference images for later.

Active Pass breaking cloud cover by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 023

(Detailed view and quality photography prints of this image available HERE)

Still glancing over her left shoulder now and again, the artist continues to paint in her painterly fashion the painting of the Springwater Lodge on an 11 x 14 inch canvas.

Spring at the Springwater Lodge Mayne Island 11 x 14 inch oil on canvas plein air by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 154

The plein air painting sold almost immediately and it has long since been keeping an art collector in Alberta company.

But the rolling clouds across Active Pass and magical light of that morning kept poking and prodding the artist when she was back in her small loft studio.  So, like most inspired artists, she takes up the task of painting the scenes generous gift of a very fine moment. Five days later the second painting inspired by the Springwater Lodge plein air session is completed.

Active Pass Spring morning 2013 – 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas

Active Pass Spring Morning 2013 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_04_19 047

But spring is not over and the greens of new leaves and new growth also held the wonder of Tulips. Red tulips. Red tulips that are a signature presence every spring on the deck of the Springwater Lodge. The red Tulips beg and plead with the artist to be captured on canvas So the artist asks and the owner of the lodge says yes. A few days later, the artist picks a perfect day and she sets up her French Box easel on the Springwater Lodge deck and she paints.

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island work in progress 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air by Terrill Welch 3013_04_22 067

She is so inspired that she goes back to the studio and over the next couple of days she paints a second painting. The paintings are obviously sisters but so very different from each other.

sister paintings Tulips Springwater Deck by Terrill Welch 2013_05_04 065

The artist is satisfied with both paintings even though the sister paintings are so very awkwardly obviously related but yet so equally obviously unique. After some thought the artist decides to release both paintings together with the questions:

What about you? Do you have a preference for one painting over the other? If so which one and what is it that has it being your favourite?

The answers came from far and wide through Facebook, Twitter,  Google Plus and the artist’s Creative Potager Blog. Most art lovers, art collectors and”fans of the artist’s paintings” like the first painting best as they appreciated the clear colours and freshness of the work. However, there are more than just a few who like the second studio painting as they see strength in its more weathered feeling. One collector who saw the two sister paintings even liked both and was considering purchasing the pair for a wall in her bedroom. But then she made possibly an unfortunate mistake. She told the artist that she wanted to wait  for awhile before purchasing the two sister paintings. The art collector told the artist to leave the paintings on the market and if the artist sold them  before she was ready to make her purchase then this would be fine – she would just choose something else.

The artist looks at the two sister paintings and she looks at the list price of $1,280 for each painting and says something she will never say again.

“Oh, I don’t think they are going anywhere very fast,” she says with confidence.

The artist should have known better. She should not have tempted fate with such a comment because she knew her paintings were selling quickly. They were selling while still in progress. They were selling wet. They were selling when they were first release. They were selling when studio visitors came to her home studio. To put it simply, the artist’s paintings were selling, selling, selling. But… she thought, maybe not the tulip paintings. They were a little larger then those that were flying out of studio before the artist’s brush came to rest. Besides, $1,280 each is a lot of money for a painting, no matter how much a buyer might like them. The artist never thought anymore about it. Spring gave way to summer. The grass eventually lost its green to the soft glow of August sun-kissed golds.

During this time, unbeknownst to the artist, a buyer had been thinking about the second painting every since it was first posted and the artist had asked viewers which painting they preferred. At the time the buyer’s father was dying. She loved her father and she couldn’t help but connect the weathered beauty and strength of the second sister painting to her love for her father. She preferred the second for its weathered and not so pristine feel of strength – like her father and like his and also her life on the prairies.

Over the months since the painting was released for purchase the buyer returned many times to look at both paintings. Her preference never changed – it was and is the second of the two sister paintings.

After months of consideration, the buyer contacts the artist and the second 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas sister red Tulip painting is destined for a new home in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Tulips Springwater Deck II by Terrill Welch 2013_05_03 008
So feeling a little teary-eyed about the emotional connection this painting will have for its new owner the artist agrees to frame the painting as requested and prepare it to be collected a little later in the fall when the buyer comes west for a visit.

Now the artist did have one more task she had to do. Can you guess what it was? The artist must now contact the other buyer who was interested in buying both sister paintings but had hesitated. The artist must now tell her that only one of the sister red Tulip paintings is left.

The art collector responded, “What!? How am I going to fly with only one wing?”

The artist knew that the art collector was mostly teasing and that she really did understand. The art collector said she was happy for the other buyer and for the artist alike because it was a beautiful painting and deserved a good home. But the artist knows that the collector is disappointed. Worse yet, the art collector is bringing a friend and coming for a home studio visit on the following Saturday. Even though she knew she had no reason to, the artist is feeling rather out of sorts about the whole situation. What can she possibly do?

Well, the first thing artist did was nothing but sleep on problem. When she wakes the next morning she has an idea. While she is still thinking about her idea, she has to go to the “little city” for a couple of days. She buys two matching frames and one more for the second of the two sister paintings that had already sold the Sunday before.

When the artist returns home it is Friday evening and the studio guests are coming the next day. The artist sets the two paintings she is considering presenting as a possible pair into the matching frames. She looks at them and she muses. She leaves them like this until the next morning and then looks at them again. She smiles and secures the two paintings into the matching frames. Here is what the art collector who had wanted both sister paintings saw when she arrived at the artist’s home studio on Saturday…

Pair of paintings going to art collector by Terrill Welch 2013_08_11 115

The artist explains that these two paintings were painted in the same season only days apart and that if the painting on the left was hung so that the waterline was level and a bit of space was left between the two paintings it would be like looking out two windows into Active Pass from the Springwater Lodge deck.

The artist apologies for having a wall in her home studio to properly demonstrate as she hold the painting on the left at the appropriate height for the buyer to see what the artist is describing.

There is a long pause.

The buyer frowns slightly.

The artist put the painting down.

The visitors and the artist moved on. The visitors go up stairs with the artist to see the very large grand paintings in the loft studio. These are huge paintings. Two paintings  36 x 60 inches and one is 36 x 72 inches of oil on canvas. The visitors admire and discuss where if one had the money and room one might put one of these big paintings.

As they are all about ready to return downstairs again, the art collector looks back down the stairs of the loft to the window where the artist had previously shown her the possible pairing the two of paintings.

The collector pause one of those long pauses.

Then she looks at the artist and comments, “I see what you mean. They ARE like two windows on the same scene.”

The artist smiles, nods and says “would either of you like something to drink? Coffee or tea?”

The studio guests decided on water as they are descending the stairs from the loft studio. The art collector goes back to the two paintings. The other guest goes off to use the facilities. This time the art collector did not hesitate when considering her purchase. A mutually agreeable price for the two paintings was quickly reached by the art collector and the artist. Before the other studio guest returned to the room the two paintings are purchased by the art collector and a plan is made for the artist to personally deliver the two paintings to the collectors home before the end of August.

The artist has learned a valuable lesson. The artist will never, ever again say “Oh, I don’t think the paintings will be selling anytime soon.”

This is the story of the sale of three 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas paintings by the artist Terrill Welch from one Sunday to the next Sunday on the small Mayne Island off the southwest coast of Canada. Most of the artist’s current work that is available can be viewed and purchased in the Artsy Home online gallery HERE.


What spring to summer story do you have to tell from maybe or maybe not so long ago?


WARNING: Due to the high volume of sales in recent months, the price of current and new art work is anticipated to increase for a second time this year on or near October 1, 2013. If you are seriously considering buying one or more of this artist’s paintings, it is strongly recommended that you do not hesitate – though, you will never ever here the artist say that she does not expect a painting to sell anytime soon – ever again. If necessary, ask the artist about making special arrangements such as her lay-away plan.

Born in the village of Vanderhoof in north-central British Columbia, Terrill Welch’s art training came at an early age and continued more in the European style of mentoring and tutoring. Terrill Welch’s work, in water mixable oil paints and photographic prints, showcases the beautiful, mysterious and rugged southwest coast of Canada. Though locally appreciated, Terrill Welch is internationally recognized.Her paintings and photographs are sold to art collectors throughout Canada and the United States as well as in Australia, England, Norway and Switzerland.

Terrill Welch’s work is in collections that also include such renowned Canadian landscape painters as Emily Carr, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris. A complete artist’s biography is located on Terrill’s popular Creative Potager blog at


© 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


Tulips on the deck of the Springwater lodge en plein air

Oh! Just look at them! All sassy with their scarlet, tangerine, and soft pink skirts on. These particular tulips are a season favourite here on Mayne Island. I just HAD to paint them. I asked permission to bring easel and paints right to the deck for a painting session. Let’s have a 22 second look and get a good feel for the situation…

So with paint on my cheeks and my tea left to get cold I give it my best.

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island work in progress 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air by Terrill Welch 3013_04_22 067

After about an hour and half,  it is definitely there! Doing a little en plein air dance around the deck. Oops! There are people here. I hadn’t noticed. A few adjustment are going to be needed but this is it for this day.

Back in the studio I work away until I feel it has come together. You see, I really do not get a lot of opportunity to paint with red. I like it but it kind of needs to be approached with respect. I suppose most colours do but red is my stand-back-and give-it-some-room colour. Shall we see what we have?

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island – 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island  20 x 16 inch oil on canvas  by Terrill Welch 3013_04_25 166

Update August 10, 2013: This painting is SOLD to an art collector in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Now I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am working on a much looser more textured experimental version of this same painting in the studio. It is too early to share and it may never be shared but I thought you just might like to know anyway. Red, lots of red and orange. Yum!…. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone.

What is your stand-back-and give-it-some-room colour?

© 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

Springwater Lodge en Plein Air

There is a  seductive pleasure about painting out in the open or en plein air. The weather forecast is rather a mixed bag of cloud and sun. I wonder if we should chance it? What it doesn’t say is that it is heavy breaking cloud which is delicious light.

Active Pass breaking cloud cover by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 023

Oh, why not. The worst that will happen is we get a little wet. I trundle my French Box easel, camera bag which also has my iPad inside and another bag of painting gear down to the beach in Miners Bay. Let’s see if we can get a wee bit of a shared experience here…

At least there is sun on the far shore of Galiano Island.

Galiano Island in the sun with storm clouds behind by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 048

But I am still leaning towards painting the Springwater Lodge as my subject.

It is only about 6 degrees Celsius . or 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit. My fingers and the paint are both stiff. As the birds sing and the waves keep me company that brush starts to work its magic.

Beginning of Spring at the Springwater Lodge plein air by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 076

This is it for images of works-in-progress on site for this painting. Darn if that big old cloud behind me didn’t get stuck on the cliff as it came over. Big fat drops have me running with the painting, my camera and iPad for cover. Good thing the painting was mostly done! Here is a shot of the more-or-less finished painting taken back at the studio.

SPRING AT THE SPRINGWATER LODGE MAYNE ISLAND 11 x 14 inch oil on canvas plein air

Update April 19, 2013: This painting has SOLD to an art collector in Alberta, Canada.

Spring at the Springwater Lodge Mayne Island resting 11 x 14 inch oil on canvas plein air by Terrill Welch 2013_04_14 154

Established in 1892 the Springwater Lodge is situated above Miners Bay in Active Pass, on Mayne Island. The Springwater Lodge is the oldest continuously operated hotel in British Columbia. During the Fraser River and the Caribou gold rush, the lodge was a favourite stopover for miners.


Keeping your responses family-friendly, what is your favourite Sunday seductive creative pleasure?

© 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

The Nurse’s Place Clinton B.C. – Plein Air painting

There is something extremely companionable about a painter with all her gear packed in the car, a partner who likes to sleep in and an overnight stop in the small village of 740 residents in Clinton, British Columbia.  As the darkness gathered tightly around a warm late-August evening, I scouted my morning plein air location. I wanted some place a little off the beaten path but not so far I couldn’t carry my french box easel and camera. This is what I found. I was standing here ready to set up to paint at just after 8:30 in the morning…

With a blank canvas on the easel

I had about an hour to capture all I was going to capture.

What was most important? What shall I leave out? How shall I begin? With a large brush, I start to answer these questions as I rough in the view.

Notice the top of the painting and how the clip is not holding the painting in place. When plein air painting the light and the weather often change quickly. About 45 minutes into my painting session this oversight of that loose top clip becomes a grave error.

Yes, you guessed it. A large gust of wind came teasing down the valley and, to my horror, flipped this small painting off the easel and smack on its face in the gravel bits on the road. I pick it up and do things a little more securely the next time.

While I was still assessing the damage and deciding what – if anything – I could do next, the neighbour from the place on the other side of the road behind me came up and asked if I minded if he had a look. This is when I learned that I was painting “The Nurse’s Place.” With a promise to give him a call when the painting was completed, I conceded that my time was up. I started to pack my gear up and with the painting tightly secured to the easel headed back to the Cariboo Lodge where my dear sweet husband proclaimed that he loved the painting gravel and all. I gave grim half smile while silently I saying a small prayer to the gods that look after plein air painters and their paintings to allow the gravel bits to roll off the canvas once it had dried.  Then we went for a late breakfast and I refused to look at the painting again until today.

To my delight, the small bits of gravel rolled off the painting and I was able to finish up the painting in the studio.

THE NURSE’S PLACE CLINTON B.C. 9 x 12 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch

Available at

I have now set an image of this painting up so it can be purchased as a print or card on redbubble at

Well, at least most of the gravel is gone. If a person looks very closely there is still a little Cariboo grit on that canvas. But I think that is only as it should be. I am calling it DONE! My next task is to place a call to the wonderful neighbour who dropped by to see how the painting was coming along.

SPROUT: When was the last time you courted disaster only to have it give you a good hard flip?

© 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 en plein air painting morning

August is my favourite month of the year and the weather is finally spectacular – feels like summer at last. However, I am not good at beach-sitting but rather prefer to be beach-doing with either my camera or french box easel or both. Such is the case on this fine morning down on Reef Bay, Mayne Island…

I am feeling fairly pleased with myself. I have the 12 x 16 inch canvas blocked in and the sea is singing away as I work away for about 45 minutes. But after awhile I take and good look. It seems nothing is quite right.

The parts in the painting are separate and seem unrelated to each other. I frown and I stall by signing the work. I look out at the scene before me. I walk around eating a golden plum I had brought with me for a snack.  After awhile I acknowledge that I am still undecided and unsure about what to do next. But who can fuss on such a find day? I shrug and I set the canvas aside. I picked up my second blank canvas, slightly smaller at 9 x 12 inches and turn to the view just to my left.

This time I set to painting looking quickly and briefly at the scene as waves roll softly over and over again onto side of the reef. We seem as one – the sandstone, sea and me.

Swish, swish, swish. My brush responds with ease, leaving out the freighter and the driftwood as it focused on the relationship between the sandstone, the sea and the sky. After awhile, my bare arms begin to tingle from the heat of the sun and I am thankful I had decided to put a hat on my head. Stopping to take a long sip of cool water I squint at the painting.

It is done. Complete. Finished – and so am I 🙂

I pack up and head home. My en plein air morning is no longer morning.

Of course, you know, there is that other painting right? Well I sleep on it and get up in the morning to see what I can do with in the studio. Hum! I am not sure this helped much.

Though it is starting to come together, the overall painting is muted and lacks strength and conviction. Now what? I go back to my some reference images  I had taken and look closely at the first photograph that I showed you here. I walk away and do a few chores. Then I take another run at it – or rather brush at it. I am determined though unattached to the outcome.

Now let’s see – yes, there! Now I think we have it.

The day is shot. It is well after six o’clock. I missed lunch and am not up to cooking us dinner. We decide to slip out to the Green House Bar and Grill. I ask David if I had any paint on my face. He said “no darling you look fine.” Off we go.

The first thing the owner says to us as he hands out the menus is “hey Terrill, you have paint on your nose.”

Not only that, some how I had managed to get three different splashes of colour on the front of my t-shirt as well. But they let us in anyway 🙂
Once these two oil paintings are dry and I am satisfied that no further adjusting is needed they will be available in the  Artsy Home online gallery along with my other paintings that are currently available. However, if you are interested in having one of these hanging on your wall and you email me at no later than 6:00 am PDST tomorrow, Friday August 17, 2012 I will cover the shipping for you to anywhere in North America. The 9 x 12 by 3/4 inch “Late morning in August by the sea” is currently $430. The 12 x 16 by 3/4 inch “August morning Reef Bay” is currently $675.

SPROUT: What keeps you coming back to  something until you get it the way you want it?

© 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

Five new plein air oil paintings by Terrill Welch

Have you been wondering when I will post my summer paintings? Well here they are!

For more information and purchase price on each painting, click on its title below the painting for the gallery link.

The first you may have seen in an earlier post when it was almost completed.

AT THE BEACH 12 X 12 original oil on canvas.

Next is the last of the three I did together on a summer morning.

A SUMMER DAY 8 x 8 inch original oil on canvas (No longer available).

Then there is the middle one.

SKY CLEARING 10 x 10 inch original oil on canvas.

And here is the first one from that morning.

GRAY ON GRAY IN BLUE 12 X 12 original oil on canvas.

Finally, there is this latest one I painted on Shell Beach at East Point on Saturna Island.

SUMMER MORNING MIST 10 x 10 inch original oil on canvas. (No longer available)

The new series has a working title of “Squared to the Sea” and I am poised to start on a bigger 36 X 36 inch canvas. Working with square dimensions are difficult to keep the composition interesting and I am enjoying the challenge.

Painting on site is mostly a nice weather activity. I might get a few more done before our fall rains but for the most part, this aspect of my creativity is reaching completion for now and I will be working in my studio again until next summer.

I do have another surprise for you that will be completed by the first week of September. I think you are going to like it. A hint – works best if you have a coffee table.

Sprout question: What is reaching completion in your creative world?

© 2011 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

August morning mist at East Point on Saturna Island

After two days of hiking and taking photographs on Saturna Island, this morning is our painting day. We had already scouted out where we wanted to be. But when we arrive, morning mist obscured the view.

However, it was gloriously magical. I spotted the old machine storage building behind the staircase which led me to complete a five piece study…

 (image available for purchase here)

 (image available for purchase here)

 (image available for purchase here)

Interestingly enough it is this fourth composition with the field that viewers most appreciate.

 (image available for purchase here)

But for me, it is this last image with the thistles that really inspires my imagination.

 (image available for purchase here)

Caught up in the space of a lone tree on the point I was gently reminded we were here to paint.

Though the fog was still keeping us close

and a few families had joined us on Shell Beach we went ahead and set up.

When I say “we” I really do mean “we” as the French box easel and materials were shared in 15 minute increments for a period of 2.5 hours.

My nine year old traveling companion has no idea I have him in the frame. His attention is on the mist, the stones and the sea. Someone stops to observe and comment. He replies “it is the first time I have painted with professional materials.” His eyes never leave the task at hand.

I will share more over the days ahead from our trip but this gives you a taste and foot hold into our time on Saturna Island.

Sprout question: What creative wonders do you have for us to taste this week?

© 2011 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