Be Still

Chunks of forests uninterrupted by human travel are not always easy to come by. Most often even the woods in national parks look something like this…

However, every once in a long while I am sitting quietly off a beaten path and image – what if I was deer or a bear? Or maybe I am moose or a lynx? Maybe I am a wolverine, mink, marten or mouse? Of these animals only the deer, mink and mouse call Mayne Island home. But I once lived where I walked with the bear, moose, wolverine, marten and lynx. Sometimes I would be lucky enough to see these animals too. But a certain practice was required. I had to move through the brush quietly and at times BE STILL – wait without expectation.

 

Often the forest history is evident.

The eyes unexpectedly see through a sliver of clarity.

Burrowed holes from ants or other bugs are noticed in the big cedar.

While musing on a crumbling log a person might even look up and see ferns waving out of reach of the deer. Their long leaves still beautifully uneaten and curling towards the sky.

 

Remember: It is Salish Seas Sunday Savings this Sunday!

 

LINK your chances to win an image-wrapped copy of a little coffee table book

PRECIOUS SECONDS – Mayne Island in paintings and photographs

To qualify you must be subscribed to the Creative Potager blog and share this blog LINK to the First Thursday Teaser for the first Salish Sea Sunday Savings event anytime BEFORE the start of the event at 3:00 P.M. this Sunday, via any of these means – email, facebook, twitter, Google+ or on your blog.

Selected paintings and photographs of my work will be reduced 40% for ONE hour ONLY from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm P.D.T. Sunday October 2, 2011.

To learn more read yesterday’s THURSDAY TEASER post.

Also, my good friend Leanne Dyck has asked me some intriguing questions and is posting the first part of her interview with me this Saturday at The Sweater Curse. If you have a chance come on over. And if you slip by today Leanne has another local author Amber Harvey as her guest.

Sprout Question: How do you incorporate a creative enhancing  practice to BE STILL?

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at http://terrillwelchartist.com

Enchanted Bouldering Forest

I should have known when I saw the two shamans in full ceremonial garb, who turned away from me as I passed, that something special was going to happen soon. But nothing could have prepared me for the enchanted bouldering forest.

It was the second day of my visit with my daughter Josie, who is due to have her baby at the beginning of March. We had been for a short hour-long hike the day before. This was after we went to her ultrasound appointment and I got to see baby O through the wonders of technology. We didn’t have anything planned for this second day. It was like drawing a free card. We could choose anything we wanted.

After a bit of thought Josie ventured “well, we could go to an enchanted forest where there is a tunnel, and large boulders? I found them once and have been wanting to go back when I had more time.”

How could I resist? She packed up some snacks, grabbed the full first aid kit and water bottles. I stuffed my pockets with some tissues, tied up my hiking boots and picked up my camera. We were off.

Finding the trail head was easy enough and the trail looked well used near the beginning.

Josie tells me that it took her a year-and-a-half and more than three trips using hand-drawn maps acquired from word of mouth to find this bouldering spot. So the specific location of our adventure shall remain classified for the protection of mystery and wonder.

It is not long before we come to what looks suspiciously like a mountain bike jump.

Then the first moss-covered boulders  seem to rise up as if they fell from the sky. Which they probably did.

The rains have been heavy over the winter. Water runs down through the moss and off the bottom of the rocks.

I look back after we have passed. In awe, I pause.

Josie smiles and says “what is next gives me shivers even though it is amazing.”

This is when the strangest thing happened. I took a few photographs and could see orbs in my photographs. The tunnel walls were dripping on the outside. So I thought it might be that. I took a couple more photographs. Still there were these strange glowing blurs in my photographs. Then I looked at my feet. There were clamshells layered in the dirt. I looked in the tunnel. There were old clamshells washed clean by rain dripping through the cracks between the large stones onto the floor of the tunnel. I thought for a moment. We were a good 30 minute hike into the woods from the ocean. Then I said “no wonder you get the shivers, there are spirits here. See these shells. This is an old midden.”

If you look over to the bottom right you will see a faded area. I am pretty certain that a spirit being was sitting there watching our passage as we went further into the forest.

I look back again. It is a habit from years of walking in the woods. If you look back you know what the return trail looks like. It gives a person a chance to create mental markers so you can find your way.

Steps away from the tunnel and it is hidden from view and the curious eye. We walk along for awhile through the trees. Coming to a power line we start to climb in altitude. There are trails leading off in all directions. Josie recounts her directions. The second outcrop or rock bluff we must turn off. Going deep into the woods we climb in and out of a creek bed. The ground is saturated and we must be careful to find firm footing. We keep walking through small openings of gary oaks and back into the big firs and cedars. We are still climbing and going deeper into the forest. We muse about whether the bears are out of their dens yet and could there be a cougar in the area. Coming onto a ridge there is a recent deer carcass almost picked clean. But no sign of anything else.

Finally, we find the first pink ribbons. It is the beginning of the loop trail to the boulders. We keep left. We keep climbing. Slowly. We are both getting tired but we know we are almost there. Then through the trees we spot something. Could it be?

Our first bouldering boulders are in view.

There are more.

And more.

I am not going to show you them all because some of the mystery must be left for each person who comes into an enchanted forest.

We take a break and have a snack while we look around.

I see Josie thinking “I could climb that one.”

I am thinking “Yes, but maybe not today.”

Bouldering is done without ropes and these sandstone rocks must be swept free of moss before climbing.

Safety mats are stuffed away in the rocks along with cleaning brooms.

We do not linger long. It has been two hours and we still need to hike out. We estimate it should take us about an hour.

The trail has had little traffic at this end. At first we can’t find the next pink ribbon to give us direction. We wander back and forth having lost the trail. Neither of us want to back track so we keep looking. Ah, there it is. Though the trail is well ribboned, the deer trails are more prominent. We pay close attention. Finding one ribbon after another we complete the loop. From there the way back is familiar and easier going.

Three hours later in total we are back at the car, a little tired but invigorated by our enchanted bouldering forest adventure.

For a week of doing nothing, I must say, I really did find more time to do what counts.

Sprout question: What did you do that mattered the most this week?

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

New Oil Paintings BREAKING THROUGH and FOREST

How does the song go? Two out of three ain’t bad?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post heavy cloud cover made it undesirable to paint. Hence, only two of three paintings are completed. But better two than none which might have been the case if I had not set the intention on Monday morning. Can I admit to being just a little excited about sharing the results of this weeks work? I hope you don’t mind but if you could see my face there would be this grin from ear-to-ear.

I will likely take other photographs of both these oil paintings on a brighter day but for now this is what we have…

BREAKING THROUGH

(36” X 48” by 1 ¾ inch cotton canvas original oil painting)

FOREST

(18” X 14” by 1 ½ inch cotton canvas original oil painting )

If  you are interested in purchasing either of these paintings please contact me directly at tawelch@ shaw.ca .

I am sure we may all agree that these two paintings are very different.  Yet, I recognize them both as being painted in my usual impressionist style. As the artist, I can stand back and see my struggles and successes to capture, to express and to embrace my creative process. This is why I am excited and why I am beaming with satisfaction – it is for the love of painting and seeing something through to completion!

Sprout question: What are you noticing about your creative process this week?

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Soft light

Today heavy clouds filter the sun into a perpetual dawn. With rain tapping the roof now and again, I sleep late. No harm done – at least none that I have noticed. I remember our walk yesterday afternoon with its scattered clouds and soft light.

Walking a coastal trail…

Often looking towards the view but not going out to admire. We are smoked in. It seems as if someone is burning brush.

It is so pleasant under the trees. The air is heavy and still as we walk quietly through the soft light.

(image may be purchased here.)

 

Sprout question: How are you embracing what the day has to offer?

 

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

 

Red Bowl

Before I share with you my experience with the red bowl, let’s be clear about this week’s intention. This week, I shall finish up the three paintings I have underway.

The first of these is breaking through or “the big one” posted in A Week Painting.

The second is the forest and the third is orange sea both of which were posted this past Friday in Hot Coals.

I have one more canvas I can begin if the spirit moves me. Then it will require a shopping trip to continue.

Now about the red bowl

Last week I started a six week photography e-course with Kat Sloma from The Kat Eye View.  I first met Kat through her comments on Creative Potager. When I read her e-course description I knew this e-course was for me. Here is the first paragraph…

Photography is art, and like any other art, is an expression of the heart and soul of the artist.  In digital photography, the camera and computer become tools for creative expression the same way paints and brushes are tools for painters. But learning the tools alone does not help you find your eye and express your heart and soul; it can only be the starting point.  You have to learn to dive deeper into experiencing the environment around you and understand what calls to you in order to develop a unique photographic style of your own.

(by Kat Sloma. More about the e-course here.)

Her first exercise has to do with understanding how light can affect your subject. For this exercise I chose a bowl where the inside is red. Flickr is the format I am using for the Finding Your Eye e-course photojournal. You are welcome to check out my before and after images of the red bowl in different lighting at Bowls – finding my eye entry 1. All ten images are of the same red bowl.

I know I said I am going to focus more on painting than photography this year. However, I am taking the liberty of adjusting as the creative spirit moves me. I have decided it likely going to be a both/and year – Both painting and photography.

On that note, here is my favourite photograph from the past few days.

Alder in the Sun

(image may be purchased here.)

AND

The Fallen

(image may be purchased here.)

 

Sprout question: In what direction is your creative spirit moving you this week?

 

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Hot Coals

Original oil paintings in progress…

First painting.

Forest 1

Forest 2

Forest 3

Forest 4

Second Painting.

Orange Sea 1

Orange Sea 2

The best cooking fire is hot coals because they provide a body of even heat which will penetrate and cook without burning your food. Sometimes painting is like this for me. At first the flames of an idea blaze with excitement and I paint away with nothing but burnt remnants to show for my efforts. But sometimes I need to build a good fire first so that there are enough coals for a long cooking process.  The painting Forest needs a good bed of coals to accommodate its density. The painting Orange Sea requires that I steadily add a stick or two at a time so that it can simmer without boiling over. Neither painting is finished. They are still cooking.

 

Sprout question: What kind of creative fire are you cooking with today?

 

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

 

Emily Carr Mystery Solved

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Yesterday’s “Can you Guess?” post was so much fun. Yes?

It is indeed Emily Carr.

The statue is located in the Victoria, British Columbia harbour near the Empress Hotel which you can see in the back ground. The specific location is on the corner of Government and Belleville Street diagonal to the legislative buildings.

Looking up is Emily’s dog Billie. He is looking at Woo Emily’s monkey who is sitting on her shoulder.

The artist/sculptor who was commissioned to create the Emily Carr statue is Barbara Paterson.

I took these photographs the day after the unveiling of the oversized Carr statue. People were still frowning at it as they passed on their way to work in the morning. I didn’t take their pictures as they were so unguarded in there peering at this statue of a strange woman with a monkey on her shoulder. I didn’t want to embarrass anyone. I believe it is safe to say that most of them couldn’t have guessed who the statue represented either and they live in Emily’s home town.

The evening before we had seen a screening of a new documentary film Winds of Heaven: Emily Carr, Carvers and the Spirits of the Forest by Michael Ostroff which I reviewed on the “Emily Carr My Kindred Spirit” post in October. I was in full Emily Carr remembering when I took these photographs. I have read her diaries, her stories and viewed her art work for much of my life. I regard her as a mentor.

Why did I wait so long to post the photographs of the statue? It is because my heart sank when I saw the statue. I was filled with a deep sadness – not because of the statue itself. The statue is beautiful, thoughtful and skillfully created. I was sad because the location chose for the statue presented a mystery for me. Emily would hate it. I just know she would. Stuck in the buzz of city traffic and tourists, with people peering at her while she is left sketching one miserly branch of the great forest she loved would have been torture.

Why would anyone choose to put a statue of Emily Carr in such a counter position to her whole being? I thought and mused as I invited Emily to walk with me out of the noise and commotion down a path along the harbour shore. I am sure her feelings were hurt as much as she was angry.

I know because as we stopped to look up at the totem pole along the path, she seemed to be saying:

“Why couldn’t they have just tucked me a little ways into the peace of the rose garden where at least the birds visit?”

“Why didn’t they put me in Beacon Hill Park where it is quiet and the glorious big pines still stand?”

“Oh bother! Why didn’t they just forget about this old fool?”

I feel compelled to tell her that she is important to art history in Canada and especial in British Columbia. Though people may have not chosen the best spot for her statue in relation to her love of the woods, their hearts were in the right place. They loved her. She sagged a bit under the weight of it all and seemed to weary to fight the mistake… for surely it had to be a mistake, wasn’t it?

After weeks of considering, my conclusion is no, it is not a mistake. It was the right decision even as heartbreaking as it is to think of Emily sitting there stuck so far from the peace of her woods. It is the right decision because the statue isn’t for Emily Carr. She lived her life, created her art, wrote her stories and her spirit is free to be where it chooses – which is not on the corner of Government and Belleville Street I can assure you. The statue is for those of us who have yet to discover Emily Carr. For those that do not know of her great art and her books. The statue is a clue to a mystery that waits to be discovered by tourists, workers going to work and the three year old on a walk with her dad who draws him into the world of Emily as the child pets Billie and they both smile up at Woo. Maybe then they will seek out Carr’s paintings and wander into the great forest to see the trees as she saw them. I hope so because this is where they will find her spirit joins them as they sit on a log in wonder at one of the greatest mystery of all – the forest.

The statue is only a clue to solving a great mystery. Maybe someday the world will know Emily Carr and her woods well enough that this clue can be removed deep into the forest where we can sit together with her as kindred spirits around a small fire discussing other creative mysteries.

Sprout question: How do you resolve creative sadness and disappointment?

Or an even better sprout question offered to us by Leanne Dyck: What artist of the past would you like others to discover today?

Thank you Leanne:)

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

If I were an owl

If I were an owl I would spend a lot of time looking at the middle of trees, as I dozed away an afternoon. The view we have of our big fir trees is like that. I set my easel up on the west deck and decided to paint an owl’s view.

The big easel I’m using was a gift from my parents the year I graduated from high school. That was awhile ago. I’ve packed and moved it so many times I don’t even care to count. It’s a treasure.

Now back to an owl’s view….I started with one of my favourite yellow-orange underpaintings but neglected to take that first photo when it was set aside to dry. Here is the next pause in painting.

And the next.

Then I made a mistake. I didn’t let it cure long enough… only a couple of days. I just couldn’t wait. So I painted. And I painted. And I painted some more….

It was okay but the painting had lost its life. The darker and more vibrant colours had lifted and mixed in with the lighter ones I was painting. Basically, I had a muddy gray mess. I was pretty sad and I felt kind of silly. I knew I couldn’t work the painting that hard so soon and I stubbornly did it anyway. So this time I left it sit for a couple of weeks. I looked at. I mused and I considered.

Did I want to try and breathe life back into it or should I just leave its carcass on the canvas?

Ah, what the heck nothing much too loose. I gave it another try.  Here are the results.

View and purchase print of original here.

18X24 by 2 inch 100% cotton canvas water miscible oil painting.

Now I am happy. I love painting trees. Just for fun, here is a close up of one of my favourite parts of the painting. I decided it would make a nice card or print in its own right.

View and purchase print of original here.

Sprout Question: Do you have a favourite subject that has kept you creative company for years?

Note: these images are available at my online store front http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch for viewing and purchase. But they seem to be having some website issues this morning so I will go back and make direct links for you later today.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

what seen is not always there

Clouds break and the late sun rushes in, leaving its mysterious glow cascading across the valley. In this moment the turning of earth is visible and tangible – not just a known fact.

View full resolution and purchase image here.

Looking east finds the familiar last light from the west at the edge of the forest…

It is beautiful but not what I am feeling. Something is missing. I head to the digital darkroom musing about what the camera couldn’t catch. I went to work to find what it was I had experienced – teasing it out from between the pixels….

View full resolution and purchase image here.

Sprout Question: What do you do when your creativity on the outside doesn’t match what you are experiencing inside?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Summer is coming

Creative Potager’s summer blog schedule begins the first week of May

budding possibilities - wild rose

The first post for Creative Potager was December 27, 2009. I have been posting a blog Monday to Friday, except for power outages caused by windstorms battering our little island in the Pacific Northwest. Including today, there are 83 posts each with their own sprout question. There are 1,165 comments documenting our creative conversations and 8, 596 times you have come to visit. Creative Potager has become an enjoyable habit to wake up to during the week where I say to myself “what shall I post today?” However summer is coming. I yearn to be outside in the garden, tramping the trails and painting on site rather than inside snuggled up to my laptop. Like the summer wild flowers in this post, I bloom best in untamed places.

each day is precious - wild tiger lily

So after giving it some serious thought, I am changing my posting schedule to twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the beginning of May until the beginning of September. I may on occasion post an additional submission. But these will be bonus or value-added posts rather than an expectation.

petite lady slipper

I am hoping you can live with this change and that we both will benefit from my scrambling around in the valleys and on the hills and down the beaches of Mayne Island and afar. I am hoping that we can still have rich and engaging conversations between posts even during the long days of summer. I am hoping that the sprout questions will be juicy enough to keep us inspired for the in-between times. I am hoping that you will trust that winter will come with its short days and unpredictable weather and we shall again be glad for our Monday to Friday sprout conversations fueled by the fruits of summer experiences.

drops of rain on white fawn lilies

Please let me know what YOU are hoping and what you think of this change – because most of the fun of this blog is my conversations with you!

Sprout Question: Does your creativity have a summer schedule?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada