Painting Melancholy Seas and other events

The week has shifted from warm winter afternoon sun to stormy jade grey sea, to snow cover trees causing power outages and then back to sun with more snow on the way. What is a painter to do with such dramatic changes? Gather reference materials, write a haiku, make hedgehog biscuits and paint of course!

With the sun trapped behind a tree, I squint through the branches at the sea.


Wandering along the shore I consider the path down to the rocks and driftwood.


Afternoon low sun on the rocks, the sea and a pastel sky are my reward.


Then later on in the week the jade of high-tide seas remind me of some reference material from earlier in the year. I bring them along to the first Studio Intensive oil painting class that I am teaching for the next three months. I am enamoured by melancholy seas. I can’t seem to help myself. I am pull up to the shore with a belly full of compassion, ready to dry each of the wave’s cold tears on my damp sleeve.


I bring the painting to rest back in the studio with the week’s snow visible in the background outside the loft windows.


I have been working most of the day on the large canvas from the week before and the melancholy sea painting is my unwinding work after being corkscrewed up in the branches of that old arbutus tree.


But what about this unusual amount of snow that has lasted for days here on the southwest coast? It really isn’t much. Truly it isn’t, other than gorgeous to look at…

As night comes / the beauty of tall firs / outside my window.


Oh, the power went out a couple of times with the first heavy wet inches. But we are cozy and comfortable. In fact, we didn’t even go to get bread when we ran out. Instead, I made hedgehog biscuits.


However, I am familiar with snow, bad roads and power outages. These circumstances cause me neither concern nor stress. Yet, I am reminded that it is uncertainty and the unknown that tends to rankle most into jittery nerves. I am no exception. But snow and power outages don’t do it for me.

Yesterday, the sun came out and danced with the same big fir trees in the valley outside the window . Gorgeous!


I have, as you might expect, been reading about world events. Of most interest are a couple of articles with a broader, possibly dystopia, perspective. The first is “This is how we can fight Donald Trump’s attack on democracy” by Rob Wijnberg in The Correspondent. The second is an archeologist’s paper “History Tells Us What Will Happen Next With Brexit And Trumpby Tobias Stone in the Huffington Post. Both articles focus on current affairs from a place of context that comes when we step back from the immediacy of news feeds that surface on Facebook, Twitter or from other sources. I am reminded that though immediate situations may be of importance, they likely hold little sway within a longer measure of time. Possibly, I wonder, will we, 300 years from now, remember this era as the great democratic experiment?

This week I am also reading Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in a Mumbia undercity by Katherine Boo. In addition, I watched a mini-series about Juana Ines de la Cruz , the life and work of a seventeen century nun in Mexico City who is considered one of the first great minds of the Americas.

In my collective ingestion of these articles, the book and the film, I am struck by how current stories and old stories are much the same. A few lines from  the Netflix Juana Ines film series, set between 1669 and 1695 in New Spain, seem to summarize my week in totality.

“Silence is not having nothing to say. But being unable… to find words for all there is to say.”


“It is not the knowledge I don’t have. But that the desire to learn has cost me so much… This amorous torment inside my heart can be seen. I know that I feel the way I do, but I don’t know the reason why. I feel such a heavy anguish from such a successful dalliance that fills like desire and ends in melancholy.”

As always, I find that so much in this everyday life is left unanswerable or beyond my words. Thus we conclude with the “resting” painting.

Melancholy Seas on a 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas


How might melancholy and change come together in your life?

© 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

Perspective Canada Day

Happy, happy Canada Day Canada. YOU are the BEST… but I only tell you this one day a year as it might go to your head.


View and purchase full resolution image here.

To be perfectly clear, this blog is about construct of perspective and it just happens to be Canada Day.

Perspective is to painting as grammar is to writing. It is useful to have some idea about the rules before you start breaking them. Both methods of organizing information have been equally tedious for me to learn except in an abstract fleeting fashion. In each case I have a tendency “to work at what I am creating until it seems right.” I usually only refer to the math of perspective or the grammar of writing when I have got myself mired and I absolutely refuse to give up. I then begrudgingly concede that I best go find out what the rules are so I can solve my problem.

Driven by combination of frustration and curiosity, I will pull out the appropriate books from my bookshelf and read what I need to read. Usually this results in a satisfying personal discovery that is far more exhilarating than warranted.

But sometimes new learning slips into my life more easily. The other day Elisa posted an excellent video comment to “Seeing and Creating” about an artist, Esref Armagan, who has no eyes and who can paint perspective using his fingertips. Esref has never “seen” a horizon line. How does he do it? I was so impressed with the link that I decided to bring it forward for a post focusing on perspective. Thank you Elisa.

And if you want to learn more about the history, science and mathematics of perspective….

“It wasn’t until the early 15th Century that a Florentine architect and engineer named Filippo Brunelleschi developed a mathematical theory of perspective through a series of optical experiments.”

Mathematics and art – perspective

The history and theory of perspective

Sprout Question: Are you remembered for your creativity in the way you want to be remembered?

Bonus: Around the middle of May this year Kathy Drue from Lake Superior Spirit blog decided to declare her dare on my blog post “Choose Your Dare”  and started a visual arts project. This morning I found the following comment on that post…

Terrill, well yesterday I realized that I needed to have those seven pages done…but couldn’t really get inspired to make a journal that would just be seen by me. So instead I made some more cards. Twelve of them. Then decided to start a “revolution”:

Thanks again for the inspiration!

I invite you to go have a look at her beautiful cards with their shiny images beaming back at us from the picnic table. Thank you Kathy for celebrating your success with us.

© 2010 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