Early Autumn in the Japanese Garden

Sunshine and cooler temperatures are the perfect time for drifting between productive activity and leisurely strolls. I have sorted, cleaned and reclaimed my office space in the loft. I find it so refreshing to have it “in hand” so to speak. Now it is time to go for that stroll. 


I go off into the gorgeous early autumn weather with its warm sun and blue skies. One of my stops is our Mayne Island Japanese Memorial Garden. 


The bridge is looking more elegant than usual with its orange red boards. I smile to myself remembering bringing students to plein air paint in the garden. This bridge lovingly was referred to as “the dreaded bridge”. 


The bridge can be seen from almost anywhere in the circular walk around the garden.


It is a popular prop for photographing family and friends. 


The Japanese maples are starting to turn red.


Samaras prepare to twirl off in a gust of wind. 


I find myself sitting in the ground beside the path even though there are many comfortable benches tucked into the garden. 


I am sitting next to the new bamboo shishi odoshi that translates as “deer frightening” in English. Thankful all the deer are fences out of this beautiful garden. 


I head home to prepare supper. Before I feel ready, the day is over. The sun is setting through the trees and creating magical light across the room. 


The time on my phone says that it is just seven in the evening. I am not ready yet for the fast shortening of the days in our northern hemisphere. I want to savour the last of our late summer’s warmth, even if it is shaking hands with early autumn before its annual departure. 

Meanwhile, Russia has announced a partial mobilization. First it was for 300 reservists. Now I hear possibly one million. Nuclear weapons are mentioned. Is it a bluff? Likely they say while failing to pause before insisting that we should take this threat seriously and prepare. How does one prepare for a Nuclear war? Is an animal really cornered if they very carefully constructed the corner themselves? The analogy doesn’t seem to work somehow. I listen to the UN security talks. I check with trusted YouTube analysts for updates about changes in the Ukrainian frontline. What shall I prepare in the face of possible war? A prayer for peace? A dedicated meditation on love? Possibly. I will go to garden for a powerful potion of fresh peppermint for my tea. I will watch the bright green leaves swirl in the hot water of my favourite mung and I shall breathe. I shall breathe slowly, purposefully and with an open heart, cradled in strength and a unrelenting force. 

Such are these days of this early autumn here on the southwest coast of Canada. 

What is it like this time of year in your  neighbourhood? 

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Warm Sun with Cool Shadows

I have my sweater tide around my waist and my cheeks are facing the later morning sun. But there is no mistaking that it is fall. A cool breeze drifts gently through the trees and tickles up the length of my spine.

*Please note: Reader warning about challenging material and painting reference sketch for possibly my next large painting are included near the end of this post.  

I want to not much of anything on days like this. It is a good thing I got the edges on four large paintings done yesterday before heading down to sit beside the sea. 

Autumn crocuses are in full bloom. I always feel like they are playing a great hoax on us, as if wanting us to believe it is spring. 

But it was Saint John Point where I wandered yesterday. This place is intimately familiar. Yet, if I learn into that closeness and seek out something more, it always delivers. 

Again…

And again…

The Arbutus woods, the sea and the sky are never the same twice. So I keep seeking with fresh eyes and a willing spirit. 

Every twist is assessed and acknowledged, sometimes with sadness because the end of a life is so near. Maybe one more season. Hopefully. 

However, even in death Arbutus Trees seem to still have so much to offer with their elegant curves. 

I revel in the grand strength and endurance of the healthy giants. How do they do it when so many others are struggling?

At home the painting edges dry.

These three paintings have displaced us from our great room and dining table.

Not to worry, we have done this a few hundred times before. We have a temporary cozy and beautiful solution. The outside deck table is moved to the big windows in our bedroom. Now how fine is this!?

And in the evening if dinner is later, we slide everything over in front of the fireplace. One could hardly call this roughing it.

Today and tomorrow the Gallery Pod is closed. I have a friend and an art collector arriving for a day trip tomorrow though. I could start on a larger painting but I might wait. What I want to work on is dark and grim. I have a small study I did around five months ago about our tranquil place next to the Salish Sea with the devastation left behind by the Russians in the small village of Bucha village in Ukraine imposed in the foreground.

“One World, Two Places” by Terrill Welch is a small 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch 

Artist notes: During mid April 2022 war photographers began releasing images of Bucha Ukraine following Russian retreat. The inhumane atrocities where nightmarishly haunting. I was overwhelmed by the graphic possibilities for sickly human behaviour. I went from our calm, warm, cozy home to the shores of the Salish Sea on the southwest coast of Canada where Mount Baker loomed across the waters in the United States. What if our neighbouring unit were to attack us in this way? What would we do? These lands too have witnessed atrocities by European settlers towards Indigenous communities. There is no place of virtue for how despicable humans can be to one another. The miracle might be that we have even moments of peace, compassion and caring at all. Yet, the seascape of my island home is tranquil and takes the edge off of my inner turmoil. I return home and paint “One World, Two Places” using several reference but with a specific image quote to Den Kazansky who risks his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to document the crimes in Bucha and the war in Ukraine. Kazansky’s tag line on Twitter is “For only in the grip of darkness we will shine amidst the brightest stars” This too could be the title of this painting sketch.


The subject deserves a large canvas. I am just not sure I have the stomach and the courage to paint it. I have a biting, teeth grinding and nightmare kind of concern for those civilians who are on the front lines of the war in Ukraine. I can hike the trails to take the edge off but this doesn’t change the situation. Somehow painting these experiences offers a concrete place outside of my head to record these horrors that contrast so starkly with our daily island life here on the Southwest Coast of Canada.

For now, I am going to make my coffee and see what I decide after that.

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

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Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Weaving Together A Weekend Through to Monday

After collecting our basket from the Farmers Market yesterday and spending most of the day putting up the harvest for winter while guests self browsed in person and online, today with the Gallery Pod open from 11-4, I am smiling. 

I am smiling AND painting edges. I would say this is almost a miracle. 😉

I think it is the second batch of oven roasted eggplant, tomatoes and peppers with herbs in olive oil.

Or maybe it is the third batch of rustic basil pesto?

But it is likely the labeled serving sizes in the freezer that is doing it. This and the fall air. Either way, you are most welcome to come self browse in the Terrill Welch Gallery Pod and stop in and see the new show in ISLAND TIME ART both today and tomorrow. I shall be around between painting edges and strolling in the early autumn sun. Plus, there are fresh flowers in the Gallery Pod to welcome you.

If you are only able to visit and browse online this works well too.

Terrill Welch Gallery Pod Private Viewing Room is available HERE.

ISLAND TIME ART “Late Summer Gold” group show can be viewed in a collection HERE

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

Redbubble painting and photography prints and merchandise

Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Late Summer

We are now solidly into what islanders call “the shoulder season”. It is the time of year that we book our eye and dentist appointments and check all our batteries and fill the pantries for winter storm power outages. Those that have wood stoves are stacking and splitting and those of us with propane back up heat check the gauges and determine when we will need to ask that the tanks be refilled. Sunflowers and other late summer flowers shine brightly. Our tomatoes and cucumbers are in abundance and various apples are ripening. I always like to do a little extra for winter this time of year.

A pan of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers with garlic, African basil and rosemary are roasted for toast and frozen in small packages for mid winter with the taste of summer pasta.

I do up a basic pickle brine and stuff two jars with a cucumber, carrots and apple. These brine pickles will last unsealed and refrigerated in their sterilized jars for over two months and are ready to start using after two days. Besides, they look so pretty. A person can add dill and garlic if they wish but I didn’t.

We made a trip to Victoria on Monday for my new lenses and had time to stop in Sidney for supper and then a walk window shopping to the pier.

The late ferry arrived at dusk and the ride was uneventful and on schedule.

Yesterday, I worked with our gallery artists to pull together a new show for ISLAND TIME ART and we used the new gallery pod that was closed for the day as a handover for work returning and a staging area for the new show that was going up. Look at that colour!

Then a couple of hours later, it now looks like this and will open tomorrow Thursday, Sept 15, 2022 at 492 Dalton Dr., Mayne Island, B.C. in the ISLAND TIME ART room within Dragonfly above the ferry terminal. I invite you to drop by and see for yourself. Browsing is welcomed and encouraged.

Day trips from Victoria are relatively easy now that we are in the shoulder season and visitors even come for the day from Vancouver sometimes. The ISLAND TIME ART room is generally open 10-5 Wednesday through Monday though it is closed this Wednesday for some electrical work in the building. The Terrill Welch Gallery Pod at 428 Luff Rd also on Mayne Island is open 11-4 Thursday through Monday for the shoulder season and by arrangement at other times.

And speaking of large still life paintings, “August Still Life with Cezanne and Matisse”, a 36 x 24 inch oil on canvas, has found its forever home and is now sold.

I have always loved this painting and had hung it in our hallway for the open home studio days that accompanied the opening of the new Terrill Welch Gallery Pod. One of the gallery’s art collectors took this painting home on trial to consider purchasing and decided to make their relationship permanent. Many of my paintings have a specific job to do in the home of art collectors and this one is no exception. I am honoured that it was chosen for the important work it has been assigned in rememberance of a very special human being I have also had the pleasure to know.

I do believe this catches us up for now and I am off to work on the next issue of our “A Brush With Life” newsletter and get the wall labels ready for the new show in ISLAND TIME ART. Take good care and we shall chat again soon.

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

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Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Latest Progress on Arbutus and Salish Sea

“Arbutus and Salish Sea” is the latest painting completed in my Red Line Series. Since its beginnings during the last week of August, I knew this work was going it be part of this red line body of work. I started the painting in the usual manner with a yellow ground with a few pencil marks on the canvas to guide the composition and design.

From there, I started painting the background first because it was going to be the strongest visual balance to the rest of the composition.

Adjustments were made to simply the design of the painting even more as I completed the blocking in stage and moved on to building up the paint. Now let’s step down into the home studio and have a look at the resting painting…

This work has happened during the opening days of the new gallery pod while we have also had the home studio open to walk in visitors. It has been a bit tricky to work between guests but I managed. I was able to get it to this stage and added the red line yesterday.

Now it is resting and the painting still needs the edges painted and a final photograph. However, I have popped it into a digital room view to take away the busyness of the home studio and so I can better decide if it needs anything else. I thought you might like to see as well.

“resting” Arbutus and Salish Sea by Terrill Welch (not yet released though inquires are still welcome) 20 x 36 inch walnut oil on canvas

Artist notes: Recent years of drought and an over population of deer eating the seedlings has been challenging for Mayne Island Arbutus Trees. The red line in this painting is there to remind us of the impacts of climate change even as the natural beauty of these trees next to the sea persists.

The painting will be set aside as I believe it is complete and another canvas will be placed on the easel.

This is how it goes in the art studio and I am so looking forward to more painting time this fall.

May our Autumn be filled with quiet abundance!

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

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Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Starting Fresh in September

The first Sunday in September is often like my second New Year. There is this natural pause and reflection just before we seem to roll into the rest of the year in earnest. At first glance this year, my living and work world seems indecipherable like this photograph of the forest from our side deck.

However, with a bit of effort the layers can be lifted off and separated until they make some kind of visual and memory sense. This is what we like to do isn’t it? Make sense of things when they just happen to naturally co-exist in overlapping movements of light and energy. Let’s see what we can make of it all.

Since last September, our physical living and my working spaces have shifted in rather dramatic ways under my guidance and inspiration to solve immediate and difficult challenges. Only in hindsight do they seem daunting. When I was in the middle of these changes it was just a matter of getting things done that needed doing. Now I can appreciate the monumental shifts that have taken place.

The first major project last fall was the completion of our main floor bedroom and ensuite bathroom renovation that had started in the spring and been delayed waiting for windows to arrive. The building contractor did an outstanding job and we were able to move our bed from the great room beside the kitchen table and put an end to feeling like we were camping out in our own home.

This project was taken on to meet my husband’s reduced mobility needs in the middle of the night when he would get up a little too stiff and disoriented to manage the stairs from what was our sunroom sleeping quarters.

What we couldn’t have known ahead of time is what a sanctuary this space would become and how it would change the way we actually lived in our home. The ability to have a separate bedroom closed off in our open plan strawbale timberframe home that still remained visible from other parts of the house has meant easy movement, sleeping and working space without feeling isolated from one another. In meeting a very pragmatic mobility need we greatly increased our quality of daily living in our home.

My home studio moved permanently into the sunroom below the kitchen where our bed used to be for the past twelve years. Even with the unrelenting south exposure it works because of the tall trees and our many west coast soft grey days.

The whole house now works as if it was always meant to be this way.

The second major change came last October when my commercial venue for the gallery rooms provided all the tenants in the building a year’s notice because the owner was going to return the space to residential use. Our small rural island has extremely limited commercial space options and few of those are ideal for showing paintings. However, the first solution came easy with a small room sublet within another business that also was moving. It meant a change in what was regularly being offered as the small space was only suitable for smaller paintings and usable art products.

The huge benefit of this new art room venue is that I do not need to physically be there. Thanks to modern Square payment technology a separate terminal was added for use at the counter of the main business.

The unexpected gift of this unique ISLAND TIME ART room has been the joy designing and choosing smaller useable art products for this space and the ease of curating and hanging new shows with a selected group of gallery artists. The art room is eclectic, lively and delightful. But it is not a gallery space and has difficulty managing to successfully show larger paintings like my other gallery spaces had been able to do. Which brings us to my final major change during the past year. The Gallery Pod.

The Terrill Welch Gallery Pod, that is now snuggled in at our front gate and opened this weekend, took nine months from idea to opening and is the last piece in our live/work solution that my husband and I didn’t really accept that we needed until it was in place. You see, on top of being a full-time landscape painter and running a gallery and art business, I am also a caregiver for my husband who suffered a major bleeding stroke thirteen years ago. The first few years were spent in gaining back skills and abilities. Then there were many years of stability. Now he is experiencing a gradual decline in both physical and cognitive abilities that admittedly has been aggravated by limitation imposed during the pandemic. So being able to have the new gallery space at our front gate has become a huge future planning benefit that we didn’t realize until it was here would also have immediate benefits in the quality of both of our lives and my ability to continue working.

This brings me to a place of realizing this first Sunday in September that we can look to the present as a fresh start in our future direction that has been intentionally and thoughtfully implemented for both living and working on this small rural island on the southwest coast of Canada. Now it is time to set some short term priorities for the last quarter of 2022…. and go make some breakfast before opening the Gallery Pod and the home studio for visitors today from 11-4.

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

Redbubble painting and photography prints and merchandise

Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Gifts of Sunflowers from Art Collectors

As the second day of September rolls in after a cool morning, I go to the Gallery Pod to open up for visitors between 11-4 again today. There is an ease to early September where I have chatted with a handful of people in the line up for the bakery this morning who all offered congratulations on the new gallery space. I came home and trimmed up some branches so I can see the entrance to the Gallery Pod from inside the house. Yesterday, the extension cord was placed in a conduit pipe and buried in the trench that had been dug the day before. So everything is looking sparkling and organized. I then came in and ordered two raised cedar planters for the yard. Each will have a locally made olla watering pot that I have already purchased. I liked how the first one has worked in a big clay pot this summer so I decided to see if we can at least grow some salad greens this fall or next year. The big fir trees blocking out the sunshine are the main challenge but we shall see.

In the meantime, an art collector and gallery visitor yesterday brought the most lovely local arrangement of mostly sunflowers for the Gallery Pod. Are they not just the most lovely addition?

Then a little later, another art collector suggested that I come by and see their sunflowers for inspiration. They offered to pick some for me but I knew I wasn’t going get a chance to paint them right at the moment with the opening days for the Gallery Pod that also includes the home studio and our house. So I just went over and gathered a few images to enjoy in the evening light and left the flowers to create seeds for the birds. They certainly were lovely though. They feel as big, bright and cheerful as the sun itself!

I love how much variety there is in sunflowers.

They seems to have a magic all their own as they tower over my head in the early September sky.

Speaking of September, this painting of East Point was inspired from this time of year. It is now on hold as of yesterday and a final decision will be made early next week. In the meantime it is still on the Gallery Pod wall to enjoy.

Another art collector, who is also a friend, will arrive tomorrow night to stay in a local Airbnb for a few days for a much deserved vacation. We have plans to go out for dinner and listen to live music as part of a fundraising event. I expect we might also get a morning hike or two in as well. And maybe even dinner at our house.

Over time, I have noticed that there is a lovely fluidness between serious fans and those who collect my paintings and friendship. Sometimes the art viewing and collecting comes first and sometimes the friendship comes first. I suppose it makes sense that it would be so since the paintings are so deeply personal and a significant way that I express myself in the world. Still, it is something that I am incredibly grateful for and never take for granted.

It is a Friday of counting blessing and being grateful for the pure richness in our ordinary everyday.

What is filling you with gratitude at the moment?

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

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Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

September is About to Arrive

I can feel fall nipping at my heals even as the nights remain warm and the drought conditions continue likely for at least another two weeks. It is a rambling eclectic time of year with my birthday acknowledged while aggressive wasps crowd around the outside water tap for a drink. I have the road signs up for the official Gallery Pod opening 11-4 each day starting tomorrow through to Tuesday September 6th.

The show is hung and people have been slipping for an early viewing for the last few days.

There will need to be new flowers for the desk today I think but these ones have sure been lovely.

The newsletter is written and will come out as usual on Friday. Never Miss the Good bits! Sign Up Now for “A Brush with Life” the curated editorial Terrill Welch Gallery newsletter published every second Friday. (You will receive a confirmation email. Check your spam folder if you sign up and it isn’t in your inbox. If you do not reply to confirm you are not subscribed yet). 

No painting is happening at the moment. A strong individual is coming to dig a trench for the extension cord to the gallery pod today so that it is not an eyesore. My most treasured team member is coming to clean and polish our home and the home studio. I have so much gratitude for those in my life who step up when needed!

End of summer meals are wholesome but simple. Breakfast of garden fresh local tomatoes on wood fired rye toast with mayo for breakfast.

Spanish omelettes with tomato sauce and cheese with local salad greens for supper thanks to Raven Vale Farm.

I managed a sunrise this week along with an impromptu visit with a friend who arrived for the same beach just a little earlier than me.

Life is good as I get up early and go to bed late while noticing the shorter days and that distinct scent of autumn just around the corner. I tell myself, just get through to the end of the Gallery Pod opening and it will easy up. But not likely all at once I am afraid. It is now time to get everything ready for the winter months. There are off island eye and dentist appointments to get out of the way for both of us and regular twice yearly blood work to do for my partner, along with his prescriptions that will need to be renewed. All the batteries for flashlights and emergency lamps will need to be checked. And the propane tank for the fireplace that provides emergency heat if we have a longer power outage. There! A list has been started.

How is your September shaping up?

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

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Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

We Now Have A New Gallery

The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. However, everything has come together and today, being as it is my birthday and it is Sunday, will be a quieter day so I thought I would catch us up….

First, I started working a new 20 x 36 inch oil on canvas of arbutus trees this week. The canvas is just blocked in but I think it is possible to see where it going. It will be another in my Red Line Series. I anticipate this series being the second show in the gallery pod but it might be the third. We shall see.

On that note, let’s go to the gallery pod. On Friday, my trusted builder, Jean-Daniel Cusin owner of Mayne Island Kitchen and Bath, dropped by to give me a hand getting the track lighting and the hanging system in. This is the third gallery space we have worked on together and I had tagged him way back in December for assistance.

You would think it would get easier since we have done this twice before but there is still a lot of fiddling finding studs, cutting things to length and running to the hardware store a couple of times to get things we needed. Still, we got it done in a few hours and the next morning I twisted in all the lights into place and put the hanging wires up to get ready for paintings.

The anchor painting for this show went up first.

Then the other two large paintings that will keep it company.

From there, the hanging went fairly quickly and now the paintings are all in place, including the guest painting by Jody Waldie. Every few weeks, there will be one larger guest painting by one of the local Mayne Island artists who show in the other Terrill Welch Gallery adventure – ISLAND TIME ART. This gallery space shows their smaller work in the blue building with Dragonfly at the ferry but it is just not quite large enough to put in many bigger work. The gallery pod can handle them though!

I will write an announcement for the website to publish later today or tomorrow that is specifically about what is in this first show and more about visiting. I still have a few wrinkles to work out. Like, do I want labels or just a list sheet of the paintings that people can take away with them? How much signage do I need if this is going to function as a self browsing location with assistance as desired or requested? How much landscaping should I try and get done right away around the gallery pod? Who needs a personal invite to feel like they have really been invited? Just a few things like this! I still have time. The official opening is 11-4 Thursday, September 1st through Tuesday September 6th, when we will have both the gallery pod and the home studio open for walk in visitors. After that time, it will be just the gallery pod that will be open during the fall shoulder season for walk-in 11-4 Thursday through Monday or by arrangement on other days. The home studio will remain open by advance arrangement or impromptu visits if it is possible. However, if you are in the neighbourhood between now and the official opening, it is possible to visit the gallery pod. I will turn the lights on and put the open sign out from 11-4 each day. The road signs will be put up as well. Almost! We are almost ready after nine months since I started planning. I am totally thrilled with the outcome so far but you will have to come see for yourself or get me to do a video or FaceTime visit for you.

So this is it for the moment. How is your day going?

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

Redbubble painting and photography prints and merchandise

Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com 

Reopening with a Study of Oyster Bay

It has been almost three years since I have added a post to this Creative Potager Blog. There is not a reasonably way to cover such an expansive absence. So, I have decided to begin again as if it were just yesterday. If the in-between is important to you, there are many public posts to read on my personal Facebook profile and in issues of “A Brush with Life” newsletter for the gallery. Now, it is time to anchor a new beginning and a practice which includes a slight shift away from social media and back to this blog and my website. I am sure the reflective peacefulness of this specific online location will be welcomed by us both. Let’s start with a recent study of Oyster Bay, Mayne Island, on the southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada…

Today was a low tide when we quietly pulled the our Red Rosy Subaru Outback down to the shore for one of our regular picnic lunches. After a few bites, I was out and searching for possible angles to capture the sweet, warm, summer blues before us.

The Salish Sea stretches along the Straight of Georgia as we squint towards the coastal mountains and Vancouver on the far side. Do I want all of the view or just a piece of it?

Or maybe just the rippling water reflections? I can’t decide.

But whatever else, I had best step it along as the tide is definitely coming in.

Now this lengthy stretch seems to be just the right balance.

But what about possibly adding a touch of rock in the foreground from over here?

Oh! Very faintly we can see Mount Baker in the distance. I will stretch the capacity of my phone camera just a little to reach out… and there! Got it! At least I have it enough for my reference needs.

As a landscape painter exposing the mystery in an ordinary day, these are my regular photography sketches. I do not worry about getting that one perfect image but rather strive for a collection of references that I can use to enhance my memory and imagination back in the painting studio. On occasion, these studies, along with small plein air painting sketches of the same subjects, result in a painting but mostly they become foundational information that builds sometimes for years until an idea becomes compelling enough to paint.

So there you have it! Do you also have practices in your life that are as much for their own sake as anything else?

ONLINE GALLERIES include –

ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

Redbubble painting and photography prints and merchandise

Website: TerrillWelchArtist.com