Sunrise to Sunset Traveling the British Columbia West Coast Water Highway

The Government of British Columbia and its fine west coast island citizens are in agreement that something has to change to sustain one of the most beautiful water highway systems in world. There is not agreement on how this system must change however. User fees are going up and usage is going down. With the expected total tariff revenue shortfall of about $40M by the of March 2016, there are proposed service cuts and tweaking of schedules which may save money but will likely not lead to increased traffic.  Several factors have led to this grim situation including a lengthy downturn in the economy, fares overreaching the balance point of cost to value in the traveler’s wallet and the government requiring that each route be self-sustaining while separating these ferry served waterways from the highway transportation system and its funding support. It is not a pretty picture. If this situation is not resolved The Local Ferry Committee concludes that “the final result will be the continued strangulation of island and coastal communities, the effects of which are already evident.” (Ferry Facts – MayneLiner Volume 24, Number 1, January 2014)

There seems to be only one way to really give you a good idea what this means and that is to take you with me on a trip from Mill Bay on Vancouver Island to Miners Bay on Mayne Island in January.

The Mill Bay sunrise with Mount Baker in the background is pleasant.

Mount Baker at Sunrise in Mill Bay by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 020

from under the arbutus tree on the Brentwood College campus where I am visiting the “O” family.

Mill Bay Sunrise under the Arbutus Tree by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 045

Boats rest quietly in the marina next door as another amazing day begins.

Sunrise Mill Bay January 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 024

I don’t have to leave until midday so we go off for a morning hike returning in time for a quick lunch before I head out. Mayne Island is only about 35 km directly across the water but I will drive an hour over the Malahat highway and up the Saanich Peninsula to the Swartz Bay terminal to catch the 2:15 pm  going to Saturna Island and then Mayne Island arriving about 4:10 pm. I allow three and a half hours for travel time. On a day like today this is a pleasure…

Mount Baker from Inside Passage by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 088

Ferry traffic can be spotted regularly as we set out from Swartz Bay.

BC Ferry Traffic Inside Passage by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 128

After passing island after island views, we approach Saturna Island almost an hour later and Mount Baker is still grandstanding on the horizon.

Almost to Saturna Island by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 391

Quality prints available HERE.

The sun is getting low in the sky when our small Mayne Queen ferry retraces its passage back between North Pender Island and Mayne Island.

January West Coast Late Afternoon Sky by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 508

The Queen of Nanaimo ferry is finding its way from Saltspring Island and Galiano Island gives a looming welcome on the right.

Galiano Island winter afterrnoon by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 496

I turn and look back towards Swartz Bay knowing that one of the large ferries taking passengers across the Strait of Georgia will likely be visible.

Late Afternoon in January by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 526

I wasn’t disappointed.

We dock about five minutes late and I meander home, waving at neighbour and friend Leanne Dyck from The Sweater Curse blog who is out for a walk as I go.

My sweet husband has a few groceries he wants to pick up before we go out for dinner.  We unload everything but my camera and head immediately for Miners bay. There is only a slight orange glow left in the sky as we pull up and part on the street facing the Miners Bay Trading Post.

Miners Bay Trading Post by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 544

What can I say? It is good to be home. It is good to have ferry service and not have to hitch-hike on a passing tug boat, freighter, sea plane or sail boat. Yet, I wonder if it might come to that again in the maybe not so distant future. If it did, we would remember these days of 3.5 hour assured travel to go a distance of 35 km fondly. But would we move? Would we leave our island home with its water highway for the paved highways of the mainland?

Would you still think about coming to visit me if there was no ferry service?

© 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

Saturna Island in September

Even though the islands are neighbours with only a short distance of water between them, we had to take the Queen of Cumberland ferry, leaving at 7:20 am, from Mayne Island to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island and then transfer to the Mayne Queen arriving at Saturna Island by 10:30 am. But what an arrival!

Mist was rolling on the water as we approached with clear blue skies above.

Each with a small backpack we planned to spend the first day strolling the 1 km down into Narvaez Bay. My backpack carried my camera and two lens. The new lens is huge and weighs as much as a medium size puppy. Thus, it required a change from a shoulder camera case to a full-on backpack. David had water bottles, lunch and small first-aide kit.  We intended to spend time at the smaller bays of Echo and Little Bay then finish up with a hike up to Monarch Head in the late afternoon.Missionaccomplished. It was absolutely splendid! During this whole time we met two cyclists and one hiker with his dog Molly on our way out. Following are a few images so you can join us in one of our favourite magical places.


Though this path takes us to Echo Bay we opted to go out to the point.

From here I wandered over to the side and looked at the cliff side and took this image which will be familiar to some of you from a previous trip.

However, each visit is a little different and with the cliff in the shade I was surprised that this image came out so well.

Through the trees on the other side of the point I spied my favourite mountain.

I did take a photo of it all by itself but have opted to show you later on the ones I took of Mount Baker from Monarch Head instead. Going back along the trail, I was attracted by patterns again through trees.

What amazing water.

There are a couple of purple starfish swimming in here. Can you find them?

More trees with the sun coming through by Echo Bay.

This will likely be a reference for an oil painting that I will do over the winter.

Then of course there are these ladies of the arbutus waving their fancy apparel in the air.

Are you ready for a break yet? We sure are. There! Lunch! Water! Alright, pack up and let’s head for Monarch Head.

Ahhhh, the view.

And there is Mount Baker with a teeny tiny sailboat sailing by.

To give you some perspective on where we are here are a couple of shots that include part of the cliffs.

And then on the other side.

Now back we go and tuck ourselves into a most excellent B&B – Saturna Lodge.

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate our tenth anniversary of the day we met September 20, 2001 at a breakfast meeting when we both worked as seasoned bureaucrats for the Province of British Columbia. Seems so long ago in a different world of briefing notes, meetings with Ministers, urgent rush folders and a ridiculous amount of emails topped with a pile of documents that needed signing which seemed to have no bottom. How did we ever manage such a delicious courtship with lunches, long walks and quiet dinners together? But we did and here we are today still enjoying such a splendid time in each other’s company.  Glad you can share it with us.

Sprout question: What magic are you taking with you into the weekend this week?

Stay tuned, more images from our time on Saturna Island will be posted on Monday.

New: Check out my coffee table book PRECIOUS SECONDS – Mayne Island in paintings and photographs

© 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

Mountain Stands Alone

It was a good weekend for art sales here at Creative Potager but I will tell you more about that later. Right now I am going to share with you how I use photography as study for future painting. When I tell people I sometimes take up to 150 reference images for one painting and that I use them in place of sketches, I can see the confusion slip into the corners of their eyes as they try and understand what I am talking about. Let’s use my fascination with Mount Baker for an example.

In fact, Mount Baker may be the single most motivating factor for me to buy a 70 – 300 mm lens with an image stabilizer. I do alright with my 17-85 mm lens which also has an image stabilizer for most things. But that mountain is too far away from Mayne Island and I don’t think it is going to get any closer anytime soon – at least I hope not.

A photo study of a subject for a future painting is not about standing fixed in one spot taking one shot after another. It is about getting to know the subject in its context. It is about feeling my way into the frame. It is intuitive observation. This is what I call discovering a realism of subject rather than of object. There is a difference and I will expand on this in a future post.

Most times I go back to the same places at different times of day, during different seasons. Each time these memories and images get stockpiled as internal references for the work that will come later with paint on canvas.

I am finding that these studies seem to offer more in-depth of understanding of my subject  than en plein air painting which I had assumed would be the ultimate in painting my subject in its context. This is a surprise to me. Maybe it is that I haven’t done enough en plein air painting recently. I would love to hear from other painters about what their experience as been.

Of this particular photo engagement with Mount Baker, this is my personal favourite frame.

(image available for purchase here.)

I like the soft focused foreground drawing our attention to Mount Baker yet somehow still reminding us that a pile of rocks – is still just a pile of rocks.

So there you have it. A few images from my latest study of Mount Baker and the mountain stands alone.

Oh I didn’t forget – you want to know about the art sales over the weekend.

The first of the large original oil paintings KEEPING WATCH in the STUDY of BLUE solo exhbition has sold to a collector inVictoriaB.C.Canada. This means six of the fifteen paintings in this show are now sold.

Also, large canvas print of the photograph of GOING, a medium canvas print of FOGGED IN and eight cards of photographs and paintings sold to an unknown buyer on redbubble. Thank you whoever you are. Your support and interest in my work is most appreciated.

And thank you to all of you who are part of my creative journey.

Sprout question: What mountain in your creativity stands alone?

STUDY OF BLUE  solo exhibition open until Wednesday July 27, 2011.

© 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.

FromMayne Island,British Columbia,Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

Summer Crossing

I know I said I was only going to post as I chose this summer but it seems as if I choose to post frequently. Maybe it is the good sales of my work last week. In addition to the medium size canvas photography print, I also sold another original oil painting from the STUDY of BLUE solo exhibition. The 8 x 10 inch painting of SALISH SEA THREE is going to buyers from Vancouver B. C., Canada. This means there are only 10 paintings left to choose from so if you have been mooning and musing over a particular piece, now is the time to act.

In the meanwhile, let’s do a summer crossing starting at Tsawwassen across Georgia Strait.


When I look back towards the ferry terminal I realize that it is no wonder I have done a study of blue.

I often feel that I am wrapped in time when at sea.

There is an openness

and a containment when traveling across the straight on a small vessel like the Bowen Queen.

Ah yes. One more stop at Galiano Island while I admire the Mayne Island lighthouse with Mount Baker looming in the background.

I shall be home soon.

Sprout Question: What creative crossing might you traverse 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


Redbubble Portfolio Sale

Yesterday, redbubble started shaking bells and sending the Christmas spirit along by offering a 15% discount on all of my work. Even on this newest image of Mount Baker.

View and purchase full resolution here.

Even on my 2011 calendars. Even on all my most popular images. The whole works actually. Everything! What is a photographer and artist to do? Let you know of course!

To receive your discount, put in the following code when you go through the checkout process TerrillWelch_is_on_sale_9565

Note: this discount is only available for those that order my work directly online at redbubble.

And apparently, though I have been unable to confirm, this offer ends November 14, 2010.

Please, have a good look around my redbubble storefront at Your favourites are all there.

Sprout question: How well do you roll with something that is unexpected?

P.S. Remember to change your clocks. This Sunday, November 7, 2010, Canada, US and Mexico FALL BACK to standard time.

Best of the weekend to you all!

© 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

A Fall Day on Mayne Island

It occurred to us as we were eating lunch that it might be sinful not to take a long leisurely walk in the warmth of this most glorious fall day.

I am always fascinated by the ribbons of blues that stack up like exotic candy layers as I look out to the meeting of sea and sky. I drift and dream on the waves as the seagulls squawk and fish from the rocks.  Mount Baker is almost visible in the haze of the far shore – if you know it is there. I sense that it is time to move on.

I flatten body-to-earth on a sunny knoll next to the deep cool shadows of maple trees as they undress, dropping one crunchy brown leaf after another. We do not get much colour here on Mayne Island in the fall.

Mostly things turn brown and drift downward, sometimes holding themselves up as if to say “no, not yet! I’m not quite ready yet.” But the rains will come, silencing their whispers. These large brown leaves will be mulched into the earth to feed the first sprouts of spring.

Sprout Question: What are you letting go of to sprout new creativity?

Important: If you want gift cards, calendars, photographic prints before Christmas, October is the time to place your order at Original oil paintings can be purchased directly from me by sending an emailing to .

© 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