Breaking Blue and Gold

Starting with Monday, this has been a week of deep connection with nature, family and friends. Nature is at my doorstep. A friend made the trip to the island for a visit and my family has been connecting via telephone across many km from a different part of the province. There is a fragile, yet unrelenting, firmness that whisks itself across the carpet of our pending autumn.

Seagulls gather in rows on the reefs.

Hearing about the death of Queen Elisabeth II at 96 years old and a 70 year reign is a good reminder for me that mortality eventually has its way with us all. This confirmation, and a northwest wind facing down a clear sunny day, slices through any illusions I may have had. Without a doubt, summer has slipped on a sweater on over her light cotton dress and Canada, as part of the commonwealth, has a new King. King Charles III who is already a sprightly 73 years old. Just like that it seems, we have turned a page in time.

However, if we look closely enough, we will notice that endings and beginnings are woven together and when done well, the broken threads pass beside each other twisting to become stronger than just one thread by itself. It could be as simple as where the sea and the shore meet.

Or, in a grander flourish, we might catch the sea, mountains and sky cresting across the horizon.

The seagulls are still conferencing on the sandstone with hardly a ruffled feather.

The next day they have moved on. But the northwesterly wind has stayed.

I try to find a place to paint but I am chilled and shivering just getting references. Unlike our intuitive summer, I have left my warm sweater at home.

After a third attempt along our Mayne Island shores, I tuck up close to the brickworks dock during the morning low tide.

I lean into the crumbly structure and make a wish. Not a wish for something. Just a wish to be present. A wish to hold the space of today. In a wonky out-of-sorts-kind-of-way, everything seems to be as it should.

I’ll take it! That long breath in and then out and in again. In nature, connecting with family and friends. This is it. All that gives us a chance in life.

Low Tide at the Brickworks Dock by Terrill Welch, 10 x 8 inch acrylic on gessobord plein air.

Artist notes: An early September northwest wind was cool even in the late summer sun. I tucked up next to the brickworks dock for shelter and then started admiring its weathered features.

And so it has been for this first week of September. How about you? How has your week been?


ArtWork Archive original paintings and acrylic sketches currently available

Redbubble painting and photography prints and merchandise


The Ordinary and the Painter

Our attention is called to focused on the grand, the absurd and the unbelievable while our everyday ordinary life is often trivialized and overlooked.  I mean who hasn’t seen a clip about the predator who lovingly cared for dinner that was still a baby? Or a new discovery of a brilliant someone who was overlooked or found in an unexpected place?

So what is a painter’s life about anyway? Is it stylishly waving a brush across canvases in the studio? Or is it acquiring art collectors, collecting fans, preparing for solo exhibits, wishing for galleries shows and meandering museums? Is it dreaming of having work recognized and valued enough to make a thriving living? Well maybe, in a small part, it is these things. Mostly for this painter though, it is about tending to the ordinary. In my response to a long time blogging friend Laurie Buchanan’s post “A Twist on Impressionism” this morning, I said “I like to think that I am leaving an impression about the value of the ordinary – the things that we have the best chance of giving and receiving freely and in abundance like listening, laughing, kindness, caring, helping, sharing, observing, being present and being thoughtful.” But what does this really mean? As a painter how are these ideals expressed? What is it to tend to the ordinary?

Come for a walk or three with me and then we will come back to the studio and a current solo exhibit. We shall see if we can sort it out together.

First let’s ring the bell in the garden for attending to what is around us.

A bell for attending by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 015

It could be the heavy mist hiding a view next to the trail.

grainy dampness of land next to the sea by Terrill Welch 2015_01_10 024

Or a pair of reading glasses carefully hung in a tree for their owner to come back and find.

eye level by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 166

It might be a hand-knit mittens that warm small hands left on a picnic table.

warming small hands by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 162

Or it could simply be the winter light taking a sideways entrance into a Japanese garden.

January sun in Mayne Island Japanese Garden by Terrill Welch 2015_01_15 028

Whatever it is that we attend to in our observation is occurring whether we notice or not. It is the ordinary everyday aspects of living. But we see them in fresh and frequently meaningful ways. The mitts reminded me of my childhood and the effort my mother put into making them for us. I desired to see them returned to their owner and placed the photograph above in a local private Facebook group. They were discovered on the post and retrieved by the owner. I have very poor eyesight without my glasses so a pair of reading glasses missing on an island where another pair can not be purchased sparked the inclusion of that image on the same post as the mittens. The image of the mist hiding a familiar view reminds me that no two days or moments are ever exactly the same and different does not mean less intriguing or valuable. This is reinforced by catching the lengths of low sun in the Japanese garden. Only for a very few minutes will it be there and then these tree too will slip into the background shadows.

But what do these experiences have to with being a painter of our natural environment?

Well, sometimes on a walk where this image was captured of the willow tree

Mayne Island winter rain by the willow tree by Terrill Welch 2015_01_05 074

I go back with my paints, paintbox and brushes to paint. But remember how I just noted that no two days are ever exactly the same?

Mayne Island willow tree in fog by Terrill Welch 2015_01_07 009

Even though the fog is so thick that it settles in damp layers on my skin, I set up anyway and go to work.

plein air painting down by the willow tree by Terrill Welch 2015_01_07 026

In fact, it the humidity is so high that the acrylic paint won’t dry enough to allow me to layer it on painting sketch. So in the end, I know without a moments worry or hesitation that it may be less than an accurate translation of my ordinary everyday experience of the willow tree. But it is still the result we have isn’t it?

“Mayne Island willow tree in winter fog” still wet plein air acrylic sketch 8 x 10 inches

Mayne Island willow tree in winter fog still wet plein air acrylic sketch 8 x 10 inches by Terrill Welch 2015_01_07 046

Back in the studio, I may visit the subject again. I will have my photography and my painting sketches for reference. Again, it may or may not lead to a successful final work but this we will both know – I have attended to an aspect of my everyday with observation, appreciation, curiosity and gratitude. It is a good day for this painter when this is so.

These collections of experience and memory are rendered in multiple layers using my full-sensory awareness of an ordinary day. This is what I wish to capture in my work. Here are three of the twenty-two paintings in my current solo exhibition at International Fine Art Collaborative – Zen Gallery curated by Sukhee Kwon that I feel are exemplary in this aspect.

Title: S t o r m . W a t c h i n g
Media: 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_11 003

Title: T h e . R o a d .t o . t h e . W o r l d
Media: 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas

The Road to the World 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2012_09_02 019

Title: B o w l . o f . W i n t e r . F r u i t
Media: 12 X 16 inch oil on canvas

Bowl of Winter Fruit by Terrill Welch 12 x16 inch oil on canvas 2014_02_08 099

Many of you know the stories between all of the 22 works in this collection but the sharing of these three here will do for now. My thanks to curator Sukhee Kwon for presenting my work so beautifully. Thank you for coming with me on an ordinary day, in an ordinary life of a painter.

What are you observing today in your ordinary life?


© 2015 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

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

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


Be Patient

Can you remember a parent or grandparent saying “Be patient!?”

Well this is what I told myself this morning. I am so close to finishing the last original oil paintings for my solo exhibition STUDY OF BLUE opening June 30, 2011 at the Oceanwood Resort on Mayne Island, British Columbia Canada. Two of their luxury rooms are already booked with guests who are planning on coming to see my paintings. One painting has sold as part of the pre-sales offered. Images of thirteen of these paintings are now in a folder on flickr in preparation for their journey to be posted in the Art of Day online gallery.

Would you agree that this is a fine start? So why am I be asking myself to be patient.

I have two paintings to complete to reach my self-imposed fifteen minimum for the show. I wanted to complete them this week. I have no particularly good reason for wanting them done this week other than I am so very close to finishing. This nearing-the-end-of-a-big-project is always a critical time for me. Starting with three “seed paintings” I have been holding the energetic space for this creative process since November of last year. I have set aside my photography to focus on my impressionist painting. I have said “no” too many things as make room for this one priority. There is an energy that builds around this kind of step by step flowing determination to reach a goal. It is like seeing the last 2 km marker when running a marathon. We know we are going to make it to the finish line but we must hold our focus for a strong finish.

This is where I am at. I have the underpainting reading on a 24 x 36 inch cotton canvas.

And I have a bit of a mess I have scraped and started again on a 16 x 20 inch birch framed gessobord.

I went to sleep with the intention of rushing flip-flopping to the finish line today. But instead, when I awoke, I told myself “be patient and finish strong.” So instead of picking up my brush, I looked at the calendar. Tomorrow is Good Friday and it is Earth Day.

It is the beginning of a four-day weekend with one more week in the month of April. I have time. I can finish these last two paintings at a moderate and inspired pace. I can finish strong. Afterall, they are not my last paintings – just the last two on this leg of my artist’s journey. The solo exhibition is an arbitrary self-defined finish line. I am about three weeks ahead of schedule. I shall be patient.

Sprout question: When was the last time you needed to be creatively patient?

Note: The next Creative Potager post will be on Tuesday instead of Monday due to the long weekend. Have a most pleasant and enjoyable Easter Weekend.

© 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

FIR TREE original oil paintings by Terrill Welch

This week my hard drive crashed and it is not recoverable. Fortunately, most things were backed up and my photographs were on an external hard drive and most of them are backed up again on flash drives. I lost a few images but not many. Lucky! However, I did lose all my newer email addresses so if you have exchanged emails with me in the past year, and would like to continue to be in touch, drop a line and I will add you to my address book.  Somehow this all seems to be less of an issue now that we have facebook, twitter and such. I might even be persuaded to pick up the phone 🙂

I plan to write a more about this experience on Monday in a post called “impermanence.”

Now, let’s have a look at this week’s painting. I started out just going to paint a few edges but these two small canvases had a ground on them and were sitting beside the easel. Well I looked at the edges of another painting and I looked back at the two canvases. The 8 X 8 inch pair just had to be done.

I knew what I wanted to paint. We have been getting a lot of evening sun here with glorious gold light hitting the trees just before it leaves us for dusk.

Starting from “ground.”

A ground is different from a underpainting even though it may be the same colour. With a ground there is just a layer of paint that is put down with no intended painting blocked in or even in mind. Yes, I dislike wasting paint so these canvases were just too close to the last underpainting I was doing and they were grounded 😉

The painting took shape quickly.

I didn’t stop again until close to finishing.

When hung, the two paintings would be separated by a couple inches – I think, maybe more. Or they could be hung like this ….

This side by side is possibly my favourite.

Here they are trimmed up pretty with no distractions.

FIR TREE SKY original oil painting by Terrill Welch

FIR TREE POND original oil painting by Terrill Welch

I haven’t had a chance to decide if I will sell them separately or only as a pair. What do you think? Should they be kept together or be allowed to go into the world separately and be a surprise to some unsuspecting buyer that there is another half to their painting?

These paintings will be part of my upcoming solo show “Study of Blue” opening June 30, 2011 at the Oceanwood Resort here on Mayne Island.

UPDATE: FIR TREE SKY has been SOLD at the opening on June 30, 2011. FIR TREE POND has been SOLD to a separate buyer at the close of the show on July 27, 2011.

Sprout question: What keeps you rolling through unexpected events with ease?

© 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

STORM COMING oil painting in progress

We have been issued a wind warning by Environment Canada this evening: Sustained southerly winds of 70 to 100 km/h with peak gusts from 100 to 140 km/h will develop Wednesday morning. So if you don’t hear from me for a bit… it is only because the electricity is out.

I was going to post this painting on Friday along with another I painted this week. But the title of this painting is “Storm Coming.” I decided it would just have to be a Wednesday painting post. Seemed like a perfect day to share its progress.

Starting with the most yellow orange underpainting

I carefully selected a few colours. I’ve decided to capture my palettes for each painting and thought you might like to see.

Everyone has their own methods of organization.

I am not big on organizing my paints in a certain way. I think about what I am going to need and organize them in a manner I will use them.

For example, I am left handed and often work counter clockwise on my palette. Generally I work the whole canvas at once but this painting developed a little differently.

I chose my main brushes and palette knifes often having two brushes and a palette knife in my hands all at the same time.

STORM COMING 8 X 10 inch cotton canvas original oil painting is resting. It may be ready by Friday but maybe not.

Sprout question: What creative storm might be coming your way?

© 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


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…


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


(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@ .

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

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada