Sailing Through The Trees – a start

The curved deck and angular presence hints mysteriously as it sails through the trees. I have walked all angles, from the expanse of lawn, to ground zero, where the building towers steep above me. After musing over several possibilities, I settle on this view.  There are curves of arbutus held tightly among the straight firs, all cradled by a high shore path. And of course, there is the sea. This is the view that intrigues and keeps me coming back for a second, third and even fifth time.

House In the trees beside the sea by Terrill Welch

Except there is one problem. I want the late afternoon light kissing the face of my subject and this is a painting problem that will require some resolve or speculation. Likely it will take both.  In January, the later afternoon light doesn’t reach this far. The sun slips behind a slight hill before it can make it around to this northwesterly cove. I am stuck. I am left waiting for the earth to turn itself into a longer day. What to do?

Well, I could just wait… but the canvas size has been decided… and I shall head to the city to pick the 30 x 40 inch surface tomorrow afternoon and I do so want to get started. I have ideas for this work! The brushes are splashing paint around so violently  in my head that a shipwreck might occur if I don’t begin. So then, a painter must start with what she has.

I had planned to dive right in, using only my 30 or so photography references from three different shoots, for this painting. But in light of the slowly-turning-earth towards longer days and a higher sun stretching farther westward, I decide a painting sketch to study composition and imagined light effects is in order after all.

painting alla prima study sketch by Terrill Welch

The work is raw, rough and full of exploration as I imagine where the light is going to be – eventually.  Yet, it is enough to hold my initial ideas – at least until I can get an underpainting on the large canvas anyway. The small study is my “notes to self” and the brushes are now temporarily quiet in their jars.  We have successfully avoided becoming marooned on a sandbar during the violent seas of my imagination. Hopefully, it is clear sailing, with just the right breeze of suggestion, from here to our destination.

House in the Trees Study – 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch


It truly is not much of a reference but I believe it will be enough to contemplate while I work up an underpainting next week. Then I will go back each week and see how the sun is doing as it labors to set  a little farther west each day. I might be asking too much of myself to wait for it. We will see. Maybe by the time the work is blocked in, the sun will be ready? Here is hoping!

What might YOU be waiting and preparing for at the same time?

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All Seems Possible In Summer

From the tops of cliffs

To the edge of seas.


For me and bees.

Bees in the blackberry blossoms. Summer…… for bees and me.

It is a time when work and play are most indistinguishable for a landscape painter.

“June morning Coon Bay Study” 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord.

View in online gallery with purchase information HERE.

It is the bee’s knees!

I know! The craziest saying ever but I just couldn’t resist.

What seems possible to you on this first day of summer?

© 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

Midday in Navy Channel oil painting by Terrill Welch

The day was bright with shifting clouds. I was asked by a student if I would paint something in our private lesson so she could see how one might start and then work a painting through to completion. A visual and tactile learner I felt compelled to honour her request. So we worked through the usual coaching process for her to choose what she was going to paint and her learning goals. Once she was underway I set up by the open door and began to work on this piece. We broke up the session with conversation and observation of the development of each painting which were of different subject matter. I punctuated our conversation with the need to honour and develop ones own painting fingerprint even while learning technique and painting processes. Time drifted at warp speed and this small 5 x 7 inch painting study emerged from the afternoon.

I am pleased with the piece. The questions asked by the student in this interchange influenced steps that I took in its creation. For this I am thankful and appreciative because as a teacher we are also forever a student.


SPROUT: What is your best experience of sharing a creative “how to” where you learned something in a new way? 


© 2012 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

RAINY DAY BY THE SEA oil on canvas study by Terrill Welch

Do you remember my recent photograph of “In the Rain at Cattle Point Victoria B.C.“? Well, I have been musing about painting it.

I don’t often do a study before tackling a larger painting but I was painting and repainting a particular idea over and over in my head so I knew there were painting challenges I was having trouble working out. So this morning, I decided to do this greeting card size palette knife study on a 5 x 7 inch gallery wrapped 1.5 deep canvas.

(to purchase contact me via email:  $150.00 – once it dries 😉

One of my aims is always to let paint be paint when I am working on a canvas. Nothing helps with this more than a palette knife. I have the most gorgeous, small and springy knife that was a gift from my parents when I was fourteen years old. I have a newer one but it just doesn’t have the same flexibility and the same balance as my first. Kinda like a good saddle, once you find one that fits you and your horse, or this case me and my canvas, a person doesn’t desire another.

I didn’t work out all of my painting challenges but I did find an answer to some and enough so to continue on to a larger canvas.

And none of you caught me in my error yesterday but the Studio Spring Sale Event doesn’t end until tonight. Sorry about that. Me and dates often have a rather fluid relationship 🙂 I have it corrected now.

SPROUT: What is your creative “study” practice in preparation for larger works?

© 2012 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