A Quieter Time

For much of the year,  I thrive on a creative rhythm of quick short inhales with repeated exhales of joy and possibility in our ordinary day. Blogs are posted weekly. Classes are taught spring and fall. Solo art shows are proposed and curated. Requested application deadlines are met for the following year. I take us on hikes, painting trips, studio views of work in progress and this year into the new gallery. Then it is November. The days are short. Winter storms arrive. My internal rhythm shifts. The inhales are longer, deeper and the exhales reveal little to outside world until early spring. This is my restorative time. Social media posts become sparse. I always announce that I am taking a break during this time. I am not though. Not really.

Road to Everyday – 36 X 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch (available)

What I am doing is diving deep into my own creative well and wandering the trails, reading books, visiting with friends and neighbours and, with few interruptions, covering canvases with paint! This time of year I need this just as the rest of the year there is a steady flow of engagement outward. I know and trust we will all be better for it. Or, at least I will.

So, just so you know, posts of all sorts will be unscheduled from now until early in the new year. They will still happen but on my internal whim rather than a schedule.

What does your winter schedule look like?

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

 

Temporary Custodian – Painter

As I break through the constraints of winter into longer days with budding plum blossoms,

cracking open with the magnolia blooms,

I am reminded of a subtext,

an endless reaching for a finish which, whenever it comes, will of course be too soon.

“Searching for Colour Active Pass” 8 x 10 inch plein air acrylic on gessobord

I am but a temporary custodian of these renderings we call paintings.

“Early Spring Dinner Bay” 8 x 10 inch plein air acrylic sketch

Letting go….

a bow of gratitude for the lessons learned in their creations.

 

What lessons are you learning as a temporary custodian?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

Painting Spring

Something happened yesterday on the official first day of a late west coast spring. At the end of last week I was still in my contemplative winter mental attire. My grey, northern, rain forest interior is filled with homemade soup warmth, maybe a touch red-wine melancholy, smoothed over with by woolen thoughtfulness and a sparkle from a waterproof jacket garnish. It is a savory mix best served hot. During this time I often explore the underbelly of my daily life both in painting and in words. But the garment of winter fell free as easily as the first night of hearing the frogs in the pond in the valley below. Consequently, I had something intricate and dense simmering about the language of painting for this post. But it is not to be, at least not for this week. The joyous zealous brushstrokes of spring are here. Who can ponder at a time like this!?

So I dug through the archives and have chosen seven springtime paintings or painting sketches representing a variety of locations I have been over the past four years. There is a spring work to enjoy for each day of week. Happy spring!

Spring in Tuscany 20 x 30 cm acrylic sketch on canvas board and a rare painting where I have overtly included the painter in this Florence, Italy countryside.

Prints available HERE.

Villeneuve lez Avignon France 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas with its layers of memories and visible history.

Original painting available HERE.

Fremont Hills California Early Spring 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas. Painted from a plein air day of reference material with a colleague and friend, Lena Levin.  We were just talking last week about how our paintings were so different even though we were standing almost right beside each other.

Original painting available HERE.

Cherry Blossoms Mayne Island Japanese Garden 20 x 24 inch oil on canvas. The gardens are a divine place to be in spring and a local year-around treasure.

Original painting available HERE.

Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC 24 x 48 inch oil on canvas. Know as our real west coast, spring is the time that the sun breaks through the winter rains and spirits are lifted as high as the rollers coming in from the open sea.

Original painting available HERE.

Rolling Spring Storms Rocky Point PEI 20 x 40 inch walnut oil on canvas. Bit of weather out there today, someone will likely comment. Collars of light jackets will be turned up and tightened at the neck but the smiles, they tell us one thing – spring!

Original painting available HERE.

Blooming Point PEI 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord. Spring comes a little later to Prince Edward Island. So on this particular year we had two springs! The first on the west coast Canada and then a most lovely second on the east coast.

Prints available HERE.

Now that we have been to Florence Italy and Avignon France in Europe, Fremont California in the United States, Mayne Island and Tofino on the southwest coast of Canada and finally to Prince Edward Island on the East coast of Canada, what about you?

Is it spring yet where you are?

And yes, I am publishing a day early this week. Why not, it is spring after all.

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

The Moon is No Longer There – notice of extended travel

Dear friends, colleagues, fans, collectors, followers and random connections, starting immediately, I shall be on an extended leave to travel. My purpose is to bring you “the moon” in a way you will remember and notice for all time.

Mayne Island Blue Moon rise July 31 2015 by Terrill Welch 2015_07_31 170

In order to do this, I must live my best life. I am required to travel deeper and even more focused than ever before. My intention is clarified. My inner compass is set. My resources and research materials are organized. I am about to begin my journey to capture something unforgettable, rare and valuable – our ordinary, everyday, natural world.  The new series of work “The Moon Is No Longer There” may take a year or a life time. Only one thing is absolutely clear – my spiritual, emotional and physical bags are packed. I am ready.

Christmas Day Full Moonrise 2015 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas

christmas-day-full-moonrise-2015-20-x-16-inch-oil-on-canvas-by-terrill-welch-2015-12-26-img_8442

To my 780 friends and family and the 190 followers of my personal profile and the 1,360 likes of my Art of Terrill Welch Page on Facebook, you are important, generous and supportive individuals. You have been significant and instrumental in getting 90 or so of my paintings out in the world since 2010. As I begin traveling this quiet and sacred inward journey, I shall keep you in touch by sharing links to weekly posts on my Creative Potager blog  HERE.

To the over 100,000 followers of my West Coast Landscape collection and the more than 47,000 followers of my Artist in the Art Studio collection on Google Plus, once a week postings will continue. Or, you may want to join the over 5,000 direct and indirect followers of my Creative Potager blog  HERE.

To my 4,100 tweet friends on Twitter, my experience tells me that you will most likely miss my weekly tweets completely. If you are truly deeply connected to my paintings and photographs, I suggest subscribing directly to my Creative Potager blog  HERE.

For all other social platforms such as Instigram or Ello, please be advised via this shared post that I shall only infrequently send a signal in a new post to let you know I am alive and well. You are great. You are even awesome and this is not about you. It is all about me. If you are still reading this, I am sure you have figured out what to do if you desire to come traveling with me. Yep! Follow my Creative Potager blog HERE.

For those that only wish to be notified when new paintings are released, the best option is to follow my website posts on TerrillWelchArtist.com  HERE. If you are looking for something in particular or want to see if you have missed a recent painting release just go to the Galleries page on this website and head on over to my Artwork Archives online gallery  HERE. This online gallery will always have the most current released work and let you know what is sold.

So, that is it my lovely fellow human beings. Having captured a spray of tulips in the studio this morning, I am sending them along with compassion, love and humility! I am traveling light, with conviction, trust, integrity and a small measure of reckless abandon!

bunches-of-tulips-by-terrill-welch-img_8864

If, for any reason, you do need to contact me, email, painting inquires in the online gallery, private messaging or telephone calls and text messages will still be monitored and answered along with comments on posts.

I wish you all the best in living your very own best life!

Terrill

p.s. I understand that this is going to be different and a little strange for both of us. And it will be fine, it may even be great.

p.s.s. The Beauty of Oil Paints class and its private Facebook group are not impacted by my travel schedule.

What arrangements are you making to live your best 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

Ten Days Over and Under with Nature is Calling

A deer browses outside the studio window as I ponder how much easier it is to be in nature than it is to record being in nature. Since my last post many days have past. I am reminded of weaving and the over and under of life, living and my complex relationship to nature. Let see if we can pick up the pattern and weave it together.

The rooster crows over top of the small forest birds as I try to decide whether to paint the third of three California surf paintings or write this blog post.

beginning the 3rd of 3 surf paintings by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 062

The other two are complete and under review with other new work in the main part of the house.

early morning review of recent work by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 057

While I should be musing over this body of work in the early morning light as I gather my apple and toasted whole-wheat raisin bread, instead I think “darn those windows need washing!”

Canadian geese announce their departure as I climb back up stairs to the studio. I am fixated on a painting problem and it goes like this – how does one paint the sound of the surf?

how does one paint the sound of the surf by Terrill Welch iphone

This problem about painting the surf took over following an Oregon and California road trip this spring. It has rooted itself into my consciousness like invasive Scotch Broom on Mayne Island – a beautiful problem but still one that there is a community desire to resolve.  But Scotch Broom is an issue that is complex and not easily addressed. Practically speaking, both my painting problem and the broom take hard work as much as anything else to resolve. This is where #NatureIsCalling and the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge gives me a boost and possibly even a reason to sidestep the second issue – getting rid of Scotch Broom.

If we propose that over and under is a repetitive motion that in weaving and nature never allows a person to return to exactly the same place twice, what have I discovered?

The Georgina Lighthouse park on Mayne Island is beautiful in the direct midday sun.

at the lighthouse Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2015_05_07 005

or plein air painting in the early morning grey of heavy haze and cloud.

“Scotch Broom and Arbutus Tree set in grey quick study” – 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

Scotch Broom and Arbutus Tree set in grey quick study 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_05_11 016

We have come back again and again these past few days for picnics and reading.

afternoon reading in the park by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 044

Sometimes I am distracted by the sounds of ferries entering or leaving Active Pass. But mostly, the seals and sea lions surface on the water and the seagulls and eagles call from the sky while I feel free to sprawl on the grass with nothing more to do than take it all into the core of my being – even the Scotch Broom.

Scotch Broom at the lighthouse by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 049

Scotch Broom you see is not really suppose to be here. The invasive shrub got away from gardens and has a habit of taking up any vacant space available regardless of who usually would be seeking residence – kind of like humans. It has definitely made itself permanent on Mayne Island as it has elsewhere. The best way to keep shrub out is not to disturb the ground. This patch has developed due to shore erosion. It is a tough beast with deep roots. Possibly it is a natural solution to the erosion in this case.  I am willing to entertain this idea for the moment anyway. By the way, if you look long enough and carefully enough there are two humans in this photograph sitting quietly looking out to sea.

The lighthouse park is sometimes included in our longer walk each the day which are usually five to six km long and the same equivalent as climbing eight flights of stairs. These walks frequently include trails leading to and from the sea.

nature walk by Terrill Welch iPhone

Maybe it is a low tide…

low tide Georgeson Island by Terrill Welch iPhone

or the beauty of an old fir tree curved from winter storms…

fir tree west coast curl by Terrill Welch iPhone

or the strength of light, wind in the trees and patterns of roads sometimes are best understood in a painterly paintography fashion that catches my attention.

walking close to home painterly by Terrill Welch iPhone

These last four images were taken with my iPhone as it was all I had with me. My iPhone is sometimes a secondary part about being in nature. I leave my good camera at home in order to limit the distraction of framing images. It helps a small amount but not a lot. This habit of seeing light patterns and recording compositions is like a musician playing their daily scales on the piano – it is necessary practice. I would argue it is as important to my well-being as being in nature  for its own-sake. I mean, how does one even come up with a crazy question about how to paint the sound of the surf if not from years of observation?

receding Califonia Surf  in progress 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_05_07 016

During the past ten days storms pass through…

Sky is all I can see  by Terrill Welch 2015_05_05 062

first visit with five day old grandson take place…

baby L five days old by Terrill Welch 2015_05_05 039

A Cinnabar moth is spotted (found in Europe and western and central Asia. It has been introduced into New Zealand, Australia and North America to control poisonous ragwort, on which its larvae feed.)

Cinnabar moth by Terrill Welch iPhone

and a  first Iris that hold my attention. It too is not native to this area. Like me, it is a transplant from someplace else.

first iris by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 041

This close up is what I want to remember but it is not what I first saw in its raw awkwardness against the foundation of the lighthouse.

first iris standing tall and alone by the wall by Terrill Welch 2015_05_12 004

What I have noticed during the past ten days of #NatureIsCalling is how good I am at sorting, sanitizing and sensationalizing what are ordinary, messy and complex experiences in our natural environment. While I think that what I am deeply aware of is that the sun on my shoulder, the rumble of the jet overhead, the rain in the garden, the rise and fall of my breath I also become aware of a world where humans want to be right and to be good. It is a world where human sharing uses the shortest route to what is considered best and worst, good and evil or right and wrong. Time in nature reminds me of the complexity of our daily lives by its examples. Maybe the time and energy to eradicate Scotch Broom is ill placed? My wrenched shoulder from doing this task a few years ago agrees – today anyway.

Now, I am off to paint the sound of the surf in my third of three paintings on the subject. With a bit of luck, my next post will introduce all three completed California surf paintings.

 

What complexities are you musing about?

 

Note: #NatureIsCalling is the hashtag for the David Suzuki Foundation 30 minutes x 30 days in May Nature Challenge. I am outside more than 30 minutes in nature each day as a matter of work and life style but I committed to being particularly observant for the Month of May. As time allows, I will share these experiences with you here on Creative Potager.

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

If a painter decides to paint a recognizable hill with a road then it best be drivable

I do think it is important that regardless of an approach that a painting is plausible or maybe it becomes plausible with time as we begin to experience the work as the artist did in its creation. This means if there is a recognizable hill in a painting that has a recognizable road then it is reasonable to expect that it would be drivable.

detail 1 Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

Hence came about the resolution to a recent painting problem when I was working on EARLY SPRING MUIR BEACH OVERLOOK CALIFORNIA. I had about 20 reference images and I printed four before I started working.

I was nervous about my intuition for this painting. The landscape is hardly known to me. Though I stood there for a long time trying soak in all the information I could. Though I had my photography sketch type images, I still wasn’t really sure if I understood or if I knew this place in my bones. I had not witnessed year after year of subtle seasonal changes. But also I question my ability because the California landscape does not have the cool clear blues of its northern sisters. The haze and atmosphere are warm and rich – almost buttery, even in early spring. There is a constant taste of chalk with a hint of salt on the air in this drought-ridden geography. I must learn a new palette, possibly even a new approach. I do not know this landscape even as my rain forest hair registers a more waif-like wisp on the sea breeze. I want to know it though. I listen and peer as if learning a foreign language. I am hypersensitive a I prepare to paint All my sensory recorders on high alert. What I can not discern, I must guess. I am doubtful of my ability to read the body language of this landscape with my brush where words and understanding fail me. But I must try. I painted the ground a week ago and this morning I start.

1 outline for Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 004

After a few quick lines to help guide me through the composition I start blocking the painting in. I knew there was a strong underlying difference between sky and sea. They were not the same family of blue though a slight reflective element on the sea connected them on the surface. So I started there.

2 beginning to block in Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradleby Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 010

For future reference there is a dirt road on the first hill above the beach. At this point, it is not so bad for being accurate. So far so good. I finish blocking in the landscape. That blob of white is just a reminder to put in a sea stack later on.  But look what happened to the road. In my mind’s eye I wanted the road to go to the beach. I am not aware of my mistake and continue on with this lively work which is already breathing on its own.

3 Blocked in Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 016

Several hours later, I am disappointed and frustrated but I must leave it to rest. I am physically tired from a full day of painting and unable to comprehend what needs to be done. Here is where the painting rested until after dinner.

4 Muir Beach Overlook California resting 18 x 24 oil on wood with cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_04_26 031

I sat and looked at it while my husband said  over and over “it was fine – just leave it alone.”

But something was very wrong. Something was bugging me. I sat on the stair steps and gave the painting that was resting on the windowsill across the room my full attention. Finally, I saw the problem. There were no switchbacks on the bottom of the hill. It was not navigable. I leaped up, scramble the stairs to the loft and my reference images. Sure enough I had moved the road! It need to go farther up the side of the hill as it didn’t lead to the beach at this point at all. With a few quick brushstrokes everything is made right in the wet paint. I can then see other work that needed to be done but I wait until the next morning.

After waiting for daylight, I turned my loose brushstrokes onto the canvas with clarity. The rocks on the foreground hill picked up their natural brightness above the trees. However the cottages remain missing by design.

detail 3 Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

I added highlights to the sea and scaled back the far hills where San Francisco sits unnoticed in the distance.

detail 2 Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

It is a private view for the viewer alone to savour. The road denotes a connection to civilization that does not intrude on the landscape. I feel I have been true to place and true in using all of lessons of those painters who have gone before me.  At the same time, I have registered  something of my own unique vision. This is not a small task to accomplish and one I may question both for its relevance and its success on another day. But for today, let’s enjoy the view shall we!

EARLY SPRING MUIR BEACH OVERLOOK CALIFORNIA 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle.

Early Spring Muir Beach Overlook California 18 x 24 inch oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle. by Terrill Welch 2015_04_27 057

The work needs to dry and then have its final photograph but I am fairly confident that the painting is finished.

And do feel free to take a drive along that dirt road. I am sure you will find it quite satisfactory.

 

When was the last time you couldn’t see something that was right in front of you?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

Three Painting Secrets Shared Over Tea

Let’s light the wood cook stove in the outdoor courtyard while a gentle rain wakes nearby tree frogs.

morning with a fire in the wood cookstove by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 018

While you are listening, I shall split some wood and set out the makings for tea.

Tea by wood stove in the outdoor courtyard by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 004

There are a couple of cushions on the cob bench that are just right for us. Now, I mentioned a few painting secrets didn’t I? To refine this just a little – these are this particular artist’s painting secrets that I am referencing, not the generic painter from all genres and all times. Lastly, they are painting secrets only in if we haven’t yet taken the time to consider their relevance in relation to our painting language.

The first painting secret is to hold a tension between knowing and the unexpected. To clarify, I don’t really believe in divine intervention or creativity passing through me from some higher power. Admittedly, my conscious mind is seldom in control of my brush except as I begin and at the completion of a work – so possibly “belief” is irrelevant in this situation. However, I start with an intention. I choose a subject, a medium, a surface and an approach or painting problem. I decide which pigments to set out. This is the “knowing” part of the equation which is heavily influenced by frequent practice such as with this first of two acrylic painting sketches from yesterday.

“Arbutus tree  in ray of sun” 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard (update February 6, 2015: this sketch is now sold)

Arbutus tree  in ray of sun 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 057

This painting sketch didn’t come out of nowhere.  Even though it was painted in the middle of an indoor market day with not a glimpse of the foggy sea visible, the sketch is inspired by an experience from the day before.

Slivers of Moments by Terrill Welch 2015_01_30 022

While walking, a friend asks if I had done a painting of this particular arbutus tree. I reply – not yet – as I frame my composition – maybe tomorrow though – and the shutter releases. It is these slivers of moments overlapping one-over-another that find their way onto my canvases. How do I capture our relaxed ease which followed from lunch together and now an afternoon January stroll around a small piece of our island? What colours and brushstrokes will translate these feelings, this remembering? It is so much more than this arbutus tree hunch over the sandstone shore, where the sun catches and the fog shifts upon the sea.

This painting sketch is a first attempt to answer these questions. I really haven’t a clue what the answer is but I find I must set myself to the problem just the same. This is the “unexpected” half of the equation. I must move forward without knowing. I believe this is where some painters and creative beings feel they are merely a vessel for the work to come through. I am not convinced. The focus and full-body experience as the brushes move paint onto canvas is undeniable and yes possibly spiritual in approach. But I still claim awareness of my physical presence and leaning heavily on a large basket of experience both from painting and from life. The unpredictable combination of these elements is what is leads us to the unexpected. It is the tension between this knowing and embracing unknown possibilities that is important. To achieve results I must show up and practice my craft frequently. Relying on divine intervention will only get us so far. Then there is work to be done.

The second painting secret is finding precisely the intimate details that are essential. Then I paint these aspect with all of my senses and layers of brushstrokes to expose this specific intimacy.  For a landscape or still life painter there is always movement even when it is not at first noticeable. This is because the earth is moving. This grants us a readily identifiable intimacy in our relationship to a precise aspect of that time of day, a specific season combined with our years of experience with this spiraling cycle. These years of experience I reference are is “noticing years” rather than “birth years” which is significant. Currently, with the amount of time humans spend in artificial environments, a person can go their whole life with little conscious awareness and possibly no interest in our earthly relationship in the universe. We must notice in a conscious way in order to deepen and strengthen our painting vocabulary of movement and the interrelationship of light and our subjects. I sense this to be true even in abstract work. The paintings of Richard Diebenkorn whose work will be shown at the Royal Academy in London England March 14 to June 7 2015.

Yet, though our urban surroundings mask our awareness to nature, it takes very little to awaken these sensory experience. Repeated deliberate observation is all that is really necessary. Take this second painting sketch “Steveston morning fog” an 8 x 10 acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard.

Steveston morning fog 8 x 10 acrylic painting sketch on gessoboard by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 051

The fishing boats are important but they do not float on their own in the morning fog. They are imbedded in their surroundings and are experienced as small against a grand sky that touches right down to the sea. I made them even smaller in relationship to the sky for this reason than my photography reference information.

Morning Fog Lifting in Steveston B.C.  by Terrill Welch 2015_01_26 231

Maybe even too small perhaps. However, in this translation of my experience it is our human smallness in relationship to the sky and the morning light coming through the fog that was the intimate detail of significance.

The third painting secret I have to share is to release any notion of importance. We must take our work seriously of course but release any investment in a particular outcome of success, recognition or fortune. This doesn’t mean we relinquish these things completely but rather that they remain outside of the painting process and, as much as possible, outside of our lives in general. Yes, well-being is important. Yes, we desire and do much better with safe secure housing and nutritious foods. Yes, we need social appreciation and connection to varying degrees depending on our own temperament. But we need much less of what is defined as success, recognition and fortune than we are led through advertizing and media to believe that we do – particularly in North America. For example, my large old tea kettle has out lasted five electric kettles which I somehow thought were necessary. I gave up on the latter about three years ago. They were costly, environmentally unsustainable due to their continued need for replacement.  But I had decided for some reason that the electric kettle was faster and easier to use. In reality not so. Water boils in about the same amount of time whether in the kettle on the stove or with the plug-in variety. There is nothing helpful about having this extra contraption on the counter. I had unwittingly replaced experience for efficiency which if I unravel brings us back to the notion of my importance. I had important things to do so the most efficient path was the one that was most desirable. Hence, I purchased a series of ill considered electric kettles.

Let’s explore what we notice if we value experience over efficiency as we prepare and drink this cup of tea because this old wood cook stove still makes a fine cup of tea though it will take us about three times as long by the time we get the fire going and the water boiling. When I am sitting here in the outdoor courtyard I have no trouble at all remembering that the earth is on its winter turn and half way to spring. I can almost feel the trees releasing the oxygen I pull deep into the bottom of my lungs. This awareness is far more valuable to my painting than the importance of a huge following on social media, a cover feature in a national paper or financial wealth. The turning of the earth, the trees, the following, the national article and financial wealth are all temporary – just as we are. Therefore, I suggest that our attention is best spent on insuring our minimal needs while affording us as much freedom to be aware of our relationship to our environment as possible. And here is the rub – insuring minimal needs may requiring marketing and selling the paintings that are rendered in these passages of freedom awareness we have created by attending to only our minimal needs. Still I will argue that success, recognition and fortune are not an adequate definition of a painter and are useless and possibly harmful aspect to attend to as an artist. They are distractions that defuse our attention from our own temporariness. Resisting mortality is futile. Success, recognition and fortune are temporary observations that spiral around through time, for only a short while. Then these observations, along with the physical paintings will disappear just a we did maybe a few hundred years before. We can’t cheat mortality and the effort to stall the inevitable interferes with what must be painted today.

With these three secrets, the waves can then roll as if moved by our breath.

detail Sea and Stones French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 067

(detail Sea and Stones French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle)

The sky can open up as never before remembered.

detail Sea and Sky French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle by Terrill Welch 2015_02_01 060

(detail Sea and Sky French Beach 12 x 16 inch walnut oil on wood with 1.5 inch cradle)

Well, the last of my tea is cold and it getting dark. Time to call it a day. Before I go, I want to introduce a new blog by a fellow artist and colleague Lena Levin. Some of the ideas I have shared here Lena explores from a historical, academic as well as personal perspective at “Sonnet in Colour.” She recently introduced this new blog in her newsletter as follows:

There is this almost inevitable flavour of self-display in writing (and showing paintings) publicly, and I am extremely introverted — I really don’t want any self-display. Even now, a huge part of me would prefer to just shut up and go paint in solitude and silence. Or read something, or listen, or see. But there is also this feeling that Shakespeare, and sonnets, and paintings, and art in general — all these things often thought of as high-brow, inessential luxuries — are in fact urgently relevant to our day-to-day lives, even desperately needed. And maybe — just maybe — I might be able to share something which someone else needs; open some doors, show some pathways to what fills my own life with so much joy and happiness.

This is why I’ve decided to structure the site not just around the sonnets, or paintings, but around three themes, which — in one or another way — play a crucial role in everyone’s life: “Self and Consciousness”, “Love”, and “Time and Mortality” (with sub-headings to be added as the site grows).

I hope you enjoy reading her writing and viewing her paintings as much as I do.

Now, while I gather the tea items and carry them back to the inside kitchen…

What is one of your creative secrets?

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

A Brush with Europe – an artist’s rendering coming soon

Merci, grazie, gracias, Thank you! A Brush with Europe blogging category begins for this artist who has planned a three month trip by not planning much at all. Right now the best indicator of what is going on inside my head looks something like this…

A Brush with Europe by Terrill Welch 2014_02_03 108

There is a poem in Leonard Cohen Book of Longing p. 46 that adequatly captures my misgivings and doubts.

The Moon

The moon is outside

I saw the great uncomplicated thing

when I went to take a like just now.

I should have looked at it longer.

I am a poor lover of the moon.

I see it all at once and that’s it

for me and the moon.

My fear is that I don’t want to be a poor lover of Paris, Venice, Florence and Barcelona. But right now three months in Europe seems too short to accomplish anything more. I am reading, watching videos, talking to people and learning as much as I can in advance. However, this just seems to increase my doubts rather than relieve them. What to do?

Well, anytime I feel like I am in over my head, which I am confident is a reasonable description of my current situation, I slow down and eat some greens.

Winter Salad by Terrill Welch 2014_02_03 054

Winter in a northern climate is not the easiest time to create a summer like salad but it can be done. Then with the addition of a good handful of pecans and a couple of warm hard-boiled eggs I a ready to go to work.

Salad with pecans and eggs by Terrill Welch 2014_02_03 081

First things first – revise the travel planning list. Ah yes – return tickets from Vancouver to London and medical insurance, suitcase, RFID blocker money belt, and plugin adapters are purchased. Next, sign up for AirBnB and arrange for a caretaker house sitter. See? Not so hard. Non capisco? Mi dispiace…

What is your first response when you are in over your head?

Note: I will be starting a new blogging category for this trip called “A Brush with Europe.” I thought about setting up a separate blog but that just seemed more trouble than it was worth. Since I will be doing painting sketches, photography and writing as we travel by train from London to Venice then on to Florence, the Cote D’ Azur and Barcelona (beginning in April until near the end of June) this in-progress blog should work just fine. Besides you all know how to find me here and this way I won’t be lonely 🙂

 

© 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com

A Tall Tale of Autumn painting resting and another Emily Carr story

With the holiday season upon us, I truly should put the paints away and get cards and presents ready for delivery. But one more I said to self, just one more to make it an even 50 paintings completed this year. That was last Thursday.

There are no work-in-progress images only this one that was taken as the painting came to rest. Forgive me if you have already seen this painting in progress, along with 8, 965 others last time I checked the post on Google plus alone.  It has now had two small edits, wee clean-up adjustments and will get its final photograph soon. But it seemed to be asking to be my Monday morning blessings image for mid December 2013 and so here we are.

Why a tall tale of such a simple autumn painting, you might ask? It is because the combination of fog and memory keep it from a cleaner truth. These are my childhood trees – popular trees growing on the riverbank. They are my first subject of paintings. I cannot pick up a brush to render them without being transported back through time with its many stops before these trees. These are trees I met before there was even a field in front of them. These are trees I introduced my first lover and later others. Then much later my now husband. These are trees I walked beside while I carried my babies and then with them while they carried theirs. These are the trees that my mother and father have walked with me since they were younger than I am today. Painting the spaces of light and shadow in between is filled with the residue of many visits. It is a tall tale that gets taller with each telling. All I intended to do was to use up the paint leftover on the palette.

A TALL TALE OF AUTUMN STUART RIVER resting 16 x 12 inch oil on canvas

A Tall Tale of Autumn Stuart River resting 16 x 12  inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_12 019

This time of year is family time and I suppose in my case tree time. Which brings me to another tall tale and that is a strange happening last Friday on December 13th. I happen to notice that the Creative Potager blog views were going a bit crazy. So I looked and it was this post “Emily Carr Mystery Solved” from November 9, 2010 more than THREE years ago! What could it be I wondered? Well after a couple of hours and views were still piling up from Canada I did bit of sleuthing. It was Google.ca who was celebrating the Canadian landscape painter with a doodle on their home page. What you might ask would this have to do with my very old stale dated blog post? It had to do with what came up when a person clicked on that doodle. The image and search results included this blog post right near the top, not at the very top but near enough to entice the curious. So belated 142 happy birthday Emily Carr, another painter of trees.

For those in Vancouver, British Columbia over the holidays  an exhibition of more than 40 forest paintings by Emily Carr will open at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Dec. 21, 2013. Emily Carr: Deep Forest will run until March 9, 2014. The show spotlights works created by Carr in the 1930s, most of them depicting scenes within 25 kilometres of her Victoria home. The paintings in the show are almost all drawn from the Vancouver gallery’s permanent collection. The gallery is home to the most significant collection of Carr’s work in the world, comprising 254 paintings, drawings and other works.

So there we have it two tall tales and a blessing of trees all round!

 

What tree or trees might you offer a blessing on this fine winter Monday?

 

© 2013 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 http://terrillwelchartist.com