The Wildest of the Wild West Coast of Canada Adventures

Some people go on vacations. They want to kick back and relax. A holiday from the grind of their real life they say. Not me! My real life is already scrumptiously engaging and meaningful. Though a little sunshine in just the right place never hurts.

Sun and Sea dance Frank Island Tofino British Columbia by Terrill Welch IMG_1751

When I leave home, I usually want to do more of what I do already in an ordinary day.

Terrill Welch on holidays by Josie Olszewski

I therefore call these gallivants-into-the-unknown, adventures! This latest six-day trip was to Chesterman Beach over on the wildest of the wild west coast in southern Canada, Tofino.

Wickaninnish Inn and the Sea by Terrill Welch IMG_1723

There is nothing like rain in a rain forest. Just put on that rain gear and go for it! Neither the giant trees nor you will mind in the least.

Rainy day forest walk with Josie and O boys iPhone capture by Terrill Welch

Or maybe the weather breaks for a few moments so you head for the beach again to… dig a hole, or play in the creek, or maybe you want to practice your clambering skills? Definitely a life-long ability worth refining in rough terrain. You just never know when you might want to climb straight up a hillside for a better view or down over some rocks to get that perfect angle.

the art of climbing by Terrill Welch IMG_1761

Or, how about a little plein air painting? Five years old

Eldest O boy at five years old painting on Chesterman Beach iPhone capture by Terrill Welch

or fifty-seven years old, it is all good!

plein air painting on Chesterman Beach by Terrill Welch 2016-03-22 IMG_0734

If it is crazy unpredictable weather, go anyway. Get out there and stretch those limbs!

beach walkers on Chesterman by Terrill Welch 2016-03-23 IMG_0830

Sun, rain, hail or high seas you will love it! I am as sure of it as these three are.

Josie and the two O boys on Chesterman Beach iPhone capture by Terrill Welch

But, for a landscape painter, that isn’t the last of it is it? The adventure continues back in the studio. Here are two of the latest Tofino oil paintings.

On the Rocks in Tofino 24 x 30 inch oil on canvas

On the Rocks in Tofino 24 x 30 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-03-30 IMG_2079

and Chesterman Beach Sunset 20 x 24 inch oil on canvas UPDATE: SOLD April 8, 2016

Chesterman Beach Sunset 20 x 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-04-01 IMG_2064

These will be available in my online gallery along with other work if you care for more information.

Now that is an adventure! My deepest thanks to the O family for inviting me along.

Stay tuned for the next traveling artist trip which will be to the East Coast of Canada for seven weeks on Prince Edward Island. Estimated time of arrive is late April.

 

Where is your next adventure going to take you?

 

© 2016 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

Intention, Composition and Underpainting are Tools of the Trade used by the Artist

Today’s work set aside to dry ….

Beginning with underpainting of Westerly Winds Victoria BC 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Beginning with underpainting of Westerly Winds Victoria BC 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2016-01-14 IMG_7555

Sometimes I am asked why do I use this tool of a flowing, rather shapeless underpainting? Wouldn’t a ground colour do? Why not just begin the painting and start with a pencil or charcoal sketch to mark the forms?

The answers to these questions are interrelated and to some extent personal and subjective to my intent. So lets start with my intent with this painting – I want my viewer to be standing along this specific shore on this specific day and be able to feel their presence within the landscape. Admittedly not a small task considering that 80% of the North American population lives in urban centres and has limited ability and time to spend watching how a specific landscape looks at different times of day and at different times in the year. Still, I believe part of my job is to provide this experience which then becomes more familiar to the viewer in the face of the actual physical environment. I make no assumption at all that the viewer is familiar with what it is I am about to paint. If we keep this in mind, it helps to understand the task I must complete with a rather simplistic landscape in order to convey the power of the universe through the sun, sea, and land.

First, in this case I began with a quick 20 minute plein air sketch yesterday.

Westerly Winds coming Ashore on the Sea 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on panel board by Terrill Welch 206-01-13 IMG_7543

I wanted and needed that time on the shore to gather as many sensory notes as possible so that I can retrieve them for this work. So let’s unpack this underpainting process.

To proceed with a loose flowing “sketch” if you will for the underpainting is preferred in this case because the simplicity of the landscape makes it all the more difficult to render the movement and tension between the elements in the scene. This style of underpainting is preferred to a ground in this situation because the process provides a first check on the “rightness” of the composition for the intended purpose. The reds, yellows and oranges are simply a tool to bring the most movement and brilliance to the greys, blues, browns, yellows and whites of the finished landscape. Through trial and error I have found these pigments for underpaintings the most effective for capturing the significant range of lively blues in our west coast landscape. Therefore, the underpainting adds a strength to the end result that is near to impossible to replicate by beginning with the specific colours of the finished painting.

Do I always do an underpainting? No. Its use depends on my subject and my intention for the finished work. I sometimes do a quick painting sketch and work with the white canvas. I sometimes use a ground colour only. I sometimes work with wet grounds too. But this kind of underpainting, used for this work, is a favourite and there are reasons for this that go beyond any visual result and more to an intuitive remembering.

When I work a canvas up with this kind of underpainting, I begin to physically learn the window of space and the painting language that will be translated onto the canvas from my sensory information which I have gathered up to this point. My physical reference material will often include both photography and painting sketches.The sensory information is much more than what I see. It includes what I heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. There was the rolling of the stones on the shore beside me and the steps of people walking past. I could feel wind pushing cold air into my back and brushing my hair across my face. I could smell the cold dampness of snow, rain and salt. My eyelashes were cool. My hands were stiff with cold. But there was a warmth in the gray, the blue-green and the a brightness in the sky that was punctuated by the sturdy cliffs and the jut of land. It is all of this that I must translate into brushstrokes. The movement of the brushstrokes for the underpainting are like rough notes for the beginning of this painting conversation. I am intimately aware of the forcefulness between the elements of this seascape. I want this on the canvas from the very beginning.

iphone capture plein air painting Victoria BC by Terrill Welch 2016-01-13

I hope this helps to explain why I sometimes find this particular process of underpainting necessary to the rendering of my final work. Thanks for joining me and all the best of today.

Here is the finished painting:

Westerly Winter Winds Victoria BC – 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Details and purchase information are available HERE.

© 2016 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 and then Selling Paintings are Done on a Different Breath

Working as an independent artist responsible for not only creating the work but also for getting it out there is the world is best understood using the analogy of breathing. The process of gathering information and executing a painting on a canvas is done on the in breath. The process of marketing and selling the painting is done on the out breath. As long as the painter remembers that it is not possible to breathe in and out at exactly the same time then the combine processes work rather well and the artist has a healthy sustainable life as a full-time artist. This is my theory anyway. So far so good.

And though I have completed a couple of plein air sketches

“As Sea to Shore” 11 x 14 inch plein air acrylic sketch on gessobord

As Sea to Shore 11 x 14 inch plein air acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch 2015_09_05 105

 

“Salish Sea late August morning” 11 x 14 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

Salish Sea late August morning 11 x 14 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_08_20 092

and one painting,

Salish Sea No Separation 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas (will be released soon) Update: This painting sold to a private collector in Michigan on October 19, 2015 before it could be formally released.

Salish Sea No Separation 18 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2015_08_23 096

the majority of my effort has been on the “out breath” of selling paintings.

This wasn’t such a purposeful act of short breaths in and long breathes out but it is what has happened. So much so that seven paintings have been sold in seven short weeks. Here is one of these paintings Trail Along the Ridge a 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas, in its new home.

Trail Along The Ridge 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas in its new home IMG_4448

All seven paintings that have left the studio recently can be viewed HERE on the Terrill Welch Artist website.

Now, I expect to get back to some more moderate breath patterns with a rather relaxed even-pace between the in breath and the out breath of breathing, painting and selling as an independent artist. Life is good and the cupboards are full for the winter ahead!

 

What is the current breathing pattern of your creative breath?

 

© 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 Seascape as a Place to be on Saturna Island

East Point on Saturna Island is a fine place to be in almost any weather but a warm end of June just brings out its best.

From the little fog house that is….

The Little House That Is by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 002

to the sight of Mount Baker sitting grand and surprising on the far shore.

Mount Baker A quiet surpise by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 005

Trails past the wind swept Garry Oak and Ocean Spray tell a story of another kind of day.

wind swept Garry Oak and Ocean Spray by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 007

But it also keeps the secret of a hauntingly beautiful cliff that can be viewed from below.

East Point Cliffs by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 025

I eventually head across the field looking taking a thoughtful look back over my shoulder and think – does it get any better than this!?

a place be by Terrill Welch 2015_06_23 011

In answer to my own question, the next day when we return the sea and sky are both pale blue in the warm sun. It does, yes it does get better. I spend the afternoon on Pebble Beach with a friend and collector of my work who is traveling with me. I paint while she starts to notice the changes in light and shadow on the landscape as I work. It was as if watching the process of plein air painting gave her fresh eyes.

June afternoon East Point en plein air by Terrill Welch 2015_06_25 393

Shall we finish up with this wee 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch “June at East Point on Panel Board”? Why not!

June at East Point 8 x 10 inch acrylic on panel board by Terrill Welch 2015_06_25 403

There is more but this all for now as I am still traveling.

When was the last time that you found yourself seeing with new fresh eyes?

Note: You may notice that most of my photographs lately have a watermark. I have reluctantly gone to this method due to the ease with which images are downloaded and shared with no easy ability to reference to the photographer. This way the photographs can always be traced back to me if someone has a desire to know. My apologies for any distraction this may cause.

© 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

California One north from Half Moon Bay

Someplace as we left Fremont California for Half Moon Bay driving on one freeway and  merging on the right into another, the GPS said – exit left in 1.5 km. I looked at the eight lanes of traffic to my left, took a deep breath and calmly, with a firm grip on the steering, instructed our Red Rosie Outback to start moving. To her credit she stepped up on her toe-points and gracefully made her way across the mid-morning traffic as if she had been doing it all her life. Must have been all the deer she was used to watching for on the sides of our Mayne Island roads in British Columbia. We had decided to take the California One north until it connected to Highway 101. We had been warned that it was slow, windy, car-sick inducing and had great views. It was the latter that made it irresistible.

California coast from Muir Beach overlook south with San Francisco in the distance.

California coast from Muir Beach overlook south by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 022

Though there were impressive moments before this, we didn’t stop along the shoreline until reaching the Muir Beach Overlook.

looking down Muir Beach Overlook California by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 027

The California One is gorgeous but one must keep driving or it would take weeks to complete this section instead of two days.

The first night on California One we stayed at the Valley Ford Hotel in the middle of cow country.

We didn't ride in on a horse but Valley Ford Hotel likely would have accepted us if we did by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 042

The hotel is more like a quaint bed and breakfast these days without the breakfast. But it’s 1864 establishment and history is most evident. We had purchased local cheese and some bread and bananas for breakfast. Coffee was available with filtered water even.  So all was just as it should be.

Besides the old barn directly behind the grocery store…

barn in Valley Ford California by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 036

and the country commuter car…

ranching country by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 034

there was something else that told us before any other factor that we were in serious cow country. Can you guess what it is? Nope, not the dead skunk in the middle of the road that I narrowly missed. Nope, not the cattle guards either. Yes, you got it – the unmistakable aroma of cow manure. But even so, it sure was a beautiful stretch of road.

California one evening light Valley Ford California by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 087

The next morning we continued on galloping up, down and around the ribbon of highway on the ruffled neckline of the Pacific coast. At times, the narrow road has all the excitement of a slow roller coaster.

California One and the sea by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 123

When we would round a corner and see nothing but the narrow curve of the highway and the blue of the sea and sky I really did need to mutter to myself – stay the course Terrill, people drive this road everyday without mishap.

slowly winding along the California one by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 127

We did stop occasionally just to enjoy the view. One of these was at Duncan’s Cove.

Duncan's Cove California by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 109

The other was to eat our packed lunch at Point Arena Lighthouse.

Point Arena Lighthouse California coast by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 138

But mostly, we drove and pulled over frequently to let locals go zipping by on their way to destination that was far more urgent than ours.

We have a two night stop at Howard Creek Ranch Inn, mile 80.49 on California one.

Complete with rubber boots to cross the creek it is a little peace of sixties heaven coming from the rubble of much older roots. We are in a large room on the main floor of the carriage house – the Walden. As I sit at the desk looking out onto the courtyard this morning, I can hear the morning birds, a chatty rooster and the surf which is telling me the tide is in. Breakfast is in an hour at 9:00 am and we will walk one-at-a-time across the bridge that swings over the creek to the farm-house where I have already spotted wood smoke churning up from the chimney of the cook stove and the living room fireplace. When we checked in it was at the farmhouse and then we drove back to the quiet highway and came a cross the bridge then back down a long winding driveway, complete with a deer bounding across the field, coming to a parking place next to the large carriage house. Howard Creek is definitely a defining feature of the property and daily life.  The woodwork is an aesthetic gem in the big building and was done by the owner in what appears to have taken years and is an ongoing process. Terracotta tile floors with bits of blue and Spanish design around the bed finish our room off with comfortable warmth. The bathroom has a large open European style shower and there are patchwork curtains at the end of the bed for privacy and shelter from the morning light. I can hear little bells and looking up there is a herd of goats and sheep coming down the road towards the farm-house. Good morning world!

I have already taken my camera for an impressive walk late in the  afternoon yesterday

hazy California coast mile 80.49 by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 239

and again at sunset.

California coastal sunset by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 439

Today after breakfast, I hope to do some painting sketches as it looks like another fine day here on the coast.  And with my coffee cup empty, so another day begins on our coastal trip. With my painting gear on my shoulder, rubber boots on my feet I head out and cross the creek near the shore.

Howard Creek Ranch by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 570

The blue-green of the sea is mesmerizing. I just stand there for the longest time.

blue green of the California Pacific by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 681

Eventually the surf connecting with the shore forces my camera up.

surf connecting at Howard Creek by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 736

I begin an hour-long reference shoot of these favourite rocks

favourite rocks at Howard Creek beach by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 790

along with the rest of the shoreline.

surf at 80.49 California by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 744

Words cannot explain my full-body of emotions and the rhythmic vibration of the surf in my being. Eventually, I gather enough inner calm to decide where to do a painting sketch. I am unsure of the tides direction so the decision seemed obvious enough. I went up to the lookout.

setting up to plein air paint on beach at Howard Creek Ranch by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 887

Removing rubber boots and socks I set up to work. People come and go behind me with little attention necessary on my part. About 45 minutes later, I call it done.

calling it done morning plein air painting sketch at mile 80.49 California one by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 935

The light has of course already changed and the sea is now slightly washed out in the mid-day light but I am happy with the results of the sketch.

plein air painting on beach at Howard Creek Ranch by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 907

About this point a young boy of around ten years old comments behind me – great job! I turn to look into this earnest face filled with appreciation. He goes on to explain that his art teacher had asked them to paint like Monet and that it was really hard but I had done it perfectly. The fact that he absolutely meant every word that he said and that he somehow had an intuitive understanding based on his own experience as to what was involved in creating this small painting sketch, immediately established a kinship. We chatted for a while about patches of colour and moving light. His sister and father watched and listened with more curiosity than real interest. I wonder if this young lad will someday become a full-time painter? One never knows who tomorrow’s artists are among us do we?

“morning on beach at Mile 80.49 California one” 9 x 12 inch acrylic plein air painting sketch

morning on beach at Mile 80.49 California one 9 x 12 inch acrylic plein air painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2015_03_04 924

So, if you are afraid of heights, or if you truly do get car-sick or frustrated with slow travel then this is not the highway for you. Other than that, I would say do it! I do believe that this section of the California One has become one of my favourite road.

We are home again now and there are large canvases in the waiting in the loft studio to explore more of my experiences. But for the moment, this is enough, more than enough.

 

What is one of your own favourite stretches of highway?

 

 

© 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

Plein air painting with the company of fellow painter Lena Levin

Seven days and seven nights at a leisurely pace we ferried and drove down the west coast from our Mayne Island home in British Columbia, Canada until we reach Fremont California in the Untied States. The last 30 minutes coming in on the 580  and finding our way to 880 freeway were the most challenging. I do believe every cell in my body was on high-alert by the time we pulled up in front of our Airbnb rental accommodations on Thursday afternoon. There the car has stayed parked until we leave later this morning!

But this Gulf Island rural painter was gifted with rare dancing thunderclouds, early spring-green Fremont Hills and dramatic light for two days of plein air painting. Fellow artist, Lena Levin, took me to one of her plein air locations in the Quarry Lakes Regional Park both Friday and Saturday morning. While Lena worked on a couple of larger surface in oils that she will finish in the studio, I did small acrylic sketches for reference later when I get back home to my own studio. It was fine way to spend a good part of a morning and early afternoon.

Here is an early stage of Lena’s first painting on Friday with my small setup in the background.

works in progess plein air painting in Quarry Lakes Regional Park Fremont California with Lena Levin by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 063

I took the opportunity to capture Lena as she worked.

Painter Lena Levin at work in Quarry Lake Regional Park Freomont California by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 086

There is a steady flow from brush to palette to canvas with pauses like those in music before the rhythm begins again.

Painter Lena Levin work in progress by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 065

At times a kind of squinting concentration, that is familiar for me from the inside, crosses Lena’s face.

Lena Levin plein air painting in Quarry Lakes Regional Park by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 069

If you would like to learn more about painter Lena Levin and see more of her work, here is the link to her website: http://www.lenalevin.com . I deeply enjoyed the time we spent viewing and talking about her work in her home studio space. So, if you are interested in her paintings and are ever in the area, I strongly recommend connecting with Lena and scheduling a studio visit.

Looking from my easel in the other direction, we can see the first of three sketch I did over the two mornings.

Plein air painting of Fremont hills in Quarry Lakes Regiona Park with Lena Levin by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 078

“big clouds over the green Fremont Hills in California” 9 x 12 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord

big clouds over the green Fremont Hills in California 9 x 12 inch acrylic plein air sketch on gessobord by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 133

In the second sketch from the first day, I allow myself to just simple soak up the beauty of those Fremont hills as the clouds created moving patterns across their surface.

“In their best greens Fremont Hills California” 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on claybord

In their best greens Fremont Hills California 8 x 10 inch acrylic plein air sketch on claybord by Terrill Welch 2015_02_27 131

On the second day, I only did one sketch and I spent so much time on it, I am not sure it can be called a sketch any longer, certainly not a “quick” sketch. I was just enjoying the spaces in between and the rhythms of the moving clouds and light so much that I stayed with it.

“willows by the Quarry Lakes Fremont California” a 9 x 12 inch acrylic sketch on canvas board.

willows by the Quarry Lakes Fremont California 9 x 12 inch acrylic sketch on canvas board by Terrill Welch 2015_02_28 064

There are some disadvantages to painting in an area for only a few days. My memory of Fremont, California will forever be referenced to this fantastic dramatic light on the brilliant green early spring hills and the good company of a fellow painter, Lena Levin. It is wonderful reference but maybe not very representational of this landscape overall. But you know what? I will take it and keep it as mine 🙂 This along with the most delicious and succulent free-range duck that we had for dinner prepared by Lena’s partner Eugene. Combined with rich conversation, walls filled with paintings, much laughter and enjoyment the memories are sustaining.

As many of you know by now, my David is NOT one for visiting. During the three weeks or so of our trip, we made plans to only meet with two people who have both in different ways been part of my online inner-circle for several years. So, I am also grateful for his participation and enjoyment of these visits.

While I pack this morning for our slow journey back up the coast of California and Oregon to our home in British Columbia, Canada – my glass of good-living is full. I have exceeded my expectations for this trip already. To those that gave us so many ideas for what to do in San Francisco and where we might like to stop in our travels along the coast, I thank you! We of course didn’t do many of these activities but in knowing what we could do it was a conscious choice. I am not sure if I will have the opportunity to post again before we return home but know that we are fine and poking along someplace on a windy highway along the coast heading north.

What are one of your own road trips that remain a sustaining reference for well-being?

 

© 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 wild lighthouse chase over on Seven Devils Road and other stuff

The sun is rising all peachy and I have only a few minutes with a low connection so this is going to be quick. Our weather is holding on the Oregon coast it looks like for a bit yet. Here are a few captures from the last few days.

Smaller rocks on Cannon Beach

Smaller rocks Cannon Beach Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_21 301

The brute on Cannon Beach which I walked for 45 minutes to get on the other side of for this portrait.

The brute on Cannon Beach Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_21 324

Sunset at Neskowin with a lone figure standing in awe at its beauty.

Lone figure sunset Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_21 556

First light on shore at Neskowin.

first sun in  morning Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_22 001

Plein air painting a little later in the morning.

morning plein air painting at Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_22 015

I was photographed by Penny Lulich while we were visiting and I was workin.

Terrill Welch painting at Neskowin Oregon by Penny Lulich February 22 2015

As someone commented “a nice place to have an office.” In fact, we liked it so much that we stayed an extra day and watched the sun come up again.

morning sky at Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 017

Threading a day at Neskowin Oregon

threading a day at Neskowin Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 298

with a long walk up the beach.

morning beach at Neskowin Beach by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 228

But I did promise you lighthouses and a many devils road and we are about to get to that adventure after breakfast at the Hawk Creek Cafe. Well, maybe we will slip over at Seal Rock for a gander first.

Seal Rock Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 340

 

So as you go through Reedsport start thinking lighthouse, any lighthouse will do but maybe start with Umpqua Lighthouse. Nope it is not out on a rock with waves crashing around it but high on a cliff behind a chain-link fence. Still it is a thing of aged beauty and it was time for bread and cheese and a stretch.

Umpqua lighthouse Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 364

It was after, just as we navigated to the scenic route through North Bend that things got a little confusing. David says “what are you looking for?”

“A lighthouse.” I reply with complete confidence.

“Which one?” he inquires looking at the map.

“The first one.” I confirm. “Someplace near Charleston.”

The GPS is sending us through the city section in a maze of turns until we finally end up at Cape Arago with no lighthouse in site. But there are sea lions on the rocks.

Sea Lions at Cape Arago Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 377

And the view is spectacular

Cape Arago Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 387

In fact there is a red dot on the far row of large rocks which I later believe to be the missing lighthouse. As we go back the way we came I see it once through the trees but that is it. There is no long access to it according to the section of our guide which I didn’t read until after supper last night. At this point David is weary of stop and go and is just as happy to see me punch in “Bandon” on the GPS. Off we go eventually along Seven Devils Road which I am sure was named to taunt lighthouse chasers.  David has his eyes closed and doesn’t say a word as I get close to Bandon and turn left before the bridge after spotting the sign for another lighthouse. The wind is whipping up sand that sticks to your smile as soon as the door opens. David just turns a little harder into the passenger seat and pretends I am not getting out. I take a couple of shots of the abandon Coquille River Lighthouse but nothing pleases me in the early evening light. I give up and drive us back out and over the bridge to Bandon turning into old town looking for a place to stay. I drive right through and off on a side road that gives me a good view of the lighthouse which I am sure is the reason I just had to go this way. David opens one eye but says nothing.

Coquille River Lighthouse Bandon Oregon by Terrill Welch 2015_02_23 433

I pull out the maps and seriously look for a place to stay. We decide on the Bandon Inn overlooking the old town and are not disappointed. We are given a lower than low season rate by a warm desk clerk for a lovely room with a continental breakfast. For my B.C. folks, it could just as easily be the Super 8 in Williams Lake but with a better view.

Today we should find our way through the Oregon Redwoods and maybe into Northern California. I do see a couple of lighthouses on the map at Crescent City…. shhhh! Don’t tell David. He is still sleeping and it might give him nightmares.

When was the last time you were on a wild goose – lighthouse – chase?

© 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

An Artist’s visit to Paris in June

What remains in my mind’s eye is the soft champagne and pearly whites of morning

Good Morning Paris  by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 056

with the occasional splashes of reds.

Chez Marie by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 059

But there is much more to Paris France than this isn’t there?

Up by the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and through the trees is Paris.

A Paris morning through the trees by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 044

She is a grand city that the world loves with a passion befitting its status.

Paris June 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 049

Even if a visitor skips going to see the Eiffel Tower and prefers to remember the flights of spiral stairs as I did.

Stairs to 1st floor studio in Paris France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_15 084

Paris will steel our hearts even if we are reluctant lovers.

What artist can resist plein air painting of double courtyard on Rue Rodier in Paris France

plein air painting of double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_17 086
The day before I promised myself that I would photograph and paint this double courtyard. After a full day at Musée d’Orsay, I had little time, light or energy left but decided to make a go of it anyway. To me, Paris is not just about the Louvre, D’Orsay, Jardin Tuileries, Eiffel Tower and street-side cafes. It is not about high fashion either. In fact, I have seen very little evidence of that. Nor is it just good food. What Paris is to me is the ability to share small amounts of private space with such regard and politeness for each other. During the 45 minutes or so I worked on this painting more than twenty people came and went in the courtyard. Some just said Bonjour Madame or Bonsoir Madame but most stopped to say a few words and they did not give me a hard time about not being able to understand everything and were more than willing to switch to English once I asked – in French of course. These courtyards are an intimate connection between neighbours… not quite friends for the most part and not as close as family but more familiar than the street, or the cafe and much more familiar than most North American neighbours are with each other. Once the outside door closes, this is home and it is treated as such even if it is shared with probably more than a hundred people. This is Paris to me. In fact, this is very much France to me. This I know I will remember – fondly.

Double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch

Double courtyard Rue Rodier Paris France 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_17 080

 But we did go to Louvre too. Looking out from one of the upstairs windows we can feel its magnificence.

Louvre Paris France June 2014  by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 048
Walking the halls leaves a person with shivers running down their spine.
walking the halls of the Louvre by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 008
Morning sun rolled into Napoleon III apartments and splashed against the ceiling.
morning sun on Napoleon III Apartments ceiling Louvre France by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 021
This painted wedding-cake style room in the Louvre is so outrageously over-the-top it almost made me laugh but I couldn’t pick my bottom jaw up fast enough to get out even one “ha-ha.” I just kept turning in circles saying unbelievable, look at that, unbelievable! It seemed most appropriate that we happened upon this room shortly after visiting the queen of the Louvre herself… you know, the one with the smile 😉 We hadn’t actually planned on giving her any courtly attention but the morning was reasonably quiet so we followed the entourage along and dropped in for a few minutes. In case you wanted to know, Mona Lisa is doing well for her age and is still smiling. I didn’t take her portrait as I knew the light wouldn’t do her justice.

Where the Musée d’Orsay  does not allow photographs, the Louvre does. So I took just a few photographs of paintings for my own study. These are shared with you for the same personal use study purpose.

A favourite artist of mine was Camille Corot. His landscape from Avignon called “Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel” from 1843 struck a significantcord with me as I had stood in about the same place painting 171 years later.

Villeneuve-lez-Avignon La Tour Philippe le Bel 1843 by Camille Corot photo for study by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 033
Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch was a work I had completed just days earlier.
Across the Way Villeneuve lez Avignon France 25 x 35 cm acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_012 106
I now have a completed larger studio painting…
VILLENEUVE LEZ AVIGNON FRANCE 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas
Villeneuve lez Avignon France 24 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_08_08 069
Camille Corot is mostly known as a landscape painter but it is a few of his portraits of women that are having a lasting impression. This detail of La Dame en Bleu is from the last figurative painting that Corot painting in 1874.
detail La Dame en Bleu 1874 by Camille Corot by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 118
They are so melancholy while holding a solid kind of inner-defiance that has surfaced for me only after careful observation. I wonder – how did he do this? What was his relationship to these women? Below is a detail from “Zingara au tambour de basque” that he painted between 1865 to 1870.
detail Zingara au tambour de basque 1865 to 1870 by Camille Corot photo by Terrill Welch 2014_06_16 110
Corot would have been about 74 years old when this work was finished. Is the answer to my question in his biographical information? I have ordered a book this morning from Amazon called “The Secret Armoire: Corot’s Figure Paintings and the World of Reading” by Mariantonia Reinhard-Felice to help me answer this question.

But there is more the Louvre than Corot and so much more to Paris than the Louvre isn’t there?

Well, we shall have to save it for another day. It is time for this artist to get ready for an afternoon of unrelated meetings on this September afternoon back in Canada off the southwest coast of British Columbia.

What does Paris in June mean to you?

© 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

Saturna Island and rendering overlapping memories

Mid-August brings blackberries, hanging fruit and puffs of dust as our sandal clad feet catch the spots where grass has given way to daily meanderings. The farm geese play watch dog and the cows search for shade under a large maple. As we find our way up on the large porch, floor planks register the weight of our human presence.

the country porch by Terrill Welch 2014_08_16 028

The main part of the house is about 125 years old. It is the oldest dwelling remaining on Saturna Island off the southwest coast of Canada. My eldest grandson and I are staying four nights at the Breezy Bay Bed and Breakfast on a co-operative farm.  Our hosts, Erin and Jamie, appear to be in their early thirties and are youngsters amongst the mostly graying heads of about 300 full-time inhabitants. This our third summer visit to the Saturna Island. We have come to revisit favourite places and to simply be together in a home-away-from-home.

We slip our shoes off at the door and pad into our introduction of the polished patina of a place that bridges the past and present with grace and warmth equal to that of its caregiver. The library up stairs is just off our bedroom and its books seem oblivious to the “hotspot” it offers for a wifi connection.

the library by Terrill Welch 2014_08_16 015

The working country kitchen though is where I can truly feel my shoulders relax. This a home. It is our home for the next four days. We can do this. This could by my grandmother’s kitchen. This can be a place where memories last.

working country kitchen by Terrill Welch 2014_08_16 024

The breakfast room confirms my observations about rendering memories.

breakfast room by Terrill Welch 2014_08_16 019

When on the last day we leave this room filled on all-you-can-eat crepes, my grandson quietly comments – I am going to miss these guys.

And indeed we will. For though this is the first time we have stayed in this particular place on Saturna Island, Erin and Jamie have a way of making us feel like we are family. For reasons beyond both my grandson’s and my control, we must make a-home-away-from-home, or at least away from my home. Though this is often a raw emotional place of frustration and loss for me, I have come to accept that, for now, there is no other choice. We must rely on others to create the intimacy of home for our vacation time together. In this respect, we have been lucky and this year has been extra special, a healing suave on my unfulfillable expectations.

I want to embed my memories for long-term retrieval and one way to this is to do quick painting sketches. So as the smell of banana bread warms the morning sun I find a spot to set up on the porch looking out towards Boot Cove.

Plein Air painting at Breezy Bay BnB by Terrill Welch 2014_08_15 213

The plein air painting isn’t exactly what I want for composition but it will do. I have the energy and of the moment. It is all I need for now.

BREEZY BAY BANANA BREAD MORNING – 8 x 10 inch plein air acrylic painting sketch

Breezy Bay Banana Bread morning 8 x 10 inch plein air acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_08_15 219

A week later, back in the studio I decide on a 36 x 36 inch canvas that has a lemon yellow ground and set to work on a large oil painting.

in progress Breezy Bay morning 36 x 36 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_08_24 009

I wanted space to walk into the painting by leaving ample room on the deck. I liked the idea of creating this kind of depth using the square canvas. It is intriguing to me how we can visually create this illusion on a flat surface. But it is not the only illusion is it? There is also the illusion that this is the life we seek – the life we deserve for our hard work. I will probably always think of this painting as “the myth of capitalism.” There is a luxury of time we have been conditions to strive and put in front for our paid labour. We will someday get to sit on a deck like this as a reward. This is not why I painted this but rather it is an after thought – one that curiously lessens my loss for my first choice which would have been to have my grandson with me at home while making my own banana bread and sitting on my own porch. I remind myself to count my blessings instead of bemoaning my inability to reach an ideal.

The painting is now finished.

It is released for sale over on my website at “New Painting Squared with a Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island.”

 

What blessings have you recently noticed in the midst of reflecting on deeply felt loss?

 

© 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

Barcelona Spain through the Eyes of a Traveling Artist

Where we are staying in Barcelona is intimate, warm and relatively safe. But this is one huge and sometimes stressed city. People often do not make eye contact and are in a world of their own with a kind of pinched expression that comes from longstanding worries. It is not uncommon for middle age women to flinch at the sound of my footsteps on the sidewalk behind them. It is every-so-slightly but I know I am not mistaken when they turn and look directly at me – a safety practice I learned myself many years ago. When our host dropped by to change over the propane tank to a fresh bottle he warned – keep the front door locked at all times. This is a safe neighbourhood but we are in a crisis. I had been doing this already as the door only has a deadbolt and no other latch. Still his concern matched my impression of the Barcelona. Some might quibble that Spain is in a crisis and not Barcelona but like it or not Barcelona is an important part of Spain.

 

The European Union elections were held while we were here and there is talk of another bailout for Spain. Unemployment is high in the city and even higher in other parts of Spain. As a visitor and as a guest in this country, I find it a valuable warning because this is not a city or country issue but a global one which is fraying its edges more visibly here than in other places we have been in Europe or in our home country of Canada.

 

There is one place where people let their shoulders rest easy and their stride loosens. It is in the Jardins del Turó del Putget. The people living near the gardens walk with their dogs, family and visit with friends on the benches sprinkled along the climb and at the top of the park. I walk here often. It is where one can view the city with a bit of circumspect.

 

Barcelona Spain through the trees by Terrill Welch 2014_05_25 050

 

The gardens are simple and natural with tough herb shrubs such as rosemary and lavender added to the ground cover. It is not a place noticeable on the tourist maps. Rather, it is just an ordinary functional green space with designated dog and children play areas. Here, one can read a book or a newspaper or do nothing at all. There are no work expectations on the hill of steps, trails and trees. It is a place of rest – a place to build resilience.

 

These are the underlying currents and observations that create part of the interpretative lens for my photography and painting in Barcelona Spain. Following is my round-up of our time here. It is not all-encompassing – just a few quick impressionistic brushstrokes.

 

Community and park spaces are extremely limited. Our neighbourhood playgrounds are on spears of land beside major thoroughfares. Our ground-floor apartment has a most prized private courtyard in the middle of tall apartment buildings. Its value did not register with me when we arrived but now I more fully appreciate its rare pleasure. One morning I set up my paints.

 

Painting in a Barcelona Courtyard by Terrill Welch 2014_05_25 111

 

I want to capture courtyards private beauty and mystery. To do so means painting the spaces between the actual forms using light and colour to guide the construction of a meaningful composition. The results are an abstraction of sorts but the energy of the space after the morning rain remains.
Small Courtyard in Barcelona Spain

10 × 12 inch acrylic painting sketch on canvas board

 

Small Courtyard in Barcelona Spain 10 x 12 inch acrylic painting sketch on canvas board by Terrill Welch 2014_05_25 144

 

(Art prints are available at Redbubble HERE.)

 

One of our most pressing reasons for coming to Barcelona was to see Antoni Gaudi’s work in person. What we didn’t realize was how mainstream and popular his work had become with visitors. After we assessed the potential for crowds, lineups and disappointment we took a circular approach. This involved a few scouting trips before actually making a commitment to a more engaging visit to Park Güell.

A prized seat in Barcelona

A prized seat in Barcelona by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 245

That invites us repeatedly to stroll its length and look out over the city.

try done Reaching out to the Barcelona Park uell by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 262

Sometimes Gaudi’s buildings seem to be cloud to cloud.

Cloud to Cloud Park Guell by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 165

Yet, from other vantage points they are tucked right into the city.

At the edge of Park Guell by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 068

Whether walking tree to tree

Tree to Tree in Park Guell Barcelona Spain by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 102

or admiring the stretching supports

Stretching Park Guell Barcelona Spaint by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 119

or the details of water collection at the front or back of the mosaic seating,

Water collection Park Guell 1 by Terrill Welch 2014_05_27 205

there is no denying the creative thought, care and vision of Gaudi’s work. It wasn’t designed to be a public park but it makes a good one! Some, including Gaudi feel that the church is his most important work but it is this park that most speaks to me.

 

In the end, we decided not to visit Sagrada Familia at all and nor did we stand in line to visit Casa Mila. Instead, we saw only its roof top

 

roof top of Casa Mila by Terrill Welch 2014_05_29 012

 

in favour of a few walk-by visits to the summer home – Casa Vicens

over the top on Carrer De Les Carolines by Terrill Welch 2014_05_29 004

with its point of interest (yes, I am being cheeky).

point of interest on Casa Vicens by Terrill Welch 2014_05_29 024

We trekked over to the private school, Colegio de las Teresianas, but I didn’t even take one photograph as the angle and size of the buildings was resisting my framing eye.

 

However, the medieval castle – Torre Bellesguard,

Torre Bellesguard 3 by Terrill Welch 2014_05_30 018

was ours alone late on Friday afternoon. We indulged our need for all-things Gaudi

repaired at Torre Bellesguard by Terrill Welch 2014_05_30 029

while noting the amount of upkeep required for keeping mosaic work in good repair.

breaking patterns at Torre Bellesguard by Terrill Welch 2014_05_30 034

This morning I thought about our time in Barcelona and what one thing I truly wanted to paint on our last full day. Can you guess where I went?

 

Jardins del Turó del Putget Barcelona Spain

25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch

Jardins del  Turó del Putget Barcelona Spain 25 x 35 cm plein air acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_06_02 028

(Art prints are available at Redbubble HERE.)

 

I did not take my camera with me as even though it feels safe in the park, I am unable to keep an adequate on its whereabouts and it would interfere with my painting if I was to wear it while working. This time you will have to be content with just the finished work and the comparison of an image from last evening at the top of a park where a four-legged friend made us laugh with his pure joy.

 

Top of Dog Park Barcelona by Terrill Welch 2014_06_02 004

 

Tomorrow morning we will leave and return to France with the first stop being Avignon for three days. I am more than ready to leave Barcelona but this rather stoic city has grown on me and shall remember it and its people fondly.

 

© 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