Reef Bay Mayne Island observation to painted experience

When do observations transform into renderings of full experiences? This is the question I ask myself while I am gathering references for my next painting. I observe. I take a total of 57 photographs. Though all are important, one later becomes my primary painting reference.

Reef Bay morning observed Dec 7 2012 by Terrill Welch 2012_12_07

What pixels actually hold the smell of the sea and cry of the gulls?

I capture a video just over a minute in length. Later I choose a piece of music to go with it.

At what point in this process of creating a video reference did I move from observing to experiencing?

I return to the studio and rummage through my blank canvases. Eventually, I  choose an 11 x 14 inch and set it upon the easel. I squeeze out the oil paint onto the palette. I listen to the video. I glance at the photograph. I pick up my brush.

Quickly and without hesitation the landscape is blocked in. Swiftly my body engages in the visceral process of painting wet-on-wet. Swish, swish and swish. I move back and forth across the studio to peer at the forms sliding off my brush onto the canvas. I remember the gray dawn with its slimness of colour.  I remember the sea, and the soft rush of water as it comes ashore. I remember the heaviness of the rocks and the salty dampness of winter seaweed. I feel the coolness of the air and the cry of the gulls. Which strokes will hold the promise of a this day? Which strokes carry the sounds and the material weight of substance? Which strokes follow the soft light across the seascape. Oh, how I wonder!

Then it is done.

Too soon my logic bullies. There must be more!

But, two days have passed. I have not touched the canvas, not because technical correction would not lead to a more accurate rendering of the physical setting. Rather I do not alter the painting because nothing more is needed to render the fulness of my experience. It is done.

Reef Bay morning experienced Dec 7 2012 11 x 14 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2012_12_09 069

REEF BAY MORNING EXPERIENCED December 7, 2012 – 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas

Oh, I will photograph it again once it is completely dry and on a brighter day. But the painting of the painting is done. If I want to do more it shall be on another canvas.

What observations are you currently rendering into the fulness of your experience?

It is December 9th today and the great room is in disarray with packages to be wrapped and shipped. It is the time for this artist to begin her holiday break. I shall be back in the New Year to share more painting and photography adventured.

For now, the best of the holiday season to you and yours – one and all!

ONLINE GALLERIES with Terrill Welch paintings and photography include-

Xanadu Studio Gallery for large original paintings

Artsy Home for most original oil paintings currently available

Redbubble for photography prints, greeting cards and posters

Current Local Mayne Island VENUES –

Green House Restaurant – small original oil paintings and photography prints

Farm Gate Store – one large painting

And by appointment at Terrill Welch’s home studio

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch Artist website at

Mayne Island en plein air painting morning

August is my favourite month of the year and the weather is finally spectacular – feels like summer at last. However, I am not good at beach-sitting but rather prefer to be beach-doing with either my camera or french box easel or both. Such is the case on this fine morning down on Reef Bay, Mayne Island…

I am feeling fairly pleased with myself. I have the 12 x 16 inch canvas blocked in and the sea is singing away as I work away for about 45 minutes. But after awhile I take and good look. It seems nothing is quite right.

The parts in the painting are separate and seem unrelated to each other. I frown and I stall by signing the work. I look out at the scene before me. I walk around eating a golden plum I had brought with me for a snack.  After awhile I acknowledge that I am still undecided and unsure about what to do next. But who can fuss on such a find day? I shrug and I set the canvas aside. I picked up my second blank canvas, slightly smaller at 9 x 12 inches and turn to the view just to my left.

This time I set to painting looking quickly and briefly at the scene as waves roll softly over and over again onto side of the reef. We seem as one – the sandstone, sea and me.

Swish, swish, swish. My brush responds with ease, leaving out the freighter and the driftwood as it focused on the relationship between the sandstone, the sea and the sky. After awhile, my bare arms begin to tingle from the heat of the sun and I am thankful I had decided to put a hat on my head. Stopping to take a long sip of cool water I squint at the painting.

It is done. Complete. Finished – and so am I 🙂

I pack up and head home. My en plein air morning is no longer morning.

Of course, you know, there is that other painting right? Well I sleep on it and get up in the morning to see what I can do with in the studio. Hum! I am not sure this helped much.

Though it is starting to come together, the overall painting is muted and lacks strength and conviction. Now what? I go back to my some reference images  I had taken and look closely at the first photograph that I showed you here. I walk away and do a few chores. Then I take another run at it – or rather brush at it. I am determined though unattached to the outcome.

Now let’s see – yes, there! Now I think we have it.

The day is shot. It is well after six o’clock. I missed lunch and am not up to cooking us dinner. We decide to slip out to the Green House Bar and Grill. I ask David if I had any paint on my face. He said “no darling you look fine.” Off we go.

The first thing the owner says to us as he hands out the menus is “hey Terrill, you have paint on your nose.”

Not only that, some how I had managed to get three different splashes of colour on the front of my t-shirt as well. But they let us in anyway 🙂
Once these two oil paintings are dry and I am satisfied that no further adjusting is needed they will be available in the  Artsy Home online gallery along with my other paintings that are currently available. However, if you are interested in having one of these hanging on your wall and you email me at no later than 6:00 am PDST tomorrow, Friday August 17, 2012 I will cover the shipping for you to anywhere in North America. The 9 x 12 by 3/4 inch “Late morning in August by the sea” is currently $430. The 12 x 16 by 3/4 inch “August morning Reef Bay” is currently $675.

SPROUT: What keeps you coming back to  something until you get it the way you want it?

© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at