All In One Reef Bay Mayne Island oil painting in progress

The winds had howled for days. It was the second storm in just a few weeks and though not as bad as the first we were still without out power for 36 hours. As the storm edged its way back from our shores I headed for the shores and gathered several images for later painting references. The breaking light was stunning and the waves were still smashing up against the rocks with gusto.

Now it is time to pull out a large 36 x 48 inch canvas for the first in what will likely be a handful of seascapes…

I often use no ground with these large wave painting because I want to take full advantage of the white of the canvas.

There is only one place to begin and it is to start adding paint.

Brushstroke after brushstroke the Canadian west coast seascape starts to develop.

Eventually the work is blocked-in and it is time to wash the brushes for today.

This morning saw me back in the gallery winter studio, brush in hand, palette knife at the ready to continue the work to a point of “resting”.

ALL IN ONE, REEF BAY, MAYNE ISLAND “resting”  36 x 48 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch

I will leave it for a few days now as I begin working on yet another canvas. Maybe a smaller one this time. Once I am satisfied that it is done and the canvas has dried to the touch, a final photograph will be take and the work will be release.

For now though, this is a wrap! All the best of a fine Sunday to you!

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Sea and Shore – a beginning

The soft grey of morning is still settling out of my physical being as I lift the large 36 X 48 inch canvas onto the easel. Cascading light and colour roll with the waves over the shapes gathering across my inner landscape. The endless beating of sea and shore vibrates through the heartwood of an old hanging arbutus swinging above the sculptured shore. But alas, there is only whiteness reflection back at me…

I only have an hour before I must be down in the village. Can I do something with this?

“Only if you promise to remember to go open the gallery on time!” I mutter, as I squeeze the cadmium yellow and red oil paint onto a clean palette.

Those lines!  This light!

I remember my smallness…

as I looked up into the tangle of trunks.

The quick painterly notes start to multiply on the canvas…

Sweeping curves round above seal-shaped forms below.

Light and shadow intertwine in a symphonic melody.

Waves and ferry wake are fierce dance partners, bending the spine of the sandstone in its embrace.

I am standing.

I have stood painting this small 11 x 14 inch study below…

And now, on the big canvas, I am 25 steps further to the right, closer to sea. I must start again. I must hunch down and grasp all-that-was and all-that-will-be, swing it high over my head then spiral it down, until it is rooted deep into the earth, with confidence, in each brushstroke.

But this is yet to come. For now, I must wash the one-inch flat hog hair brush, take off my weathered carmine paint-splattered apron, remove any wild run-away cadmium red or yellow streaks on my face and head to the gallery.

Oh but there is more! So much more!

I must wait. We must wait. And remember, it is only paint and a canvas. 😉

What, may I ask, are YOU waiting for?

PART 2 “Sea and Shore – Building Up Paint” is now posted HERE.

Part 3 “Sea and Shore – Strong Finish” can be viewed HERE.

© 2018 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

Standing with the Sea Painting from Life

“I don’t know how she does it, but Terrill’s paintings make me feel the rush of being there, of being part of it,” comments Anita Lewis, who shared on Google Plus the following completed painting.

I wish I had an adequate answer for Anita. The truth is I am not exactly sure. I can tell you that the landscape painter must have the courage to stand in the moment with as much raw, unfiltered honesty as possible. In this case, I am standing with the sea.

At first this standing is about the grey that shifts continuously in rolling spring storms. It is about a tide that seems to neither want to come in or go out as I set up the easel.

It is about enduring the dreariest gulf islands spring since the beginning of weather records. This has followed on a winter that saw snow on the west coast during most months.

I have come to realize that we are likely to miss out on are usual warm days of spring this year. Now my endurance is settling on an early summer. But at the moment rain is coming. It is time to pack up and leave with the 22 x 28 inch canvas roughly blocked in using walnut oil paints.

The next day it rains a steady drizzle. No plein air painting is going to be possible. I sigh and move on to other tasks. The following day seems like it may be promising. But it isn’t. As the painting class and I huddle under a gazebo in the national park near the painting location, they get a good chortle. The sun is shining through the rain but it isn’t going to be enough to break the spell and let us plein air paint. We retreat to the Mayne Island Community Centre and I provide tutorial examples while answering various painting problems posed by the students. The day is salvaged through our collective flexibility.

It is a long day which becomes even longer that evening when I learn that a long-time friend has lost his gallant 20 or-so-year battle with cancer. We had spoken only a few short weeks earlier. He had basically called to say good-bye. At the time he commented that he wasn’t sure if the cancer would get him or if his heart would fail first from an unrelated issue. In the celebration of life notice his family has asked that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke foundation instead of bringing flowers. I am assuming this might be a clue to how his question was answered.

From the time we could barely call ourselves teenagers, through our wild years, into young adults, on into our mature years and finally to becoming grandparents – we never lost sight of being friends. Even if years sometimes passed without so much as a phone call, there was no question – we were friends. Though I will miss him, I cannot help thinking he suffered more than his share to remain with us as long as he did. He fulfilled one of his greatest wishes and saw his children grown and had time to enjoy his grandchildren. He knew great love and what deep caring really means through his relationship with his partner. His life was fully lived around what I feel matters most – love, family, friends, frank honesty and hard work.

The next morning has offered up the promised sun. I am standing before a grey-scale roughed in painting with a heavy heart, squinting into the sky blues. Yes, I definitely will miss him. I look across the Strait of Georgia which seems to widen with every glance. I put up the sunshade to keep my canvas neutral.

I work diligently as if without skin and bone protecting the most vulnerable parts of my being. I listen to the sea as it rolls waves forward with each passing boat and ferry. The moments are filled with frequent commas from song birds that are occasionally punctuated more heavily by seagulls and eagles. The sea lions roll up to the surface with their unmistakable breathing raising the hairs above my pinched shoulder blades. I am consumed by salt air, spring grass and exposed seaweed. The breeze lifts the branches of the fir trees behind me and the escaping sun warms my back in brief fragmented caresses. What blue? What blue do I need most? I mix and layer and release the colours onto the canvas within the rhythms of the sea, the rhythms of life…. and the rhythms of our immediate and pending death. Finally the brushes still.

I take the painting back to studio. After letting it rest for a bit, I add a few more brush marks over the afternoon and a few more the next day before calling it done.

The painting was only five days from start to finish. Yet, the world, my world, is forever changed. I am reminded of a line from a poem “The Speed of Darkness” by Muriel Rukeyser – The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

A final photograph is still needed of course but this one will do for today.

So the “how does she do it” remains a mystery in some ways, even from me – hidden in unedited, intuitive renderings of experiences from life onto a canvas.

When was the last time you stood by the sea and asked it to share with you its greatest mystery?

© 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

Storm Watching and its progress on a large canvas

At 10:00 am today the morning light was not strong enough to work without the studio lamp. It is heavily overcast and last I checked there is a wee bit of snow expected. However, I was able to put the finishing brushstrokes on this large 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas painting this morning. It may be weeks before I can get a decent photograph of it so we will take a look now at the shiny-wet resting point of STORM WATCHING. Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas still on easel by Terrill Welch 2013_12_09 034

We may think that this painting began with this quick painting sketch on the canvas. Not really the beginning of Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 001

But we would be wrong. It all started on Friday December 6, 2013 at about this same time of day when the power went out. I was surprised as there was little wind at la casa de inspiracion. But then the email notifications started coming in with Ferry boat cancellation and they were for the Inside Passage which is not common at all. So I knew then that there had to be wind somewhere and took a guess that it was on the east side of the island. Sea View Mayne Island by Terrill Welch 2013_12_06 024

Sure enough it was blowing a bit out there. But this isn’t the spot we need to be. We have to walk out to Campbell Point in the Gulf Island Park Reserve because the waves are break on the rocks in a big way. Let’s go and have a look. Dress warm and still expect to the wind to go right into a person’s bones and starts sawing away with an ice-cube. Rough Sea  by Terrill Welch 2013_12_06 142

Scrambling out onto a rock ledge the wind whips my big lens and me around with the same ferociousness as the sea. But I am determined. I hunker down low and steady myself against the roar. WILD SEAS WITH MOUNT BAKER IN THE DISTANCE

(Detailed view and quality prints available HERE.) There was no chance of using a tripod in these conditions. It was all up to my stabilizers and years of practice of framing and shooting waves. There wasn’t much time because I would get to cold to be able to work the camera and it was no place to be getting stiff and wobbly when I stood back up from where I was crouching. So steady does it. FULL STOP

(Detailed view and quality prints available HERE.) BREAKING OVER TWICE

(Detailed view and quality prints available HERE.) Sunday as in yesterday I pulled out the large canvas and placed it on the easel. I wanted the immediacy of this moment while it was still fresh to me on a cellular level. Choosing the overall colour of the filtered air with seaspray by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 004

The continuous motion of the winds and the sea stir sea-spray high up onto the cliffs above. I want that. I want that feeling of stirring and motion. I decided no underpainting so that spray would have the advantage of the white underneath. I had noticed the spray shadow in one of my reference images and took advantage of this to create additional depth. I worked on getting the painting down with as few brushstrokes as possible. Building up the movement in paint Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 007

I want us to be slightly queasy from it as we are swayed in the waters and crash against the rocks within our viewing of this painting.

Storm Watching resting 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_08 021

At the core there is a knowing and a thimble-size of silence which makes it bearable. This too shall pass. This is the stage that the painting rested overnight. This is where I started earlier this morning and finished at the first photograph which will not be its final of course. For this we must wait for better light.

UPDATE OCTOBER 13, 2014: Link to detailed viewing of the completed painting with purchase information and a link a short (less than six minutes) video where I talk about this painting can be found on the Terrill Welch Artist website HERE.

In conclusion, my Monday morning blessing is patience, admiration and determination. If we are willing to try we can most often do more than we believe we can. A large wave from a large canvas as you forge through the week ahead.

What are you determined to accomplish this week even if the winds of doubt are fierce?

© 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

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

New paintings by Terrill Welch in the Artsy Home online Gallery

Getting on with the painting of being an artist never seems to be an issue. But getting them out and available for you to purchase is as inspiring as sweeping cobwebs off the sealing. It is not that I don’t want them to be available for purchase. It is the tediousness of filling in all the boxes for posting that often has me saying to self “maybe I will just paint one more and then post them all together.” And we both know how that goes – one more becomes five more before I settle in to a quiet Sunday like today and start adding new work.

So just in case you have one of my original paintings on your “wishlist,” I now have a few more of my new paintings available on the Artsy Home online Gallery including this 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas –

REACHING THE SEA (Note: this painting is no longer available)

The full gallery of my original oil paintings currently available can be viewed at

Yes, there are still a few more to add. I am in the process of editing the photographs right after I post this for you. But there is one new one that will not be released until Wednesday. I promised to keep you posted 🙂

SPROUT: What is your very most favourite Sunday creative family rated activity? 

© 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

ROCKS AT SUNRISE original oil painting by Terrill Welch

The light catches the morning next to the rocks in a grand profusion of impressionist captured colour. Each brush stroke is singing a song of praise for the beginning of another day.

ROCKS AT SUNRISE  is an 8 x 8 inch oil on gessobord with a 2 inch birch cradle.

(Update April 22, 2013: this painting is no longer available for purchase ) 

There are no process images for this painting as it happened in a continuous flow. This post follows up from yesterday’s post “Painting the Desperation of Wanting to Stay Alive” where a small detail of this painting was shared.

SPROUT: Can you share with us a link to your latest work that came forth in one continuous flow? 

© 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

Savouring the Blues

Yesterday was a fantastic Sunday for a stroll and to a poke about at the light house on Mayne Island. What really grabbed my attention was a clump of maples against the blues of the water and sky.

I also like this perspective and can’t decide which I like best. Because they are so similar I should probably only post one on my redbubble storefront.

Do you have a preference?

However, it is almost always the sea that pulls me into sublime bliss. This Sunday was no exception.

This brings me to some Monday morning news from Creative Potager. Do you remember the small 8 X 8 inch oil on canvas painting A SUMMER DAY that was the third I did during a plein air session this summer?

Well, it SOLD this weekend and is going to a lovely home here on Mayne island where it will be treasured.


The second good piece of news is that PRECIOUS SECONDS – Mayne Island in paintings and photographs


is now available as an ibook for $9.99 for those who have ipads or iphones. Isn’t this exciting? It can be purchased at the same place as the hardcopy on BLURB HERE.

Since I do not have an iphone or ipad I put in a request to a tweet-friend and iphone artist Sandra Lock in Liverpool England. Sandra reviewed the ibook for me and left the following comment on BLURB…

“I can wholeheartedly recommend the iBook. It looks fabulous on my iPad, there’s nothing quite like a backlit screen for making images really pop…” 

If you get a chance, I suggest you check out Sandra’s COLOUR YOUR WORLD Art Blog. And thank you Sandra for taking the time to review my first ibook 🙂


I have one more piece of news but I am going to wait until Friday to share it. I will give you a hint though – I made the cover or rather my painting did.



Sprout Question: Where are you finding sublime bless today?



© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at




Held Over by Popular Demand

Thank you everyone for your support. The show has been a whopping success and it is not over yet!

The STUDY of BLUE solo exhibition was extended at the request of the venue until tomorrow August 2, 2011. However, SEVEN of the original fifteen paintings are now SOLD. I have replaced some of paintings at the end of the original close date so that they can be delivered to buyers. The Oceanwood Restaurant & Inn has also asked to hang paintings in their luxury B&B rooms so their customers will get another chance to purchase them. This is a lovely offer particularly for some of the larger paintings.

Here are quick links to my seven original oil paintings from the show that are still available for purchase at the ART OF DAY online gallery:

ONE 24 X 36 inch oil on canvas BUY NOW.

OWL’S VIEW 24 X 18 inch oil on canvas BUY NOW.

SALISH SEA FOUR 24 X 48 inch oil on canvas BUY NOW.

EAST POINT CLIFFS 24 X 18 inch oil on canvas BUY NOW.

BREAKING THROUGH 36 X 48 inch oil on canvas BUY NOW.

WINTER SUN 18 X 24 inch oil on canvas BUY NOW.

And the very last of the smaller paintings still available…

STORM COMING 8 X 10 inch on canvas BUY NOW.


Sprout question: What creative accomplishment are you celebrating this week?


p.s. I have a surprise that I hope to share by the middle of August… once I review the proof. I think you are going to like it.


STUDY OF BLUE  solo exhibition extended to August 2, 2011.


© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.


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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at


SALISH SEA 4 original oil painting by Terrill Welch

I am introducing the painting process of SALISH SEA 4 with a quote from Elizabeth Rosner’s book Blue Nude published in 2006:

It was what he admired about Bonnard, or at least what he loved about the famous stories in which Bonnard was applying paint to works already hanging in other people’s houses. Something about never letting go, always feeling there was one more stroke to be added, one more note of the Unfinished Symphony. As if even death wouldn’t be the ultimate form of completion but just another stop along the way.

(p. 58)

The underpainting that is the foundation of this 24 X 48 inch canvas was included in Monday’s post “The Breath of Stones.” There are 10 images in today’s post capturing the beginning to end… if there is one… of creating SALISH SEA 4. I will make an effort to be brief but there seems to be much to say.

They are a little hard to see but the top right paints are French Ultramarine blue and Viridian. These two colours will play prominently in the development of today’s painting. I sometimes use my own photographs for painting reference but I am not known to “paint” a photograph. I often take several reference images for paintings — similar to how artists used to sketch and then use these as reference for developing a painting when they got back to the studio. Though sometimes a painting may be close to the reference image, the photographs are meant to influence and guide but to not to be copied. Otherwise, I might as well keep the photograph and print it on canvas …. and sometimes I do just that!

Are you ready? She’s a bit bright but here we go …

A gray beginning and it doesn’t look like much yet.

I am using mostly a 2 inch brush here. My aim is to keep the painting loose and flowing. The small palette knife you see there is just being used for mixing. Now to add a little teal blue.

Working for a long while and equally using a #10 brush, along with my 2 inch brush,  I get basic elements of the painting in place.

A part of me wanted to pause right here and not go any further. But after a break I decided to keep working.

Picking up the large 2 inch brush again I whisk paint onto the canvas in big strokes. The sea is rolling in and I am riding each wave. If you remember my challenge was to bring the viewer into the painting from the top left and move their eye forward and down to the bottom right. See at the end if you think I have succeeded.

I have started working with three different large palette knives to build up selected texture. Then I add some highlights but the painting is saturated. There is a glare from bright sunlight and my body and being are tired.

It is time to stop – for now.

Over the next two days I spend a few hours adding a stroke here and there. I brighten up areas that have become muted from painting wet on wet. Mostly, I observe, feel, breathe and let it be.

Then on Thursday morning I started in early painting and had it finished in a couple of hours.

Well, almost… I think!

SALISH SEA 4, a 24 X 48 inch cotton canvas original oil painting by Terrill Welch. This painting will be shown as part of solo summer exhibition opening at the end of June. If you are interested in purchasing in advance of the show please contact me directly via email at tawelch AT shaw DOT ca .

This is one painting dear readers, that I suspect more than one of you will be completely enamored with an earlier version. But that is how it goes when you are privy to the creative process of a painter.

I dedicate this painting to French Impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) who also favoured using violet in some of his painting.

SALISH SEA 4 is definitely another stop along my way.

Sprout question: How is your creativity just another stop along the way?

Happy April fools day and best of the weekend to you!

News Flash: Introducing Terrill Welch’s Online Gallery at (okay it is a small flash… there is still a lot of inventory to enter but it would be great to hear what you think)

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada