Plein Air Painting Adventures

I have just released six new plein or painting sketches for the November 1-10, 2019 “Paintings of the Salish Sea” solo show. What adventures are are captured in these brushstrokes! Would you like to wander through just a few of the summer plein air adventures with me? Let’s do it!

Yes, you are seeing correctly. I used my new e-bike to transport my plein air gear to the painting location in Miners Bay in Mayne Island.

E-bike transportation to plein air paint on Mayne Island

And this small 8 x10 inch acrylic painting sketch is one of the new works released.

Miners Bay Mayne Island study by Terrill Welch

This is the start and what might be next? What an evening this was with an 11 x 14 inch walnut oil on linen board. Though released over the summer, this work is also in the current show.

The evening sunset eventually influenced both the subject and the canvas to such an extent that it was difficult to see the work until the next morning…

Then there was the evening that I painted in the shadows using a light for assistance.

The results made the effort worthwhile and the little light is now part of my toolkit.

Cotton Park Evening study by Terrill Welch

Oh why not! How about just one more? I hike in about 30 minutes with all of my plein air gear in a backpack to paint at Saint John’s Point on Mayne Island. An old stump became my painting table beside the easel.

I used a larger 12 x 16 inch gessobord since I knew it was going to be an effort just to get to the location to paint.

Definitely worth it, don’t you think?

Arbutus Tree Morning St John’s Point study by Terrill Welch

There are many more adventures to share of course but we will need to save them for another time. These plein air painting sketches and the other new works released for this next November show can be viewed in detail on my website at

Enjoy and all the best, as always! Terrill 🙂


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Lost in the Light Edith Point Mayne Island work in progress

The day delivered breadth and inspiring beauty as so often happens on my walks. I came home with a much clearer mind and a lighter heart than when I left. Just how I like it! 🙂

Now to render those same fingers of light and sea onto a canvas. This particular Sunday in the Terrill Welch Gallery was quieter than usual so I set up on the little patio to paint.

Just a few paint marks on the yellow ground should get us started.

Then the blocking in begins.

I keep painting but it is slow going and pretty soon the day is over and I need to bring the work into the gallery and close up shop.

The very next day, I move the wet painting to the home studio and continue working on it there. Finally! The blocking in process is complete. This might be it for today… the 24 x 30 inch walnut oil on canvas landscape painting is covered in wet paint indicating its major elements. Though things are still rather fluid, I have a fairly good idea where all bits are located. Now comes my favourite part of finding all the light and shadows. But this might be tomorrow’s work. I still have the brushes out though so anything is possible. 😉

Steady goes it as patches of light and shadow move across the landscape. There is still a ways to go before the first hints of light shift the forms into place. But for now a break.

Done! Well, maybe resting. Nope it is done!… I suppose you don’t need to listen to me arguing with myself 😉

Now for some distance so it is easier to see what we have here.

Ah well, it really was only resting. I have made a few minor changes to address a small visual tangent. If you know what such a thing is, see if you can find the change I made.

“Lost in the Light Edith Point Mayne Island” by Terrill Welch
24 x 30 inch walnut oil on canvas

The edges are now painted and drying. A hanging wire must still be added, a final photograph taken and the work added to the inventory program. But almost there!

When was the last time you had a tangent – visual or otherwise? 😉


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Mayne Island BC in May

The sun is shining and there are beach crawls to be done, trails to hike and wildlife to see. But first a seat in the red chair on Georgina Point.

Red Chair over looking ocean.

The waves keep rolling in relation to an off shore breeze.

Rolling sea coming ashore onto the sandstone rocks looking across towards the northeast of the Straight of Georgia.

Put your hiking shoes one and take care of any personal bodily needs as we are heading into an area without facilities. It is only 5 or 6 km with a couple of hills taking the easy route so you can get by without water or snacks… though they are nice to have if you fancy a wee picnic once you get out on the point. Yes, you guessed it. We are going on an adventure Mayne Island’s newest park – Saint John Point.

Pulling into the empty gravel parking lot, I back into the farthest available space making it easier just in case someone else decides to join us. But it is Monday and the island is still quiet with mostly only year-round residents who are busy gardening and preparing for the summer seasonal crowds that will arrive in full force for the May long weekend. But today, the forest and old road are for the birds!

Remnants of the winter storm are scattered through the trees and onto the forest floor. 

A paleated woodpecker heckles above the softer sweeter songs of the other forest birds…  even making the spotted towee sound feeble. 

The new growth on the firs leaves a toffee tang fragrance on a light breeze. 

We keep walking, over the hill and down again, until we get to the trail beside the sea.

Old fir trees beside the trail on Saint John Point Mayne Island.

The light changes swiftly as it sings through the trees and dances back from across the water.

Forest trail on St John Point beside the sea on Mayne Island.

A wee bit farther along, we come to the point itself with its exposed rocks and old arbutus tree grove. This is the prize on this walk. The point invites one to sit and stay a while.

Exposed sunny sandstone point with old arbutus trees beside the sea on Navy Channel at Saint John Point.

So we do. I pick a place on the east side of the knoll that is sheltered from the afternoon sun and sit. I wait. I get this strange sensation of being watched. I look around. Nothing. Then I catch something moving just at my peripheral vision. I turn my head slowly and focus. There are two fierce dots pointing directly out over a narrow snout in a wee red head attached to a long neck and slender body staring right at me from a crevice in the sandstone boulders. Slow and smooth I switch the settings on the camera and raise it up. But the critter is still just a bit too far away. I wait some more and take a few tentative shots as it pokes in and out of the rocks coming up the bank towards me. These are small, shy and quick animals. They only pause for a short second to get their bearings before ducking back down under the cover. A photographer must be patient and fast on the shutter. But I did it!

American Mink coming up between the sandstone rocks at Saint John Point on Mayne Island in British Columbia Canada.

Here we have an American Mink coming up between the sandstone rocks at Saint John Point on Mayne Island in British Columbia, Canada.

And there you have it! The highlight of another Mayne Island adventure during early part of the month of May in the year 2019.


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Tulips on the deck of the Springwater lodge en plein air

Oh! Just look at them! All sassy with their scarlet, tangerine, and soft pink skirts on. These particular tulips are a season favourite here on Mayne Island. I just HAD to paint them. I asked permission to bring easel and paints right to the deck for a painting session. Let’s have a 22 second look and get a good feel for the situation…

So with paint on my cheeks and my tea left to get cold I give it my best.

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island work in progress 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air by Terrill Welch 3013_04_22 067

After about an hour and half,  it is definitely there! Doing a little en plein air dance around the deck. Oops! There are people here. I hadn’t noticed. A few adjustment are going to be needed but this is it for this day.

Back in the studio I work away until I feel it has come together. You see, I really do not get a lot of opportunity to paint with red. I like it but it kind of needs to be approached with respect. I suppose most colours do but red is my stand-back-and give-it-some-room colour. Shall we see what we have?

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island – 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas

Tulips Springwater Deck Mayne Island  20 x 16 inch oil on canvas  by Terrill Welch 3013_04_25 166

Update August 10, 2013: This painting is SOLD to an art collector in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Now I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am working on a much looser more textured experimental version of this same painting in the studio. It is too early to share and it may never be shared but I thought you just might like to know anyway. Red, lots of red and orange. Yum!…. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone.

What is your stand-back-and give-it-some-room colour?

© 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

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FIR TREE original oil paintings by Terrill Welch

This week my hard drive crashed and it is not recoverable. Fortunately, most things were backed up and my photographs were on an external hard drive and most of them are backed up again on flash drives. I lost a few images but not many. Lucky! However, I did lose all my newer email addresses so if you have exchanged emails with me in the past year, and would like to continue to be in touch, drop a line and I will add you to my address book.  Somehow this all seems to be less of an issue now that we have facebook, twitter and such. I might even be persuaded to pick up the phone 🙂

I plan to write a more about this experience on Monday in a post called “impermanence.”

Now, let’s have a look at this week’s painting. I started out just going to paint a few edges but these two small canvases had a ground on them and were sitting beside the easel. Well I looked at the edges of another painting and I looked back at the two canvases. The 8 X 8 inch pair just had to be done.

I knew what I wanted to paint. We have been getting a lot of evening sun here with glorious gold light hitting the trees just before it leaves us for dusk.

Starting from “ground.”

A ground is different from a underpainting even though it may be the same colour. With a ground there is just a layer of paint that is put down with no intended painting blocked in or even in mind. Yes, I dislike wasting paint so these canvases were just too close to the last underpainting I was doing and they were grounded 😉

The painting took shape quickly.

I didn’t stop again until close to finishing.

When hung, the two paintings would be separated by a couple inches – I think, maybe more. Or they could be hung like this ….

This side by side is possibly my favourite.

Here they are trimmed up pretty with no distractions.

FIR TREE SKY original oil painting by Terrill Welch

FIR TREE POND original oil painting by Terrill Welch

I haven’t had a chance to decide if I will sell them separately or only as a pair. What do you think? Should they be kept together or be allowed to go into the world separately and be a surprise to some unsuspecting buyer that there is another half to their painting?

These paintings will be part of my upcoming solo show “Study of Blue” opening June 30, 2011 at the Oceanwood Resort here on Mayne Island.

UPDATE: FIR TREE SKY has been SOLD at the opening on June 30, 2011. FIR TREE POND has been SOLD to a separate buyer at the close of the show on July 27, 2011.

Sprout question: What keeps you rolling through unexpected events with ease?

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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

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Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

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