Kitchen Table Studio Day

Singular drifting snowflakes on this Monday afternoon hint at the forecast for the week ahead. I paid no notice as I prepared three new paintings for release.


The second leaf was still in the kitchen table from a family visit on Sunday. Great! This will work perfectly to prepare a show frame or two and get new work into the inventory while also preparing an online private viewing room by special request for consideration of a specific landscape in a particular size range. Done! Plus, the work is also now set up the gallery pod for physical viewing over the next couple of days.

Next, it is time to pack up another painting for shipping to art collectors for a trial hang before they make a final decision.


And Done! “China Beach in Late February” 20 x 30 inches is now ready for travel. I might make it to the post office later today but my guess is that it will be tomorrow morning. I am still waiting for gallery visitors to arrive yet this afternoon. Still, overall a fairly productive Monday for the last week of November. This is the final day of the “For Love of Trees” show. Starting tomorrow, the gallery pod will host a flow-show and be open only by arrangement until sometime in February. In the meantime, I will be focusing on creating new work in my home studio. Therefore, I am mostly close by and can go out and turn the lights on easily in the gallery pod upon your request. Please feel free to ask. It is no trouble at all. Honest.

Tomorrow will hopefully be the start of another painting day. The ground is dry and if I can just squeeze out a couple dedicated hours, I shall make it happen. With two of the latest three releases already on hold, I am feeling like it might be a good idea to spend some time with the paint brushes in front of a canvas.

This is all from your landscape painter in woods on a small island off the southwest coast of Canada. All the best to you as always!

Terrill 🙂 👩‍🎨🎨❤️

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Winter Light is a Painter’s Light

Though the daylight hours are limited, it is the winter light that is most promising to my painter’s aesthetic. It is that moody warmth and abundance of soft edges that grasp my brushes into its clutches.

From morning to the end of the afternoon, there are days that only seem to have a glow through the fog.

This was my yesterday. I did work in the studio but by 3:30 not even the studio lamp helped much. It is on my to-do list to make arrangements for a track lighting bar to be installed. Soon I tell myself. Soon. In the meantime, I was painting a night scene from a late ferry ride on our much loved Mayne Queen on Monday. The Mayne Queen will be retired from service on November 20, 2022. There is a farewell gathering at the terminal but I am not sure I will go. In fact, I am pretty sure I won’t. Public goodbyes are really close to being beyond my capacity at the best of times. So instead, I put all my memories into one quick painting sketch from our last ride starting with a few swift brush marks to find my way into the composition.

And here is “Last Ride on the Mayne Queen” by Terrill Welch, 11 x 14 inch acrylic on gessobord.

Artist notes: We got our own private goodbye with the Mayne Queen this evening. There was no cake but the Big Dipper was present and the steady rumble of that diesel engine gently lulling us across the calm water. I will miss this old gal and the views she offered up with humble assurance. Good night she whispers softly just ahead of the crackling of the announcement – This is Village Bay Mayne Island, Village Bay… and the deck lights come on. Safely home on this sturdy old ferry boat for the final ride. Thank you for your many years of service Mayne Queen as your November 20th 2022 retirement day draws near. ❤️🥂🍾

This reminds me to tell you about a stormy winter day when the wind was whistling a wild tune. All the big ferries were holding and waiting out the weather. We didn’t think we were going to make it home. But after a slight delay, we were loaded on the Mayne Queen. The deck hands told us to put on our parking breaks and go upstairs and sit down. After a few minutes the captain came on the loud speaker and repeated the same message. Make sure the parking break is on. Stay up stairs and do not walk around unless it is necessary. To say the least, that was some ride!

But getting back to painting, in order to sympathetically render such winter day or night light, one must be a colourist. This is because all of the greys and darks are leaning towards some other colour and it is not the same colour they are leaning towards everywhere. Once a painter starts to understand this, and paints with this in mind, then the paintings seem to come alive on their own within the directional brushstrokes. Yes, painting takes practice but also study, knowledge, applied understanding and then finally forgetting so that the painter can work intuitively from a solid foundation. Rendering a subject in paint is not particularly challenging. A painter can be like a copy printer from life or some photographic image. Yes, you still have to understand colour and composition to make a decent replica but it is usually not particularly difficult and requires limited investment of the painter’s vulnerable self. However, to render a subject with vitality and inner feeling racing across the surface in a way that engages a viewer who has no experience with the subject, that there is magic! There is a barely controlled expressive rawness to such work. Even quiet peaceful paintings can have this. It is the secret something that allows a work to stand strongly on its own once it comes off of the easel and is removed from its creative context. The moodiness of soft winter light gives a painter an advantage in being able to access this special magic. At least, this is how I experience winter light.

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Painting Unusual Skies

This past week has seen me at the easel rendering two very different paintings. Let’s start with the last one first because it is freshest in my mind and still resting in the easel.

This amazing mackerel sky and with breaking rain clouds comes from the Cotswolds curtesy of one of my art collectors that asked if I would be willing to do a painting of it for them. After negotiating a few small composition changes, I said yes. This is extremely rare for me but sometimes a project is just so compelling there is no other answer than – YES.

The paintings is “resting” and needs my fresh eyes tomorrow but it is close and the feel of it is there.

“resting” Cotswolds Memories by Terrill Welch 20 x 24 inch walnut oil on canvas

Artist notes: This painting is a rare collaboration starting with an art collector’s image. Much research, my own memories of painting in England and plain imagination went into this homage to a fascinating mackerel sky.

So a second look at this painting will be part of my work for tomorrow.

The second painting is another that belongs in the red line series…

Fog and Smoke Reef Bay by Terrill Welch, 8 x 10 inch walnut oil on linen board.

Artist notes: with the change in the weather fog had rolled in over the sea mixing with thick smoke from wildfires across the border. The combination is as eery and unsettling as it is beautiful. This painting belongs in the red line series even though the red line itself is missing and hidden from view. Within sadness there are still incredibly beautiful moments, if one is open to noticing.

This painting too is still shiny and wet but feels like it is complete and will be set aside to dry before taking a final image and then being added to inventory.

The week ahead has edges to paint on the large canvas of the Arbutus tree and paperwork to file the twice a year Provincial Sales Tax. These are definitely not my favourite tasks but they will be done with good cheer after having focused on painting for the past few days.

All the best of the week ahead!

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Collecting, Gathering and Arranging

The weather has stayed unusually dry and warm for this first part of October. It is suppose to change in the next few days. The trees and shrubs will be happy with a little rain and hopefully it will take some of the summer’s accumulated dust off of our car that we do not wash during the dry spells to conserve water. There has been a lot of wildfire smoke in the air recently leaving us with hoarse raspy voices to watch eery sunsets.

One of my favourite Arbutus trees is looking stressed but still holds up its corner along the shore at Georgina Point.

I put together two yellow cedar planters that I ordered from a Canadian company to go with the two of the the three ollas I purchased in the early summer from a local potter.

I had always thought that it was lack of sun that made things difficult to grow in my garden. Though this is definitely a contributing factor, I believe it is mostly that the big trees that take all of the nutrients and water from my garden beds which is the real issue. I discovered this by putting my first olla in one of my big clay pots. The mint and a few other things thrived even in the less than ideal amount of sunlight.

So we are going to try the cedar planters next year to add to my kitchen garden with a few salad greens and edible flowers. We shall see. The worst that will happen is that I will have to find new homes with more sunshine for the cedar planters. That I can do if necessary. This is not a cost effect plan really because it will take about five years of salads to pay for the supplies. But there will be much less waste and the salads will be fresh picked every day. I think it will be worth it.

On the painting side of things, I have been plein air painting…

It was a stunning afternoon and one that was way more delicious than the resulting painting on the canvas. Still, it might work.

I am also still doing the final review and corrections on the large “Arbutus Tree on Saint John Point” painting. It is close now. I only have one or two more brushstrokes to finally finish it.

“Arbutus on Saaint John Point” by Terrill Welch, 40 x 36 inch acrylic and oil painting. To be release soon.

Today, I will take down the rest of the still life show that I started to remove yesterday in ISLAND TIME ART. The gallery artists are dropping off new paintings and picking up the ones that came out of show later today. I will then get everything in the inventory and do the hanging before the end of the day tomorrow so it will all be ready for when the art room opens on Thursday. These change overs of shows are a bit of a push for me but I like curating and the end results always make me smile.

I also spent some time in the past few days pulling together and ordering a 2023 calendar for purchase. I think it will be the last year I do this, but who knows. Maybe I will grit my teeth and do it again. The product is expensive to purchase even wholesale and it has an expiration date which means hustling to get it out to customers before it loses its value. That said, I have dedicated fans who are terribly disappointed if I do not make this happen. So if you would like one, let me know and we shall figure it out get it to you. They are basically $42 CAD including tax and shipping within North America. If you pick them up from the ISLAND TIME ART room directly, you will save $2.00. I expect them to arrive early November if not before. Here is a bit of a sneak preview.

Well, this pretty much catches us up again for the moment. As you can see, I have been doing a lot of everything rather than settling in to just working in the studio or the art gallery spaces. It is sometimes just the way it goes. I admit to being a bit weary and wanting to conserve energy where I can but it is likely just the shorter days. I will simply be kind to myself and not push too hard until I can gather myself up again. It is a time that I consider to be “one foot in front of the other” until I arrive at some new place that is yet to be determined. Do you ever feel this way?

Hope you have a pleasant day and I shall check in again soon.

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Arbutus Tree as a Figurative Painting

There is a new painting on the easel. I love the curvy strength and elegance of Arbutus trees and I have my favourites. For now, this Arbutus tree rests on a larger canvas in the middle of my Mayne Island home studio. The last evening’s sun is stretching across the valley outside the window as the weariness of having stood at the easel for the past few days catches up with me. It is a good feeling.

The work may require a brushstroke here and there but mostly it is as it will be. At least, this is how I feel at the moment.

resting “Arbutus on Saint John Point” by Terrill welch, 40 x 36 inch oil on canvas

There are certain details that I particularly enjoyed painting.

There was a quiet, loose and easy flow of moving paint from the palette to the canvas as I was leaving marks softly behind in their purest form. This is an unhurried painting with lots of movement and freedom. I don’t think I need to say that this raw intuitive approach is one of my favourite ways to paint.

Artist notes: The portrait Arbutus tree seems to be saying “see, here we are. Just follow the trail and enjoy.” And I shall, after a long pause knowing this favourite Arbutus right at the tip of the point won’t be with us for many more years.

I have studied this tree since 2018 in all the season and various times of day. Only now has it had its first portrait painted. Painting Arbutus trees remind me of painting figures. The painter wants an interesting angle and intriguing light to work with. There is a sense of getting the tree weighted accurately so appears both supple and elegant. Then there are those sensual curves that should almost make us blush and wish the tree had more clothes on… or maybe that we were viewing them in private space as our eyes caress their length and limbs. When I walk amongst them, there is usually one hand or the other running across a nearby smooth cool surface of their trunk. Arbutus trees are just like that.

Let’s put this painting in a digital room view to give us just a bit more distance and scale as we take a longer look.

The painting isn’t ready for release yet. However, inquires are always welcome. I will look at the painting out of the corner of my eye for the next few days. Then I will make some final decisions on whether it needs anything more. For now, the painting needs to separate from the painting process and be seen for its own merit. This is the benefit of the “resting” period.

Next, I am preparing another 20 x 24 inch canvas for a commission received while art collectors were travelling in the English Cotswolds. It is one of those extremely rare times that I will combine my own experience of being in England with a reference starting point from the art collectors. This painting will be part concrete reference, part memory and part imagination. We have agreed on the elements of the painting and the general imaginative composition. Now, I just need to work my magic and create the painting.

I hope you have enjoyed this latest painting adventure and I shall catch up with you again very soon.

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Escape to the Sea

The low autumn sun has chased me into the las possible space of my less than idea south exposure painting studio. In frustration, I give up and wash my brushes.



Then I tie up my hiking shoes and escape to the sea. The familiar forest middle trail eventually leads me in a steady easy rhythm out to seashore. 


The ground is dry even though the air is humid enough to feel cool and damp in the shade while sandstone rocks have soaked up the sun’s heat. 


It is an early October day of deep contrasts.

Punctuated by open space, there is room to breathe here and no need to think. Feeling is enough. I lay on the sandstone with my eyes closed listening to the sea.


The sun must have moved behind the big fir tree on the west side of the studio by now. I head home again. Too tired to paint, I start supper instead. Tomorrow, I will continue. And now tomorrow is today. I will post this and start bringing in paintings from the new gallery pod and taking paintings out to hang for the next show. I will stop and paint for a while in the best light after this. When the sun gets in the way again, I will put new work into the inventory and release it for purchase. Somewhere in there, is lunch and after this an art related zoom call. Then supper and another art zoom call. This will be followed by watching a show on my iPad with my husband and finally sleep with big open windows under the light of the moon. Then it will be tomorrow and an art collector will come to visit for the day from Victoria. I will finish the last bits to open the new show before she arrives and work some more on the large canvas in the studio.

There will be interruptions of course. Bills need to be paid by E-transfers. The house will need to be prepared for the housecleaner. Laundry will need doing. One must shower and brush their teeth and comb their hair. Shuffling out of pyjamas into painting clothes and then into clean street clothes are a must. The boxes holding new cedar planters needing assembly will be taken from the car and the roses are gasping for a little water. Still, the bones of an artist’s life are firmly in place and will provide the structure for each hour of each day. 

What are the key elements that are organizing your days? 

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Early Autumn in the Japanese Garden

Sunshine and cooler temperatures are the perfect time for drifting between productive activity and leisurely strolls. I have sorted, cleaned and reclaimed my office space in the loft. I find it so refreshing to have it “in hand” so to speak. Now it is time to go for that stroll. 


I go off into the gorgeous early autumn weather with its warm sun and blue skies. One of my stops is our Mayne Island Japanese Memorial Garden. 


The bridge is looking more elegant than usual with its orange red boards. I smile to myself remembering bringing students to plein air paint in the garden. This bridge lovingly was referred to as “the dreaded bridge”. 


The bridge can be seen from almost anywhere in the circular walk around the garden.


It is a popular prop for photographing family and friends. 


The Japanese maples are starting to turn red.


Samaras prepare to twirl off in a gust of wind. 


I find myself sitting in the ground beside the path even though there are many comfortable benches tucked into the garden. 


I am sitting next to the new bamboo shishi odoshi that translates as “deer frightening” in English. Thankful all the deer are fences out of this beautiful garden. 


I head home to prepare supper. Before I feel ready, the day is over. The sun is setting through the trees and creating magical light across the room. 


The time on my phone says that it is just seven in the evening. I am not ready yet for the fast shortening of the days in our northern hemisphere. I want to savour the last of our late summer’s warmth, even if it is shaking hands with early autumn before its annual departure. 

Meanwhile, Russia has announced a partial mobilization. First it was for 300 reservists. Now I hear possibly one million. Nuclear weapons are mentioned. Is it a bluff? Likely they say while failing to pause before insisting that we should take this threat seriously and prepare. How does one prepare for a Nuclear war? Is an animal really cornered if they very carefully constructed the corner themselves? The analogy doesn’t seem to work somehow. I listen to the UN security talks. I check with trusted YouTube analysts for updates about changes in the Ukrainian frontline. What shall I prepare in the face of possible war? A prayer for peace? A dedicated meditation on love? Possibly. I will go to garden for a powerful potion of fresh peppermint for my tea. I will watch the bright green leaves swirl in the hot water of my favourite mung and I shall breathe. I shall breathe slowly, purposefully and with an open heart, cradled in strength and a unrelenting force. 

Such are these days of this early autumn here on the southwest coast of Canada. 

What is it like this time of year in your  neighbourhood? 

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Warm Sun with Cool Shadows

I have my sweater tide around my waist and my cheeks are facing the later morning sun. But there is no mistaking that it is fall. A cool breeze drifts gently through the trees and tickles up the length of my spine.

*Please note: Reader warning about challenging material and painting reference sketch for possibly my next large painting are included near the end of this post.  

I want to not much of anything on days like this. It is a good thing I got the edges on four large paintings done yesterday before heading down to sit beside the sea. 

Autumn crocuses are in full bloom. I always feel like they are playing a great hoax on us, as if wanting us to believe it is spring. 

But it was Saint John Point where I wandered yesterday. This place is intimately familiar. Yet, if I learn into that closeness and seek out something more, it always delivers. 

Again…

And again…

The Arbutus woods, the sea and the sky are never the same twice. So I keep seeking with fresh eyes and a willing spirit. 

Every twist is assessed and acknowledged, sometimes with sadness because the end of a life is so near. Maybe one more season. Hopefully. 

However, even in death Arbutus Trees seem to still have so much to offer with their elegant curves. 

I revel in the grand strength and endurance of the healthy giants. How do they do it when so many others are struggling?

At home the painting edges dry.

These three paintings have displaced us from our great room and dining table.

Not to worry, we have done this a few hundred times before. We have a temporary cozy and beautiful solution. The outside deck table is moved to the big windows in our bedroom. Now how fine is this!?

And in the evening if dinner is later, we slide everything over in front of the fireplace. One could hardly call this roughing it.

Today and tomorrow the Gallery Pod is closed. I have a friend and an art collector arriving for a day trip tomorrow though. I could start on a larger painting but I might wait. What I want to work on is dark and grim. I have a small study I did around five months ago about our tranquil place next to the Salish Sea with the devastation left behind by the Russians in the small village of Bucha village in Ukraine imposed in the foreground.

“One World, Two Places” by Terrill Welch is a small 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch 

Artist notes: During mid April 2022 war photographers began releasing images of Bucha Ukraine following Russian retreat. The inhumane atrocities where nightmarishly haunting. I was overwhelmed by the graphic possibilities for sickly human behaviour. I went from our calm, warm, cozy home to the shores of the Salish Sea on the southwest coast of Canada where Mount Baker loomed across the waters in the United States. What if our neighbouring unit were to attack us in this way? What would we do? These lands too have witnessed atrocities by European settlers towards Indigenous communities. There is no place of virtue for how despicable humans can be to one another. The miracle might be that we have even moments of peace, compassion and caring at all. Yet, the seascape of my island home is tranquil and takes the edge off of my inner turmoil. I return home and paint “One World, Two Places” using several reference but with a specific image quote to Den Kazansky who risks his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to document the crimes in Bucha and the war in Ukraine. Kazansky’s tag line on Twitter is “For only in the grip of darkness we will shine amidst the brightest stars” This too could be the title of this painting sketch.


The subject deserves a large canvas. I am just not sure I have the stomach and the courage to paint it. I have a biting, teeth grinding and nightmare kind of concern for those civilians who are on the front lines of the war in Ukraine. I can hike the trails to take the edge off but this doesn’t change the situation. Somehow painting these experiences offers a concrete place outside of my head to record these horrors that contrast so starkly with our daily island life here on the Southwest Coast of Canada.

For now, I am going to make my coffee and see what I decide after that.

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Weaving Together A Weekend Through to Monday

After collecting our basket from the Farmers Market yesterday and spending most of the day putting up the harvest for winter while guests self browsed in person and online, today with the Gallery Pod open from 11-4, I am smiling. 

I am smiling AND painting edges. I would say this is almost a miracle. 😉

I think it is the second batch of oven roasted eggplant, tomatoes and peppers with herbs in olive oil.

Or maybe it is the third batch of rustic basil pesto?

But it is likely the labeled serving sizes in the freezer that is doing it. This and the fall air. Either way, you are most welcome to come self browse in the Terrill Welch Gallery Pod and stop in and see the new show in ISLAND TIME ART both today and tomorrow. I shall be around between painting edges and strolling in the early autumn sun. Plus, there are fresh flowers in the Gallery Pod to welcome you.

If you are only able to visit and browse online this works well too.

Terrill Welch Gallery Pod Private Viewing Room is available HERE.

ISLAND TIME ART “Late Summer Gold” group show can be viewed in a collection HERE

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Late Summer

We are now solidly into what islanders call “the shoulder season”. It is the time of year that we book our eye and dentist appointments and check all our batteries and fill the pantries for winter storm power outages. Those that have wood stoves are stacking and splitting and those of us with propane back up heat check the gauges and determine when we will need to ask that the tanks be refilled. Sunflowers and other late summer flowers shine brightly. Our tomatoes and cucumbers are in abundance and various apples are ripening. I always like to do a little extra for winter this time of year.

A pan of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers with garlic, African basil and rosemary are roasted for toast and frozen in small packages for mid winter with the taste of summer pasta.

I do up a basic pickle brine and stuff two jars with a cucumber, carrots and apple. These brine pickles will last unsealed and refrigerated in their sterilized jars for over two months and are ready to start using after two days. Besides, they look so pretty. A person can add dill and garlic if they wish but I didn’t.

We made a trip to Victoria on Monday for my new lenses and had time to stop in Sidney for supper and then a walk window shopping to the pier.

The late ferry arrived at dusk and the ride was uneventful and on schedule.

Yesterday, I worked with our gallery artists to pull together a new show for ISLAND TIME ART and we used the new gallery pod that was closed for the day as a handover for work returning and a staging area for the new show that was going up. Look at that colour!

Then a couple of hours later, it now looks like this and will open tomorrow Thursday, Sept 15, 2022 at 492 Dalton Dr., Mayne Island, B.C. in the ISLAND TIME ART room within Dragonfly above the ferry terminal. I invite you to drop by and see for yourself. Browsing is welcomed and encouraged.

Day trips from Victoria are relatively easy now that we are in the shoulder season and visitors even come for the day from Vancouver sometimes. The ISLAND TIME ART room is generally open 10-5 Wednesday through Monday though it is closed this Wednesday for some electrical work in the building. The Terrill Welch Gallery Pod at 428 Luff Rd also on Mayne Island is open 11-4 Thursday through Monday for the shoulder season and by arrangement at other times.

And speaking of large still life paintings, “August Still Life with Cezanne and Matisse”, a 36 x 24 inch oil on canvas, has found its forever home and is now sold.

I have always loved this painting and had hung it in our hallway for the open home studio days that accompanied the opening of the new Terrill Welch Gallery Pod. One of the gallery’s art collectors took this painting home on trial to consider purchasing and decided to make their relationship permanent. Many of my paintings have a specific job to do in the home of art collectors and this one is no exception. I am honoured that it was chosen for the important work it has been assigned in rememberance of a very special human being I have also had the pleasure to know.

I do believe this catches us up for now and I am off to work on the next issue of our “A Brush With Life” newsletter and get the wall labels ready for the new show in ISLAND TIME ART. Take good care and we shall chat again soon.

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