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A Brush with Life - Issue #2 A few influences

What influences this painter? - We may ask.
A Brush with Life - Issue #2 A few influences

What influences this painter? - We may ask.

Plein air painting on Chesterman Beach BC

Well, usually we don't ask often enough until after the painter is dead and can no longer answer for themselves! But, since I am still very much alive, I thought I would share a few influences that have impacted my painting process these past few weeks. I am hoping that some of them may be surprising or new to you. Let's see what we have here...

What experiences do I hold dear?

It is the ordinary and the mundane - of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one, though admittedly, it is hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins in my mindful practice of observing, walking, photographing, and painting. What are these experiences of the ordinary of which I keep reminding us?

Well, the laundry - An olive-sided flycatcher sings out into the valley as my hand reaches willfully for each peg while the cool dampness of clean bedding soothes the other.

The sky...

Collecting Sky moments

The making of potato salad...

Potatoes to Potato Salad | Creative Potager

Page after page was filled with squiggles, circles, and colours depicting how potatoes became potato salad.

A walk in the woods...

Meditative Walk February 12 2017 - YouTube

Meditative Walk February 12 2017 - YouTube

Meditative nature walk with Canadian landscape painter Terrill Welch. More about the Mayne Island B.C. artist and her paintings are available at https://terr...

What am I reading?

Actually, it is more like what am I reading again... Some books are so powerful or simply enjoyable that we read them more than once. Right now it is the 561 pages of THE SWAN THIEVES by Elizabeth Kostova. The lengthy mystery novel is filled with the lives of painters from the late 18 hundreds France to present day United States. Kostova writes with the eye and sensitivity of a painter with detailed notes of sensory observation. It has been critiqued for being too long, too descriptive but as you may guess, I think it is just right. From the old painter Alfred Sisley to the loose composite of Berthe Morisot to the obsessive nature of fictional painter Robert Oliver who is placed in a private institute for attempting to stab a painting in the National Gallery of Art. Why did he do it!? Well, you will have to follow the case and research of his psychiatrist Andrew Marlow to find out.

Opinion Piece

Is it talent or skill?

Often I hear something like "Oh, you are so talented! When did you start painting?" (I was young) These comments didn't bother me much until I started teaching oil painting and I saw how hard my students worked to learn the basics of putting paint on canvas. It was only then that I bristled when someone told them - oh, you are so talented!

I wanted to put the ALL CAPS on and shout - Do you know how hard they worked to render that painting!? How many hours of study and practice it took? Do you!?

Of course, I don't do this. But I sure feel like it. Instead, I growl a little under my breath and shake my head. Why you ask? Because being a creative being of any sort takes dedication, commitment and rigorous practice - even if you love it! Even if you might be retired from your day job. Even if your mother, father or seventh cousin once removed was a painter, a pianist, a photographer or a novelist you still have to put in the dedicated time to become skilled at what you do. And this is the rub for me.

When we say "oh, you are soooo talented!" without meaning too, we are dismissing all the hours of practice it has taken to become skilled at something that is creative. So what can we do instead? Well, let's see if we can figure this out together. Sticking with painting for the moment, here is a start...

1. Be specific and own what is working for us in a creative piece. "See those lines there - they really attract my eye to follow the lines towards where the boy is fishing."

2. Ask a specific question about a piece. "I notice you have used a different kind of yellow in these last three paintings. Is there something significant in this change for you?"

3. Just spend time with the piece. You really don't need to say much of anything. If you are online just share how you are enjoying the piece. "Each morning this week, I have been sitting with your painting open on my screen while I have my coffee. It takes me to a place where I can cheerfully greet the day." This says it all!

Now it is your turn - what else can we do that takes us beyond the notion of a creative piece being the result talent alone?

P.S. "Catching Waves at Georgina Point Mayne Island B.C." a 30 X 40 inch oil painting sold a week ago for just over $6,000 with taxes. Not once did the art collectors turn to me and say "You are so talented!" They said all sorts of other specific things about the painting and my work but not THAT! ;)

Catching Waves Georgina Point Mayne Island B.C. 30 x 40 inches

New Releases

There have been several new releases over the past couple of weeks. However, three of the five have sold. So I am going to share with you the two that are still available.

Heading Over the Hill in the Cariboo by Terrill | Artwork Archive

Heading Over the Hill in the Cariboo by Terrill | Artwork Archive

There is something vital about the abrupt arrival of spring that is possible in the north central interior of British Columbia. Snow is still seeping into th...


Navy Channel from on High by Terrill Welch  | Artwork Archive

Beautiful evening from on high over Navy Channel for an hour of plein air painting. Mayne Island, B.C., Canada Comes a simple wood frame and hanging w...

Well, here we are at the close of our second issue. Feel free to give the publication a wee "thumbs up" if you enjoyed it and share with others who you think might be interested in reading and subscribing to A Brush With Life.

More about Terrill Welch and the Terrill Welch Gallery is available at:

Canadian Contemporary Artist Terrill Welch | Landscapes and more by impressionist painter Terrill Welch

Landscapes and more by impressionist painter Terrill Welch

Until the next publication!

Would love to hear from you! Feel free to send a short note saying "hello" and tell me what is influencing YOU these days!

~ Terrill :)