12 min read

A Brush with Life - Issue #96 Wintering into Spring

There is a sense that if we do our quiet wintering well then new vibrant energies start to stir before they can even be seen on the surface. This resonates deeply within me. I often find it hard to notice the significance of light if we dismiss the shadows and the quiet places. Earlier this week, I
A Brush with Life - Issue #96 Wintering into Spring

There is a sense that if we do our quiet wintering well then new vibrant energies start to stir before they can even be seen on the surface. This resonates deeply within me. I often find it hard to notice the significance of light if we dismiss the shadows and the quiet places. Earlier this week, I went rambling off down a seaside trail and knew by the scent in the air, the sun on my face and the lightness of my step that I had made it through another deep wintering of my being. This issue continues a current trend of travelling mostly with me through my inner world in the studio and the winter and spring of this artist’s life more than the outer world of a gallery owner. Are you ready?

Winter sun disturbing the painting process by Terrill Welch

Work In Progress

A large commissioned 30 x 42 inch, oil on canvas, work begins to take shape. But it is halted when the winter sun unexpectedly floods the south-exposed studio. Not to worry. There are plenty of hours of filtered soft grey light on most days to paint. These breaks means there is time for hikes and painting edges and packaging up requested work for consideration to be shipped to art collectors. It just means not settling into the one task of painting for as long as I would like. However, my lower back and left shoulder are thankful for the breaks from long hours of standing at the easel that the sun offers when working on these large canvases.

Speaking of painting edges, these two works have taken over the great room coffee table for the week as they lay around on their backs yelling at everyone who comes near “Don’t touch! Don’t touch me!” My husband David sighs a long sigh and looks at them and then at me as if we have both lost our thin grip on what is a reasonable way to live in a home.

Painted edges by Terrill Welch

David then retreats to his office and bars the door to all things painting and painters for the duration of the afternoon. Such is life living with an artist with a home studio. I am thankful for his patience and general good nature. I also appreciate his firm boundaries. Otherwise, we might end up sleeping in a tent on the lawn while an inordinate number paintings roam the house at various levels of completion and preparation for shows and shipping. Boundaries are most often a good thing don’t you think? The best part is that when these two are dry, they will be off to their “forever homes” with the art collectors that commissioned them.

New Work

This new work received an inquiry before it was even released. It is now “on hold” and has been shipped to the art collectors for a final viewing. It may or may not be taken under stewardship by the collectors but either way, the quick painting sketch is happy to wait and see.

“Just The Sea” by Terrill Welch, 11 x 14 inch acrylic on gessobord

On Hold - “Just The Sea” 11 x 14 inch acrylic on gessobord by Terrill Welch

Artist notes: Standing next to the Pacific shores as a frothy sea stands up to greet me releases all the unnoticed tension running along my spin. I might get wet… yes, I really truly might get wet. Sombrio Beach.

Because of the “all over” nature of this small work, a room view is helpful.  So let’s provide you one…

Room view “Just The Sea” by Terrill Welch. Frame is for inspiration only.

I will keep you posted on how it makes out on its trial home visit.

A Visit with Danish Painter Anna Ancher

“Ah yes! Would it even be possible to express on the canvas - the wonder in front of you… to complete it? In the end, it’s not so easy. Make the most of your impressions as possible. That, which made you paint it, and then do not think of anything else. Then the public has to come… if they wish.”

This quote is by Danish painter Anna Ancher (1859-1935) near the end of a wonderful documentary. Her painting life and story are worth exploring. Let’s start with two of my favourite of her paintings.

“The Maid in the Kitchen” by Anna Ancher (1883 - 1886) oil on canvas, 88.7 x 68.5 cm (35 x 27 inches).

“The Maid in the Kitchen” by Anna Ancher (1883 - 1886)

“Sunlight in the Blue Room” by Anna Ancher (1891) oil on canvas, 65.2 x 58.8 cm (25.66 x 23.15 inches)

“Sunlight in the Blue Room” by Anna Ancher (1891)

Anna was a strong painter and a strong woman in a time when being recognized and respected for both were challenging. Learn more in the video and, if you do not understand Danish, click on the icon with “CC” and you can select subtitles to enjoy this beautifully filmed documentary about her life and work.

Anna Ancher - Kunsten at fange en soltråle 44 min on Vimeo

Anna Ancher - Kunsten at fange en soltråle 44 min on Vimeo

Hvordan kunne en ung pige i 1870erne vokse op i det yderste Danmark og udvikle sig til en af vores største kunstmalere? Anna Anchers motiver, sollys og farver…

Opinion Piece - Working Definition of Humans

Working Defintion of Humans: a sanctimonious, invasive species that is doing a pretty good job of destroying a whole planet.

We are starting a section on contemporary constructed landscape paintings this week in my course. One of our tasks is to construct a landscape using natural or human made object, take a photo and then do a painting from that photograph. I have accomplished the first two steps. Next is suppose to be to paint using this image as my reference. There is a problem though.

Maquette of working definition of humans by Terrill Welch

I just want to flick that little plastic creature with her wee dog with matching raincoat and boots right into the Salish Sea! I won’t of course because plastic is not good for the sea and sea creatures.

The truth is, somedays, I loath being a human. There is no way out.

Even as a committed naturalist, I am part of the problem. I may buy local, grind my coffee beans with a hand grinder that will last long enough that it can become a family heirloom, use an ancient hand mixer, wear my limited number of natural fiber clothing for 30 or so years (until they are hardly suited for rags) and refrain from buying beauty products of all sorts but it will not be enough. I can limit my travel to slow travel and carefully considered trips to lessen my impact. I can even stay home for extended periods of time but it still isn’t enough. I can live in a home that is built of mostly natural materials of straw, mud, lime and timbers but, this too, is not going to make a difference. I can have only two birth children instead of many and yet the world population is still rising at a rate that cannot be sustained. The truth is, I typed this on my iPad, with 2TB of iCloud space, while sharing a photo taken with my iPhone 11 Pro max that I took to the beach in my 2012 gas Subaru Outback. This is the rub and the reality. To even begin to speak about the issue of climate change, and even when doing the best I can, I always feel a little like encrusted slim.

There is no high moral ground in our human condition. We are an incredibly destructive and invasive species. We will live and most likely prematurely die as a collective whole in these constructed landscape conditions while taking most of the rest of the animal kingdom with us.

Not a very pleasant thought is it? However, I have finished the last of my cold cup of locally-roasted-beans-that-have-travelled-far coffee. It is time to take my non-solvent house paint to touch up the gallery walls in my gas powered car.

Postscript: this article was first posted on my personal FaceBook profile and generated a significant amount of engaging and insightful discussion. It is a darker place for me to position a conversation but, as I mention in the beginning of this issue, it is harder to see the light without the shadows.

Wintering Replenishes

I was recently sent a link to this wonderful podcast where Krista Tippett of “On Being” interviews the English writer, Katherine May, about “wintering” in relation to her New York best seller Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

It is a perfect reminder of our current seasonal place and time in history. I have it on my list to get the book. However, if you get it before me, please let me know what you think. In the meantime, here is the link to the podcast which includes a transcript if you would rather read than listen….

Katherine May — How ‘Wintering’ Replenishes | The On Being Project

The English writer on winter as a season in nature and in every life — a way to name the vast, communal, extended experience of our pandemic time.

A Hike in the Sun

After all this “wintering” I suggest we take a walk in the sun. Morning promised the most stunning day but it was going to be way too bright in the sunroom studio to paint. There was nothing else to do. Well, there were plenty of things but nothing that was appealing or could compete with the day going on outside. So, I grabbed a light sweater, tied up my hiking shoes and left.

I told myself I really needed another reference of the far cliff bank for the painting I am working on. This is why I just had to go for a hike. Today! Like right this minute! You can see the drying bones of the Arbutus tree I am painting shifting over the edge of the bank with time and weather.

Some days I am feeling more confident than others and, if the ground feels neither too dry nor too wet under foot, I take the trails that are closest to the edge.

The view is stunning.

But the edge is truly quite close, as you can see from the pencil marks I have made in the next image to show my foot print. It is a long way down to the rocks and sea below. I am not good at guessing but maybe 25-30 feet? A person must have their wits about them and be paying attention to where they are stepping. If you suffer from the wobbles or vertigo, I suggest going on the other trail and staying inland a bit.

The view in the other direction is just as magnificent. I love these natural theatre steps for watching the drama play out in the channel. Today it was shore birds mostly.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a tree like this for a hundred days and a hundred nights? What kind of amazing wonders might you have witnessed?

I sometimes would like long limbs like this to reach farther up towards the sun.

Alas, I am but a modest human and only modestly tall even for a human. So we get to view the world today a little closer to the earth than the vantage point of a majestic Arbutus tree.

I like to look both ways as I am walking. It is an life-long habit that started as a child so I would know what the trail looked like when I was returning. I don’t need to look both ways on these trails for this reason because the pathways are intimately familiar. However, a habit is a habit and doesn’t always modify itself by reason.

Like the habit of hugging Arbutus trees. I swear they hug me back as I put my cheek up against their smooth trunks.

Then all too soon my 2.5 hour adventure draws to a close in a place where my eyes meet my heart.

It has definitely been one of those amazing Mayne Island kind of days. I even managed to convince myself to take a selfie which is one of my least favourite things to do. 😉

Terrill Welch taken out on the hiking trails at Saint John Point in January 2022.

I hope you have enjoyed hiking along with me.

We would like to take a moment to honour our very first gallery room that opened in August 2017 and closed December 2021. This short video takes us from the initial room, through its renovations, into a few highlights of Terrill Welch’s solo shows and finally, to the empty space as we are now ready to hand over the keys. During this short span of 4.5 years this room has been part of so many great conversations about art and life.

We owe much to many amazing people who helped with the renovations and also with the closure of this wonderful gallery room. We are grateful to all of the art collectors who purchased artwork from this room and all the serious fans and the hall-wanders who stopped by to visit. We are thankful to our other small business neighbours who contributed to making this a vibrant small business hub.

The Garden Room will go on to have new adventures now and we are excited to focus on getting both our amazing sweet gallery pod in place at 428 Luff Road, Mayne Island, B.C. as well as a new tiny commercial space opened in a location that has yet to be disclosed. More soon!

For now, enjoy the time-travel as we say goodbye to the Garden Room.

Note: I do believe you can watch this video clip even if you are not on FaceBook so let’s give it a try…

We would like to take a moment to honour our very first gallery room that opened in August 2017 and closed December 2021. This short video takes us from...

Current Show in the Arbutus Room

The current group show in the Arbutus Room will close on Sunday, March 6, 2022 and we will also vacate this last gallery room by the end of March. So take a browse online and drop into the physical gallery room before the show ends if you get a chance….

Soft Belly of the West Coast | Winter Group Show | Artsy

Soft Belly of the West Coast | Winter Group Show | Artsy

Regardless of their unique differences, each painting leaves us with the feeling that this is the soft belly of the West Coast that continues to  capture the attention of Mayne Island landscape painters Jody Waldie, Glenda King, Jennifer Peers and Terrill Welch.

If time allows, we are hoping to offer a few online exclusive solo shows between the middle of March and end of June while we are getting the new physical art gallery venues built and renovated for your viewing pleasure. So no worries. There will still be lots to see and read about as we make these transformations.

Until Next Time

If you have made it all the way to the end of this particular issue, congratulations! Pheewwwf! Sometimes I have a lot to say don’t I? May you have the very best of journeys as we begin to move from winter to spring with longer days and the slow waking up on nature and ourselves. I would like to offer a warm welcome to new subscribers and remind you that if you have others in your network who you think might be interested in such a newsletter, feel free to pass it along. On that note, it should be easy to subscribe but sometimes the button is reported not to work. If this happens, just send me an email and I am happy to manually add your subscription.

All the best as always!

Terrill 👩‍🎨🎨❤️

Canadian landscape painter, Terrill Welch, exposes the mystery in an ordinary day, reminding us that there is only one moment – this one.