Landscape Painter Terrill Welch Celebrates Canada 150

Inspired by Canada 150 celebrations, Terrill Welch’s solo exhibition “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” opens Canada Day weekend at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café on Mayne Island, B.C. Starting now,  we will add several paintings each day to this post and tell you a little about each one, until all 24 works are included by July 1, 2017. Specific information about attending the show can be found HERE.

Now, in no particular order and continuing with new additions for the next six days….

Note: This is a double bricks and mortar and online show. Paintings can be acquired at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café or in Terrill Welch’s  Artworks Archive online gallery. Click on title of work below to see purchase details for any specific painting in online gallery.

Added June 26, 2017

Sea and Sun Cox Bay Tofino BC 24 x 48 inch oil on canvas

After days of rain and storms on the wildest of the west coast of Canada, the sun came out and the waves caught the light on Cox Bay in Tofino B.C., Canada.

Blooming Point PEI a meditation on World Peace 40 x 60 inch oil on canvas

Upon finishing this painting I believe we can say “never turn your back on World Peace” because, like the sea, World Peace is unpredictable and, if we do not have one part of our being paying attention, at all times, we can find ourselves in real trouble. We imagine we know both the sea and World Peace. We believe we can navigate these every-changing landscapes without scars, tragedy and loss. But mostly, we only think we know our shadow selves, the dark side that is within each of us and part of the collective character of humanity. We fool ourselves into believing that the horror is from elsewhere, from an “other” that is separate from us. With every wave that meets the shore, the sea demonstrates how this is not so. The land and the sea are both part of the same whole, neither is constant, neither is willingly to give in to the other. Both are changed with each moment. Yet, for brief passages of time, we can gaze at the grand view and see what is possible. We may even be comfortable and turn away from our collective struggle between the separate parts of the same whole. We forget that the land can suddenly push up from forces far below the surface and displace the sea. We ignore that the sea can be tossed in vicious storms that tear at the cliffs and topple large chunks of red dirt and stone into the waters. We tend to hang on, baffled by the interplay of our own contributions and those forces which we do not have any control. The concept of World Peace is possibly like this relationship between sea and land.

This painting is dedicated to David Sandum, a Swedish painter and print maker living in Norway. He is also the author of the award-winning memoir – I’ll Run Till the Sun Goes Down. We have been colleagues and friends for more than half a dozen years, or at least as much as one can be when living an ocean apart. The context for this painting was a dialogue we had following the latest in a series of terrorist attacks, this time it was Nice, France. The anger, bewilderment and confusion was felt bone deep. When one is a painter, there often seems to be only one thing that can be done in a situation like this – paint. So, I made a commitment to do a painting while meditating about World Peace. My next work was a large seascape from my recent travels to Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada. It seemed a fitting subject for this exercise.

Rolling Spring Storms Rocky Point PEI 20 x 40 inch oil on canvas

From the Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island, Rocky Point captures the imagination as this distant shore does battle with sea and sky. Our smallness is often felt before we expand with the weather and stride purposefully along the boardwalk. Bit of weather out there today, someone will likely comment. Collars of light jackets will be turned up and tightened at the neck but the smiles, they tell us one thing – spring! Spring rains. Spring greens slicing the red banks with their brilliance as they catch a break in the clouds. What is not to love in the simplicity of a moment like this?

Northeasterly Morning Strait of Georgia Mayne Island BC 20 x 40 inch oil on canvas

The cool winter light of early morning splashes with the waves in the high winds along the Strait of Georgia. Chilled to shivering, I stand transfixed. What if this were my last breath? Ah, but it would be a good one! View from Oyster Bay on Mayne Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Add June 27, 2017

Charlottetown PEI Harbour, 24 x 30 inch walnut oil on wood

There is a memory of cold, stiff fingers working a brush over a surface in the early spring morning air as I stand at the edge of the Charlottetown harbour. There is a sense of knowing exactly what is before me. Then, everything dissolves into fragments and reforms – though only slightly differently, the view is of an unknown time that is somehow more familiar than the present. Place and history merge. What is left is a quick glance up Great George Street to the St. Dunstan’s Basilica from Confederation Landing in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Early Spring Morning at Miners Bay, 12 x 24 inch oil on canvas

The spring morning sky brightens all in its path including the green firs on the hill across the way. Song birds sing, grass grows and an eagle cries somewhere in the distance across Active Pass. First leaves are soft and translucent in the warm light as the blues of sea catch my breath and swing it skyward and back again. How many mornings has the Springwater Lodge, the oldest continuously operating hotel in British Columbia, seen like this one?

Early March Snow Japanese Garden Mayne Island BC, 11 x 14 inch walnut oil on gessobord

A rare walnut oil quick plein air painting sketch of the Japanese Garden in the snow.

Reaching the Japanese garden on the other side of the island, I notice that the snow has stopped temporarily in the -1 degree Celsius early March wintery weather. I gather a few photographs for a friend and then settle into paint after setting up my French Box easel in the bamboo shelter on the east side of the gardens. I paint feverously for an hour. It starts to rain and then rain and snow as I am finishing up. My toes are cold from damp wool socks from when I stepped in a puddle. By all accounts the midday light is bleak and the weather miserable. But the work is done.

This small painting sketch is a series of half finished sentences in a shorthand painting language that provides rough reminders for a later more thoughtful and larger work.

Cherry Blossoms Mayne Island Japanese Garden, 20 x 24 inch oil on canvas

Clouds of pink blossoms fill the morning sky with petals drifting slowly onto the garden paths. It is Cherry blossom season in Mayne Island’s Japanese Garden. The season of sakura is here! Want to go hanami?

This painting was started plein air while standing on the edge of the path in the garden for several hours and then finished in the studio the next day. As I was painting, visitors came by who have lived on the island for more than twenty years and helped in the development of this garden. The Japanese Garden was built and is maintained by volunteers with funding that comes from donations. They told me that the current design was centered around nine original cherry trees that were planted by the Japanese family who owned the land before their interment in the second world war. This garden is a way of acknowledging this part of Mayne Island’s history and helping to heal the past. For me, as a painter in the garden that day, this acknowledgment and healing is alive and ongoing. While my brushes moved quickly across the canvas, a Japanese family came by to enjoy the garden and stopped to watch me paint. The grandmother spoke only in Japanese while the two young adults quickly translated both my words and her words mixed in with conversation and observations of their own. This painting of cherry blossoms holds what is left of our shared experiences or at least as much as I was able to render on the canvas.

Added June 28, 2017

Bennett Bay Mayne Island, 12 x 16 inch plein air acrylic sketch on gessobord

Racing the morning March sun plein air painting a quick sketch at Bennett Bay on Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Late September Sun on Vulture Ridge Mayne Island BC, 11 x 14 inch plein air acrylic sketch on gessobord

Plein air painting up on Henderson Hill at Vulture Ridge is a worthy climb on September 28, 2014. Unfortunate a small correction did not happen to this work until late December 2016, resulting it a lengthy delay in the painting sketch’s release. However, the freshness of that day has no expiry date. Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada.

On Edge At Cape Bear PEI, 28 x 24 inch oil on canvas

Securing one’s footing and leaning up to the edge of a Prince Edward Island red sandstone cliff that is tipped towards the sea is a good reminder of the eternity of change.

Cape Bear is on the eastern side of Prince Edward Island and this view is located where the Cape Bear lighthouse has been moved away from the edge of the eroding shore. It was spring when I was there with moody muggy weather enhancing a natural melancholy that comes with such a simplistic view.

Cap Egmont Lighthouse PEI, 18 x 24 inch oil on canvas

While standing on a narrow slip of land reaching out into the Atlantic sea it is tempting to shout “Give it back! Give all that red dirt you have swallowed back to shore!” But the sea never listens to such demands or pleas. We must accept, make adjustments. Cap Egmont Lighthouse, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The Cap Egmont Lighthouse was completed in September 1884 and was recognized as a heritage place under the Prince Edward Island Heritage Places Protection Act on October 3, 2012. Severe erosion caused the lighthouse to be relocated a short distance inland in April 2000. In this painting the lighthouse is more closely positioned to its original location. The studio work follows a plein air painting session at this site during the spring of 2016.

Added June 29, 2017

Update July 3, 2017: Sold – Early Spring Dinner Bay, 10 x 8 acrylic painting sketch on gessobord

A rare sunny day that threatened showers over the afternoon as the clouds sped across the sky. Plein air painting sketch.

Dinner Bay, Mayne Island, British Columbia

Late Afternoon Georgina Point Mayne Island BC, 8 x 10 inch acrylic study on gessobord

I come back repeatedly to find the perfect day with the most perfect light. Is this it? A quick sketch to explore the quality of an early winter evening by the sea along the shores of Mayne Island British Columbia, Canada followed by a larger oil painting.

Winter Late Afternoon Georgina Point Mayne Island BC, 18 x 24 walnut oil on canvas

The winter’s late afternoon light drifts pass on its journey to the cloud bank quilting the Coastal Mountains. Our gaze crosses the Straight of Georgia and returns. We are called to the shore and sea as they perform a tango that is as old as as time.

Standing with the Sea at Georgina Point, 22 x 28 inch walnut oil on canvas

At first this standing with the sea 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. However, the weather didn’t hold long enough to complete the plein air painting and didn’t break for a couple of days. The next painting morning offers up the promised sun. I am standing before a grey-scale roughed in work 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 and finish the painting. Mayne Island, British Columbia.

Added June 30, 2017 with a comment directly from the artist….

Land, seas and sky have been my longest, most enduring and greatest love. The next four paintings added to the daily website additions of paintings showing in “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” that opens today, are good representatives of this lasting relationship between the elements and paint on canvas.

Of all the paintings in the solo exhibitions, these ones bring to mind the abstract construct of owning land and the complexity of celebrating the 150 years of the Canadian Confederation. In order to celebrate one must, I believe, have a conversation about what it means to start counting Canada’s birthdays only from 150 years ago when people have been known to live here for about 12,000 years. In fact, Canada’s first peoples were the only ones to live here less than 500 years ago. Yet, unlike Europe, there is little surface evidence of these lives lived in harmony with the land, sea and sky (though not necessarily with each other). From more than 500 years ago, on our west coast shores, we can easily find middens, or possibly ancient clam gardens, maybe even fragments of pottery but that is about it. The land, sea and sky were altered very little by human beings for thousands of years before what we now call Canada became a country.

The Canadian government’s treatment of these first peoples is deplorable and it is a situation that is still in the progress of being appropriately acknowledged and addressed. Which means that on this 150th birthday of Canadian Federation there are also protests, and rightly so. As a white, European descendant born and raised in Canada, I have a responsibility to this land, our first peoples and to the Confederation of Canada to keep my ears, my eyes, my mind and my heart open as we celebration Canada this weekend. I may get it wrong. In fact, I am not sure how I might ever get it right but this doesn’t lessen my responsibility. I still must hold space for this conversation, because how can one claim to have a lasting love of our land, sea and sky without such? If you would like to know more about our lengthy history on this chunk of land, Goldi Productions Ltd’s website Canada’s First Peoples is a start at http://firstpeoplesofcanada.com/fp_g…/fp_groups_origins.html

Felix Jack View of Active Pass Mayne Island BC, 22 x 28 oil on canvas

There is a place on Mayne Island where you come around a corner and are gifted a few seconds of grand and splendid view. I am often surprised by its intensity and vast expanse of moving light on the islands and sea. No two sightings ever seem to be exactly the same but I have settled on one, just one, for now.

Update June 30, 2017: SOLD – The Bluffs Galiano Island, 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

A quick plein air painting sketch while gazing over the heads of eagles and above Active Pass and the Inside Passage from The Bluffs on Galiano Island.

Westerly Winter Winds Victoria B.C., 30 x 40 inch walnut oil on canvas

Rolling storms race across the landscape with just a hint of back-lit colour in the sky. Occasionally, the fast moving clouds break to scatter light on the almost black sea and rocky shore. Winter winds push the sea relentlessly against the resistant lands. Dallas Road walkers move swiftly, hoping for a brighter tomorrow. However, I am caught at the surfs edge, transfixed by the possibilities in these moving greys, broken by long and short dashes of white. Is it today yet?

Wind Swept Murray Head PEI, 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

The violet melancholy of a late spring on Prince Edward Island has a way of emphasizing the wind swept red shores of Murray Head as it rises up and slowly slips into the sea. There are a few new leaves on the poplar trees. Summer is coming.

Murray Head is on the east side of Prince Edward Island near Cape Bear.

Added July 1, 2017 and these are the final additions to the solo exhibition post.

Out of The Fog from Malcolm Island BC, 11 x 14 inch acrylic sketch on gessobord

A thousand times the mountains appear and disappear in the fog. I stand with them. My hiking shoes slide softly over the rolling, uneven, damp rocks. My eyes never leave the far shore. The great blue heron flew. The sea lion swam close to the water’s edge. Fishing boats came and went. Still we stood, these mountains and I, daring the fog, until it gave way to our desires. I gazed at the full view, dull under the late morning filtered light. Disappointed. The magic is gone. But the plein air painting sketch is finished and its mountains appear and disappear, a thousand times.

Melancholy Seas, 14 x 18 inch oil on canvas

The moody violet mauve of a west coast winter afternoon resists the temptation to become bruised and pensive. Resting lightly on our awareness it holds us well within the confines of melancholy rather than just plain old miserable. Reef Bay Mayne Island B.C.

West Point Lighthouse PEI, 30 x 24 inch oil on canvas

West Point Lighthouse is a story book gem complete with a resident ghost. Its compelling placement along the red sand shores and rather unique black and white facade give rise to fancy. West Point, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Where Despair Meets Hope Edith Point, 22 x 28 inch oil on canvas

Drowning in despair about our dissolving humanity on a particular day in early April, I made myself a promise – I shall go for a long walk and listen to the spring birds. I shall breathe in time with the waves on the sea. I shall inhale the scent of the blossoms on the breeze. I shall run my hands along the length of the arbutus trees. I shall walk until I reach the old fir out on the point. Then I shall paint. This is what a landscape painter does. Edith Point, Mayne Island B.C.

A note in closing directly from the artist:

“Thank you all kindly for joining me in celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday since Confederation from the west coast to the east coast in landscapes with paint! Sometime I hope to be able to add Canada’s northern coast to this collection as then it will feel complete. For now though, this is a sampling of my ramblings and experiences from our west and east coast shores.”

It you have any comments or questions feel free to leave a comment or send a private message via email to tawelch@shaw.ca

Happy Canada Day!

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5 thoughts on “Landscape Painter Terrill Welch Celebrates Canada 150

  1. Reblogged this on Creative Potager and commented:

    Ready, set go! ….

    Inspired by Canada 150 celebrations, Terrill Welch’s solo exhibition “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” opens Canada Day weekend at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café on Mayne Island, B.C. Starting now, we will add several paintings each day to the TerrillWelchArtist.com website post and tell you a little about each one, until all 24 works are included by July 1, 2017. Enjoy!

    • Thank you Jeff! I think I am more excited about this show than any so far. It will be hung salon style in a relatively small space so will be difficult to photograph once it is up but I shall try and maybe get some images posted later next week.

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