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April 18, 2014 / Terrill Welch

En Plein Air by the Rhine River in Basel Switzerland

She is a working river, the Rhine,  moving cargo and people along its length and from shore to shore. She knows her place in that respect. Yet, what passion she has for a long warm spring in late morning.

plein air painting by the Rhine river Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 102

Even having just arrived the evening before I know her charms intuitively. The Basel Minster (Cathedral) is a prominent feature in the Basel landscape. Its beauty from afar or up close is worthy of admiration.

RHINE RIVER BASEL SWITZERLAND 8 x 10 inch oil on gessobord acrylic painting sketch.

Rhine River Basel Switzerland 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 067

Art prints available HERE.

While I was painting the riverside restaurants filled with lunch patrons. Several stopped to visit as they arrived or left. One was a young girl about eight years old. She didn’t speak English but her grandmother did and she translated for us so that we could talk. The girl reminded me so much of myself at the same age with her curiosity about painting.

A Basel Switzerland morning  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 015

In much of Basel single family dwelling are few. These small four or five-story apartment buildings line the streets with frequent small bar/coffee and other shops below. This economy of space without the North American highrise allows for trees to reach tall in squares and along sidewalks. The results are a relaxed pleasant neighbourhood though rippling with human noises.

FROM THE BALCONY OF AN APARTMENT IN BASEL SWITZERLAND 8 x 8 inch acrylic painting sketch on canvas board.

from the balcony of an apartment in Basel Switzerland 8 x 8 acrylic painting sketch by Terrill Welch 2014_04_18 065

Art prints available HERE.

Friday nights are definitely the end of the week with businesses opening later on Saturday morning and grocery and many other stores closed on Sunday. Locals walk, run, roller blade and cycle all the time. Frequently whole families can be seen out together along the paths beside the river. Work, home and play are integrated. Here are a couple of a skate park ramps in a small space at the end of a street.

skate park Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 022

This is just before where we are going to cross over one of the major bridges, the Wettsteinbrücke and look over the Rhine again. On a nice evening the whole east side of the river is filled with people having picnics and BBQs and drinking wine and beer. Everyone is there from visitors like ourselves to parents with new born babies, lots of university student and elderly women and men. There are people still in their business clothes sitting next to those who appear to have been beside the river since the first sun touched the east bank. Our picnic evening was close to the number one highlight during our time in Basel. Not to be missed if you are ever in town on a fine evening.

looking over the Rhine Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 032

It is morning now. Sunday morning to be exact and it seems as good a day as any to take a closer look at the Basel Minster which has a fascinating history. From a slightly different angle this time.

Rhine river by the Basel Minster in Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 027

If you look really closely done on the river bank near the right side of the photograph you can see the cable boat that ferries passengers back and forth across the river. However, we are going to continue across the bridge and walk through the “old town” and into the courtyard of the church.

Basel Minster courtyard and windows to the Rhine river by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 074

I could stand here for hours watching the light change and seeing how it impacts the few through the far windows. But. Sigh. We must be off through the archway that leads to the lookout.

freshly washed steps by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 077

Around a bend or three and a street or two and we can glimpse the oldest remaining bridge across the Rhine. It is called the Mittlere Brücke or middle bridge. Basel’s first bridge across the River Rhine was opened here in the year 1226. Electric trams were introduced to Basel in the year 1895. These proved to be too heavy for the old bridge dating from the 13th century, so it was replaced by a new structure in 1905.

through branches is Mittlere Brücke the oldest bridge Basel Switzerland by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 101

That little peaked roof structure on the bridge at the bottom is a copy of the original chapel or Käppelijoch on the bridge where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were sentenced to death. Also, in this time period women who were accused of infidelity or infanticide were bound and thrown into the Rhine. If they were swept to the banks of the river still alive, then this was taken as proof of their innocence, and they were set free.

Reference: Virtual Basel

Today, what I found were the padlocks of lovers sealing their commitment.

ove locks on Basel Bridge Switserland  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_13 123

Don’t get caught putting one of these on iron gate to the chapel though. I am told there is a fine.


What would your padlock say if I was to find it on this iron gate in Basel Switzerland?


I could tell you so much more about our time in Basel – like when I saw the Five Bathers (1885/1887) by Cezanne in the Kunstmuseum Basel

But some things must be left to our imagination or possibly for another post. Though this isn’t too likely since the train has moved on and we are now well settled into life in Venice or Venezia.


All the best of Easter Weekend to you!


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

April 15, 2014 / Terrill Welch

Is it Venezia or Venice to you?

We traveled by train from Basel Switzerland through Austria and down the northeast part of Italy to Venezia or Venice. Being an English speaking Canadian I think of Venice rather than Venezia but the later sounds so pretty it seems a shame not to use it. I do have a blog post in the wings for Basel Switzerland. However, we are taking a short introductory walk around the Cannaregio area of Venice late this morning so I thought I would take you with us.

We are staying on quiet calla Gallion not far from the first bridge near the train station. In retracing our steps back towards the station, there is a chance for us to take in that postcard view of Canal Grande from Porte degli Scalzi.

Canal Grande from Porte degli Scalzi Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 026

Stepping down off the bridge we will turn away from the train station and take the Rio Tera Lista Di Spagna and have a look along the Canal Cannaregio.

Canal Cannaregio Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 028

Yes, this part is still fairly busy but it quickly becomes quiet as we wander into the Cannaregio area. I lose interest in canals for more mundane observations. I love laundry hanging on lines. Laundry in canals.

Cannaregio Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 046

Laundry with a view.

Secchiere Venezia Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 061

Laundry with a colour theme.

Shades of red Venice Italy by Terrill Welch 2014_04_14 088

Well, that is about it. The sun is too high for good viewing and it is time to return to our rooftop apartment for a wee snack and a nap.


Oh! Is it Venezia or Venice to you?


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

April 9, 2014 / Terrill Welch

False Gargoyles removed from Church of Notre Dame of Dijon after fatal accident

Early evening in Dijon France is as inspiring as the early morning. Our adventure started out seeking a wee bite of sustenance. Following what-has-become-after-three-days our usual path, we enter the far side of Park Darcy and follow the path to the top by the trees.

top area of Park Darcy warm April evening  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 008

We walk along the top of the fountain and I stop to sigh a small regret as I had hoped to spend the afternoon painting from this vantage point.

Park Darcy view from above the fountain by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 012

Instead I spent most of the day in the Dijon Fine Arts Museum which was wonderful but meant no time for painting. I shall keep this photography sketch for later reference.

The April light in Dijon already has the harsh sharp contrasts that I generally associate with summer on the west coast of Canada. The sun is warm but the shade is still cool. Though we were in just our light sweaters, others had layered up in winter coats.

April Evening on The Streets of Dijon France by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 020

We eventually found a plat du jour to our liking and after including a glass of wine, a shared peach tart and expresso doppio I convinced David we should go find that great church we had seen on our first walk through the city when we had been looking for the Les Halles market. The last light was leaving golden trails across the tops of the building and I wanted to pocket a little of that to take home with us.

It is the Church of Notre Dame of Dijon that we were seeking and it was just around a couple of corners and a little more to the north from where we had dinner. Let’s see. Yes, there it is!

Church of Notre Dame of Dijon by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 035

A person might reasonably think it was the evening light coming through the stain glass windows that I found inspiring.

westerly evening sun back lighting Church of Notre Dame of Dijon by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 084

They are lovely enough but it not what caught my eye and curiosity. It was these!

false Gargoyles from the side by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 061

These are false gargoyles and there are 51 on the west side of the Church. There were false gargoyles to the left of where I was standing.

false Gargoyles to the left by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 050

There were false gargoyles to right and the clock with its jacquemart above

false Gargoyles to the right Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 055

and false gargoyles in the middle. Let’s just say 51 false gargoyles is a lot of gargoyles.

false Gargoyles in the middle by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 058

They are false gargoyles because they do not have a spout that is designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Oh but they are curious intriguing things! I had to know more.

The wikipedia story for the Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon’s false or dummy gargoyles goes like this:

According to the account of the monk Étienne de Bourbon, the original gargoyles were in place for only a short time: they were removed around 1240, following a fatal accident. A usurer was killed on the church forecourt as he was about to get married: a stone figure representing a usurer became detached and fell on him. His colleagues organised the destruction of all the dummy gargoyles on the façade, except for one at the upper right corner that survived until the 1960s, when it was replaced. Some 19th-century engravings do not show this gargoyle, but it can be seen in photos taken before 1880. The gargoyles at the sides and the back of the façade remain.

The dummy gargoyles which today decorate the façade, and which represent human beings, animals and monsters, were made in 1880-1882, during the restoration of the church. According to the archives, they were the work of seven Parisian sculptors: Chapot, Corbel, Geoffroy, Lagoule (also known as Delagoule), Pascal, Thiébault and Tournier.

Note: a usurer is a person who lends money and requires the borrower to pay a high amount of interest.

If you were to name one of your least favourite relatives (dead or alive) after a false gargoyle – what human being, animal or monster would they be?

Oh! Please do NOT disclose the name of the relative or leave any identifying clues. In this case, anonymity is a must ;)

Now, far too soon,  it is time to start packing our belonging and say good-bye to this beautiful city. Tomorrow we continue on to Basel Switzerland where I am not sure I will have internet access so you might not receive another post from me until we get to Venice, Italy.


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

April 8, 2014 / Terrill Welch

April morning in Dijon France

We made it from London England to Dijon France yesterday but arrived a little later than planned after missing our first connection in Paris and ended up on a later train. What an adventure! I don’t think I have been so confused in a very long time. Lesson number one – Ask. Lesson number two -Ask again. Lesson number three – keep asking.

Good people to ask in the Paris metro and train stations are the people at the small snack shops. They were the most skilled at giving clear directions. Better than the information centre. Who would have thought it? My assessment of RER Transit across Paris is mixed. I believe it  is only for the brave foreign traveler or those that play video games and who are willing to keep trying to get through the doors and passages which appear to be hidden. I took us on a wrong turn someplace getting off the RER and after about half an hour of asking and searching I popped up like a gopher halfway down the loading area for the trains. This would have been fine if our two month continuous train pass had been activated but wasn’t and this is where we lost any hope of catching our first possible connection to Dijon. Since we didn’t come in the main entrance and we didn’t know the layout of the Gare de Lyon train station, we had no idea where the ticket office was located. I tried information and received some rough idea which didn’t seem to lead to anything resembling a ticket office. Then I asked someone else who worked in another part of the building but she didn’t know either.

After waving us off the same direction as the information counter David said  “You poor darling. You have no idea where to go and I can’t keep following you.”

This experience and the five minutes to catch our train later when transferring in Sens almost finished him. When I didn’t see Dijon Ville on the list of destinations after we disembarked, I went and checked with the ticket counter. The service person had little English and of course I had about the same amount of French. But I had written out the train number, time and our destination in a little black pocket note book. This enabled her read my notes and not be distracted with my feeble attempts at speaking her beautiful language. She checked the schedule and let me know that we had five minutest to get to Platform one (voice raised hands making appropriate references to be sure I understood as she spoke her English words perfectly). This required quickly zipping across to a middle platform in the underground stairs with our luggage. I gathered David up and pointed him down a steep set of stairs and grabbed the end of our bag so we could  go quickly. We then went about 20 feet and I pointed for him to go up an equally steep set of stairs.


Yes, I do believe he shouted in dismay. But we made our way up the stairs with a whole two minutes to spare.
As we whisk across the French countryside he is deciding what in the suitcase he is going to send home. But the yellow rapeseed fields are stunning and the regional train is quiet like the ferry home from Victoria. He is recovering. I hope anyway. Looking out the window I see trees with doctor Zeus like balls on them that must be a vine growing up the tree and forming these shapes. Dusk is falling and, even if I have almost no idea what the conductor is saying, the stillness of the end of the day is comforting.

But that was yesterday. This morning we woke early in our old walk up apartment with its French balcony and many tastefully added modern touches. The task was to find the Les Halles market.

early morning Les Halles Market by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 003

Many streets in Dijon are pedestrian and bicycle only making it a pleasant city to walk both day and night. The market starts early and Tuesday is the local shopping day. As we slipped along the quiet streets with locals going to work it was easy to think we are just part of another ordinary day in Dijon.

morning in Dijon by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 013

The salt cod or morue caught my eye but only for its natural display beauty.

salt cod or morue in Les Halles market Dijon France by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 007

I would have taken more photographs to show you but I found an amazing food blog post by the Food Gypsy last evening when I was searching for where we could get groceries nearby. It is worth the read and the food photographs are stunning.

Instead, we went for coffee and croissants at the small cafe next to the market. We had taken a browse and wanted to carefully consider what we would purchase. This task needed a wee bit of fortification so as not to get more than we could eat in a couple days. After, we picked up a few items and started back to our apartment. The day was starting to pick up and the local shops were getting prepared for business.

April morning in Dijon France by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 019

The day tours were just arriving from Paris as strolled home and unpacked our provisions.

a few Les Halles market provision by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 042

David turned on the French radio and we served up a late breakfast of strawberries drizzled with creme fraiche, parsley ham, sweet pears, ripened goat cheese and a chunk off a wood oven baked baguette.

I then went off to paint a block away in Park Darcy while David took a nap.

plein air sketching Park Darcy in April Dijon France by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 058

I chose the park because I wasn’t sure how people would react to my painting on the streets. However, I quickly discovered that painting is considered serious work in Dijon and many people stopped to comment, visit, ask questions and give their thumbs up of approval. My French is improving by the hour out of the pure delight and pleasure of warm conversation. The only slightly awkward moment was when a couple of oriental tourists stage-set a photograph with me. I should have seen it coming but only had enough time to look up and smile as the woman laughed and put her arm around my shoulders and her husband’s face disappeared behind his iPad to frame the shot. I am not sure if one short night’s sleep can even remotely qualify me as the local Dijon artist painting in Park Darcy.

But here we have it – APRIL MORNING PARK DARCY 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch on tempered hardboard.

Park Darcy in April Dijon France 8 x 10 acrylic plein air sketch gessobord  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_08 Dijon France 063

Getting tangled in the unknown and unfamiliar yesterday was worth it for the sweet welcome of the April streets of Dijon this morning. There is something extremely humbling about being at the mercy of others to find our way. It is only equaled by the release of finding we have succeeded and all do to the kind and open hearts and minds of others.


As an adult, what is a time you most needed to rely on the help of others to find your way?


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

April 6, 2014 / Terrill Welch

If Greater London hadn’t expanded to include Uxbridge we could be accused of missing it

We had a plan for a day in London but the Metropolitan Tube line was down for maintenance on Saturday. Our minicab driver informed us that Uxbridge (pronounced Ox-bridge) is however part of Greater London. So we have been to London but we didn’t see the Queen. Before leaving us to make an alternative plan the driver explained where to phone the minicab company and what to say so they would know where to pick us up. More about this later in our story.

We were going to go into downtown London to test run our connections for reaching the Eurostar train that will take us through the Chunnel which is the short name often used for the Channel Tunnel. The Chunnel runs from Folkestone in the south of England, to Calais in northern France. Lucky for us, the security person at the Uxbridge station was less than busy due to the closure so he helped us get our “Oyster Card” that uses a touch system for travel fare.

Uxbridge Station England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 038

He provided us a practice run on using the card, checked the schedule to help coordinate our times and said he would be starting work at 7:00 am on Monday and would keep an eye out for us in case we had any trouble. Since we neither had a Tube traveling in our director  nor a reason to go into downtown London and we were free to spend the day walking the High Street of Uxbridge. But before we go wandering there is one more conversation we must have. Like most people since we have arrived, he asked where we were from which then leads into other people’s experiences with Canada. His story was having his plane turned back on its cross Atlantic flight following a hot place vacation for his honeymoon. The plane had to return due to a medical emergency and  landed in a town someplace on east coast of Canada where it was -35 degrees. These are some of the beautiful value-added experiences when arranging every detail of ones travel. We spend a lot of time talking with local people out of necessity. Because of these exchanges my impression of England is one of a warm, helpful, entertaining and engaging population.

Now, would you like to see a few highlights of our Uxbridge stroll?

Warmth and aroma of Italian coffee seem to be at the heart of today’s High Street in Uxbridge England. A historical market for corn and a place of flour mills, Uxbridge has kept a market-like feel and is a pleasant walk-about as bits of time surface and merge between old and new.

heart and capaccino Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 024

There are places where it is still easy to imagine the clip-clop of horses’ hooves on the cobble stone as they turn into an entry way.

clip clop Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 033

Though this passage way is more likely to echo the clicking of heels of smokers these days as they seek shelter from the rain.

the smoking bench Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 037

We were prepared for the more obvious abundance of public cigaret smoking in the United Kingdom and Europe but I had somehow forgot about the leftover evidences of this habit. These folks are sitting on what is obviously used as the public smoking bench. It is nicely positioned right beside the waiting area for London’s Black Cabs.

black cabs Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 040

These are an expensive travel option except for short distances and when necessity of timing makes the parting pounds justifiable. To give you an example, the Black Cab price to our Airbnb from the airport was 40 pounds. The minicab price is 15 pounds. After mistakenly taking the Black Cab on arrival, I now have money on my Skype account to phone the minicab company. The price for city bus from Iver Health for two was 7.50 pounds while the minicab was 5 pounds. And all we needed to do when we were ready to leave Uxbridge was to phone the company from in front of the Uxbridge Station. We were to give our name and say “pick us up at the three phones.”

pick us up at the three phones Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 043

At first, I was confused because they were three RED telephone booths and they were located in front of the Uxbridge Station. I was sure these clarifying factors must be relevant to finding us.  However, apparently most if not all phone booths are red and these are the only three together like this in Uxbridge. So a destination of “the three phones” is enough. The rest is just unnecessary details.  But I am getting ahead of myself. We have more to see yet.

Like the perfect pairing of the flower shop and dental surgery.

perfect pairing dental surgery and flowers Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 055

And The Queens Head public house.

The Queens Head Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 047

that has been serving real ales since 1544. The Queen’s head is in commemoration of Anne Bolyen who “was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.[5] Henry’s marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation.” (reference: wikipedia)

Real Ales  since 1544 Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 050

Right directly across from the public house is of course the St. Margaret’s Church, parts of which date back to the 14th century and the grounds have been used for worship since the 12th century.

St. Margaret's Church parts of which date back to the 14th century Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 058

A casual explorer must be careful to search out the history of buildings and not to assume that two buildings that look similar are about the same age. Here is a perfect example. I at first thought the church in Iver Heath must be about the same age as this one in Uxbridge as it does look similar.

The Pairsh Church of Iver Heath England  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 006

But no. The St Margaret of Antioch, the Parish Church of Iver Heath in England was built in 1862. The building is a good impression of a 13th century English parish church, with open faced flintwork walls, a tower beside the church, a lychgate at the entrance, and many tilting grave stones in the churchyard (though I am sure this is due to the soft ground and not a design feature.)

Well this concludes our meanderings in Uxbridge and the Minicab driver is taking us on the route out of town that goes between church and pub.

The Church view Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 052

Pedestrians alert. Remember, in Greater London, if the road isn’t wide enough to pass or park, then the sidewalk is a perfect alternative.

I now have an “England” album in my Redbubble Storefront containing a few of my images from these two recent blog posts about our travels.


Tomorrow is a travel day as we make our way to Dijon France.


What is one curious fact you would advise visitors about in your community?


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

April 4, 2014 / Terrill Welch

On location in Black Park England

With the forest a twitter with Flickers, Magpies, and Wood Pigeons, the dullness of the early spring morning did little to suppress our imaginations as we strolled through part of the 530 acres in Black Park, Buckinghamshire  England.

Wood Pigeons Black Park by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 004

I whisper, feels like Robin Hood and his merry men are going to come rushing out at any moment.

Places in movies near Pinwood Film Studios in Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 039

However, we are a wee bit south of Robin’s Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. I can be forgiven such geographical dislocation I suppose since parts of the 2010 Robin Hood movie are reported to have been filmed in this location, along with Harry Potter, Sleepy Hollow, Dracula and James Bond.

Near the Pinewood Film Studio in Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 043

So can you forgive me now for not zipping in an hour on the tube to London for our first full day in the United Kingdom?

Maybe if I share a patch of wild Forget-me-nots?

Forget-me-nots in Black Park by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 063


Blossoms in Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 056

Tall Pines?

Tall Pines in Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 031

How about a Silver Birch?

Birch in Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 009

Okay, hum… what about a brick house near the edge of the park?

Hint of a brick house at the edge of Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 065

Well, I guess I could have got a little farther out of the bush and you might have been able to see something. Next time.

In the mean while, watch out for Robin Hood and his band of merry men…

Early morning on a gray day in Black Park England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 005

next I was going to go and explore an old church nearby with my easel and paints in hand but it looks like it might rain. We will have to wait and see I guess. The other option is to go to the Stag and Hounds Pub. Left to the church and right to pub. I wonder how often that choice has been made in this particular neck of the woods?


What is it YOU most first like to do when traveling some place new?


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

March 24, 2014 / Terrill Welch

How do you pack for three months travel to London, Paris, Dijon, Basel, Venice, Florence, Nice and Barcelona?

The short answer never changes when packing for a trip does it? Let’s say it all together…


But what does as little as possible look like?

Here are three clues:

1. If you need to sit on a suitcase that is as up to your waist and wider than the bathroom door in order to close it, you are not there yet.

2. If you don’t think you can carry your luggage and pull out your passport from your safety wallet at the same time, you still have some work to do.

3. If you are wondering if you are going to be able to hire someone to carry your belongings or you can’t imagine carrying it up four flights of stairs all by yourself, it is time to reassess.

When David and I traveled in Peru for a month we only had one small backpack of carry-on luggage each. When we came home we had one extra small bag to check that contained a few gifts. At the time I wasn’t painting and only had my much smaller film 35 mm film camera. There were no iPads and we didn’t even consider taking a laptop because Peru had lots of internet cafe locations. This time we have much more gear to pack and we are going for a longer stretch of time. Because of this and because we will be in such diverse climates we decided that one piece of carry-on each wasn’t going to work. We purchased one narrow medium-sized, hard-shell bottomed suitcase that expands into two separate pieces if we need it. We will have one carry-on each containing mostly camera equipment, laptop, ipads and toothbrushes… and this one suitcase will be checked.

For clothes think comfortable, versatile, happy being crumpled, easy to wash and layers. Bring only the clothes for what you are going to be doing and half as many as you think you need.

Take as little as possible by Terrill Welch 2014_03_23 070

We are not night club people. We have no wedding to attend. So dress clothes and dress shoes are just not needed. If we change our mind later, then it looks like I get to buy a new pair of shoes ;) But I won’t pack these things with me. I do have a simple skirt and top that can go anywhere for a nice dinner. That is it. But the skirt and top is also equally suitable for a day traveling on the train or a morning walking along the beach or strolling an art gallery. I don’t wear make up, use face or hand cream and I don’t take any medications or supplements so this helps keep things simple.

However, there are a few don’t-leave-home-without items that I do include in my packing:

Travel things by Terrill Welch 2014_03_23 074

1. a small bottle of liquid hand cleanser. This was so handy on our trip to Peru that I seldom have been without it since.

2. safety money belt with RFID blocker which means only a small amount of cash for daily purchases is ever readily accessible. Extra tip – when choosing your clothes make sure you do not have to strip or risk getting charged with indecent exposure to get at your passport, train pass and credit card and bank cards in the money belt. Hence, I packed a skirt and top not a dress.

3. since we will be checking one suitcase I have included a sewing kit with scissor and fingernail clippers. If you are traveling with only carry-on leave these restricted items at home and purchase them when you get where you are going. Note: dental floss is crazy useful as a thread if you remember to bring a needle big enough to use it this way.

4. electrical adapters if they are needed. This didn’t used to be such a big deal but we have too many electronic toys to leave home without them anymore.

5. your sense of humour! Never, ever go on a trip without it. Ever. There will be times when you will be so tired you want to cry. There will be times that everything will seemingly go wrong no matter what you do. This is when you pull out your rather squished, rumpled sense of humour – give it a good shake, dust it off and put it work – and always remember where you packed it where it is easily accessible.

Now for my nice-to-have items:

Travel essentials by Terrill Welch 2014_03_23 068

1. one quick-dry compact towel shown on the right in the photograph above. This item went with us to Peru and was mostly used to dry my long mop of hair but also can be used to lay food out on and as a blanket when cold or to cover your head when you don’t want to see anyone… particularly the person you are traveling with – I am teasing but you get the idea.

2. a pocket raincoat that is tough and durable. I like my hands free and holding an umbrella is just a pain. Besides I am short so an umbrella is actually a dangerous weapon to be welding on a busy street.

3. a pocket day-pack for maps, hairbrush and food – NOT for money, credit cards, bank cards, passport, camera or iPad or anything else valuable. If the pack is lifted you want to be able to shout after the person…. have a nice lunch!… then be on able to move on with the rest of your day.

4. an inflatable head and chin support. This is something new we are trying but we have one overnight flight and some long day trips on the train. I will report back after the trip to let you know how well it works.

5. maps… if you like maps that is. I will spend a good amount of time looking at maps before and during a trip to familiarize myself with the lay of the land so to speak. I like to be able to imagine how various places relate to other places even before I arrive. This keeps the anxiety down once I am on the ground. It is not a necessity because tourist centers have maps and if you are taking a smart phone then paper maps might even be easy to skip. But physically looking at maps is just something I deeply enjoy and it will keep me occupied for hours of traveling time.

6. one hard copy book for when the iPad or kindle is packed away or the battery has run down.

Then, there are just a few things that MUST be left behind:

1. your travel plan and essential information with your emergency contact person.

2. any sense of entitlement or ethnocentric righteousness. Different doesn’t mean wrong. It only means different.

Now we are all packed and ready to have fun! Yippee! Eight more sleeps :) Oh! Did we forget anything?


What is one little-thought-about item on your essential packing list for three months or more travel?


© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

March 17, 2014 / Terrill Welch

Sea Spray over Green and Other Fragments

Having had a long and less than meaningful conversation with the still almost-full moon until three o’clock this morning, I am surprised to wake as the sun hits the tree tops in our valley. However, awake does not mean much under these circumstances. I gathered my camera and get a coffee, breakfast treat and sandwiches for lunch later at the local bakery.

Now what? I say to self.

Well, it is Saint Patrick’s Day. In honour of the day of green, a long ago almost forgotten wedding day and the blessing of being alive, here is a splash of sea spray over the green seaweed on the rocks at Reef Bay.

Breaking into Morning Light by Terrill Welch 2014_03_17 142

I am consciously aware of being in this familiar liminal state of neither here nor there, about to cross a threshold, at the edge or margins of life as I have known it. We are not always so fortunate as to have the advantage to prepare for such transitions and markers between this and then that. Today I do, at least as far as I can foresee. Let’s unpack this moment a wee bit before I go and call the banks to let them know about our travels.

On Saturday I worked or rather reworked a 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas.


Fabrication resting 24 x 18 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2014_03_15 020

This painting is about a deep despair that comes with global unrest and greed. It is about how we humans attempt to contort ourselves into something believable and good. We create fabrications that quickly are shaped into a kind of truth that is meant to secure greater wealth. These creations tarnish any good that was suppose to be the reason for our actions in the first place. This painting is about denying limitations. The limitations of oil, gas, life, beauty, and even greed. We can pretend to sit serenely looking out the window and watch the sunlight dancing on the sea. We can do this but eventually our body will remind us that this position cannot be maintained. We must get up, put our clothes on, and do something… even if it is only to slaughter a lamb for dinner. There is hope. The sky is blue.

This painting, as with the underpainting, will not leave my studio. Some paintings are just like that. The work is not painted using a live model.  I have however painted figures from live models and at one time there was a reference sketch when I did the original underpainting. Now, I think we can safely say that this woman is a complete fabrication a half-truth.

I have the first third of our travels booked from the time we leave Mayne Island with an overnight in Vancouver B.C. to catch a flight to London England and then to Dijon via Paris. From Dijon France we will go to Basel Switzerland before continuing on to Venice Italy for nine days at which time we will go to stay at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence for two weeks. During our time in Florence I will book the next part of our journey until we get to Barcelona Spain. My mind is filled with partial maps of strange cities and countries outlined by the short-stroked colours of pencil crayons as remembered in my elementary school mapping exercises. I am reading short stories by Colette and in between I clean the pantry, buy a new mop and string together the first names of our Airbnb hosts – Lindsay (New Westminster B.C.) , Kathy (Iver England), Tristan (Dijon France), Vesna (Basel Switzerland), Arianna (Venice Italy) and Nicoletta (Florence Italy). An email arrives to say the Queen of Burnaby ferry is remaining docked at Village Bay Mayne Island due to weather conditions. The  CBC radio 2 host comments on a study that says if women have classical music playing when men visit their websites the women are found to be more attractive. For some reason this makes me think of a street image from last evening’s online surfing of Aix-en-Provence and then the paintings of Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir intersect just at peripheral of my mind-map. Again, I mentally comb the Cote d’zur shoreline. Where might we stay?

Ah, as you can see old patterns are fractured and lifted from there routine, making way for a new marker or reference point in my life. There will likely always be a before and after we traveled to Europe. So I must leave you the reefs of Mayne Island as I pack my present in anticipation of an unknown but easily imagined feature. We do not know really what it will be but the cracks of organized thought are temporarily widening between my past, my today and tomorrow.

Yet, there is a shadow on all of this with Russia’s confidence in taking Crimea and the United States and Europe in sanction-imposing but seemingly futile resistance. I am reminded that fate has placed me in an unexpected and unprecedented historical privilege. I must accept this. I must remind myself to be humble as I sparingly hand over wads of cash for our travels while cringing at what it will do to our modest savings account. We are not wealthy travels. We are however wealthy global citizens. We have all we need and at times such as this even some things that we want. I have no real answer for this disparity that I always feel most acutely during times of great expense. The guilt tinges all thoughts of the pleasures about our travels. The greed of it all in traveling for three months to Europe, how could I!? Yet, I will. I will pack that ugly little bag of privilege close to my heart and take nothing for granted. I will carry it so closely and tightly to my body that something good will come from it. I promise.

What green is your green on this Monday of Saint Patrick’s Day?

© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

March 10, 2014 / Terrill Welch

Three paintings showing in a new venue and other blessings

Way last fall I started posting on Mondays in response to a suggestion by Kathy Drue over at her blog Lake Superior Spirit. Kathy encouraged/challenged a Monday morning blessing post every Monday until the end of 2013. I accepted the invitation and found that it was such a pleasant routine I have kept it up… for now anyway :)

So here we are on another Monday morning as I count my creative blessings over the past few days.

On Friday, Anita of Camassia Café and Astrid of Astrid’s Kitchen assisted me in choosing three paintings to hang in an ongoing group show at their shared but separate new venue in the Fernhill Centre on Mayne Island.

These two could easily have been my poster women for International Women’s Day celebrated on Saturday, March 8th. They have created a seamless collaborative business model for a venue that is quickly becoming integrated into the fabric of the Mayne Island community. Their warmth and enthusiasm is contagious! Currently the Cafe is open Friday – Sunday from 10 – 4 and if you haven’t been, then make it a date!

For so many of you that visit here on my blog but are far, far away from Mayne Island.

LONG BEACH VANCOUVER ISLAND JUNE 2013 48 x 24 inch oil on canvas (this painting is also being reviewed by Sandi White this Wednesday on the Art of Terrill Welch Facebook Page)

Long Beach Vancouver Island 48 x 24 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_08_23 027

CHASING OCTOBER SUN BY THE SEA 12 x 16 inch oil on canvas plein air painting

Chasing October Sun by the Sea  12 x 16 oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_10_18 176

And then there is STORM WATCHING 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas

Storm Watching 30 x 40 inch oil on canvas by Terrill Welch 2013_12_11 003

All three of these paintings can be viewed in detail along with purchase information at my profile in the Artsy Home online gallery.

I was so pleased that Anita and Astrid were able to accommodate an early hanging of this work due to my pending travel plans at the beginning of April.

Also, just in case you are in need, there are 30 new greeting cards now available next door at the Farm Gate Store. The card rack is to the left just as you come inside the door. If you pass the wood stove and fresh coffee, you have gone to far.

New Greeting Cards at the Farm Gate Store by Terrill Welch 2014_03_09 014

Don’t worry, if you are in New York, or Toronto or even Dijon France  these same cards are available in my Redbubble storefront. Hint if you order a good handful of greeting cards there starts to be some nice discounts. The quality of these cards are excellent. Often fans purchase these as affordable small prints to frame and hang on the wall.

These kinds of local collaborations and sharing are part of what makes our little island a magical and special place to be. But collaboration and shared inspiration is not limited to face-time. Yesterday I had a wonderful unexpected surprise. My work and process were used by Californian writer, Deborah Brasket,  to demonstrate Deborah’s thoughts on art and mystery in her Living on the Edge of The Wild post “Art and the Mystery in the Midst of Things.” If you haven’t already been by due to my reblog of this post late yesterday, I encourage you to drop by and enjoy the read.

So there we have it! Another Monday morning filled with blessings of appreciation, connection, acknowledgement and sharing.

What connection or sharing would you like to notice on this fine Monday that promises spring in the northern hemisphere? 

© 2014 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

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to

March 9, 2014 / Terrill Welch

Art and the Mystery in the Midst of Things

Terrill Welch:

With fresh eyes, devoid of expectation or caution…

Originally posted on Living on the Edge of the Wild:


Promise Resting,16-x-20-oil-on-canvas by Terrill Welch 2014

Art points to something beyond itself, toward “something more,” something that we sense in things and reveal through our pen or brushes, in our music or dance or writing.

What is this thing we glimpse in nature, in life itself, that so excites and inspires and compels us to re-create what we see in a form that we can share with others? Some see what art evokes, or points a finger toward, as the mystery in the midst of things.

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” -Rene Magritte.

“The artist’s function is to love the enigma. All art is this: love which has been poured out over enigmas – and all works of art are enigmas surrounded and adorned by love.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” -Francis Bacon


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