Light reflects from water, pools across landscapes, and speckles the grass under trees in the many pieces that make up the Station House Gallery’s latest main gallery show: Light of Place Exposed.
Artist Terrill Welch says she first learned about light during her childhood in the Cariboo in the long drives between her home in a cabin at the McIntosh Lakes into town.
“My mom, to keep me amused, would say, ‘Look out at the sun going down, and see how the lights are catching the clouds. It just became one of those things that was habitual — we would always talk about how the light was changing.”
In the artbook that she kept for school Welch would learn the basics of composition and colour theory and from that same book she would admire a print of Vincent van Gogh’s wheat fields, the same print that was on her parents’ wall.
“I would look from the image to the book and back again, and decided I would become a painter.”
While she admits she has done more than painting in her life, she says the interest in light stayed with her.
“How it is specific to a certain time of day, a certain time of year and a certain place. How do you capture that? How do you get those certain feelings of weather and environment and your experiences expressed?”
Welch now lives in the Southern Gulf Islands, but her paintings pull landscapes from the Interior, Northern California, France, Prince Edward Island, and the west coast.
Landscapes are what inspire her, says Welch.
“Even when I was young I could go for a weekend and go camping with people and come back and have had a wonderful time. People would say you don’t have any pictures of the people you are with and I wouldn’t — it would all be landscapes. I think that is because that is my first love.
“That is where I have been most able to relax and the world just seems right.”
When admiring Welch’s encompassing artwork, the viewer is almost transported into the frame.
“That is one of my intentions,” she says.
“That all of a sudden through your imagination the whole scene comes out around you and you are there. People will tell me you can smell the sea or you can hear the waves and that is when I know that I have been successful.”
Welch describes herself as a contemporary impressionist painter.
Her work is done in oil, and she says she doesn’t draw her work before she paints it, preferring instead to use a few lines of paint to mark her composition.
“I follow the light,” she says. “It’s an absolute, driving kind of passion.”
Welch’s show is one of two on at the Station House Gallery through April.
Read more about the artist whose work is on display in the upper gallery this month: Infinitesimal Affirmations