How I Learned to Promote my Artwork while Living in the Middle of Nowhere*

“Left a good Job in the City. Workin’ for the Man Every Night and Day…” Proud Mary, John Fogarty 

Thirteen years ago,  my husband and I ditched our jobs in the big city and moved to this sparsely populated province. Our dreams were all about creativity and community.  I yearned for the luxury of having time to paint.  I yearned for nature. And I hoped I would be able to find a market for my artwork.

Like the vast majority of visual arts graduates, I’d spent years making a living in non-art jobs. Statistically, most art grads never work in their field and give up creating art altogether. Work, family and survival take over.
With the help of my supportive Larry, I had persisted. I’d joined an active art club in Toronto that held regular art shows, and workshops. I’d sold some paintings at outdoor summer festivals in Ontario. But I was still working full-time.  In fact, most people at work didn’t even know I could paint. I wished a fairy godmother would descend to my cubicle and grant me the freedom to be a full time artist.

Watercolour inspired by a trip to the Orkney Islands, Scotland. We’d find a similar scene on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. ©Flora Doehler, 2004

For various reasons, by 2005, Larry and I had became obsessed with moving to Bear River, Nova Scotia. Population, 800. Two years later, we quit our city jobs, sold our house in Toronto and moved to this tiny, pretty artist community within a province that held fewer than 1 million people. I blogged about that transition when we first moved here.

It was truly a dream come true. Now I had the time, the space, the art supplies, but I wondered how I would find an audience for my paintings in this far-flung place.

I wanted a clear road map, and I didn’t yet understand that some roads had yet to be built.
*I would learn that I wasn’t living in the Middle of Nowhere. I was living  in a Big Magical Somewheres.

But the biggest surprise was discovering that the best opportunities would be the ones I had to create myself and/or with others.

And it all started with an unexpected knock on our door from a tall, friendly, curious man…..more to come….

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Late afternoon in my Bear River studio.

If you haven’t already, please join me at Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery this Friday, Sept 25, 2020  from 2 – 4 pm  for a coffee, a visit, and to view my newest paintings. You’ll be tricked into thinking it’s still summertime. And you’ll be transported by the great tasting coffee.

3 thoughts on “How I Learned to Promote my Artwork while Living in the Middle of Nowhere*

  1. Hi Flora,
    Great post. Come to Toronto and teach me what you know. Oh right. You can’t. I think we’re on a wavelength. I put a drawing of you on my blog last night. I remember that day, and miss you so much!


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