Inside My Painting Studio

Do you also feel the unsettling psychological impact of the threat of Covid-19 and of the isolation from others?  Even though the rate of infection is almost nonexistent in my little province – we haven’t had a single case in our village. – it is that imaginary threatening future that always hangs in the air.

Thankfully, I have my art and that is a constant and consistent norm. I also have a kind, loving husband and we have 2 faraway adult children with whom we are in fairly regular contact. All of these are blessings.

And suddenly, in the midst of all of this, Spring and life are emerging again and I’m facing actual deadlines!

I’m pushing that Sisyphus rock up the hill slowly, getting ready for hanging paintings in May in two different galleries. One of them involves reestablishing our co-op gallery in a new location…more to come on that soon.

3 weeks ago I made a video to show you whats happening in the studio along with a peek at some of my new paintings!

Since making the video, we’ve had some sunny and warmish days with no snow. I believe now is the very best time of year to paint outside.

The blackflies don’t come out in full force until the apple blossoms bloom in May so the next six weeks are perfect for sitting out by the Pond and sketching or painting.

Recently, I took myself out to the Pond along with my luscious French Sennelier oil pastels. 

Bear River’s Baptist Church, Early Spring, Oil Pastel on Canson paper. 13″ x 16″ ©Flora Doehler, 2021

This pastel painting has a bit of a sombre look. Perhaps it’s because of the royal blue paper I used and maybe its also to do with those “imaginary threatening future” thoughts .

I am fascinated by water reflections.  Its a better way of seeing all the dimensions around us.

Keep well and keep safe. And enjoy this gift of Spring.

PS: Expect to hear from me a bit more regularly as I prepare paintings for May viewing and try to effectively multi-task. 😉

Rethinking a Painting, One Step at a Time

I can’t believe it’s 2021. I can’t believe it’s February. I can’t believe it’s Friday.
Like where has the last year/month/week gone? OK…sorry I asked.

All I know is that I woke with a start at the beginning of the week like a rabbit emerging from hibernation. That little voice said “Get your painting act together NOW because before you know it, you’ll be reopening our co-op Gallery in Bear River in May. 

Late afternoon in the studio.

I’m also thrilled that my friends at Lucky Rabbit & Co in Annapolis Royal have invited me to hang a solo show, also in May. More to come on both openings………

Meanwhile, it wasn’t just deadline panic that shook me awake on Monday. The heartwarming emails and comments from readers of this blog to my last post moved me. Your messages summed up that:

1. We all need beauty, music, the visual arts in our lives – especially now
2. These human needs are essential for our inspiration and to lift our spirits

I was also reminded how good it makes me feel to connect with like-minded people who value creativity. It certainly alleviates some of the isolation I feel in these times. So, thank you!

Now, let me show you what I’m working on.

A painting has returned to the studio after a 4 year journey through 2 different galleries. I am tweaking and changing it and I’ll tell you my ‘whys’ in this video:

Rethinking a Painting.

This is how it looks today. It might not be finished.

Summer’s Dream. Acrylic on Canvas. 36″ x 48″, © Flora Doehler, 2014-2021

And that ‘might not be finished’ part keeps me having several paintings on the go all the time. Like this collage I’m developing from pieces of paintings on paper.

We’ve had a little bit of snow too. That’s the studio in the background and I’m tramping around in my snowshoes thinking about my next steps. Outside and inside.

In With the New in 2021

Pomegranate in oil pastel. © Flora Doehler, 2020

A few days ago when the temperature climbed above freezing, I was able to put a fork in the ground and harvest our remaining leeks. These fearless beautiful greens pressed on through changing weather and snow.

My favorites are leek-potato soup; leek quiche; sliced stir-fried leeks with zucchini.

Leeks take months to grow, so they teach me to be patient about waiting for change. My reward is a delicious, tender vegetable that, among many benefits purportedly helps to calm the nervous system.

And that, dear reader is something we could all do with a bit more of during these pandemic times. Some days I despair wondering when we’ll ever be able to see our adult children again.  

And yet when I am feeling overwhelmed by events over which I have no control, there are actions I can take that ground me again.

First Snowfall happened in December. We’ve had little since.

Walking in nature, observing nature, drawing or painting nature. These are actions from which I draw my inner light and inspiration.

My muse comes from:

  • the rush I feel when I step into my painter’s playroom studio. It is filled with my paintings of the nature in my garden.
  • planning a garden and growing vegetables and flowers.
  • stepping outside and catching the magnificence of moving clouds.
  • observing the sudden swoop of birds alighting on the tallest tree.

This reminder of the beauty and persistence of nature never fails to lift my spirits.

Oil Painting ©Flora Doehler, 2016

For months, I have felt so hesitant to write about my painting journey. It seems trite and inconsequential when people are losing their livelihoods, their futures and worse. But it’s what I do and what I love to do. And it gives me optimism about the persistence of life.

I’ve been working on small pieces and listening to Jane Eyre read by Marilyn Lightstone. Free on Zoomer Radio, online. Delightful and charming.

I am hoping that by sharing my joy of painting, you too will have a momentary break from the headlines or from any overwhelm you are feeling. And that would be a good thing and a good reason to write and to share.

The beautiful vase is by Lucky Rabbit – Deb Kuzyk and Ray Mackie. There are forsythia and willow pieces in the vase…I am hoping they will bloom. The easel painting is a collage of pieces I had previously painted.
Deb Kuzyk applies colour and glazes to the gorgeous vase that inspires me every day in my studio.

You see, the flowers and the leeks and the garden don’t know about Covid-19. They only know to grow as tall and strong as they can, to face the life-giving sun and to make seeds and to continue the cycle again. They don’t even know how beautiful they are. They just are.

I potted one up one of my beautiful leeks in hopes that it will live through the winter in my greenhouse so that I can collect its seed next summer and help ensure its future.

May you and your loved ones enjoy a healthy year and a good future. And may the wind always be at your back on your journey.


Pomegranate in oil pastel. © Flora Doehler, 2020 . I treated myself to a small set of Sennelier Oil Pastels for Christmas. The colours are luscious.

Thanksgiving Coffee and Final Weekend of Art Show – Sat Oct 10, 2 – 4 pm

This is the final weekend for my Summer Garden show of paintings in Bear River.
I’ll be at the café sipping a latte and I hope you can join me on Saturday, Oct 10 from 2 -4.
for my last meet-up at this location.

View From the Studio ©Flora Doehler, 2020 Acrylic on canvas 24″ x 30″

I think this may be the best collection of pieces that I’ve ever put together for an exhibition.

Social distancing is in effect and the numbers have been low enough for everyone to feel safe.

Let me show you a 1 min video of the creation of “Summer’s Bounty”.  I think the warm orange tones in this painting make it my Thanksgiving painting.

Summer’s Bounty ©Flora Doehler, 2020 Acrylic on canvas 30″ x 40″

Some of the paintings move to Sissiboo Café in Annapolis Royal and will be on display from Friday October 16 until the end of November.

I haven’t planned any yet, but please let me know if you are interested in a meet-up with me in Annapolis.

And finally, THANK YOU to all who have and will come out to see what I’ve been up to; to those who have supported my art journey through social media, purchasing paintings, through your comments, your words or by just showing up.

And a big thanks to Erin and Jon Welch who have created a beautiful space at 2 Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery locations with delicious coffee in which to enjoy the artworks and company of others.

You can see all my exhibited paintings here.

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. Continue reading

Are You Up for a Coffee and a Whole Lot of Paintings?

I had a lovely time last week with the small, but enthusiastic art friends who came out to see my new paintings at Sissiboo Cafe in Bear River.

I will be in the cafe gallery again this afternoon, Friday September 11,  from 2 – 4pm and would love to meet you for coffee and to share my painting stories with you. Continue reading

Paintings Revealed – Exhibition of Art by Flora Doehler, daily until October 13, 2020

I am so pleased to invite you to my exhibition of new paintings at Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery in Bear River.

The 16 paintings celebrate the beauty of living flowers and gardens. All the scenes were created in my garden and studio in Bear River, Nova Scotia Continue reading

New Paintings, Soft Openings and the Love of Flowers – Sept 3 – Oct 13, 2020

I am so happy to be able to show you my newest paintings that will grace the walls of Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery for 6 weeks.  This summer we didn’t physically open our artists’ Gallery, Bear River Artworks. We just had a virtual presence.  It never seemed like the right time to open as we waited for life to go back to ‘normal. Continue reading

A Virtual Paint-In and Auction Happens this Weekend for Paint the Town, Aug 15, 16, 17, 2020

Paint the Town is THIS WEEKEND…. but with a Covid-19 twist.

Instead of hordes of artists and collectors congregating in Annapolis Royal for this annual arts festival, the event has been scaled down and will be online.

For me, this means I can paint at home in my studio and garden and post pictures of my progress online on Instagram and Facebook. So will a total of 25 artists. Continue reading