When Cookies Baking in the Oven and Gallery Opening Time Coincide

Right now my kitchen is filling with the smells of coconut butter, oatmeal, walnut cookies.

Meanwhile, the raised beds outside scream for planting now that the four days of torrential rain is on pause. The lupines are outrageously purple. Everywhere I turn in my garden is a potential painting. And my studio is calling me along with the unfinished paintings that wait to be dressed in glorious colour.

But instead of painting and gardening, I’m baking cookies and printing labels. Why?

Because in two days I am celebrating the eighth annual opening of the Bear River Artworks Gallery, the only artist-run gallery in town. (Which also means managing all aspects of gallery life including baking cookies.)

And I suppose some of my celebratory feelings are about coming out on the other side of a winter filled with wild ups and downs in our household. The BIG ‘up’ was the long visit from our amazing offspring. Our daughter and son brought the world to us and their vitality and their stories at a time when both Larry and I experienced separate pesky health issues. When the four of us spend time together I feel wrapped in a warm cocoon of love and life. Their presence was so kind and generous and unexpected and exactly what we both (and maybe all) needed.

And now, allow me to use that overused ‘roller coaster’ metaphor. It feels like our rattling car has finally pulled into station and we are disembarking just in time to hang three rooms of the gallery that we share with three other wonderful, supportive, and talented artists.

I am especially pleased with my latest painting of tulips. I started it when we first moved here over 10 years ago. I wanted a change in direction with my artwork, but I couldn’t quite pull it off. I needed more practice, practice, practice. And then, five years ago, I worked on the painting some more, but I was still not ready for it. And then our kids went back to their lives in Quebec and suddenly it was Spring. I pulled out the painting and new ideas had formed.  I loved the movement and the graphic design in the tulips, but they needed texture.  Also, it was essential to bring the hues of the tulips into the vase and the surface beneath them.

I’ve given it the title “A Change in Direction,” which alludes to how I’ve changed artistically and personally since moving here 15 years ago. But it also describes the tulips’ wavelike motion and curvature. Everything bends.

I’m excited to hang this painting at Bear River Artworks Gallery along with 20 of my works ranging in sizes from 6”x8* to 48”x48”.

So here’s to good health, to artistic collaborations with friends, to healing rainfall, and to the reopening of a charming little gallery in Bear River, where I and others can network with lovely people from all over the world while exhibiting and selling our paintings, photographs, jewelry and greeting cards.

The opening is on Sunday, June 11, 2023 from 1pm until 4pm. 

Regular gallery hours are 10am – 4pm.  Open days in June are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. In July, Aug, Sept and Oct Wednesday will also be an open day.

I live quite close to the gallery, and if none of those times work for you, please let me know and I will make arrangements to open it up for you.

There might be cookies. 

PS: Please let me know if you would like the recipe for Oatmeal Coconut cookies. They are pretty easy to make and are delicious.

My Rural Landscape Paintings on Display in Nova Scotia

Here are images of my current exhibition of paintings at Bear River Artworks Gallery, 1913 Clementsvale Road, Bear River NS.
April 15 – 23, 2017. Daily 1 – 4pm

Paintings can be shipped.  Interest-free payment plans available. No HST.

I painted this from the shadows of the vegetable garden. I was startled by the strong light cast on the distant lawn and how it silhouetted the tree. Continue reading

My Paintings at the Flight of Fancy

painting©Flora Doehler, 2015

For the past 9 seasons, my paintings have had a home at the Flight of Fancy in Bear River. Rob Buckland, the owner and curator of this gem of a shop, has promoted my work since we arrived in Bear River in 2007. Over 200 fine artists and fine craftspeople have paintings, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, and glass in his two-storey gallery. It is a destination for art lovers and the collection is an inspiration to all. Continue reading

Nurture and Nature Paintings – one more week only!

It is a wonderful feeling to see the fruits of my labour on display in a gorgeous gallery. Sharing the experience with a fellow painter is better still!
Susan Geddes and I hung our paintings and hoped that people would come out to see them. The place was hopping during our opening and it was wonderful for both of us to share our visual view of the world with old and new friends. Thank you for being part of it – in person at the gallery or right now, virtually.

You can still see the paintings daily in Annapolis Royal (closed Mondays)until November 23rd at ArtsPlace at 396 St. George Street. I’ll be there on Saturday Nov 15th from 1-3 pm.

The Colour of Longing ©Flora Doehler, 2014
The Colour of Longing ©Flora Doehler, 2014 Oil, 24″ x 24″

Tulips are a favorite flower (are they ALL my favorites??)  This oil painting went through quite a few versions until I arrived at this final one. You can see my progress here.

As attached as I am to that tulip painting, in this moment “Earthly Delights” (below) is my favorite of the show. I think it has an under-water quality and has a depth to it that I don’t usually use.

I started it in the spring using poured acrylic inks in the background. When the lilies bloomed in summer, I added them  and in the fall the last ‘poser’ was a brilliant orange Chinese lantern. So really, I painted all the flowers in the bouquet  as they bloomed. It represents, to me, the entire flowering cycle, hence the title.

Earthly Delights ©Flora Doehler, 2014
Earthly Delights ©Flora Doehler, 2014 Acrylic, 48″ x 36″

My next favorite paintings are these three and I described in this post about where my inspiration came from to abstract my Bee Balm garden flowers on the canvas.

I can’t help myself. I keep planting lilies and I keep painting them too. I was a little inventive with the colours “In a Field of Lilies”. I WISH there was a blue lily. This painting inspired me to plant a new, deep maroon lily this fall. I think they are one of the happiest flowers in the garden. With their heads in the air they are true optimists.

In a Field of Lilies ©Flora Doehler, 2014 Acrylic, 30″ x 30″

These are 8″ x 10″ paintings I started at the Historic Gardens in Annapolis and finished in my studio. I got to make full use of the sgraffito style that I like to play with.

I also painted lilies and other flowers using acrylic inks and paint on paper and then adhered it all to boards. These are 12″ x 12″ and are another reminder of summer. I enjoyed combining drawing and painting here.

My artist – friend Susan Geddes flew in from Victoria BC to share this show with me. I love her use of colour and texture. Her paintings have a dreamy, ethereal quality to them as well.

Stop in this week and see her work — and mine. Details about the show are at the bottom of this post.

painting by Susan Geddes
Jump for Joy! ©Susan Geddes

painting by Susan Geddes
Bubbling Up ©Susan Geddes
Acrylic, 16″ x 20″

Paintings ©Susan Geddes
Paintings ©Susan Geddes

Painting ©Susan Geddes
Painting ©Susan Geddes

©Susan Geddes  &  ©Flora Doehler, 2014
Painting ©Susan Geddes Painting  &  ©Flora Doehler, 2014


On the Road from Realism to Abstraction in Painting

There were years and years when I believed that all abstract work was bourgeois and decadent and wasn’t actually art.   The shift in my thinking has been gradual and unexpected. All I can say for sure is that the more I paint, the more I feel drawn to the work of abstract artists. I notice this when I view art exhibitions or when I look at online works. The bold colorful paintings of abstract expressionists past and present excite and move me.

“Garden Chaos”. Acrylic Ink sketch detail. 4″ x 4″ © Flora Doehler, 2014

And yet what I paint still remains literal… That is, the viewer knows exactly what they’re looking at. Even when I try to paint in a non-representational way it gradually morphs into a flower painting or landscape. I can’t seem to help myself.

So I decided to create a series of works that would challenge my way of approaching a painting.

Flora Doehler
“Garden Chaos”. Acrylic on Canvas. 20″ x 20″ © Flora Doehler, 2014

This series that I created for my October 2014 show in Annapolis Royal is my way of abstracting flowers. Instead of painting live flowers, I painted from sketches of mine of live flowers. The “big deal” for me was to use a previous drawing as a point of reference rather than the actual plant or flower.

“Bee Balm”. Acrylic Ink sketch detail. 4″ x 4″ © Flora Doehler, 2014

The original drawings are ink and ink stick on watercolor paper. I cropped them that I would be forced to paint a larger-than-life version of the flower which is also not my usual way of painting.

 "Bee Balm". Acrylic painting on Canvas. 18" x 18" © Flora Doehler, 2014
“Bee Balm”. Acrylic painting on Canvas. 20″ x 20″ © Flora Doehler, 2014

20″ x 20″

The finished paintings are one painting removed from the original subject and have morphed into an abstracted painting that suggests a floral theme. I would like to experiment by cropping these paintings and developing new and changed versions of them.

“Breathing New Life”. Acrylic Ink sketch detail. 4″ x 4″ © Flora Doehler, 2014

It’s like playing “broken telephone” with the brush.

“Breathing New Life”. Acrylic on canvas. 20″ x 20″ © Flora Doehler, 2014

I’ve very excited to explore a new approach to a favorite subject and I can’t wait to hang these in a couple of days at my show in Annapolis Royal. Please come, if you have the chance!






The Paintings Revealed!

Today our power, water, phone and internet was restored after a long 4 days. At this moment I feel a deep appreciation for all those things that I usually take for granted!

The tropical storm Arthur also bumped my art show opening to this Saturday July 12 from 2 -4 pm. I will also be present in the Gallery on Sunday July 20 from 2 -4 and the Shambala Art Group of Annapolis will have an opening in the larger gallery on that day. The show continues until July 23.

This post is a debut of the 8 paintings that I created for my show Fairy Tales and Transformation , followed by images of each painting.

fairy ARCAC1

Why Fairy Tales?

Last winter I created a piece for the Fairy Tales and Fables show in Bear River – I was reluctant at first, because I usually don’t like to work to a theme. I prefer to paint what inspires me in the moment. Working in collage with a story was a huge departure from plein air painting.

I enjoyed the challenge and wanted to explore the theme and technique further so I created this series to fit into this space in the Mym Gallery at Artsplace / ARCAC.

I’ve always loved myths and fairy tales and I have wonderful memories of being read them by both my parents. In turn I spent many summers reading legends and fairy tales to our children on camping trips. What can be more thrilling than to read a dark Grimm Brothers’ tale than in an evening forest setting?

And dark they are! Coming back to these stories now, I see how horrendous the circumstances were for the young heroines in these stories. They endure and transcend injustices such as abduction, confinement, loss of family and isolation. All are liberated from their situations with help from princes, sparrows and woodcutters and magic and are transformed forever.

fairy ARCAC2

Painting Technique

My ‘painting materials’ are collaged pieces of my watercolours.  Like the young heroines in these stories, they are transformed in my studio to tell this visual story.

The archival watercolour paper pieces are glued onto cradleboard that has a birch plywood top and basswood frame. Three coats of acrylic matt varnish seal and protect each painting.

fairy ARCAC4


The larger paintings (16” x 16”) are $450.

The two smaller paintings (12” x 12”) are $300.

I welcome creative payment plans – please contact me at flora.doehler@gmail.com

Wolf’s Dilemma
©Flora Doehler, 2014
16″ x 16″
mixed media on cradleboard


Demeter’s Realization
©Flora Doehler, 2014.
12” x 12” mixed media


Visit to Grandma
©Flora Doehler, 2014
mixed media, 16″ x 16″


Demeter’s Garden
©Flora Doehler, 2014
12″ x 12″
mixed media on cradleboard


©Flora Doehler, 2014.
mixed media on cradle board
16″ x 16″


Rapunzel Waits
©Flora Doehler, 2014
mixed media on wooden cradleboard
16″ x 16″, $450

Seven Ravens
©Flora Doehler, 2014
16″ x 16″
mixed media on cradleboard


Searching for a Daughter
©Flora Doehler, 2014
16″ x 16″ mixed media