My Paintings at the Flight of Fancy

painting by Flora Doehler

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

New Gallery, New Paintings, Oh My! – newsletter April, 2015

I am thrilled to say that Larry and I and 6 others have formed The Bear River Artworks Gallery  The opening is this Friday April 17 at 6 pm and we would love for you to join us.  If you can’t come on Friday night, then please join me on Saturday 10 am – 4 pm to view the works. I’ll be sitting the Gallery that day. For sure I’ll post some pictures on my website after the event.

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Friday, April 17, 2015
6 pm “Bear River Artworks Gallery” opening – Art, dessert and drinks
7:30 pm “Songs of Myself” Animation, puppetry and shadows 
@ The Oakdene Centre, 1913 Clementsvale Road, Bear River, Nova Scotia.
The gallery will remain open on Sat (18th) and Sun (19th) from 10-5.

Open Daily from May 17 – October 11, 2015  10am – 5pm

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Snow, Snow and More Snow

Looking out the studio door
Looking out the studio door

 

And it’s a good thing we had a new gallery to organize because winter in the Maritimes this year was brutal. The snowfall broke all records.
The trick was to not despair.
The upside of it was that I spent more time in the studio painting than I have any previous winter.

 

 

What’s New on the Easel?

Since January I’ve been making regular trips to the grocery store in Digby to buy tulips. They have cheered me tremendously. It’s a good thing too because I need new paintings for a new gallery.

"Sunshine" © Flora Doehler, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 36"
“Sunshine” © Flora Doehler, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 36″
Working with oil pastels and oil paint.
Working with oil pastels and oil paint.
© Flora Doehler, 2015
© Flora Doehler, 2015
Sketching Flowers © Flora Doehler, 2015
Sketching Flowers © Flora Doehler, 2015

I am interested in the line between abstraction and reality-based painting.
Read here about my unexpected path from the garden to these paintings.

© Flora Doehler, 2014 "A New Life", acrylic 20"x20"  $600
© Flora Doehler, 2014
“A New Life”, acrylic
20″x20″ $600
© Flora Doehler, 2014 "Garden Chaos", acrylic 20"x20"  $600
© Flora Doehler, 2014
“Garden Chaos”, acrylic
20″x20″ $600

My other big news is that my work is included in a new book about how to paint with acrylics. The book is published in the US and the UK and I am happy to be invited to participate. Here is my back story about this.

Painting in Acrylics 3

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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

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

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“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!

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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.

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Pricing

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 $450.
Wolf’s Dilemma
©Flora Doehler, 2014
16″ x 16″
mixed media on cradleboard
$450.

 

Demeter’s Realization  ©Flora Doehler, 2014.  12” x 12” mixed media  $300
Demeter’s Realization
©Flora Doehler, 2014.
12” x 12” mixed media on cradleboard
$300

 

Visit to Grandma ©Flora Doehler, 2014 mixed media, 16" x 16" $450
Visit to Grandma
©Flora Doehler, 2014
mixed media on cradleboard, 16″ x 16″
(sold)

 

Demeter's Garden  ©Flora Doehler, 2014 12" x 12" mixed media on cradleboard $300
Demeter’s Garden
©Flora Doehler, 2014
12″ x 12″
mixed media on cradleboard
$300

 

Thumbelina  ©Flora Doehler, 2014.  mixed media on cradle board  16" x 16"  $450
Thumbelina
©Flora Doehler, 2014.
mixed media on cradle board
16″ x 16″
$450

 

Rapunzel Waits ©Flora Doehler, 2014 mixed media on wooden cradleboard 16" x 16", $450
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 $450
Seven Ravens
©Flora Doehler, 2014
16″ x 16″
mixed media on cradleboard
(sold)

 

Searching for a Daughter  ©Flora Doehler, 2014  16" x 16" mixed media  (sold)
Searching for a Daughter
©Flora Doehler, 2014
16″ x 16″ mixed media on cradleboard
(sold)

 

My Art Show in Annapolis Royal – July 5 – 23, 2014

Please note that the show opening is postponed until Saturday July 12, 2-4pm due to the power outage.

I’m very excited about the new body of work I’m creating.

Fairy tales is the theme and I’ve been immersed in them – reading them again, listening to them online, falling asleep with my heroine young women in my head (Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Thumbelina).

Thumbelina  ©Flora Doehler, 2014.  mixed media on cradle board  16" x 16"  $450
Thumbelina
©Flora Doehler, 2014.
mixed media on cradle board
16″ x 16″
$450

Without realizing it, I chose tales that featured young women – all overcoming challenges like confinement, sexual assault, loss of family and isolation. All are transformed in the process and emerge stronger. My ‘painting materials’ were old watercolours of mine — mostly from my former life in Toronto. They are transformed in my studio to tell this visual story.

I began this journey  with a group show in Bear River organized by Ken Flett. The theme was Fairy Tales and I reluctantly agreed to create a piece. I don’t usually work to themes, preferring to paint what inspires me at the moment. It was a fun challenge to paint to theme and  to explore collage as a way to paint.

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I am a member of the Arts Council in Annapolis. It’s a vibrant, happening place and they offer spaces for shows for its members. The tiny Mym Gallery is set aside for artists to hang experimental work or journals or process pieces. When my name was drawn for the current show, I decided to create a series that would be different from what I usually paint. That’s where these 6 images came from.

Please drop by to see me on Saturday, July 12 th for the afternoon opening. I’ll be there the afternoon of the 20th as well.

For those of you who can’t make the journey, I’ll post all the images here over the next week as well as my thoughts about the stories that surfaced.

invite

Next week, I’ll be back to painting my favorite fairy tale…my garden.

 

An Artist’s Toolbox Must Include Self-Promotion

What I love about January is that it always brings the promise of a fresh start.

It’s a chance to look back and to look ahead and to take stock of life.  And this is true for artists too.

Last year's wishes and dreams are carried away by the wind.
Last year’s wishes and dreams are carried away by the wind.

I spent 6 years on two continents at art schools in the 1970’s. I practiced weaving, printmaking, painting, life-drawing, sculpture, and pottery;  but there was one subject that NEVER came up. That subject was Art Promotion which could include grant writing, approaching galleries, planning a show, finding venues for art and craft, pricing the work and more. It was all a big mystery and I now believe that many graduates abandoned hope and went into other fields. I hope art students today graduate with tools for promoting their work.

Playing with watercolour on a slippery yupo surface.
Playing with watercolour on a slippery yupo surface.

Fortunately we have the internet where there are many resources on the web to help artists learn marketing and promotional skills and today I want to tell you about 3 of my favorites.

The studio is a marvellous place to be.
The studio is a marvellous place to be.

THE marketing and organizing guru for artists is Alyson Stanfield. I used her ideas to good success from her book I’d rather be in the Studio when I organized my own pop-up art show a year ago.  Alyson is very practical in her advice. She recommends a purposeful tracking of the previous year’s art income.

I did this recently and broke it down into income streams – galleries, online, markets, holiday shows, teaching. The results truly astonished me. I discovered that the galleries are doing the hard work of selling my paintings because even with their 35% – 40% commission, over 60% of my art income is from galleries. But also surprising is that 40% is self generated through sales at the studio, a self organized art show and to a very small degree, sales through markets and craft shows. I’ll use the data to strategize for this year.

Enamel pendants I made. I love the colours and textures.
Enamel pendants I made. I love the colours and textures.

My other planning method comes from British writer and artist Susannah Conway who shares a workbook to help artists plan their art direction in the coming year. The focus isn’t about income, it’s about what feeds the soul, the mind and the spirit so it’s a nice complement to Alyson’s suggestions. I wrote in my workbook yesterday and by the end of the afternoon, I had a clearer sense of  my art path this year. There is a very cool exercise where you imagine the advice your future self will give your present self.

One of my art goals this year is meditation that is focused around imagery.
One of my art goals this year is meditation that is focused around imagery.

Another supporter of artists is painter Keesha Bruce who divides her time between Paris and New York. Her tweets are full of links with great articles about support for artists.

All three women also teach classes and seminars off and online. Their newletters are free and each of their websites have signup forms.

In progress.
Acrylic painting in progress.

I think that anyone who is self-employed or is self-directed could benefit from these exercises. Are there January rituals that help you plan your new year? Please share.

Two paintings in the studio.
Two paintings in the studio. “Good Vibrations” and “The Green Table” © Flora Doehler, 2014

PS: A shout out to artist and beekeeper Shirley Langpohl who let me know that my youtube video on monoprinting was mentioned in last October’s Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. What a lovely surprise that was! Sometimes promotion comes from unexpected places.

wc monoprinting

Watch me Paint at the Gallery, surrounded by more Paintings!

The opening for my painting exhibition was fantastic! Lots of people came to take a look, many having to travel through ice and snow to get there. It was a thrill to talk to people about my Nova Scotia work and wonderful to find new owners for some of the paintings.

The show will be up at The Rebekah Gallery for the next few days and closing at 4 pm on Sunday, Feb 3.

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I’ll be there for 4 afternoons starting tomorrow, Thursday Jan 31, 2013. I have a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to paint and you can see how I work and what materials I use.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the show yet, or if you would like to view it all again before the show ends, please join me.

@
The Rebekah Gallery
1890 Clementsvale Road
Bear River.

Please stop by on these afternoons:
Thursday January 31
Friday February 1
Saturday February 2
Sunday February 3
from 1 pm to 4 pm

Over 30 paintings are on display.

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Here is a video to give you a better idea of the size of the paintings.

If you are interested in purchasing a painting, the prices range from $250 to $1300. Payment plans are available too. Email me at flora.doehler@gmail.com