Gallery Opening on Saturday May 28, 2022

I wanted to let you know that Bear River Artworks Gallery which I am part, is opening for the season on Saturday, May 28. On this first weekend, all the artists decided to be there to hang out with whoever drops by and to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

You see, it isn’t until we actually hang the gallery that we see what each other has created over the winter. That leads to lots of conversation and diversion from the job at hand and so it takes at least twice as long to hang as planned.

A new painting of mine is having its debut showing at Bear River Artworks Gallery “Nighttime Conversation”. 30″ x 36″

I’ll walk you through the gallery in a video when it’s all jazzed up.

But oh my, I forgot how many details there are to get a gorgeous space ready. We have….3 main rooms on the ground floor of a Victorian building in Bear River. Next to Sissiboo Coffee, yum, yum. So even for people who aren’t interested in art, the inside of the building is alone worth coming for. Gorgeous hardwood floors, a sweeping, curved staircase (to a private residence) and lovely crown molding in every room. And stone fireplaces too.

The lighting has been updated from over 100 years ago. Copper enamelled earrings by Larry Knox.

We are the last gallery in the village to open this season and are glad to align our open days with the Flight of Fancy, Blue Mind Gallery, The Bear River Artists Studio Tour Trail, and the gorgeous exhibitions at Sissiboo Coffee Bar and Gallery. That’s a lot of art and fine craft for a small village, and this is quite the creative place.

This Saturday and Sunday, our whole crew will be present from 1 – 3 pm.

My regular day will be Thursdays. For now our regular open time will be Wed-Sun, 10 am – 4 pm

This timing is perfect because the siberian yellow iris are about to bloom, the purple lupins are telescoping upwards and starting to show colour and I have a garden to plant!

It feels like the opposite of the slow, long winter.

So, please take the time to see what made-with-love beautiful things are being made here.


A reminder that my solo show of paintings, “Courage My Love” ends this Saturday in Annapolis Royal. Lucky Rabbit is also open from 10 am to 4 pm. See all the paintings here.

Paintings Hopping in May at the Lucky Rabbit Art House

Today my month long solo show “Courage My Love” opened at Lucky Rabbit’s Artist House Gallery in Annapolis Royal where 21 of my paintings are on display until May 28, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am till 4pm.

Paintings on display is an exciting opportunity for me to show you and others my paintings in a gallery setting. And it’s a thrill for me too because it is a time when I can go beyond the studio chaos and look up and see the efforts of my work. That saying of “she can’t see the forest for the trees” applies here. There is tremendous satisfaction and sometimes even relief when a painting is resolved, finished and done; sometimes after years of returning to it and struggling with it! And what a wonderful place to have a show. Lucky Rabbit is a true ‘art house’ with studio galleries of 4 exceptional artists working in various mediums.

I show my natural surroundings in my paintings – filled with old fashioned and wild flowers. And this idea of reflecting back the natural world is also very present in the works of Deb, Janel and Marianne. I’m in great company at Lucky Rabbit.

Yes, showing in this location is one of my many fulfilled dreams since coming to Nova Scotia 15 years ago. Let me tell you the back story!

If I could time travel to 2005 I would whisper to myself “Guess what? If you move here, one day in the future, 21 of your paintings will hang at Lucky Rabbit amongst the beauty of the pottery and vases overflowing with flowers.

I was still a tourist on my first visit to Lucky Rabbit in 2005. In those days Lucky Rabbit was principally a working pottery studio with a showroom in front. Potters Deb and Ray lived upstairs.

The moment I stepped into their pottery, I felt joy. The colours and creations that greeted me took my breath away. Deb and Ray, potters extraordinaire, displayed enormous, hand built and hand painted vases that overflowed with garden flowers. Each pot, cup, bowl and vase was a work of art on its own. Most were decorated with animals, birds, and flowers.  The colours on the walls matched the beautiful blues and magentas and greens of the pottery. 

Standing in that show room I wondered if it could be possible for Larry and me to move to Nova Scotia and realize a decades long dream of working fulltime as creatives. Could we finally transform our lives?

On that first visit, I was so overwhelmed with the pottery that I only brought home a small, beautifully painted tile of flowers. I took it back to my workplace in Toronto and placed it beside my keyboard. It held my endless cups of coffee along with THE DREAM. Nearby on the wall I pinned up the Bear River Artist Studio Tour map. For the next 2 years, I dreamed of moving to this wonderful part of the country where working as an artist was an actual thing.

And yes, we finally stepped through the looking glass into that dream in 2007 and we haven’t looked back.

Now, 15 years later, my big beautiful studio in Bear River Is filled with wonderful art supplies and many paintings in various stages of finish. My work is represented in the Bear River Artist Studio Tour brochure that Larry now designs. We are co-founders of Bear River Artworks Gallery that is entering its eighth season on May 28, and hundreds of my paintings are in collections of many people near and far.

The ability to paint full time these last 15 years has definitely improved my work and surprisingly, the process is still a challenge. Every painting is a puzzle that teaches me something new. There is still so much to learn. My process is intuitive and driven by an impulse to paint when a scene or flower presents itself. That urge is unpredictable. And when it’s there, it’s so exciting. Like a rush of endorphins. Like the feeling I had when I first visited Lucky Rabbit.

Today, Lucky Rabbit in Annapolis Royal has expanded to include jeweler Marianne Brown who combines silver, pearls, gems and woven silk to create her exquisite jewelry.

Janel Warmington’s strong sense of colour and design show up in her print making, collage, and painting. She often uses animal themes. She also sews beautiful one-of-a-kind purses and bags out of leather and gorgeous fabrics.

On my wall at home I treasure a linocut of a leaping deer by Janel. I wear silver earrings by Marianne and I drink coffee and tea out of cups made by Ray and decorated by Deb.

Aren’t I the Lucky Rabbit?

My paintings will hang at Lucky Rabbit throughout May and I will pop in on Saturdays to visit with them and with you.

For a virtual showing of all the paintings I have on display at Lucky Rabbit, including sizes and prices, please click on the image below.

Throughout the summer and fall, my work will be at Bear River Artworks Gallery. Six of us are set to open there on May 28, but more on that in another post!

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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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

 

Visit to Grandma
©Flora Doehler, 2014
mixed media, 16″ x 16″
$450

 

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

 

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

 

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

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.

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