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

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

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.


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.


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


The Birth of a Painting and the Coincidence

Today was the anniversary of my dear father’s birth (1910) and death (1996). I don’t know how he managed to enter and exit this existence on the same day, but I think there is something unique, even profound about it. And speaking of coincidences, I know that some of you believe in them and I want to tell you about one that happened to me today that is connected with my father.

The Ambush detail

When I was about 6 my father came home with a book of the Brothers Grimm Fairytales. It’s the only book my dad ever read to me and when he had time, I’d ask him for the same stories over and over again.

Going for a walk in Cabbagetown, Toronto.
Going for a walk with my dad in Cabbagetown, Toronto.

He wasn’t a perfect father and I certainly wasn’t a perfect daughter but we loved each other and I cherish those memories of being read to and still have that book in my collection.

Fast forward to February. There was a call for submissions to a community art show in Bear River called “Fairy Tales and Fables”.  At the time I was organizing a retrospective and sale of my watercolors and had set aside lots of experimental paintings to use in  collages.

Fairy Tales and Fables in Bear River. photo ©Larry Powell, 2014

As well this winter I was frightened by a couple of dogs one of  whom had (in my mind) a wolf-like appearance. But did he really? Or was I creating my own fairytale?

I also took this photograph during the January thaw and I loved the perspective of peering into the woods to see people on a path.

Walking down in Kniffen's Hollow, Bear River.
Walking down in Kniffen’s Hollow, Bear River.

I drew (pardon the pun) from all of these elements to form an idea for my submission to the art show.

I sketched and cut and pasted a mixed media collection that combined my dog experience with the Red Riding Hood tale.

In my version, the viewer of the painting watches the story from a very safe distance, and from the point of view of the predators, which is why I called it “The Ambush”. I had a nightmare as a child that there were 2 suns in the sky. It was terrifying because it presented a dystopia of an alien solar system. For this painting, I put several moons in the sky to ad a surreal feeling to the work.

Assembling the pieces.
Assembling the pieces.

Sometimes our fairytales are self-created. My father’s Canadian fairy tale was about the winter he spent living with his 2 German buddies in a log house they built on their homestead  in Alberta in 1931. That experience was so rich for him that he told this story and the details many, many times over until I felt like I had been there.

Horst Doehler, 21 years old and friends in northern Alberta, 1931
Horst Doehler, 21 years old and friends in northern Alberta, 1931

When I was thinking this morning about my father and his brief experience in Alberta, the telephone rang.

“Hi Flora. I was wondering if you had sold that painting from the fairytales show. It was my favorite and I’d like to buy it.”

The caller is originally from out west. And do you know what else? I had forgotten that Red Riding Hood is in my Brothers Grimm fairytale book.

Happy Birthday to the man who taught me how to swim, how to tell time and how to imagine a fairy tale.

The Ambush. ©Flora Doehler, 2014 Mixed Media on canvas 24" x 30"
The Ambush. ©Flora Doehler, 2014  SOLD
Mixed Media on canvas
24″ x 30″