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!

Inventing a Blue Flower While Breathing

If you love flowers, you’ll know that actual blue flowers are rare. Horticulturalists try to develop true blue blooms, and sometimes they come up with a purple and call it blue. And even though some flowers are blue, like a Cornflower, a Delphinium or a Forget-me-not, you can’t find a blue Zinnia or Daisy.

Except if you are a painter, and you can imagine it. You can paint the flowers any colour you want to.

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My Floral Paintings Hop to the Rabbit House

On Saturday March 31, I’ll be in a group show with potters Deb Kuzyk & Ray Mackie and painter Wayne Boucher. It’s another example of my dream-come-true in moving to Nova Scotia. This time, you’re invited! But let me start at the beginning.

Over 10 years ago, on my very first visit to the Annapolis Valley, I wandered into the Lucky Rabbit Pottery Store in Annapolis Royal. I was blown away.

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Answering the Call of a Painting

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In my studio while winter blows.

Did you ever give yourself a personal challenge and then 3 months later wonder why?Last fall I innocently challenged myself to paint a series involving people. I was inspired by my drawings that date back to my student days. I used to do a lot of people sketching then with charcoal and pencil. 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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Sketching the Acadian House in Annapolis Royal

Not only do the Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal recreate gardens from the past, they also give us a glimpse into the home life of the Acadians who lived here before the British arrived.

Acadian HouseThe first occupiers in this part of the world were the French in the 1600’s. Their settlers were innovative farmers who reclaimed salt marshland and transformed it into fertile growing lands. Their relationships with First Nation groups was more harmonious than the British would be. Eventually the British – French wars meant that Acadians were thrown off their lands by the British and shipped to various outposts including Louisiana where ‘Acadian’ became ‘Cajun’.

Many families were hidden by the Mi’kmaq and refused to leave their Nova Scotian homeland. Today there are still small communities of Acadians in Nova Scotia who work hard to keep their language and culture alive.

Here in the gardens, the tiny thatched house with hand-made glass windows is a visual reminder of some of that history.

Acadian House2
La Maison acadienne features the only archeologically authenticated replica of a pre-deportation Acadian dwelling in the Maritime region. The potager is based on original diary notes from the Acadian era, while the orchard and willow hedge are heritage cultivars from the 17th Century. La Maison acadienne is based on a 1671 time period when Port-Royal (later Annapolis Royal) was the centre of Acadie.- from the website of the Historic Gardens.

Last week in the gardens I sat in front of the thatch-roofed cabin and sketched it, later adding watercolour paint at home.

Acadian House © Flora Doehler, 2014
Acadian House © Flora Doehler, 2014

Acadian House © Flora Doehler, 2014
Acadian House © Flora Doehler, 2014

The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens Inspire me – again!

About 30 years ago some clever garden and community development innovators in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia had the brilliant idea to recreate the historical periods of the town with a 17 acre garden.

Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal

This August, like the past 5 summers, I have painted in the Historic Gardens during Paint the Town. This fall I finally bought a membership…only cost me $35 a year…and I’ve been visiting my favorite flowers when I go to Annapolis. It’s a 25 minute scenic drive from my home in Bear River.

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The gardens in Annapolis are exquisite…from wild and generous, to deliberate and precise. I love the Victorian Garden with its sunny, happy flowers and it’s outrageously oversized exotic-looking plants that look like they belong in an antique glassed-in greenhouse in England.

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Incredibly, all the flowers are annuals and this is what the gardens look like before planting time.

Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal

What a difference 5 months makes!

IMG_0925In the days ahead, I’ll show you some drawings and paintings I’ve created lately at the Gardens.

I’m working on a series of flower paintings for an upcoming show I’m having with fellow painter Susan Geddes…also in Annapolis Royal, so painting and drawing at the gardens is very inspiring right now and is my homework!

invitationsmallThis little painting of mine was auctioned at Paint the Town this summer.

If Zinnias were Blue © Flora Doehler, 2014
If Zinnias were Blue © Flora Doehler, 2014




 

You’re Invited

I have been immersed in the preparation for my upcoming art show in Bear River.

It seemed like a good idea at the time..to show paintings from the last 2 and 3 years here, but wow. What a lot of work to get everything ready to hang. I had forgotten that part. There were paintings that needed some touching up, edges of canvasses to finish, wire to attach, paintings to seal, photos to take, labels to make, artist statement to write. And very important…cookies to be baked!

January Garden

I hope you can come. If you live close by and can’t come to the opening on Saturday afternoon, January 26, from 1pm to 4pm, then please try another afternoon. I’ll be in the gallery working on a painting and will be glad to talk to you about painting.

And if you live far away and can’t come, I’ll try to take a few little movies to share with you.

Here are some paintings that you’ll see next Saturday.

 

Show of Paintings – Jan / Feb 2013

Hi there!  I’m thrilled to tell you that I’m having a showing of my paintings in Bear River at the end of January.  This will be an opportunity for me to show large paintings from the last couple of years in one space.

I will work on a painting onsite during the show.

Saturday, January 26 – February 3: A BRUSH WITH LIFE: paintings by Flora Doehler

the Rebekah
 downstairs location (1890 Clementsvale Rd.) in Bear River.

Gallery opening with refreshments on Sat Jan 26, 1 – 4 pm.
I will be at the gallery from 1 pm to 4 pm (or by appointment) on the following days:
• Sat. Jan. 26, Sun. Jan. 27
• Thur. Jan. 31, Fri. Feb. 1, Sat. Feb. 2, Sun. Feb. 3
I’ll be painting starting on Thur. Jan. 31. All welcome.

For more information, please email me at flora.doehler@gmail.com

Summer on Brier Island, by Flora Doehler, c. 2012.
Summer on Brier Island, by Flora Doehler, c. 2012.

Here is one of a series of short videos to show you some of the paintings that will be on display.