New Online Course: Painting Christmas Images in Watercolor

This morning I launched my newest course, “Painting Christmas“. It’s a fun mini-course featuring three Christmas/winter themed paintings and a reminder that watercolour is fun to learn!

$20 Christmas-Themed Watercolour Course by Angela Fehr

I get emails all the time from people struggling with learning watercolour. So often they’ve been told how hard it is to learn, and they are scared, and discouraged by the many mistakes they feel they are making. My goal in my classes is to free every watercolour painter from the tyranny of fear and perfectionism. Watercolour is so much fun when you are willing to experiment and make mistakes, and these three new paintings are no exception.

The class is just $20 and you can start anytime, and take as long as you want to finish (like all my online courses). Click here to join and enjoy!

Studio Update: Moving In!

I hosted my first class in my new studio on Tuesday night. Here’s the painting we created, learning to paint birch trees:

birch class study | Angela Fehr watercolours

And now I’m going to show you my new, in-the-process-of-moving-in space.

studio update | Angela Fehr watercolours

On Monday evening, Wade told me, “The heat is on in the studio,” so Tuesday afternoon I spent cleaning and moving things around so that ready or not, I could host class there that night. It’s been five years since we built the shop/garage/studio building and so to say I was anxious to move in would be an understatement.

studio update 2 | Angela Fehr Watercolours

One of the reasons it’s taken so long is because we are doing everything ourselves. And by us, I mean 90% Wade, 10% me. He’s a carpenter, and he’s also not afraid of hard work. I am learning to appreciate his motto, “If you do it right the first time, you only have to do it once.” Although that doesn’t really apply to housework. We made our own floor from unfinished pine boards, and the ceiling tiles took many hours of painting, staining, buffing and varnishing. Then there was time spent waiting for enough money to buy supplies, and getting sidetracked by other projects (like Wade’s amazing rat rod, and our kitchen cabinet reno).

studio update | Angela Fehr Watercolours

I ended up only cleaning half the room – the left side will be kind of a living area/guest room so that in addition to painting, the studio will be a relaxing place to hang out with friends and family. I’m looking for the perfect sofa and maybe a fold-out wall bed. The table against the wall will go to make room for other stuff, and sadly, I think the glass cabinet on the table will have to go as well to make room for other things.

We are working on finishing up the bathroom. I’m letting Wade go a little nuts with it – he is calling it a “gas station bathroom” but it’s not really the right phrase – if you are envisioning the grody, scary bathrooms you encounter on road trips, you’re not catching his vision. I’m thinking it’s more “steampunk gearhead.”

Studio bathroom sneak peek | Angela Fehr watercolours

Here’s a sneak peek at it since it’s not nearly done yet. He’s been working on the towel bar and some decorative pipe for the wall for a week or two. I’m thinking this towel bar will hold up the weight of even the plushest of towels.

studio bathroom sneak peek | Angela Fehr watercolours

There is so much to love about my new studio! It’s close to the house; I can even peek into the kitchen window and see if the children are setting their hair on fire, or just sneak out early and paint before anyone else wakes up. It’s beautiful; I have learned that I am inspired by beautiful spaces and it’s going to be wonderful to work where I am completely comfortable and visually delighted. It’s quiet; I will be able to shoot more video tutorials in the quiet of a room with an actual DOOR (my studio in the house is doorless and it really makes it difficult to film without distracting background noise). And it’s a wonderful gift from my husband who enjoys doing this stuff as an expression of his love for me.

When Mum’s an Artist

We have a new neighbour in our little subdivision and it’s been pretty fun for my 8 year old son to have another boy to play with. It’s hard to be a boy with two big sisters!

Wesley’s friend was fascinated by the fact that I am an artist, and when he’s over to play, often he will come check up on me and what I’m up to in the studio. I overheard him ask Wes, “What’s it like having a mum who’s an artist?” Wesley just kind of grunted; it’s not something he’s ever spent time thinking about, and he’s “guy” enough that he wouldn’t have an answer even if he had pondered it. I think my husband would answer the same way!

I’ve spent a little time thinking about what it might be like to have an artist for a parent, and I don’t think I would change a thing. Of course, my children have grown up in a home where paintings littered the art room (how many families even HAVE an art room?!), where mum stops the car to snap a reference photo, or drops down into the dirt to study the light on a fallen leaf. For all they know, every child lives under the stricture that under no circumstances should mum’s palette be touched and that sky is not merely blue, it’s cobalt. Not to mention the wealth of art supplies they have to work with for their own creative projects!

Having an artist parent is a gift for my children, whether they know it or not. They won’t suffer in a home that allows art to come before housework, and where supper is sometimes an afterthought (if I can make it in 30 minutes, it goes into permanent menu rotation). What they have been given is an opportunity to see what it looks like to pursue a dream. So many people live with secret desires that remain unspoken and locked tightly away. It is a frightening thing to chase a dream. It is so tempting to just postpone that proposal, not make the call or send the email to start the ball rolling, to enter the gallery and leave without asking for an audience (which I have done, many times).

I’m not saying I always choose rightly. My children and husband need to come first in my life, and it is not always easy to know how to prioritize so that marriage, art and family can live in harmony. But in living this artist’s life, my kids see someone who says, “I can do something great,” and then give it her best shot. That is one of many things I want for them to take into adulthood.

Chosen: Ridley Terminals’ Northern Art Initiative 2014

I’m very pleased to announce that my painting “Breaking Through” has been chosen by Ridley Terminals Inc. for their 2014 Northern Art Initiative. The painting will be purchased by Ridley Terminals to hang at the Museum of Northern British Columbia in Prince Rupert, British Columbia during December, 2014. Following the exhibition, the painting will be donated to a registered charity for use in fundraising.

"Breaking Through" watercolour, 15" x 22"

I try to hold no expectations when submitting art for various calls for artists. There are so many unknowns when submitting art, from what the jurors are looking for to how many artists participate in the submission process. But it does seem consistently that when one of my pieces gets chosen for a show or event, it is always art I feel deeply connected to and proud of. I’m a little sad to have to pack this one up just as soon as it is framed, but I’m excited about being a part of this event and having my art hang in a city it’s never been to before.

A Retro Family Photo Shoot

We are not a family who “does” professional photos. I find it’s hard enough to snatch a moment with the self-timer when we are all clean and respectable looking without trying to factor in a third party and get everyone to pose. And I’ve never really been a fan of cookie-cutter photo shoots. But I started planning this family photo session about four years ago when I met photographer Emily Parsons of Emily Jane Photography. Her style sparked something in me and the project she had just launched, a local vintage photo calendar, inspired me. I thought, “When Wade’s hot rod is done, I should get her to do a vintage style photo shoot of our family with the rat rod.”

Little did I know it would take four years to complete, and in that time Emily would move. But she comes home frequently and I was able to book a shoot for late September, when our yard is golden with fall colour.

photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

I sewed my girls matching skirts, and we got our hair done that afternoon. It was fun to hear comments from the other customers in the busy salon inquiring what we were up to with our retro looks. My middle girl especially looked so perfect in her flipped-out bouffant! Both my girls are so beautiful, inside and out.

photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

Guys are easy to dress retro; jeans and white t-shirts were the perfect look.

 photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

The kids are at the perfect age for a project like this; they participated enthusiastically and were willing to pose as directed.

photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

Our yard is full of little retro details; Wade built the shop to resemble a false-front garage and he’s brought home vintage pop coolers and a gas pump. Auto memorabilia signs we can’t afford to buy, we make ourselves. We could have moved indoors to my retro kitchen for even more vintage photo ops but we were having too much fun out in the sunshine.

photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

 photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

These photos were so much fun! And Emily was a great sport about working with our funky non-traditional ideas. My absolute favourite photos from the shoot are the ones with my guys working on the hot rod. I’m pretty lucky to live with these creative people and we love our home and the life we’ve created together.

photos by Emily Jane Photography 2014

These photos will be delighting me every day – we are hanging an assortment of them in the living room as well as going with the rat rod photos in my studio bathroom – wait until you see how that is turning out! I have high hopes of moving into my garage studio before Christmas. Can’t wait to show you the photos and invite you to the grand opening.

Student Work: October 2014

Student work continues to pop up in my online course galleries. I love seeing students faithfully complete the assignments & exercises as they learn to paint more fluidly in watercolor.

From the first exercises with fluid colour,

Peter B
Flowers sketched by Peter B

to final assignments full of detail,

Marian B

Negative painting composition by Marian B

Penny

Lilies using special effects techniques by Penny

it’s exciting seeing students apply what they’ve learned and get excited about watercolor. You don’t have to fear this medium!

Liz P poppies

Poppies by Liz P.

Heilet R

Heilet’s “Berries in the Wind”

It’s not just my current classes through usefedora.com that produce great student work. Skillshare student Elisa posted this painting recently:

Elisa C

And Joyce found the 6 part sunflower tutorial on my Youtube channel helpful in adding creative colour to her sunflowers.

Joyce A

joyce sunflower

You can join my online classes anytime – they are self-paced with lifetime access for all enrolled students – by using the links below:

For the beginner: Loose & Fluid Watercolor Painting I

For more in-depth study: Painting Colour-Drenched Florals in Watercolour (save 50%)!

Today is the last day to buy my 2015 watercolour calendar for 10% off. Click here to buy!

2015 Angela Fehr Watercolour Calendar

I’ve wanted to publish a painting calendar for many years now, so I’m excited to share that I finally made the decision to make that desire into a reality! Presenting the very first (of many, I hope!) Angela Fehr Watercolour Calendar. I’ve put together nineteen of my favourite paintings into this colourful calendar. It’s a beautiful mix of floral and landscape paintings and will brighten anyone’s day in 2015!

calendar 2015 preview

The calendar retails for $24.99 plus shipping, however I’m offering 10% off through the month of October. You can order online anytime using this link, and local friends can order by contacting me. If you love my paintings but don’t have the budget for original art, an art calendar is a great way to enjoy my work in your own home, plus it makes a great Christmas gift!

Plein Air Painting at Bear Mountain Wind Park

It’s two weeks ago now since I joined the Peace Watercolour Society at the Bear Mountain Wind Park, just south of my hometown, for an afternoon of plein air painting.

DSC_2523

I really very rarely paint outdoors; mostly painting for me is moments snatched between full time mommy-ing, home schooling and paperwork for a couple of organizations. It’s much easier to dash into the studio for a half hour of painting than to pack everything up and paint on location. It was incredibly windy that day and I found the most sheltered spot I could that still had a view (photo above).

plein air bear mountain | Angela Fehr watercolours http://angelafehr.com

I hadn’t brought my usual palette, and I struggled with creating the darks I wanted to really get the values in the rocks. The intense wind made for a pretty quick drying time, and I see why most plein air painters call their outdoor paintings sketches, or pre-studio work. It’s great to be able to be right inside the scene you’re painting, but not so easy to cooperate with the wind, bugs, dust & weather.

wind tower panorama  | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

For my second sketch, I sat a little more exposed, overlooking the valley below the towers. This painting felt more effective, despite the paint spatters from when the wind threw my palette across my lap!

plein aire bear mountain | Angela Fehr Watercolours http://angelafehr.com

I always hope to do more plein air painting than I do, and after this afternoon’s results, I’m seeing that it’s a good learning experience, even though there are also a lot of distractions.

Dainties: All the Best Aspects of Watercolour in One!

I’ve started teaching a series of watercolour classes in my home studio. I look forward to every class as it is so energizing to share watercolour with other lovers of the medium. This class is a departure for me; previous classes were centred on learning technique by creating paintings step by step together, which was great for a realistic style. However, I don’t paint with the goal of realism anymore, so why would I teach that way? We’ve been working instead on learning watercolour by painting loosely, and it’s been great fun.

Last week we started a landscape painting and then spent the rest of class working on a floral. When I’m demonstrating to a class, I find the best way to show them my work as it happens is to hold the painting board propped against the table, and paint from behind – essentially painting upside down. Because I do a lot of talking and explaining the process, I find that most of the time, these paintings don’t turn out to be anything but good examples for demonstration. But every now and then, one of them turns out to be something I love and believe to be worthy of framing.

"Dainties" watercolour painting by Angela Fehr | http://angelafehr.com

“Dainties” is a delight. I love the freshness of the colour and the brushmarks. It’s a tribute to the power of suggestion in painting – that objects don’t need to have every detail defined to be beautiful and make evident what they are. And I always believe that loose paintings like this reveal the beauty of watercolour – the fluidity, transparency and movement that can only be found in watercolour and that I love so much.

“Dainties” measures 8 1/2″ x 11 1/2″ and is available for purchase.

You can take my online class on painting florals loosely here.