A Poem as Lovely as a Tree

I’m starting to add paintings to my 2015 folder and it’s fun to see the direction I’m taking in my work. I was looking through my paintings from 2014 and was inspired by the trees I painted over the year. I have a little crush on birch trees, especially the young birches with their coppery bark slashed with black, dark branches tracing spiderwebs in the sky. So while I’m not excluding any subject matter that inspires me, I am thinking that trees are going to be my focus this year. I don’t think it will be boring!

Here are a few of my favourite tree paintings & sketches from 2014:

"Golden Afternoon" watercolour painting by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com "Slope in Shadow" watercolour on paper Overlooking Waterton Lake 600w Dunvegan Patriarch 600w  huckleberry hill large 600w Sun Shadows - watercolor painting in progress by Angela Fehr

And here are two studies from 2015. The first is the reason I love cross country skiing; every Saturday in winter we are on the trails and they are so beautiful!

 On the Trail watercolour study | Angela Fehr

And this is a view from the end of our driveway, looking west toward town.

"Looking West" landscape sketch | Angela Fehr watercolours

Here’s to trees in 2015!

Landscape Course Launch: A Limited Time Offer Code

NOTE**The offer code has expired, however you can join and save 50% off the retail price of $99 using this link: http://watercolors.usefedora.com/course/landscapes/?couponCode=halfoff2015

For the last two months I’ve been working on building my new online course, “Composing the Landscape in Watercolor”. Putting a course together is a lot of work! I have to figure out what to teach, and then put together coherent video with sensible explanations. Which means I also have to actually know what I’m doing, and how to verbalize a process that is usually very internal. It was worth it though, as I believe my new course is the best one yet, full of content (over 3 hours of video) and with four complete painting demonstrations, including the two paintings shown below.

along the oregon coast

I have priced the course at $99USD, however I have a bit of an earlybird discount for those who want to join right away. Until January 18th, you can get the course for $39, using this link.

huckleberry hill demo

Please also be aware that my Florals course coupon code, providing that course for just $49, will be discontinued at the end of January, so if you have been planning on enrolling in that course, now is the time to do it!

As always I am so excited by this new step, and so thankful that I get to live this wonderful watercolour adventure. Thanks for joining me on it – watercolor people are THE best kind of people!

Tree Shapes & Shadows

The new year is definitely in full swing around here. The kids are back in a school, which means I am too, since we are a homeschooling family. Today I tried to do a bit of freezer meal cooking in anticipation of the beginning of my kids’ classes which start next week. I will be teaching two drawing and painting courses for girls ages 8-12 and watercolour for adults once a week as well. I’m so enjoying having a dedicated space for these classes in my garage studio. It’s cozy and mostly quiet (except when my hot rod husband starts working in his half downstairs!).

Sometimes I feel a little panicked at the press of responsibilities. One male artist is infamously quoted as claiming women artists aren’t any good since the ties of family prevent them from truly growing in their art, and there are days I feel so torn. I don’t think I will ever get as much time in the studio as I would like, not as long as the children are home, and so I cling instead to the truth that the souls I am nurturing in my home are more important than a piece of paper with some paint on it. And I do get to paint, and I treasure the richness of a life that allows me to do both raise my children and pursue my art, even though that means I take fractions with my coffee instead of sketching painting ideas (oh, the joys of fifth grade mathematics!).

This week I shipped a painting to the Federation Gallery in Vancouver, BC. My “Peace River Corner” painting was chosen to show in the Federation of Canadian Artists’ “Works on Paper” show, opening January 20-February 1st. Vancouver is a long way from here, but I am looking forward to seeing the selections online and will post the link when it is active.

I’m also packing up a number of paintings to hang in Spirit River, Alberta. This little town is just an hour away and my art will brighten the halls at the local hospital for several months. My grandma is nearly 95 and lives in Spirit River so I’m looking forward to visiting her as well. Plans in our area are always contingent on weather; earlier this week we were shivering under bitingly cold -35C weather (-31F) and today it was warmer, but snowing and with freezing rain warnings. I always travel with a shovel and tow rope in the back of the van, though it’s been quite a few years since I’ve needed to use them. I would much rather cancel my plans and stay home when the roads are icy.

Sometimes I do crazy stuff like start a completely instinctive painting on a full sheet of watercolour paper. This rarely results in a finished painting, but I think painting instinctively like this can really awaken creative energies and spawn ideas that turn into great paintings down the road. It also gives me a chance to try new colours with no holds barred. So the painting below started from such a place. My goal had been to create interesting blue shapes beneath the horizon, but in the process I became more interested in what was happening above the ground, in the trees. I cropped out most of the lower half of the paper, and the result is this lively forest silhouette that I can’t stop looking at, with deep blue depths and layers in the snow. So much more to enjoy in these inspired “go with the flow” compositions than a staid, over-planned realistic landscape. I love realism, but it’s just not me as much as something like this is.

tree silhouettes study | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

“Tree Shapes and Shadows”


2014 Retrospective

Happy New Year! I hope you’re as excited about 2015 as I am. It’s a facet of my unrealistic nature to be way too optimistic about the future. On the other hand, looking back over the year only affirms that every year holds the possibility of greatness. I’m going to share a few of my favourite moments from 2015 and a few of my favourite paintings alongside. Follow the links to read the original posts.

In January I shared a post about how I’m learning to paint with passion and confidence. This is something I emphasize in my online classes because we have such a tendency to be our own worst critics, and drain the joy from our painting ventures in the process.

"Peace River Corner" watercolor by Angela Fehr | http://angelafehr.com

February, my birth month, was a big one for me. I finished several paintings that showed in galleries through the region, including the second place winning “Peace River Corner“. Wade and I also tackled the flooring in my studio. Little did I know I would be partying in that studio in November, happy to finally have a separate space for my art.

In March I bulked up my Youtube channel with two new videos. I continue to see new subscribers and it’s so rewarding to receive emails from people who “discovered” my channel and are excited about what they are learning in watercolour. I just LOVE that part of my job.

April saw new opportunities in painting with students at a local school. So much fun! I also saw two paintings shown at the Grande Prairie Art Gallery – a new gallery to add to the list. One was the dramatic “Waves Above the Wheat.”

Waves  Above the Wheat crop 1

In May we visited Waterton National Park and came home with many great photos to turn into paintings! I love travelling with my family and reminiscing while I paint scenes from our travels.”Overlooking Waterton” was painted in fall.

Overlooking Waterton Lake 600w

Watercolour artists often struggle putting the first stroke on a sheet of paper. I addressed this issue in June’s Youtube video, “Fear of the Blank Page” and was amazed that a painting video with no actual painting received such a response. I guess we all need a little encouragement from time to time!

In July I launched a new online course, focused on painting florals intuitively in watercolour. This course has 236 students enrolled as of today and is still available for half price, $49 using this coupon code. Teaching online has really helped me to grow my business, keeping me stocked in watercolour supplies and frames, and that’s a good thing! I also love the sense of community I feel with my students; it’s a very positive environment!

My August plans for plein aire painting excursions was swallowed up by a family wedding and relaxation in the heat of summer. I don’t apologize for that! I did create one painting that I shared on my blog, enjoying the vibrant colours of fireweed in the forests and roadsides. This is also the month I discovered Opera Pink. Gorgeous!

September holds the biggest art show of the year for me, with the Peace Watercolour Society. I always enjoy planning several paintings for this annual show. I also visited Muncho Lake and Liard Hot Springs with my family and created several new paintings, including “Breaking Through” which was later purchased by Ridley Terminals for the Northern Art Initiative.

"Breaking Through" watercolour, 15" x 22"

I launched my first watercolour calendar in October (it’s on sale right now!) and look forward to this becoming an annual tradition. I also had fun teaching a watercolour class here in my studio and finished this little gem:

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

November was a fantastic month for me. So exciting to win an award with the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists and also have a painting chosen for the Northern Art Initiative, move into my new studio, launch a mini workshop featuring Christmas paintings. It felt a lot like all the hard work of the year was culminating in one great month and that’s a pretty great feeling, I can tell you!

December was a cozy month. I hosted several parties in my new studio and worked on some studies for future paintings. Lots to be thankful for this year and to look ahead to in the coming year! Thank you for being a part of it all!

Merry Christmas!

Sun Study | Angela Fehr

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

As my gift to you I’ve posted a new video titled “The Joy of Watercolour”. It’s a demonstration of a winter landscape and you can view it here. Have a blessed Christmas!

Painting Epiphanies

I was talking to my sister on the phone the other night and we were discussing the trials and tribulations of raising middle-schoolers. It’s a different dynamic than when our kids were toddlers and comes with its own set of problems. I was explaining to her that I found that I was doing better at dealing with conflict with the kids when I stop to think instead of reacting instinctively. “When I remember I’m the mom,” I explained, “I am better able to handle things maturely and with authority, instead of stooping to their level.” She knew exactly what I was talking about, and only later I started to think about how that principle applies to my art life as well as to my parenting.

It’s pretty easy to let emotions take over. One bad painting, a show submission rejected, or an insensitive comment and I can start to feel pretty discouraged. “What am I doing this for?”

I need to stop and think. Remembering the milestones achieved, the many opportunities that have come my way and achievements and awards I’ve received. The initial highs fade so quickly, and without conscious thought, I can be swept along by whatever emotion I’m feeling, living reflexively instead of intentionally.

Intentional thinking regarding my art life is going to include ideas like this:

  • I’m on a journey. Everything that happens is a step along the path. Think of where I was 1, 5, 10 years ago and celebrate how far I’ve come.
  • I am exactly where I need to be.
  • Don’t force progress. I will take the steps I can to move forward, but I will also enjoy where I am right now.
  • My painting is for me, first of all. Others’ opinions, praise or criticism are secondary to my own satisfaction in my work.
  • Don’t get caught up in perceptions of success that involve accolades and awards. What truly satisfies is feeding my soul through painting.
  • I am so blessed with everything I have right now. To be able to paint fearlessly, to have everything I’ve been given (family, home, studio, love). Don’t let anything distract me from gratitude for my blessed life.

"Alstromeria" watercolour by Angela Fehr

“Alstromeria Study”  watercolour by Angela Fehr
A demonstration from my local watercolour classes.

Snow Studies in the Peace River Region

Snow carries its own beauty, and I realize this every year as we in northern British Columbia are covered by its crisp, pure brilliance. Sun on snow is dazzling, and the shadows fall in myriad shades of blue, azure and cobalt. Our short days mean that often there is a rose tinge to the sunlit areas as the sun hovers in a constant state of either rising or setting, low on the horizon.

Driving home from town in the late afternoon, I was struck by the glow of sunset on a drift of snow just a few hundred metres from our driveway. I don’t think I properly captured the glow, but I had fun painting this little snow study, just a little bigger than a greeting card.

"Sunlit Corner" watercolour by Angela Fehr

On other days, the sun doesn’t appear and the world looks a lot greyer. Still beautiful, if a bit more bleak. Can you see the deer in this painting? This is an interpretation of the road coming up the hill toward our home; my house would be just a dot, dead centre, if I had painted it in!

"Bleak Midwinter" watercolour by Angela Fehr

Even more close to home is this painting of a view from my back yard. The kids go sledding down this slope, and I as usual am distracted by the contrasts between sun and shadow. The brighter the sunlight, the darker the shadows!

"A Crack in the Hill" watercolour by Angela Fehr

And one more. Beauty doesn’t have to be complex. My painting has always been about looking for beauty in simple things. Slowing down to savour what we see and experience a moment of gratitude for our gorgeous and varied world.

"Slope in Shadow" watercolour on paper

A Giving Tuesday Giveaway

From my Facebook page: Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? It’s a day dedicated to giving back; combating greed and excess by remembering to share what we have with those less fortunate. Giving is a way of thanking God for all He’s given me and I love to give to mission organizations that work in developing countries. If you choose to give today, comment below with the name of your charity or simply say “I gave” and I’ll draw a name to win 2 sets of note cards, one to keep, and one to give!http://givingtuesday.ca/
The non-profit I gave to this week is New Tribes Mission

Recognized at the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists “Life in the Peace”

I wasn’t able to attend the opening for the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists show “Life in the Peace” yesterday afternoon, so I was thrilled by email to learn that my painting “Peace River Corner” won second place in the show!

"Peace River Corner" watercolor by Angela Fehr | http://angelafehr.com

Previously my highest placement in any show was third, so I consider this a step in the right direction! Honestly, it’s always pretty wonderful to be chosen simply to show with dedicated and skilled local artists, and both the pieces I have in the show are ones I am proud of. However I’m bursting my buttons over this little painting which was the result of many hours of exploring the scene and figuring out the best way to paint it in “my” style. I counted later and realized I painted this scene SEVEN times before I could call this one my final draft. I learn best that way, painting out my issues and learning as I go.

“Life in the Peace” will hang until December 18th at the Beaverlodge Cultural Centre in Beaverlodge, Alberta. I encourage you to check out the show if you are in the area!