About Angela Fehr

I'm a 37-year-old professional watercolour artist living in northern British Columbia, a painter and creative loving the beauty found in everyday moments.

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.

The Book of Autumn

It’s so beautiful in the fall. Judging by the size of my photo files for September, it’s my favourite month.

red leaves | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Drinking in the richness of leaves in transition, hues of gold, violet, cranberry. The sunsets missed through the long days of summer, flaring streaky over cobalt-shadowed landscape. Harvest haze of wheat chaff, farmers haloed in the glare of combine lights. I love the swirl of leaves as we meander down aspen-lined country roads, and the sleepy trickle of creeks banked with tangled purple-red cranberry bushes.

Autumn has been long been used as a metaphor for ending, the slow closing of a life-book. But I think autumn is a celebration of the generosity and abandon of summer. It’s a season set apart for memory and gratitude, a space to take a breath and savour all that has passed. To make that entry in memory’s diary and sign it with a flourish.

If summer was a party, fall is a meditation.

leaves & fence post | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to my friends here in Canada and around the world! You have my permission to enjoy a harvest meal today and express your thankfulness for all you have been given. We are so blessed here; I have nothing to complain about as I get to live each day with the people I love most in the world. My home is comfortable and safe, we are healthy and strong and we take so much for granted. And I have to be thankful for my friends and supporters around the world. It still blows my mind a little that I get to live this artist’s life; to share my paintings with you, to teach and give through art, and the support I receive from you helps me stay engaged and encouraged.

With that said, I am offering a little promotion, just for the next 24 hours or so. My online “Florals” course retails for $99, but just until October 15th, you can buy the course for $39! Please share this great offer with your friends. Remember that you get lifetime access to the course, and you can take the course at your own pace and watch the video lessons as many times as you like. I check in to the student gallery every 7-10 days and critique and give guidance to help you grow as an artist. It’s a great class and I’m enjoying my students so much!

Paint amazing, color drenched florals in watercolor after taking this online course.

If you have already joined the class, why not leave a comment on this post? I will be drawing from my Facebook fans (see my facebook page to enter there) and from comments on this post to win a set of my new notecards, which are en route to me as I write. I’m excited to be sharing new notecard designs soon.

Finally, if you still want to save, I’m offering $39 off any painting from my online gallery, on a first come, first serve basis. Email me to reserve your painting today! Deadline for purchase with the discount is October 15, 2014.

Plein Air Painting at Bear Mountain Wind Park

On Saturday I joined fellow members of the Peace Watercolour Society for our fall plein air painting excursion. The weather was almost perfect; sunny and warm, but there was a fiercely gusting west wind that made painting a little difficult. I had my palette and paper both taped down.

golden tree | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

The leaves bravely clung to the branches of the aspens flaming the hills around Dawson Creek with gold.

 yellow leaves

We met at the Bear Mountain wind farm. Completed in 2009, the turbines are still a relatively new site for those of us who’ve grown up in the region.

towers2  | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

I remember hiking this ridge before the turbines were built. The “rimrocks” along the top of the hill were a community treasure; one of those sites known by locals. Back then one had to hike about 45 minutes to reach the rocks and enjoy the view. Now the road goes right along the ridge beneath the towers,  and it’s only a 30 second walk to the rocks. With progress comes garbage. It’s hard to see the broken bottles and graffiti on the rocks and not remember the beauty of the spot when it was harder to reach. The view from the rocks hasn’t changed, however. It’s still a gorgeous panorama of forest and farmland.

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

One thing I really enjoyed about this particular painting excursion was that I was able to bring my children along. All three have spent time at the wind park before, and they love the rimrocks. We spent over three hours there and I hardly saw them, they were so busy exploring and adventuring. There was a group of rock climbers scaling one end of the rimrocks, and they were interesting to watch, and the kids discovered a cave we hadn’t seen before. They didn’t complain about the wind at all!

wind towers | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

I was tempted to complain a little as painting outdoors is much different from creating in the studio. Drying time, especially in the wind, is much faster. Dirt and grit gusted over the wet paint on paper and palette, and my hands cramped up as I tried to keep a tight grip on my painting board and supplies when the wind picked up.

towers  | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

It’s good to paint outdoors though. I found it was easier to work out depth and distance and interpret it into a painting than when I’m using reference photos. I also saw a wider range of colours more clearly.

tower | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Photographs aren’t perfect, but the days grow short and the world is white, I will be thankful for the many great photos I took this fall and the paintings that grow out of the time spent outdoors and the memories of autumn.

sunflare | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

 leafscape | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Golden Afternoons of Autumn

I attended (and helped hang) the Peace Watercolour Society’s annual Fall show on the weekend. This is my third show with the society, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being a part of this group of passionate watercolour painters.

Peace Watercolour Society - hanging our fall show

This year our show, which rotates between four communities in the Peace River region, was hosted by the Beaverlodge Cultural Centre in Beaverlodge, Alberta. The cultural centre is a historic former hospital and since our show coincided with Alberta Cultural Days, there were a few other artistic events happening in the community through the weekend as well. I have five paintings in the show, and if you are in the area, why not stop by the gallery and see them? The show hangs until October 23rd, 2014.

I’ve been enjoying painting the colours of fall. I tend to gravitate toward cool tones of blue, violet and rose, but in the fall my palette fills with juicy warm red, gold and umbers as I drink in the colours of the foliage, trees and fields. Harvest is creamy butter-yellow. Willows are red-violet and the aspens frame it all in hues of gold.

"Golden Afternoon" watercolour painting by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Golden Afternoon” watercolour, 11″ x 11″ (28 x 28 cm) available for purchase

Last Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving falls the second Monday of October, just 2 weeks away), my sister and I ran down to the Peace River from my grandparents’ house. It’s a beautiful 10km loop and I carried my heavy Nikon DSLR the whole way. As we climbed the final hills leaving the river, the afternoon was waning, and the world was lit with that perfect golden light. I was so thankful to be able to spend the day with my family, the strength to run and explore the river hills, the beautiful place where I live. I feel like I captured a bit of that in this painting, and that makes me very happy.

Out into the Light

My studio is in full production mode right now; I’m enjoying a surge of creativity that’s been inspired by the beauty of fall.

leaf study | Angela Fehr watercolours http://angelafehr.com

The quality of the light in autumn is so inspiring; golden and warm. Every leaf seems defined and haloed by sun on a September afternoon, and it’s irresistible to a painter’s eye. I started painting leaves on the weekend. The painting above was feeling a little too disorganized, kind of a chaos of colour and line, but I snapped a detail photo of just a piece of it before I abandoned it, and when I saw this cropped version on the computer screen, it took my breath away.

Paintings don’t always get finished. Paintings don’t always get finished quickly. I can be incredibly busy painting and full of inspiration and have very little to show for it; letting the kids sleep in and start school later so I can squeeze in a few minutes painting in my bathrobe, stopping in passing to lay a few strokes on the way out the door, setting a painting aside because maybe I’ll know how to finish it later. Right now I have three leaf paintings in various stages of completion/abandonment, a stack of newly completed landscapes to be catalogued and stored neatly, and on the easel right this minute is a sketch of a sunlit forest that I can’t stop looking at. I am so blessed. In delighting in my own handiwork, that sentence from Genesis takes on a personal meaning; “And God saw that it was good.” People tell artists, “You have a gift,” and it’s true, but not in the sense I used to think – a gift to give the world – but it’s a gift given to me. Like buried treasure, as I unwrap it and bring it out into the light, it becomes more valuable and precious as I explore what it truly is that I have been given to hold.

Peace Watercolour Society Fall Show & Sale

 

2014 fall invite

You are especially invited to join me at the Peace Watercolour Society Fall Show & Sale. This year’s show features work by select watercolour artists from the Peace River region, and takes place at the Beaverlodge Cultural Centre, in Beaverlodge, Alberta Canada. I’ll be there with five of my favourite paintings from the past year. This is our big event of the year and I’ve been planning for this for months! Thank you as always for supporting my art, whether you live near or far, I value your support more than you know.

Artists Blog Hop

I’ve been invited by Leslie Redhead to participate in an artists’ blog hop. This is a way for artists to find other artists with blogs that they may otherwise never have seen.  I will introduce you to Leslie, answer four specific questions about my work and then introduce you to three artists whose blogs I follow and whose work I admire.

I’m always delighted to find watercolour artists who share my beautiful province, British Columbia, and Leslie Redhead is not only a skilled watercolour artist but a dedicated teacher. I would love to take one of her workshops one day and see watercolour through her eyes.

"Changing Skies" by Leslie Redhead

“Changing Skies” by Leslie Redhead

Leslie was born in Murray, UT and was raised in Maryland where she was exposed to all the wonderful art that the museums of Washington, DC had to offer. Her degree is in Zoology because she planned on doing scientific illustration. However, after a move to Boston and the birth of two children, she began painting and teaching more in watercolor. Eight years ago her family moved to Canada which is where Leslie’s husband is from.Leslie’s paintings are in private and corporate collections worldwide. She recently graduated with a Master of Education in Art from the University of Victoria and has signatures with Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS), Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC), and the Federation of Canadian Artists (AFCA). Leslie continues to teach and conducts workshops inCanada, the U.S., and Spain. Her work is featured in Splash 10: Passionate Brushstrokes from the Splash: Best of Watercolor series, Leslie Redhead: the life of an artist, and Making It! Case Studies of Successful Canadian Artists.

Leslie currently resides in Vancouver, BC with her husband, two children, and dog. She is represented by Madrona Gallery in Victoria, BC. More of Leslie’s work can be seen at www.leslieredhead.com and leslieredheadart.blogspot.com

Questions for me:

1)  What am I working on?

I wish I had more time to paint right now! I homeschool my three children so the first weeks of school are always busy and home-centred, focused on getting acquainted with a change in routine. When I do get time to paint I am working on several paintings of northern British Columbia (Muncho Lake), which we visited Labour Day weekend for the first time.

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a tough one! I think all artists are striving to carve a unique niche in their medium/subject/genre and I have found that the paintings that most resonate with viewers are the ones that are the most truly “me.” So I am constantly trying to paint more authentically, asking myself “What am I trying to say?” as well as learning to listen to and trust my inner voice. I think this kind of authenticity happens best when an artist is technically confident, so another side of painting from the heart is honing one’s skills and being willing to learn.

3) Why do I create what I do?

Something inside of me always wants to “do” something in response to the beauty I see around me. Painting is my outlet for that urge. I love the fluidity of watercolour and the movement of brush across paper, juicy colours flowing and mixing.

4) How does my creative process work?

This is something I’ve become more aware of in the last year or two, when I realized that I paint best by “painting out” my subject; painting it over and over again in a series of “sketches” as a means of learning, composing and stepping toward a confident, finished painting. I love that I can give myself permission to explore my subject in this way, instead of feeling disappointed when a painting idea doesn’t turn out on the first try. I also believe in taking time away from a painting to allow the mind to dream, imagine and explore the subject, so as to come back to the easel with the mental work done, and a host of ideas ready to spill out in the brush.

Inspiring Artists: 

Cady Driver: A fellow mum, homeschooler and watercolour artist, Cady is an inspiration. Her realistic watercolours are full of light. She recently started a fundraising artistic venture as well, “Birds for Babies”. I love her generous heart! Here’s a bit more about her:

Awarding winning Raleigh artist and children’s book illustrator, Cady Driver, loves to paint complex subjects with luminous, bright colors.  Self-taught, her work reflects the vast range of subjects that capture her attention. Cady especially enjoys painting children and animals and her pen and ink line of artwork benefits orphan/adoption causes (Birds For Babies) .  Cady resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband and home schools her three kids.
Her website is www.ArtByCady.com.
Watercolour by Cady Driver
Watercolour by Cady Driver

Sharon Lynn Williams:

I took a course with Sharon Lynn Williams last year and came away with a whole new appreciation for colour. Sharon paints in oils, acrylics and watercolour, lives “next door” to me in Alberta and I’m always inspired by her diversity of subject and medium.

M.E. (Mike) Bailey: 

You’ve probably already heard of Mike Bailey. I love his blog because he writes so well about the constant learning process of being a painter. He’s an experienced instructor and I always learn something from his blog posts. And he’s a renowned watercolor painter as well, and it’s easy to see why.

Hope you enjoyed this little “hop”. I would love to hear about artists who inspire you – feel free to leave a comment!