Teaching to Change Hearts

I love telling people that I teach watercolour online. It’s not because it’s a great income source, or because I get to teach students from all over the world without leaving my home, although both of those things make me very happy.

What really gets me excited about teaching is the opportunity I have had to change lives through my classes.

Summer Glade watercolour by Angela Fehr | http://angelafehr.com

Summer Glade, watercolour, 14″ x 21″ (available)

That sounds a little crazy, I know. It’s watercolour, not therapy, or sharing how my faith in God has coloured my life. I’m not helping anyone get famous or make a lot of money. But every so often I get an email that might say something like this;

I always wanted to learn to paint, but never thought I could. You have helped me feel like I can paint whatever I want and just enjoy myself in the process!

or

I needed this so much. I’ve been feeling a little lost since my husband passed away.

or

After someone criticized my art, I stopped painting for many years. You have helped me remember what painting is all about and I’m having so much fun without worrying what anyone thinks!

What happened for me, and what is happening for many of my students, is that when we change our thinking about our art, it influences how we think about our lives as well. Saying “yes” to art often involves stepping outside of our comfort zone. Confronting a fear in one area makes it easier to confront other fears and obstacles in our lives. Redefining success as the attempt rather than the finished product is a confidence builder and often helps us make peace with our mistakes. And being kind and generous to people who are on the same journey as I am is just another way of recognizing that we are all in this together. It’s more important than any masterpiece I may paint.

Interested in teaching online? I share how I got started in this video.

July Painting of the Month: Spray of Wild Roses

July’s painting of the month is my gorgeous “Spray of Wild Roses”. I just love wild roses’ sweet fragrance and gentle pink colour. In painting this I felt a part of all summer, like I was standing, planted, with the wind in my leaves and wafting my beauty on the air. Sometimes even my paintbrush feels guided by the breezes of June.

Spray of Wild Roses | watercolour by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

As my Painting of the Month, I’ve made “Spray of Wild Roses” available briefly as giclee prints. You can order an 8″ x 10″ or 10″ x12″ print on paper, or fill a room with colour with a 24″ x 30″ print on canvas, but you must order by July 15th. After that the painting will no longer be available as a reproduction.

You can order your prints here, or purchase the original painting. If you are considering purchasing one of my original paintings, please contact me for a consultation. Buying art is very personal, and I want to give you every assurance that your painting will be the right fit for you, assist you with choosing framing if you wish, and answer any questions you might have.

Paint Splashes and Creative Classes!

It’s a beautiful Canada Day and I’m pretty proud to be Canadian. I’m so thankful for my country; for the freedoms we enjoy, the diversity of its inhabitants and the vast beauty of our landscape. My husband is self-employed and rarely takes the holidays off, so I have a quiet day planned. I love my home and rarely complain about having to stay home instead of get out (unless I’m tired of making meals). Today I’ll help the kids put a tent in the backyard, make a frozen dessert and maybe before I even get to those things, rush to the studio to check on a painting I started last night. I always love coming back to see what’s happened between the last juicy brushstroke and the “morning after.”

I’ve also been busy recording my new courses! I started with a thought to update my “Basic Techniques” course, followed by creating “Loose & Fluid Watercolour II” and “Watercolour Sketches” but in beginning the new Loose course, I got excited about the idea of recording a new Florals course instead of the Sketches course, or maybe in addition to! Wouldn’t it be great to have three new courses by fall?

Here’s a peek at something you can see right now:

apple demo

This apple is demonstrated in my in-the-process-of-revision “Basic Techniques” course. It’s $20 US for a limited time; I will be increasing the price when the update is complete as I am adding a ton of new information and demonstrations.

Also new today is this one-layer peony demonstration. This is a painting you can make in about five minutes, and it’s so much fun!

peony

You can watch the speedy version on my Youtube channel, or the full video with instructions in my “Joy of Watercolour” free online course. I add to this course periodically, sharing ways to experiment and explore watercolour, grow your skills and have fun in the process.

peony 4

Every painting holds a new colour experience, and I’m so excited about what I’m learning as I record what I already know. I grow my watercolour skills every time I paint, and every time I teach. It’s one of the things that makes me excited about becoming an old lady; imagining how much better a painter I’ll be in 20, 30, 40 years!

peony 3

So if your future looks a little dull and lifeless, grab a paintbrush and a tube of quinacridone magenta. You might just fall in love with colour!

peony2

A Trip into the Wilderness

The sun is shining and the strawberries are ripening! We’ve had a beautiful and very dry spring and now that summer has hit, so have summer thunderstorms. I’m thankful for adventures that have already happened this month. Every time we go out adventuring, I get to add to my life experiences and my paintings get richer. The trick is deciding what to paint!

A couple of weeks ago, we loaded up some ATV’s and met my sister and family for an off roading adventure about 3 hours from home. We were able to drive into the northern Rocky Mountains and explore along the Red Deer River. I’m not a rugged outdoorsy type, but I do love nature and beautiful scenery, and there was plenty of both!

red deer 1

We stopped for lunch at the beginning of the trail, surrounded by mountains.

red deer 2

Everywhere along the trail you could see traces of wildfire destruction. Most wildfires in our region are caused by lightning, and the skeletal trees lend an extra sense of the power of nature in the raw.

red deer river

The river curved beneath us, glacier blue.

red deer 3

When I wasn’t driving quad, I was crouched along the trail, catching photos of the wildflowers. I could identify many; columbine (shown), wild forget-me-nots, lupines, wild roses, paintbrush in neon hues, and many more I wasn’t familiar with.

red deer 4

Were it not for my brother-in-law, we might have missed the trail branching off to the falls, a short walk and we were there. Water cascading, fire-stripped trees right up the river’s edge on the south side of the river, and a whole micro-system of flowers and mosses thriving in the misty air. We scrambled down to the base of the falls;

red deer 5

The misty coldness felt fantastic on our dusty faces after our 10 km trail ride. One of the things we love most about living up north is the solitude. Throughout the day we were the only ones at the falls and saw only a few signs of other humans around. We did scare away a grizzly sow and cub, but otherwise we felt like the only people in a hundred miles. It’s one of the things that is disillusioning about travel; going to a famous park or landmark and being just one of the crowd. It’s pretty fun to feel like you are part of a beautiful secret; a gem of nature that few people get to experience.

red deer 6

The long drive home (we got home at midnight!) was pretty painful; we were all so tired and grubby. The glorious sunset made it better, and we counted wildlife as we drove, watching carefully we saw moose, elk and a grizzly bear along the road. That grizzly was pretty confident of his position as king of the forest; we stopped the truck to look at him in the darkening night and he ignored us as he foraged in the weeds. Nature is pretty amazing, and it always inspires me. I’m so thankful I get to enjoy the beauty of the world where I live. As much as I’d love to travel, there’s so much to see here that I haven’t experienced yet!

The Fun of Painting Flowers

 

One reason I love painting florals is that you can go from this:Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

To this:

Calypso Orchids | watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

and it’s so much fun! I get to be in charge when I paint, and let the colours run the way I want, creating shapes that suggest beautiful flowers without painting every detail. I love dropping in beautiful colours like cobalt teal, green gold and opera pink, letting them flow & mingle for maximum impact and gorgeous juiciness.

Calypsos; detail of watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

I love sharing what I’ve learned about using the loose & fluid properties of watercolour in my online courses. My “Loose & Fluid” watercolour course is a great introduction to “playing” with free & easy painting and “Colour-Drenched Florals” is a great followup to really explain my processes in painting flowers in watercolour. If creating dynamic florals is something you’ve always wanted to do, check out these classes today! They are more than worth the money and there’s a 30 day money back guarantee if you disagree.

Sign up here: Angela Fehr Watercolour Classes

Here’s a few details to help you decide:

1. The classes are self paced so you can watch them anytime, and you get lifetime access so you can watch them as many times as you want to.

2. Loose & Fluid I is just $20 USD, while Colour-Drenched Florals is $99. But you can buy all five of my paid courses for $150 for the best value of all.

3. By posting your work in the Student Gallery (there’s one in each course), you can receive feedback, guidance & critiques from me as well as from the other students in the course. There’s already a ton of great information in the galleries as I share insight on how to improve students’ paintings.

Here’s a few more of my beautiful floral watercolour paintings. These inspire me to make more lovely paintings every day, and I hope they inspire you too! Many of these are available for purchase by clicking here.

Spray of Wild Roses | watercolour by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

"Fragrant" watercolor painting by Angela Fehr

“Fragrant” watercolor painting by Angela Fehr

Sunflower on Edge | angela fehr watercolors "Alstromeria" watercolor by Angela Fehr oleander | Angela Fehr watercolours "Reds" watercolor by Angela Fehr freesia sketch 5x7 watercolor by Angela Fehr Golden Gift hothouse flowers & vase Dainties 600w "Kaleidoscope" watercolour by Angela Fehr | http://angelafehr.com gerber first wash | Angela Fehr "Withered" watercolor by Angela Fehr wild rose cascade 600w party line Spring Dresses Liz's Wild Roses | Angela Fehr watercolors Violets of My Affections Summer Fling | watercolour by Angela Fehr "Market Garden" watercolour, $120 unframed | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

My Love Affair with Colour: Spray of Wild Roses (new painting alert)

Spray of Wild Roses, watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

It’s wild rose season, and the air is full of their fragrance. I almost feel silly painting wild roses; they are so ubiquitous and symbolic of our region that I feel like they’ve been done to death. But when you’re inspired, you have to go with it, and I realized recently that I really only have completed two wild rose paintings. So I pulled out a sheet of watercolour paper and channeled my inner rose.

Spray of Wild Roses, watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

I have studied roses extensively for many years and so I didn’t use a reference photo, I just started painting, studying the roses at the roadside during my morning run. The benefit from studying roses live in person is that you can see the context; their environment, their scent, the bugs and the feel of the sun and wind. It makes for a more well-rounded painting, capturing more of the “essence” of the painting subject.

Spray of Wild Roses, watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Painting loosely means I also get to use the best characteristics of watercolour to my advantage. I love playing with granulating colours – that’s how I get the texture of granules of different colours side by side. These colours are mixed with a wet brush, and then as they dry, they separate. It’s stunning and always unique.

Spray of Wild Roses, watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

I’ve been teasing you with detail shots, because there are so many beautiful details in this painting, you have to see it to appreciate it. Here’s a look at the full painting:

Spray of Wild Roses | watercolour by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

“Spray of Wild Roses” measures 14″ x 18″ (36 x 56 cm) and is available for purchase here.

From Watercolor to Fused Glass: One Artist’s Interpretation

I meet some great people through watercolor, and by “meet” I mean not just in person, but through email, Facebook & online conversations; even the occasional phone call. Creativity connects people and it’s one of the most energizing parts of my job to be a part of making those connections.

I saw Willow Grove Hill Studio‘s fused glass work on Instagram while around the same time Willow Grove’s artist, Anna DelBon Masucci, was watching my sunflower watercolor tutorial on Youtube. I love glass art and have often dreamed of taking a glassblowing course, trying lampwork or stained glass, and my favourite jewellery pieces are glass. I think it’s no coincidence that glass artists are often fans of watercolor as well. The transparency of the two medias is certainly similarly beautiful! Look at this gorgeous piece; my favourite from her site:

Willow Grove Hill Studio

Anna emailed me to share the painting she created inspired by the tutorial (I have to recommend my sunflower video tutorial; it’s a very forgiving, step-by-step intro to watercolor techniques), and then last week she emailed with something new; a wonderful fused glass art piece inspired by my sunflower demo.

glass art by Willow Grove Hill Studio

Isn’t that beautiful!? With glass, Anna achieves something that I can only dream of with watercolour; wonderful transparent colour AND texture on top of that! I hope you’ll check out more of her lovely work on her web site, Willow Grove Hill Studio. And I’d love to hear about the path creativity has taken for you; it’s so awesome how we can see a great idea on Pinterest or anywhere, really, and take it and make it our own unique interpretation. Creativity is wonderful.

Hiking the Murray River Overlook: Viewpoints of Northern British Columbia

Since we returned from our USA vacation in April, I’ve had a crazy hankering to travel. You would think I’d be over it, but I just want to see and experience everything! Fortunately we live on the doorstep of some really beautiful and mostly unspoiled wilderness, and a drive of as little as an hour can get us to a view like this:

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

The river you see is the Murray River, south of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. This time of year it’s muddy with runoff and it’s icy all year round. We’ve visited Kinuseo Falls, north of Tumbler, but this was our first time hiking the Murray River Overlook trail, an easy 5.5 km trek with nonstop views.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

The trail starts out through the forest, and unlike the tangled mess of the aspen forest in our backyard, this is an evergreen forest, mossy and aromatic. Wild clematis grew everywhere in a viney swirl, looking far too delicate for such a rugged environment. It always seems like the more tough the region, the daintier the flowers. But maybe that’s just me.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

After ten minutes of easy walking, we came out onto the side of the river hill, with the Murray River far below.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

The rest of the hike followed the curve of the hill, and the change of scenery meant a change of vegetation as well. Hillside wildflowers added exclamation points of color all along the trail as it wound through grass, sand and aspen groves.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

People ask if we are afraid of bears. There are occasionally reports of bear attacks in our region (this spring a man was killed while camping near Mackenzie, BC, about 3 hours away), but I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to let fear keep us from adventuring. We make enough noise with a nine-year-old boy along that most animals know we are coming long before we appear, and just like us, they prefer to avoid confrontation.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

Plus, I let the boy lead the way, and he had a 2″ penknife. “If I see a bear, I’ll just stab him with my knife.” Oh, for the confidence of boyhood!

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

The trail ended right about the time we were ready for a snack, and we parked on a log bench overlooking the valley, right where the river makes a hairpin turn and meanders from north to west.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

I think it’s so cool that we live in a region that lets us explore so freely. In our two-plus hours hiking, we encountered only one other couple, and the trail was pristine.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

Clearly well travelled but with absolutely no litter. Aside from the signposts and deadfalls cleared from the path, there was no other sign of human interference. That was one thing we didn’t get when we were hiking in the USA; you were always around other people, and most parks require admission or parking fees. It’s free to use our trails and parks for day use.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

The travel bug shows no signs of going away. But we saw signs of another trail near this one, and we’re planning a quad (ATV) trip for next weekend to an even more remote location.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

Not only that, but within a few hours’ drive we can reach beautiful Jasper National Park. I have a bucket list experience connected with that park, and I’m determined we’ll do it this year.

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

I also have to research all the wildflowers we saw on our hike. There are at least a dozen varieties, and while I know most of them, this pink one was new:

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

And we spotted a single Calypso Orchid beside the trail, and very carefully admired it. So lovely!

Hiking above the Murray River near Tumbler Ridge, BC Canada

I believe everyone can find beauty in their own backyard, and I’d love to know about the scenic spots you’d take me to were I to visit your neck of the woods!