Strawberry Fields Forever: Watercolor Style

Are you a berry picker?

Around here we are berry pickers, eaters, and painters. I guess you could say I’m a berry reveller. Starting when the strawberries ripen in June, through saskatoon, raspberry, huckleberry, blueberry and cranberry season, I just relish the amazing wild berries we enjoy in our northern Canadian region. So much bounty, and the experience of picking berries is a feast for the senses! Even if the mosquitoes are bad.

"Strawberry Wreath" watercolour sketch | Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

I do grow a few rows of domestic strawberries and raspberries, and while they never produce as much as I’d like, I love having inspiration in colour, scent and texture just a few feet from my home. These two sketches are purely fun, nothing I’m content with as yet, but just like berry picking, you never know what you’ll discover when you start out!

strawberry sketch | Angela Fehr watercolours http://angelafehr.com

Enjoy your summer’s bounty, whatever it may be!

Kaleidoscope

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

After all the colour inspiration blooming in my garden, it’s pretty easy to splash brights around on my palette! For this painting I used mainly QoR watercolors by Golden for their non-fading brilliance. They don’t lighten as they dry, which I love. The pink is Quinacridone Magenta.

I’ve been really enjoying playing with brushstrokes lately; scribbly marks that dance across the page give paths for the moist colour to flow and mingle. I love seeing the transitions between colours and their interactions are so dynamic.

“Kaleidoscope” measures 9″ x 12″ and is available for purchase.

At Home with Angela: a garden tour

I tell people that I don’t garden, but that’s not strictly true. There are three small rows of peas, nine hills of potatoes, strawberry and raspberry plants in my veg garden and as usual, my harvest will be poor. If things grew better in that spot, I might try harder, but I can’t be both a painter and an avid gardener. I just don’t have that kind of time!

I do love my flowers, and so I’ve worked to find flowers that I love, that are easy to care for and provide lots of colour in our northern (Zone 2-3) region. From a distance my beds may not look that impressive; this one is at the side of the yard and driveway:

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But when you get in a little closer, there’s lots to love. Grape hyacinths, tulips and irises to bloom in spring, and right now is lily and delphinium season:

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I bought these pink lilies at a garage sale, and they have multiplied ridiculously. I have realized that I don’t really love lilies. I am crazy about delphiniums though. They are a watercolour painter’s dream. The colours! From traditional blues…flowers8

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…to white, purple and pinky-mauve…
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This new colour I nabbed last year and is just incredible. It’s a blue-violet at the edges, but the centres are apple-green. I keep blinking, thinking I am seeing wrong. I love it so much.flowers1 Every year I plant hanging baskets and it takes forever for them to fill out and look good. This year I spent a few dollars more on already planted baskets and I am so glad I did. They are exuberantly full of cascading colour.
flowers2 I didn’t go with a colour scheme, just picking up whatever looked pretty, and I love the riot of colour.flowers3flowers7I am so thankful for flowers. They inspire me all the time, and I gain a new appreciation for colour when I study the complexities of colour and tone in these beautiful blooms.

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The Colours of the Peace River Region: Gold & Blue

My hometown, Dawson Creek, has chosen for its colours blue and yellow, and they have a good reason for doing so. These two hues would have to be the defining colours of our region. Blue for our skies and the shadows on snow six months of the year, and yellow for the autumn gold of aspen trees and the swaths of canary that are canola fields in bloom in summer.

The canola is blooming right now and I keep thinking the only thing that would make it more lovely is if we grew flax alongside. Darkness falls around 10pm and I often find myself driving home around 9, just as dusk is deepening and the light is rich and glorious. Sometimes I just have to run up to the studio as soon as I get home to try to capture a little of what I saw in my rearview mirror. Our skies, our land, such richness!
Dusk over Canola | Angela Fehr watercolour paintings http://angelafehr.com

Dusk over Canola” watercolour painting, 11″ x 14″
available for purchase

Easter Lilies in Excess

Note: After posting regarding the wildfires in our area, we did get rain yesterday, and today. Hudson’s Hope residents have been allowed to return to their homes, but there are still many fires burning, and some areas are still evacuated. Lots of smoke in the air today – the sky is yellow!

Just when I think I’m a courageous painter, I get even braver! It takes a confident hand to throw down colour and let it happen, and as I was filming videos for my new floral online course, I had a lot of fun painting Easter lilies.
lilies in progress | Angela Fehr watercolors http://angelafehr.com

The lesson was demonstrating how to use cling wrap and salt to create texture in watercolour. Most painters know about these techniques but don’t always understand how to use them so that they don’t overpower a painting, so this was my goal in demonstrating these effects.

Painting while taping and teaching is a lot like most multi-tasking – you can do one thing well, or several things poorly – so the painting in progress shown above didn’t really turn out. I did however use it as a jumping-off point for another attempt, and pulled out a full sheet of watercolour paper (22″ x 30″ or 56×76 cm) to try again."Easter Lilies" watercolour, 22" x 30" | Angela Fehr watercolors http://angelafehr.com

There are a lot of dynamics in this painting that make me very happy, and I’m using a combination of colours that is fresh to me, since I ordinarily don’t use a lot of yellow in painting. Lots of beautiful washes, brushstrokes and fluid colour that is so irresistible to me as a painter.

Easter Lilies is available for purchase. Email me to inquire.

Art & the Hot Rod Guy

Did I ever tell you that I’m married to an artist? It has never been hard to be a working artist in this home because my husband Wade has always understood my passion to create. From the early days of getting to know each other, I knew he was a creative, like I am. Only his creativity has its outlet in horsepower.

rat rod july 2014

Five years ago we took a drive out in the country and he spotted a rusty old truck in a field. (I’ve given up on pointing out rusty vehicles in the bush, because I can never tell which ones are “cool” and which he considers rightly abandoned.) He did a little detective work to find the owner, and a few days later we were waist-deep in grass, winching a 1938 Fargo pickup out of the bush.

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Like any important project, the Fargo sat for a long time before he was able to make a plan for its reincarnation as a cool hot rod. There were frustrating sessions on the internet, searching for parts, months of saving money for the next big ticket item on the restoration shopping list, Pinterest boards full of “rat rods” and even a road trip into the United States to pick up a hemi engine from a guy he met online. Wade’s been frustrated many times by how long a build can take when you are fitting it in after 12-hour workdays, raising a family and caring for a home and yard, and by the solitary nature of the project. It was very exciting to realize this spring that this was the year. 2014 was going to be the year the rat rod went to the car show!

“Hemi Alley” – just a small part of 8 blocks of the Mile Zero Cruisers show & shine, downtown Dawson Creek, British Columbia.

A couple of weeks ago he got the motor running. Then the truck went on its first test drive.

Finishing touches were added to the interior (I helped stencil the coffee sack seats!), and on Sunday we loaded the truck on a trailer and took it into Dawson Creek for the Mile Zero Cruisers’ annual show & shine. It was Wade’s day to shine (at least, metaphorically) and I loved being able to be a part of his entry to local car culture, to hear the comments from the crowd and meet some really interesting car guys.

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Not everyone understands the “rat rod” thing. “What colour are you going to paint it?” a few people asked. But many more appreciated the creativity that goes into creating a truck that’s an homage to big motors and loud noise, something that is completely unique and an expression of its builder. As a watercolour painter, I may not actually appreciate the noise part, but the individuality is something I can always get behind. I’m pretty proud of my guy, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll build next.

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interior july 2014

The door panel was part of an old Coke machine and comes with bottle opener – so handy!

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The old Crush bottle was in the truck when we got it. Wade repurposed it as an overflow for the radiator.

Student Art: Flowers

I love painting flowers, and from the looks of my students’ paintings, I’m not the only one! I’ve enjoyed seeing what inspires my beginning & intermediate painters, from works in progress… (aren’t those lovely blue shadows on the daisy petals?)

Anna Maria P
Daisy by Anna Maria P

…to completed studies of blossoms large and small…

Gia M

Hydrangea by Gia M

…beautiful purples…(don’t these fluid paintings hold some lovely watermarks?)

Joyce Nelson-Avila

Violets by Joyce A

Maya Bankova

Orchids by Maya B

…and pinks…

Soft colours flow so beautifully when painted loosely.

Viviane Louwies

Lilies by Viviane L.

…realism and fluidity combined.

In my new watercolor class, I focus exclusively on painting florals, because they are so fun to paint loosely and fluidly. Here’s a painting by Susan D. that is part of the negative painting lesson in my new floral class:

Daisy by Susan D.

Daisy by Susan D.

You can join the class and save 60% off the price before July 31st. Plus you get my “Basics” class for free with every class registration. Join here: http://bit.ly/TNZQw9 The courses together are valued at $119, and you get them both for $30. Remember that you can comment on every lesson and share your projects for instructor guidance and criticism, I check in regularly to interact with my students.

Thanks to all my students for joining my classes! These watercolour workshops really help me to pursue my watercolour dream, supporting the costs of supplies, framing and exhibiting, and they also benefit me by helping me to really think about why and how I paint the way I do.

Summer in the Studio

Summer! I have to love summer so much. I get to take the summer off from many of my responsibilities. Being a home educator (my title of choice over “homeschooler”), I find that I really need the break from school by the end of May or June, and the dynamics of being at home with my kids becomes so much more fun and relaxing. We have been able to do fun things like eat our height in licorice (red, of course!) and run a race and hang out at the pool and buy hats and take fun photos and plan a big July birthday for a certain almost-ten-year-old.Licorice kids

I was able to buckle down this month and finally finish my floral watercolor workshop. I’m so glad I can finally share the link for this great resource! I really packed almost everything I know into that one course, so next on the agenda is to get painting so I can learn more things to share in my next course. I’ve enjoyed developing this floral course as it has allowed me to revisit florals as a subject and awakened a revived enthusiasm for painting florals. Over the last year or two I’ve sought to become a stronger landscape painter, but getting back to florals has been so invigorating! Painting flowers just feels so natural and expressive to me that it’s just fun every time I put paint to a petal.

Strawberries in progress | watercolors by Angela Fehr

First wash of strawberries on my easel, watercolor, 10″x10″

It’s very easy to feel like I’m not making the kind of progress in my art that I want. We can be so hard on ourselves! Taking some time to just enjoy painting, and summer, and family is a great way to remember what really matters, and celebrate everything I have.

More Student Work and My Floral Course is Live! Coupon code attached.

Sharing more student work today. I really love the part of my job where I get to inspire others to paint! My floral course is live this week; I’ll be sharing the link to join the class at the end of this post.

First some paintings inspired by some of the tutorials and demonstrations on my Youtube channel. Cassandra painted these soft and pretty blueberries after watching my “5 Stroke Berries” video:
Cassandra Hall by email And Desiree watched all six videos in my “Paint a Sunflower” Youtube series. Isn’t her sunflower beautiful?Desiree Webster by email youtube tutorial Patt’s interest in watercolor was animated by my videos and she sent me several paintings including these cheerful sea turtles that makes me smile every time I look at it.Picture0011 I love seeing artists pursue their own expression and style after taking my course or watching my videos. That’s what it’s all about! Deborah, one of my online workshop students, has an abstract style and is transitioning from acrylic painting to watercolour. She makes me want to paint more abstracts!Deborah Reardon And Mistice painted this beautiful rose as a gift after taking my online workshop on Skillshare.Mistice Stankiewicz I’m very excited to be launching my NEW watercolour course, focused on painting florals in an expressive style. This course is packed with content and I’ve really tried to make it valuable for anyone wanting to paint more fluidly. One of my favourite sections is the one on negative painting, as I demonstrate a lilac painting that is both fluid and full of colour. There’s also a section on using special effects to paint lilies which is a lot of fun, and I demonstrate tulips, daisies and even an imaginary flower, just for fun.

If you’ve been waiting to take my floral course, now is the time to sign up. This course is priced at $99 but until July 31st, I’m offering the course for $30 to the first students willing to try it out and let me know how it goes. You can join and sign up here: How to Paint Colour-Drenched Florals in Watercolour (launch coupon)

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