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.

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

New Painting: Saskatchewan Sunset

I did create one painting while we were on our trip. Wade and I took a ride on an ATV out in his folks’ pasture and I was so tempted to get up early one morning to paint the sunrise on the marsh near their home. So beautiful and full of waterfowl!

One the way back to the house, I was struck by the sky above the trees bordering the yard. Clouds so dark and the sunset at that “overripe” stage, just fading to dusk. I immediately set out to paint it as soon as we were back indoors.

"Saskatchewan Sunset" watercolour painting by Angela Fehr | angelafehr.com

Sunsets are tricky to photograph, which makes them hard to paint, since there’s an absence of good reference material. Painting them immediately, while the colours and contrast are still fresh, is the best way to do it.

“Saskatchewan Sunset” measures 9″ x 12″ and is available for purchase by contacting me.

Dunvegan Patriarch: New Watercolor Landscape Painting, Peace River scenery

I consider myself very fortunate to live “next door” to the mighty Peace River. The Peace River watershed stretches across northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta and is edged by rolling hills. I grew up hiking these hills, mud-bathing on the banks of the river and skipping rocks across its surface, though I confess I have never boated on its surface.

This summer we picked strawberries at Dunvegan Gardens on the banks of the Peace River near Fairview, Alberta, and after the berry picking, I walked down to the river’s edge and was struck by the glow of sunlight and contrasting deep shadows on a majestic poplar tree along the riverbank. I sat down to paint the scene last week.
"Dunvegan Patriarch" watercolor painting by Canadian artist Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

You can believe that I will be visiting this spot again this year and who knows what will inspire me this time?

“Dunvegan Patriarch” is watercolour on paper, measuring 14.5″ x 21.5″ and is available for purchase by contacting me.

“Muskeg Corner”: New Painting and Video Demonstration

I really enjoy filming videos to share my painting processes with you, and I also hate it. So often I got to film a painting demo, and halfway through I think, “This is terrible!” Nothing seems to be coming together, I’m not sharing any information of interest, and I’m bored by my own painting demo. So that explains why I don’t post videos as often as I would like. It’s just like the rest of painting; a lot of hard work goes into painting duds that no one will ever see before a good painting actually happens.

In my newest painting video, I work through a watercolour landscape, start to finish. It’s a simple landscape, but it’s a great exercise in painting skies, making composition decisions and pulling a landscape together. There are many elements in landscape painting that must all come together for it to work out, and I still feel like I’m learning.muskeg corner

I’ve titled the finished painting “Muskeg Corner” and it is available for purchase on my original paintings for sale page. Thanks for watching!

Fine Feathers: New Watercolor Painting

Yesterday I did a little playing in the studio. While I usually start painting with a subject in mind, sometimes it’s just fun to start painting and see where things go. In this case I started with lots of Indian Yellow pigment and what emerged looks very much like Bird of Paradise flowers to me. So I’m titling this fun semi-abstract “Fine Feathers”."Fine Feathers" watercolour painting by Angela Fehr | http://angelafehr.com

“Fine Feathers” was painted using my new Golden QoR watercolor paints, which I was given to try and review. They are a brand new product that is not yet available to the consumer, and I’m not sure yet what I think of them. The colour dries very true to the wet colour, which is often a problem in watercolour, but the texture and response is different than I am used to. I’m not seeing the blending and reactions that I am used to in traditional watercolour paints, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I have used Golden liquid acrylics before and the QoR watercolour paints are very similar. I’ll be working with them more over the next little while and I’ll report back soon.

I’ve updated my “Paintings for Sale” page and I would love to hear what you think! Take a look and report back in the comments.

Waves Above the Wheat watercolour painting

Thought you’d like to see the outcome of my “fabulous skies” painting that I started earlier this week.

It’s rare for me to complete a painting I’m happy with on the first go-round. It makes the times that it does happen all the sweeter. Sometimes, when I pick up my brush, I just know that this time will be magical – everything will flow, I will paint with confidence, and I will know what to do. Did I mention this is rare?
Waves  Above the Wheat | Angela Fehr watercolours http://angelafehr.com

It’s important when you’re painting in this kind of free, loose, style, not to overwork. I have learned that less is more, and if you start “fussing” with adding colour and brushstrokes when you’re not sure what to do next, that’s the fastest way to ruin a painting. Sometimes you just need 2 minutes of painting, and then twenty minutes of waiting, thinking, resting.

When I was finished, I had filled a full sheet of watercolour paper with gorgeous colour and some truly billowing clouds. I am debating whether to crop the finished painting (see above), or keep it as is below. I’m leaning toward the crop just because I think the cloud is pretty dead centre of the painting in the uncropped painting.

Waves  Above the Wheat | Angela Fehr watercolours http://angelafehr.com

Peace River Corner watercolor painting

I’ve been working on the same scene for a couple of months now. Started on one side of a full sheet (22″ x 30″) of watercolour paper (I like Arches 300# cold press), and when that one turned ugly on me, flipped it over and painted it again on side two.Peace River Corner (full sheet) | watercolour painting by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Side two shown above: still not satisfied. The beach/waterline gave me trouble – I’ve hidden most of that with dark, interesting brush strokes.

It’s a little frustrating when  full sheet of paper gets filled and I’m not completely happy with the results. I don’t hate it, I just think it could be better.

The good news about fighting through a new composition/subject matter/painting style, is that progress will be made. The other night I took everything I had learned through the two full sheet paintings and threw it into a smaller, 10″ x 14″ landscape of the same scene. And, success!Peace River Corner | watercolour painting by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

Simple, serene and a true sense of place. Very happy!

“Peace River Corner” (bottom image) measures 10″ x 14″ and is available for purchase. Contact me!

Summer on the Farm – new watercolor painting

Summer on the Farm watercolor by Angela Fehr http://angelafehr.com

While driving in the country last summer, I found myself in a region that had an older look to it. Our Peace River region is a young community. Towns celebrate hundredth birthdays, and 150th, but really, this region saw most of its settlement happen in the last 70 years. So this country farm may have been established in the 1930′s, or even the 50′s, but that looks old to us locals!

Anyhow, I love the brilliant yellow of canola fields in bloom, set against our vivid Peace region skies. A farmhouse and barn are like the bride and groom atop the wedding cake – just the right finish. And my husband, who doesn’t always understand my paintings (he’s one of those that is impressed when a painting ‘looks like a photo’), really liked this one. Gotta please the man of the house once in a while!

Technical stuff: I’ve been following David Rankin on Facebook and he gives very thorough explanations of the decisions he makes in watercolor painting. I’m always trying to learn more and while I may be very comfortable with techniques used in watercolor painting, in other areas I have so much to learn. I used his “darkest values add distance” by placing my darks on one plane of the painting; this is pretty easy to do with such a simple composition.

I also used Manganese Blue for my sky which is a new colour for me. I was surprised at how “mobile” it is. After my first attempt at clouds, I wished I’d been looser, and then realized that even after the sky had dried, an addition of more water would still move that colour around. I’m used to more staining blues. So I dropped in more water and made some interesting blooms AFTER the painting had dried, and got some lovely wet cloud shapes that I’m very much enjoying.

This painting is the essence of a hot summer’s day on the farm. I can just imagine a line of wash, hanging limply on the line, waiting for a breeze to stir the linens. A pitcher of condensation-beaded lemonade sits on the kitchen table, and the house is dark, curtains drawn to keep out the heat. At least until the farm wife decides to can some garden produce. That always seems to get done on the hottest days, til the house becomes an over, but she’s watching the sky, hoping for a late-afternoon thunderstorm to roll in. Tools clank in the barn, and the dog’s tail stirs up dust, twitching as he dreams under the shade of a lilac bush.

“Summer on the Farm” measures 10″ x 14″ is available for purchase. Contact me!