Choosing paintings for my annual calendar is always a challenge, and every year I think, “Next year, I will paint specifically for the calendar format.” Five years in, and I’m still caught sorting through paintings and resolving to be better organized next year!
Change kind of sneaks up on you
I learn so much about my artistic development when I look back over a year’s worth of paintings. I usually assume that my art hasn’t changed much in a year, and so it’s often a surprise to see how much change has taken place without my noticing. The change always is most visible on the paintings that have involved the most risk, and the most excitement!
What stood out this year in my art
2018 could be titled, “The Year of the Exciting Brush.” I really found so much enjoyment out of wielding my brushes this year…and my non-brushes, applying paint with string, sticks and palette knife to create new and interesting textures, shapes and lines. I’ve had to be brave as my new paintings show more simplicity than the old, which to some might look amateurish. I’m okay with that, because I’m so excited by what I’m creating that it’s really so satisfying, even when no one understands what I’m trying to achieve. And when someone does see past the simplicity to the freedom and joy in my work, well, you’re my friend for life!
2018 could also be titled, “The Year of Amazing Texture.” I discovered new colours this year, slapping Hematite, Zoisite and Fuchsite on my paintings and watching the incredible granulation and sedimentation from these mineral-based pigments. I even bought a book on rock hunting, hiking along the rivers of the Peace region, staring at my feet, looking for an exciting rock to bring home. I have a new appreciation for neutrals, as Hematite separates into a rich stain of warm brown, speckled with cocoa.
Disaster to Masterpiece!
I love telling the story of the cab driver who, at my workshop in Vancouver, stacked a box onto my wet palette in its plastic bag before passing it to me, squishing the fresh paint into the plastic. I suppressed my gasp of horror (are you gasping too?) and, as I peeled the palette from the bag before my demonstration that day, I had a flash of inspiration. I turned the bag inside out, misted the stuck-on paint with water, and pressed it to a fresh sheet of watercolour paper. In front of my class of ten students, I designed my painting around that smear of cab-driver paint, and created what might just be my favourite painting of the year. Favourite enough to warrant the cover of my calendar – and I’m thanking an accident that gave me the opportunity to do something I never would have chosen for myself!
2019 Calendar now available:
This year’s calendar is available to be ordered online, and local friends can reserve a copy from me, as my order will be in within a week or so. Profits from all online sales of the calendar will be donated to charity; I’m so excited to give in this way, and have chosen Food for the Hungry Canada as a cause I’m proud to support. Order your copy of the 2019 Angela Fehr Watercolour Calendar here.