Paint Ireland! We’re excited to be hosting watercolor artist Angela Fehr’s destination workshop in County Mayo, Ireland. Lets have a look inside Angela’s world, her art and her passion for teaching with this inspiring interview.
Our six day workshop with Angela will combine wandering the rugged coastline taking in the beauty of this natural landscape, exploring some of the countries historic sites and sketching en plein air! We can’t wait to see what each of her participants will have on their easel.
Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and your art.
A: I took my first watercolour course when I was 18 years old and embarked on a love affair with this beautiful medium that has only grown richer with time. I love filling my paintings with colour and expression to spur feelings of peace, joy and freedom, whether I’m painting landscapes, florals or abstracts.
Q: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
A: When I was twelve years old, my family moved to a remote village in Papua New Guinea. Spending my high school years in the jungle, I was able to pursue my passions, and they all revolved around art and creativity. I’ve always known that art would be an integral part of my life journey, and even if I could never paint again, I would still find ways to create every day.
Q: Tell us about a day in the life – or a day in the studio, to be precise! What does it look like (and feel like)? What can you share about your process or routines?
A: My process is both very fragmented and intuitive. As a mum of three I am frequently on the go and a full day in the studio almost never happens. I’ve learned to carve out time and make use of even a few minutes. I try to start every painting session with a warm up where “anything goes,” seeking to challenge self-imposed boundaries and explore “what if” so that my painting time can be as creative as possible. Usually I have a dozen paintings, explorations and sketches on the go so I can start with whichever painting inspires me the most, and often I work in a series. With several paintings based on the same reference photo or topic, I can experiment with different approaches to best depict my subject and emotions.
A: I started out painting on the end of my living room sofa, then moved to a mult-purpose craft/art/school room in the house but two years ago I was able to move into my above-garage studio. My husband, Wade, built the space, and we spent six years finishing the space to have the vintage flair we love. I love having a visually inspiring space to work in, and it represents a labour of love between Wade and I.
Q: What piece of equipment, tool or color could you not live without?
A: Watercolour is all about water, so at its heart I’d have to say water! Watercolourists are very loyal to their favourite paper, brushes and paints, but if I were visiting another artist’s studio, and could only bring one item from home, it would be my favourite brush, my Escoda Versatil #10 rigger. I do 90% of my painting with this lovely brush.
Q: Where do you derive inspiration?
A: Two things; the colours in my palette – I can inspire an entire painting just by choosing three colours in my palette and letting them play together – and the scenery surrounding me in the Peace River region of northern British Columbia, Canada, where I live. I think the best way to love where you live is to paint it; that will get you looking for beauty (and finding it) everywhere!
A: So many things! I love meeting new people and the duration of the workshop means we’ll all leave as friends as we experience Ireland together. I’ve never been to Ireland so I’m afraid I’ll be embarrassingly unprofessional as I thrill to new sights and places, and I’m full of anticipation as I imagine the paintings that will be inspired by the beauty of Ireland and our work together as a group.
Q: Do you journal or sketch?
A: My sketches take the form of small, loose paintings more than traditional sketchbook designs.
Q: If you could take only five items to create with while on vacation (not necessarily a workshop – any vacation), what would they be?
A: This is easy – my travel kit consists of Portable Painter palette, brush, paper and painting board. That’s four, so I guess the fifth would be my camera.
Q: Any tips for balancing creative time and administrative duties?
A: Art marketing is like parenting and saving money; you can always do it better. Knowing that it’s the kind of job that never ends means I have to plan to set it aside instead of waiting for it to end, so as to spend time in creative exploration. And no artist has ever said “I have more painting time than I need.” No one ever gets enough painting time!
A: I’ve been thinking a lot about Monet lately, as I work on series of similar paintings. He would paint the same subject hundreds of times, and I think it would be fun to discuss this, and look over his shoulder in a field of haystacks! Of course I would need a translator since I don’t speak French.
Q: Favorite books that help keep the creative juices flowing?
A: My watercolour book collection keeps growing. Choosing many different watercolour books for my library gives me a diverse range of material to inspire me. Lately I’ve been reading Sungsook Hong Setton’s “The Spirit of the Brush” which gives a modern spin on Chinese brush painting techniques, and my own brushwork has grown more confident as a result.
Q: Where can we find you and your work?