Bear River Artworks Gallery Opening – Friday April 17 @ Oakdene 6:00 pm

Flora Doehler:

Please join Larry and I and 6 other artists on our new adventure this Friday night!

Originally posted on Bear River Arts & Action:

Artworks logo - horizontal Please join us on Friday, April 17th for the opening of the Bear River Artworks Gallery along with puppetry, and animation.

Eight local artists – Ken Flett, Flora Doehler, Craig Dorsey, Kelly Foxton, Gary Fraser, Joan Stanley, Larry Knox and Catherine Smith- are eager to share an evening of art and performance (of the puppet kind) with you.

Bear River Artworks Opening

Friday, April 17, 2015
6 pm “Bear River Artworks Gallery” opening – Art, dessert and drinks
7:30 pm “Songs of Myself” Animation, puppetry and shadows 
@ The Oakdene Centre, 1913 Clementsvale Road, Bear River, Nova Scotia.
The gallery will remain open on Sat (18th) and Sun (19th) from 10-5.
Open Daily from May 17 – October 11, 2015  10am – 5pm

Songs of Myself

View original

Bear River’s Snowfall in 2015

This will positively be my last blog this year about snow. I say that because today and yesterday the temperatures inched up over the freezing mark, the snows started to recede and Larry and I tapped two of our maple trees with dripping success. It’s maple syrup time.

Lilac buds persist, even in this weather.

Lilac buds persist, even in this weather.

I’m quite sure that all the people who endured this winter in the Maritimes and on the eastern seaboard of the US will never forget it.

The snowfall topped records and locals in Bear River couldn’t remember such an accumulation of snow.

A challenge finding the front door.

A challenge finding the front door.

When it started seriously in January, people said with amusement “I don’t know where I’m going to put it all”, as if they had control over things. But 3 months later people no longer had the upper hand. Some defeated friends worried that the snow would still be melting in June.

And what emerged was a kind of hysterical “this-can’t-really-be-happening” mind state. I listened to my friends at dinner talk about snow and it’s impact on them physically (shovelling, reduced mobility),  and psychologically (isolation, seasonal affective disorder, feelings of being trapped). They talked about the stress on farm and domestic animals that wanted to be outside but couldn’t maneuver the snow depths.


Months ago, after the first snowstorms,  I circled the house in snowshoes shovelling out the entryways of all five exterior doors. I wasn’t going to let any old snow alter my comings and goings. But a short month later, I had changed my tune. One door to the driveway and one to the studio would be enough.

I wasn’t able to get to the compost or to the bird feeder without putting on my snow shoes. Those babies have gotten a whole lot of use this winter.

Snowshoeing out to the 'compost' pile which was really the crow and seagull feeder.

Snowshoeing out to the ‘compost’ pile which was really the crow and seagull feeder.

A week ago we had another (the last?) massive storm and when it was over, the snow was approaching 1/2 way up our windows. I felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore. Besides which, less light was coming in. I truly despaired.

This exit is out of order.

This exit is out-of-order.

I strapped on my snowshoes and went to work stomping down the snow outside the windows to create more light. It felt better and I could breathe again.

My little friend the red squirrel moved out of our attic and into a snow cave.

My little friend the red squirrel moved out of our attic and into a snow cave.

Squirrel's snow cave entrance is at the bird feeder.

Squirrel’s snow cave entrance is at the bird feeder.

Pheasants live in the bushes around our house and also visit the bird feeder.

Pheasants live in the bushes around our house and also visit the bird feeder.

And just when I thought I couldn’t bear one more day of winter, the temperature started to climb and, even better, the sun shone and the days got longer.

When I couldn't get to the birdfeeder, I threw the seed onto the metre deep snow.

When I couldn’t get to the bird feeder, I threw the seed onto the metre deep snow.

My sanity saver has been time in the studio. I am so motivated to paint and to have beautiful paintings to hang in our new artists’ gallery in Bear River. So, I surrounded myself with flowers in the studio and have used the reddest reds to offset the white snow. And I have created a virtual garden in my studio where flowers bloom on the canvases.

The studio has been my refuge this winter and I've been more productive because of it.

The studio has been my refuge this winter and I’ve been more productive because of it.

The winter scenes have been gorgeous too and I may even long for one in the heat of the summer. But I’m glad it’s almost over. I’ve got my seed order in and am ready for spring.

The snow from our driveway is still mountain sized.

The snow from our driveway is still mountain sized.

We are all so ready for spring. You can celebrate it with us at our gallery opening on Friday April 17th.

You are invited to the opening of a new gallery in Bear River.
Meet the Artists and enjoy a Live Performance

Friday, April 17, 2015
6:00 pm – Bear River Artworks Gallery opening
Art, Dessert, and Drinks

7:30pm – Songs of Myself
Animation, Puppetry, and Shadows

@The Oakdene Centre
1913 Clementsvale Road

A New Gallery for Bear River, Nova Scotia

I’m over-the-moon excited to be a founding member of a new art venture in Bear River.

A group of 8 enthusiastic artists have come together to open a gallery/mini arts space in Bear River.

Found Object Cabinet ©Craig Dorsey

Found Object Cabinet
©Craig Dorsey

We’ve rented a bright, interesting space for a year. We plunked our money down and celebrated last week with slices of lemon meringue pie. The very next day crowbars and plaster of paris came out and now our beautiful space is being polished and made ready.

The Canadian ©Ken Flett

The Canadian
©Ken Flett

A website is on its way; so are gorgeous signs and, of course, works of art from the heart.

We are working towards a mid April opening.

The Celebration ©Flora Doehler, 2015

Kinetic Energy
©Flora Doehler, 2015

Little did Larry and I or any of the other members know a few months ago, that we would embark on such a venture together. But the timing is right, the enthusiasm is real and there is no time like the present for trying out something new. And there’s only one place we could possibly do this and that’s Bear River, Nova Scotia.

Stay tuned…details to come.

Arab Spring ©Joan Stanley

Arab Spring
©Joan Stanley


Chasing Away the Winter Blues

"Winter Blues" at ArtsPlace

“Winter Blues” at ArtsPlace

Today Larry and I attended 3 art openings in Annapolis Royal at ArtsPlace. The sun was shining and it was a great day for soaking in the work of other painters and talking to them about their paintings and their processes.

The theme in the main gallery is ‘Winter Blues’ All the paintings had to be blue and abstract.

I was stopped dead in my tracks by this painting from my friend Helen Opie who has taken me on many painting adventures. Helen usually paints from life so this work was a huge departure for her.

"Up from the Deep" ©Helen Opie, 2015

“Up from the Deep” ©Helen Opie, 2015  “24” x 36″

The painting moves and dances and is like a painted fabric, but also like water. It reminded me of some patterns I’ve photographed in our Bear River tidal river as it moves toward the Bay of Fundy.

Bear River patterns.

Abstract work demands that the viewer overlay her own interpretation. It’s like taking a Rorschach test. What do you see in Helen’s painting?


Charlott Zimmermann  had an opening of landscape paintings. I loved them all, but this one in particular.

Lake at Kejimkujik ©Charlott Zimmermann

Lake at Kejimkujik
©Charlott Zimmermann

Charlott paints local landscape and is influenced by Canada’s Group of Seven as well as German Expressionism. She is my kind of painter. ;)


The third show one at ArtsPlace is a retrospective of 50 years of paintings by Gene Samson. His landscapes often involve the ocean’s edge and he is a master of water crashing onto rocks.

©Gene Samson

©Gene Samson

Gene lived for many years in Bear River and was a big promoter of the village and of the artists.

I have a few more “Winter Blues” paintings to share with you.

One of my current favorite NS abstract artists, Donna Boyko, was at the opening and we talked about her large painting that has so much movement in it. The strokes dance.

Detail from  "Dark Diviners" ©Donna Boyko, 2015

Detail from “Dark Diviners”
©Donna Boyko, 2015

"Ode to Wayne Boucher" ©Maxine Marshall, 2015 "Dark Diviners" ©Donna Boyko, 2015 "Blues 11" ©Jeannie Allen, 2015

“Ode to Wayne Boucher” ©Maxine Marshall, 2015
“Dark Diviners” ©Donna Boyko, 2015
“Blues 11″ ©Jeannie Allen, 2015

Blue ©Ted Lind

©Ted Lind

"Weather Bomb" ©Sophie Paskins, 2015

“Weather Bomb”
©Sophie Paskins, 2015

"Thalo Blue" ©Maxine Marshall, 2015

“Thalo Blue”
©Maxine Marshall, 2015

Going to an opening is a chance to meet the artist and to hear the story behind the painting. What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon, especially after the weeks of snow storms that we’ve gone through.

Wherever you are, drop into a gallery or a museum. It is guaranteed to lift your spirits when you see the energy, love and passion that people paint into their work.

And if you are in Annapolis Royal, these paintings are on display until the end of the month..which means they will carry us to spring!

"Study in Blue" ©Micheline Gushue, 2015

“Study in Blue”
©Micheline Gushue, 2015

"Urban Series 5" ©Vicky Turner, 2015

“Urban Series 5″
©Vicky Turner, 2015

Sandwiched between a Snowstorm and a Nor’easter in Bear River

I have to laugh.

The studio awaits.

The studio awaits.

7 years ago our workmates in Toronto warned us about moving to Nova Scotia. We heard tales about terrific snowstorms and subzero temperatures. “You really should visit there in winter first to see if you can handle it”.

Pathway from car to house.

Pathway from car to house.

But like many people before us and after us who were considering the move, we were not dissuaded and obsessively checked daily Bear River weather reports. I looked at the webcam in nearby Annapolis Royal every single day. We looked up snow, temperature and rainfall stats from Environment Canada. It was an important part of shifting our point-of-view and imagining living here.

Drying spots for the oil paintings.

Drying spots for the oil paintings.

And the looking told us that the Bear River winter weather was milder than most of the rest of the country, except, of course, for Canada’s la-la land Vancouver and Victoria.

But this winter has been snowmageddon with most people saying they haven’t seen storms and snow depths like this in years..or ever.

The drifts have been awesome.

The drifts have been awesome.

If Mother Nature gives you lemons…..make lemonade. And making the most of this weather means getting out the snowshoes and tramping out pathways to the compost and to the bird feeders. It means filling the bathtub with water for when the power goes out and we can’t pull water from the well, It means having candles and flashlights at the ready. It means having friends like Gerry Chute who can come by in his nice shiny orange plow and clear the snow.

This weekend we are expecting a Nor’easter along with another 25cm dump. The snow-shovels are ready. We’ll all have well-developed biceps by the end of it all. (I was going to say ‘March’, but I don’t want to press my luck).

Shovels for all occasions.

Shovels for all occasions.

Meanwhile, there’s nowhere to go except the studio to paint.

©Flora Doehler, 2015 oil painting

©Flora Doehler, 2015
oil painting

And there’s nothing to do except to take part in the Annual Winter Carnival in Bear River where you can cross-country ski across 7 lakes for free. Myself, I think I’ll snowshoe over to the free yoga class.

path in the snow

Snowshoe path to the compost (or more correctly to the crow feeder).

But for tonight, before the next storm, we are going to join kindred spirits and hear our favorite local singer, David Chamberland.


See you on the other side of snow.

I opened the door to this 3 times last week. I guess it will be happening again this weekend!

I opened the door to this 3 times last week. I guess it will be happening again this weekend!