Carla Flegel: Wings and Water

June 18 – July 26, 2020

MEET THE ARTISTS – Book your visit for June 20 and have a chance to meet our current exhibit artists while you’re here!

Artist Statement:

I have always been fascinated by lighthouses. I grew up on the Bay of Fundy with the Cape Enrage light the closest. It describes the ferocity often found on the Atlantic coast! Now I find myself looking directly across at the Chrome Island Lighthouse here in Oceanside. So I was able to obtain many photos of the displayed lighthouses in hopes of celebrating the safe harbours on this Pacific Coast. There is always something mysterious about these worldwide beacons to mariners and fishermen around the world!

I also …. so it seems… have a penchant for birds. I am not really even sure why! I guess I just see the humor in their ways and habits! I also find I can portray the humorous side of the world without poking fun at us humans. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to hear the comments when people see the paintings. They are so colourful. They make me smile. They are happy. That makes me smile and be happy. We can always use a bit more “happy” in our lives.

The Covid19 Series “happened”. I was a Respiratory Therapist, a rather obscure member of critical care teams. I found it rather interesting that the entire world all of a sudden “knew” what that was, and a huge obstacle to COVID Care was the need for Ventilators! Back “in the day” we used a brand of portable ventilator called a Bird. It seemed appropriate to get one of my birds bringing a bird… well… then everyone kept saying what about a …..So it became a bit of recognition to a lot of the Health Care Heroes and the changes we have observed in our new reality since the Virus arrived! So a thank you to all those “essential” workers that have helped us through these trying times.

Carla Flegel

Artist’s Bio:

I have been involved in the arts since I embraced the Folk Art craze in the mid-’80s. I have worked in Oils and Acrylics, but when I tried watercolour I was hooked. I love the magic that happens when water, paper, and paint blend together to create the well-loved stories from Dick and Jane to Peter Rabbit and only achieved with this beautiful transparent medium. My passion is watercolour and specifically sketchbook journals. I lead workshops and classes to encourage others to embrace this habit of taking time to observe, record and enjoy the moments of our lives with paintings, sentiments, and memorabilia.


PRESENT: I am currently a resident artist at The Old School House Gallery ( TOSH) in Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.

I am an active instructor at TOSH and The McMillan Art Gallery for beginner and intermediate watercolour classes.

I lead and organize a Pleine Aire group called My Sketchy Friends where we explore Mid Island sights. My work is represented in the Salish Sea Market and the SandBar Cafe Gallery in Bowser and The Old School House Gallery

I am a member of the Canadian Federation of Artists, the Mount Arrowsmith and Nanaimo Chapters.

I am a teacher assistant for the online art courses in “Sketchbook Skool”.

2016/17: Guest artist at the DeCosmos Art collective, the Chemainus Painters group, and given a 6 week series of workshops for both the Chemainus and Nanoose Bay Watercolourists.

July 2016: Resident artist for one week at the Capernwray College on Thetis Island.

I have participated in 7 Grand Prix d’Art contests on Vancouver island and the Mainland over 4 years. I won people’s choice and first prize at the 2016 Fort Rodd event and 2nd place 2018 in Victoria BC. Honorable mention 2019 at the TOSH Grand Prix

I have an 800 sq foot home studio and 800 sq foot woodworking shop that I work from and offer painting classes for adults, children, and home school students.

2016 A showing of 36 scenes of “Lighthouse Country” were displayed at Gallery B in TOSH and were The Theme Display at the Lighthouse Country Fall Fair.

LIFETIME: I currently reside on Vancouver Island in the rural community of Bowser. 25 years ago my husband and I left our jobs as Cardiovascular Perfusionists and purchased Bowser Automotive. We still own and operate the gas station, mechanic, and tow truck business.

I worked in the past in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Cincinnati. I was Associate Professor of Perfusion and Respiratory Therapy at the Toronto Institute of Medical Technology. But, as a child, I was from New Brunswick. I grew up in Penobsquis, near Fundy Park. It is where I am “from”.


I am mostly “self-taught”. I believe that my biggest asset is the desire to create. Repetition and exploration are what help me evolve and express my response to my surroundings. I paint almost daily. I teach 6 classes in 6-week series throughout the year at the Old School House Art Center. I am also a resident artist at this facility. In order to teach, I have to understand how I create my art and pass that passion and skill to others. It makes me a better artist with each session I teach. I study with artists that resonate with me and my style or that will stretch and improve my skills. Watercolour 4 day workshops have been at Art Escapes YVR : with Jean Haines of Wales, Björn Bergstrom of Sweden, Thomas Schaller of California, and Ian Stewart of the USA, Alvaro Castagne of Montevideo Argentina, Keiko Tenabe of Vancouver and Peggy Burkowsky of Qualicum. Online live courses from Marc Taro Holmes of Montreal, Liz Steel of Australia, numerous Craftsy classes, and I am a local correspondent for Urban Sketchers heading my local Pleine Aire group called My Sketchy Friends,  an online tutor for Sketchbook Skool.


My focus is on smaller Watercolour paintings, House Portraits, and watercolour journals. I enjoy Pleine Aire painting using an electric bicycle that I have rigged up as a portable studio. Every time I travel I record my journey in watercolour journals. I spend an hour or two sitting amongst the “locals” really absorbing the surroundings observing the local culture, people, and buildings. I am also a sought after instructor, workshop leader, well known for my ability to make art accessible to anyone who has the desire to paint. All this is done with a dose of fun and a sense of humour. I truly enjoy teaching and am drawn to it no matter what my profession has been. I get such a charge out of igniting that spark, skill, and passion in interested students. I am friendly and approachable and I enjoy chatting with folks as they watch me paint at events or public sites.