Vivien Thierfelder Exhibition - Media Release

November 18, 2004

Acclaimed watercolourist Thierfelder makes Winnipeg debut.

Mayberry Gallery Hosts Rare, 20-Painting Show

WINNIPEG – Acclaimed Canadian watercolourist Vivian Thierfelder, whose work was acquired by Queen Elizabeth for the royal collection housed in Windsor Castle, has mounted a major show in Winnipeg for the first time.

Entitled “Vivid”, Thierfelder’s exhibition of 20 recent works continues through Dec. 4 at Mayberry Fine Art. The show provides local art and horticulture enthusiasts with the opportunity to study the intriguing composition of Thierfelder’s  still life paintings, which feature garden and exotic flowers, fruit and foliage, set against complicated, visually-bold backgrounds. Her work, which pushes watercolour to its limits, has twice been judged best-in-show at the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours juried exhibition.

“Vivid” features works, priced from $3,000 to $35,000, which showcase Thierfelder’s watercolour mastery. The intense realism of her vibrantly-coloured paintings exemplify virtuosity and confidence in her work, comparable to a brilliant singer hitting a high note.

“We’re always looking to bring the best artists here. It’s like bringing a top actor, singer or dancer to Winnipeg for people to appreciate,” said gallery owner Bill Mayberry, noting that more than half of the paintings had been sold prior to the Nov. 18 exhibit opening due to widespread interest in Thierfelder’s work.

“With Vivian’s quality of art, how she is received and collected throughout North America, it’s important to give Winnipeggers a chance to enjoy and acquire her work. So many attempt, but few achieve such quality. Her art can compete with great painting of any era,” Mayberry added.

The highlight of Thierfelder’s career, thus far, was having her painting “Cobalt Blue” chosen for Queen Elizabeth’s Collection of Drawings and Watercolours, housed in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Following the formalities in London in 2001, fellow watercolourist Prince Charles invited Thierfelder and the other honoured artists to his Highgrove studio to view his own paintings and talk shop.

“It was a discussion of techniques, a sharing of ideas,” Thierfelder said of her brush with royalty.

Ironically, Thierfelder had never intended to paint in watercolour, but a fast-approaching deadline forced her hand. “I thought, `Well, watercolours dry really quickly so it will help me get the piece done,’” laughed the Edmonton-area resident as she recalled her serendipitous switch from oils and acrylics many years ago.

“The minute I started using watercolours, it was like I had come home. I just seemed to have an innate ability,” said the fine arts graduate, who was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the profession’s most prestigious designation, in 1998.

Known as an artist’s artist, Thierfelder’s works are prized pieces in private, corporate and museum collections throughout North America. Because of the painstaking detail in her art, large-scale exhibits of her work are infrequent. The collection of paintings for the Mayberry show was more than a year in the making.

Thierfelder has previously mounted solo shows in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary and Scottsdale, AZ. In addition to Mayberry Fine Art, she is also represented by galleries in Alberta, B.C. and Massachusetts.

“I have learned a lot through trial and error in the 30 years since I first started in watercolour. I’ve refined my technique. The direction I will go is exploring different subject matter, different compositional approaches, although I will probably always have floral in my work,” said Thierfelder, who considers herself a hobby gardener.

Unlike oils or acrylics where mistakes can be scraped away, watercolour is an unforgiving medium because the pigments sink into the paper quickly. If you make a mistake, you start over, but Thierfelder is fortunate to be able to count her mistakes on one hand. To ensure she doesn’t lose focus, she works in complete seclusion.

“I get into a Zen-like trance. It’s kind of like meditation,” said Thierfelder, who is excited to introduce her work to a Winnipeg audience.

Mayberry Fine Art opened in January, 2003,  in the century-old Lake of the Woods Milling Co. building in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. The officially-designated heritage building turned art gallery, located at 212 McDermot Avenue, represents a select group of contemporary Canadian artists such as Winnipeg’s Wanda Koop and Don Proch, Surrey’s Robert Genn, Calgary’s Bill Brownridge, and Ottawa’s Rose-Aimee Belanger. Among its historical Canadian, European and American works of the 19th and 20th centuries are paintings by Emily Carr, Cornelius Kreighoff and members of the Group of Seven.

The Mayberrys, with more than 30 years experience in fine art,  sell and lease paintings, drawings and sculpture. They also provide valuation, restoration and custom framing services. Visit to learn more.