15 February 2018

pensive portraits

Yesterday, two portraits made with alcohol-ink markers.

Portrait of R. Statz.  green brown pink colourful.  Alcohol ink markers in my green portrait book, 9x12 inches
time slowed down

Portrait of JP.  blue brown orange grey colourful.  Alcohol ink markers in my green portrait book, 9x12 inches
a fleeting moment

My sitters were pensive and so was I, all of us for different reasons.


11 February 2018

"life is but a dream"

Over the last month I've had the honour of making art with students at a primary school.  They are creating a Legacy Project in which every student paints a rock with a word or symbol of something that they would like to be remembered by.  The rocks will then be permanently installed outdoors on the school grounds.  

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

I brought in some canvas pieces as well.  This way each student creates two things: the painted rock becomes part of their permanent Legacy at the school, and the painting on canvas is theirs to keep.

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Some of the students have not painted on rocks, or on canvas, before this.  It's been great fun introducing them to transparent and opaque painting techniques, and talking about what sort of legacy they want to leave at the school.

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

I wish I'd remembered to take photos of all the classes' work!  But I get very involved with the kids and their art, and I forget about these details...  ah well, I got a few good ones  :)

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Below are some of my favourites from the Grade 1 classes:

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

The wonderful thing about working with kids is that they have no fear, for the most part, about making art.  It's very energizing to be immersed in that kind of creative environment.  

Legacy Project at the primary school.  Painted rocks & canvas pieces

In the words of a certain well-known song: "Life is but a dream".  Yup.  And I'm feeling very happily lucky to row this boat.  :)

07 February 2018

in-progress

vernavogel augury studies oil on canvas panel 12x12in.  abstract paintings
in-progress Augury studies
oil on canvas panels
12x12 in. each

vernavogel augury studies oil on canvas panel 12x12in.  abstract paintings
in-progress studio table
(detail)


31 January 2018

Dismantled

Dismantled my string drawings on the weekend, made a few very low-tech videos before they came down.  Here's one:


My friend Berna-Dean brought her red guitar and did some beautiful finger-picking, which unfortunately my little camera did not pick up on very well.  If you'd like to hear some well-produced versions of her lovely voice and music, click here.  

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about the end of this exhibition.  

Although in art school I always maintained that the drawings I made with a stick in the sand were of a highest quality precisely because they did not last, still I wound up spending the first part of my professional art practice focussed on making paintings that will, with a bit of luck, last well beyond my own lifetime.  

I still enjoy that process of longevity... although of course any physical thing disappears given enough time.  But my human perception of time is limited, and so I also very much enjoy the feeling of having created something perceptibly ephemeral, something that will never again exist in quite the same way during my lifetime.

And now back to my painting studio, where as-yet-unfinished work awaits completion and the illusion of permanence.

verna vogel augury series oil paintings bright colours blind drawings musical influence


25 January 2018

Waiting for paint to dry

While waiting for paint to dry, I begin some new sketches.

vernavogel drawing oil sticks waiting for paint to dry
primed with acrylic colours

vernavogel drawing oil sticks Stevenson paints waiting for paint to dry
drawn on with oilsticks.

Canvas panels are new to me; oilsticks I've only tried once before.  The oilsticks seem capable of greater subtlety than I'd previously realized.  I'm curious what will become of these sketches.

21 January 2018

Finishings, or Leavings

Unsure whether a painting is finished?  Just leave it for the time being.

I began this year by working some of the oil studies from last summer.   When I was feeling unsure about any of them, I said, "good enough" and moved on to the next one.

vernavogel studio oil studies finishings augury series or leavings
Finishings: Augury studies, oil on canvas

Then I pulled out some of the paintings which I began last January.  A whole year has passed since I was able to focus on this body of work.  What a great feeling to get into them again!  I'm calling these finished....  for now.

vernavogel oil painting finishings "all that piano" augury series no.7 or leavings
"All That Piano"  oil on canvas  17x18.5"

vernavogel oil painting finishings "downstreet" augury no.8 or leavings
"Downstreet" oil on canvas  17x18.5"

vernavogel oil painting finishings "forms of composite composure" augury series no.6 or leavings
"Forms of Composite Composure" oil on canvas  17x18.5"

vernavogel oil paintings finishings or leavings augury series
Leavings: a few of the "Augury" paintings in my studio

Yesterday I was able to spend almost 8 hours in my studio without interruption.  What luxury!  Making studio time a priority this year was a good decision, and I feel so very fortunate that I'm able to do this.

I hope your year is off to a good start too, dear Reader.

07 January 2018

begin and end and begin again

In the last few years it seems I have begun a lot of work but not finished very much.  I've been following a winding path, keeping more-or-less to the same direction while exploring a lot of side roads.

Now, from a vantage point further down the path, I look back at my unfinished explorations and decide to revisit some of them. 

oil studies circle paintings in bright colours

The little studies above, for example.  I began 11 such studies last summer, and set them aside after just 2-3 paint layers.  Digging them out now and working them over is very satisfying.

When I worked on Tension : No Tension at the turn of the year, I did not think I was finished with it yet.  But a few very articulate visitors over the last week have mentioned how complete it feels to them now, and this has given me pause.


So, I begin this year in the studio, with an eye to bringing some past work full circle.  Feels about right.

:)

02 January 2018

Tension : No Tension

It's 2018!

Tension : No Tension  has been up at Artpoint Gallery for just over a month now.  My intention was to create an initial installation, and then spend some time re-imagining it over the two months that it's in the gallery.

Here's a link to my website showing images of the first string drawings made during December 2017.

Below, a couple of videos of the work:

 
hanging out in the corner

shadows on a curved wall

verna vogel string art installation at Artpoint, Upstairs Gallery   Dec 2017 - Jan 2018
The very first string drawing.  It has now been removed...

verna vogel string art installation at Artpoint, Upstairs Gallery   Dec 2017 - Jan 2018
... and replaced with another.
This is most recent string drawing, made on New Year's eve.


For many years I kept a ritual of making art over the turn of the year.  I did this out of fear that I would not be able to continue making art in my life; my thinking was to make art the last and first thing I did every year, as a way of staying on track.

This year, I felt the need to revisit my old ritual.  2017 was intense, with more projects and exhibitions than I've ever had in one year, plus quite a lot of teaching.  Not a bad life!  But in the back of my mind a growing feeling of being a tad unmoored by it all, of not spending enough time in contemplation and creation.

I'm not sure what 2018 will hold, but I would like to spend more time in my studio.  Revisiting my New Year's eve ritual may help to keep me focused on that.

verna vogel string art installation at Artpoint, Upstairs Gallery   Dec 2017 - Jan 2018

Happy 2018 to you, dear Reader.  I think it's gonna be a good one.  :)


13 December 2017

03 December 2017

soup and portraits

In a day or two I will post some photos of my recent exhibition opening; today it's soup and portraits.  This is the "no tension" part :)

Yesterday I spent some time with Jean Pederson and her mum.  We made roasted vegetable soup, had a lovely visit and also made a few quick portraits. 

jean pederson artist mom portrait copic markers
Jean's mum, by me
sharpie and copic markers in my 9x12 sketchbook

jean pederson mother portrait copic markers sketchbook
Jean's mum, by me
copic markers in my 9x12 sketchbook

jean pederson portrait of verna vogel copic markers sketchbook
me, by Jean
copic markers in my 9x12 sketchbook

I don't think I've ever used copic sketch markers for a portrait, but found I really like them!  I also really like Jean's portrait of me.


Roasted veggie soup:

3 carrots
3 yams
1 onion
glug of olive oil
1T cumin
1T coriander
cinnamon - jut a very tiny pinch!
butter
honey
salt & pepper

Chop carrots, yams & onion. 
Put into flat baking dish - lasagna dish or cookie sheet works well
Glug of olive oil, mix with hands
Add cumin & coriander & cinnamon
Cover with tin foil - make sure edges are closed to keep moisture in
Bake at 350 for 1 hour or longer

(if you get into the studio and lose track of time, no problem.  If the foil cover is fairly well sealed, the veggies can go for up to 3 hours, maybe longer, and still be fine)

Remove roasted veggies from oven and run them through a blender, adding water to make soup of the consistency you like.  
You will probably need to blend in batches.
Pour blended soup into large pot and heat through again.
Just before serving, add butter, honey, salt & pepper to taste.

We used carrots & yams, but you can basically roast any veggies and puree into soup.  It's very easy, and makes a delicious soup!  
Also - great way to use those veggies that are languishing in the fridge.


Soup and portraits: an excellent combination to feed body & soul!




26 November 2017

Tension : No Tension.... the lead-up

I find it's a little nerve-wracking, you know, to have an exhibition for which there is no clearly defined plan.  It's a case of going into the space and seeing what I can make in a week... 

tension : no tension exhibition of string drawings by verna vogel artpoint gallery calgary

... a week during which I'll also be teaching an art class, working a shift at the store, meeting with the printer about a new catalogue for the next G9 exhibition.  

How I wish I could have the whole week uninterrupted!  No classes, no meetings, no customers!  Visions of getting into a meditative contemplative relaxed place from which to create this installation, this murkily perfect form in my head; to create something magnificent.

But, no.  There is always life which never stands still.  And perhaps that's a good thing... compressed moments of contemplative imagination are more precious and so more keenly appreciated, and this gives the art - and the life - its power.


tension : no tension exhibition of string drawing by verna vogel at artpoint gallery calgary alberta canada


As they say: " Join the club."  It's a pretty good club, all things considered.

Thanks for reading, and wish me luck!

24 November 2017

Greenbook: continuing adventures

I am coming to really love working in sketchbooks.  Perhaps some of this work will lead to more paintings and perhaps not; it doesn't matter.  The sketchbook becomes a thing in itself.  

greenbook pages 6-7 circles, painting, drawing, colourful, blue yellow ochre
drawing: white China marker
gouache: cobalt blue + lemon yellow + raw sienna + white

greenbook pages 8-9 circles, painting, drawing, sketchbook, yellow red blue black depth
drawing: purple & yellow felt pens
gouache: quin red + cobalt blue + lemon yellow + white
black india ink

greenbook pages 12-13 circles painting drawing purple violet yellow ochre brown sketchbook
drawing: black Sharpie paint marker
Inktense pencils: various colours
gouache: cobalt blue + quin red + raw sienna + white

20 November 2017

greenbook 2-5

A green clothbound 5x5 sketchbook, purchased some months ago.

green sketchbook marker and gouache drawing on paper 5x5 inches red and green and in between

Finally opened yesterday and colour explorations begun.

green sketchbook 5x5 marker and gouache on paper blue red yellow and all they contain

What fun!