22 April 2018

portraits and portraits

Today I spent the day in Black Diamond, AB, hanging out at Bluerock Gallery and exploring various parts of the town and environs.  During my travels I made some portraits.  
Here they are, more-or-less in the order they appeared:

bluerock gallery art church portrait of shelly

Diamond Valley Singers, portraits of choir members & audience

Diamond Valley Singers, portraits of choir members & audience

vernavogel portrait bluerock gallery black diamond ab

And in the newest sketchbook, 300gsm toned grey paper which was very smooth and did not take the watermedia too easily but nevertheless was enjoyable to work in:

sketchbook toned grey black & white image circles

It was nice to get out of the city for the day.

30 March 2018

outside and inside

vernavogel studio day snow day
outside

inside my studio on a snow day
inside

Another snowy day.  I haven't made any pictures since the opening at CKG, so getting into my studio today feels particularly fine.  I am taking my own advice today: feeling unsure about this painting, I'm calling it finished.  For now.  :)

And from a technical viewpoint:

After a couple of colour layers the paper began to buckle.  So I flipped it over & soaked the back down & let it sit 20min or so.  Then I gesso'd the back.  With green-tinted gesso, which you can see now around the edges.  I like that green edge, and I also like how gesso-ing the back prevented the paper from buckling more, while allowing me to still work on the beautiful paper surface.


inside my studio on a snow day, acrylic on Arches paper 22x30
Acrylic paint and paper collage
on Arches 640gsm watercolour paper
22x30"

26 March 2018

Branch Out 1

Today I met with Andrei, a neuroscience student at the U of C who is involved in endocannabinoid research as it relates to PTSD and fear extinction.  We talked about some of the specifics of his research and also a little bit about life in general.  I learned some pretty interesting things about synapses and lab rats, and also about how people variously respond to learning that they have an unalterable condition, for example diabetes.

After we'd talked awhile, I asked Andrei if I could make his portrait, and he graciously agreed.  I made two:


Branch out foundation, your brain on art, c-space calgary, vernavogel portrait

top, first drawing: Sharpie paint marker
bottom, second drawing: China marker

Of which I think the top one is better.  I seem to have forgotten about his eyebrows in the second portrait, and also his mouth is ill-proportioned.  I realized these things only later, as I looked at the images on my computer screen.  Trying too hard to get a good likeness, probably.  Portraits (well, mine at least) are always best in that first spontaneous visual response.

I met with Andrei because I have agreed to make a painting for an event by Branch Out, an organization that funds research such as his.

This evening I've already looked up a few of the things we talked about (hence the link to the fear extinction study results above) and it's quite fascinating.

I think one of the reasons I make art is that there was some trauma in my family when I was young, and making art has definitely helped me to deal with at least some aspects of that.  I think it's not so much the images per se, but the actual physical process, which usually involves very repetitive motions over a span of time.  Like my sketchbooks: basically the same image over and over, filling whole books.  It's very soothing, and it also becomes a method of focussed research which can lead to more involved work.  

Perhaps making art helps my endocannabinoids to function properly.  Certainly making art is the antithesis of fear, even though sometimes I'm unsure of where the process is going... 

Much to ponder after this meeting.

Meanwhile, I will make a painting for the Branch Out event (which by the way will be held at cSPACE in Calgary in April) and probably not really know what that painting is all about until maybe two years from now.  Typical of my process.

Thanks for a super visit, Andrei, I very much appreciate your taking the time.

Thank you too, dear Reader, and ciao for now.





19 March 2018

Exhibition: StudioNOW

A few of my most recent paintings are included in this 4-woman exhibition at CKG in Calgary.  The opening is coming up in just a few days and I'm feeling excited and a bit nervous.

Christine Klassen Gallery exhibition Studio NOW

I've been trying out Mailchimp for making a newsletter about exhibitions and other events with my artwork.  I'm not really the best at advertising my work, and definitely have mixed feelings about "marketing" when it comes to what I do in my studio.  My studio is so far removed from the world of commerce...  

But anyway I do have shows in galleries and other interesting and fun things, and it makes sense to let people know about these things in the spirit of sharing, right?

Here's a link to the most recent newsletter:


Thanks as always for reading my blog posts!

:)



01 March 2018

meniscus

tonight I made some drawings/paintings
in a different sketchbook, lightweight paper

verna vogel sketchbook, meniscus, blind drawing/painting, black cover hardbound 6x8" 70lb paper

here is one
in bad lighting oh well

verna vogel sketchbook, meniscus, blind drawing/painting, black cover hardbound 6x8" 70lb paper

first the blind drawing
with black oil paint marker

verna vogel sketchbook, meniscus, blind drawing/painting, black cover hardbound 6x8" 70lb paper

then acrylic colour
phthalo turquoise, cobalt blue, vermillion hue

verna vogel sketchbook, meniscus, blind drawing/painting, black cover hardbound 6x8" 70lb paper

feels a bit like being underwater
whichever way I turn it
some kind of meniscus

I like that.



25 February 2018

Portrait 2018.2.21

portrait of ryan statz  oil on paper

My co-worker at the art supply store.
oil on paper, 9x12 inches

in this book:

The heavy paper can be gesso'd and then painted on with oils.
It's definitely one of my favourite sketchbooks.


19 February 2018

down time

When the cold I've been fighting for weeks finally hits full force, I cope with feeling lousy by sitting at the kitchen table and making images in a 5x7" sketchbook.  Low exertion, excellent healing activity.  Thankful for a few days' down time, glad I can do this.

drawings paintings colourful circles sketchbook verna vogel

drawings paintings colourful circles sketchbook verna vogel

drawings paintings colourful circles sketchbook verna vogel

drawings paintings colourful circles sketchbook verna vogel

drawings paintings colourful circles sketchbook verna vogel steel sky woman

drawings paintings colourful circles sketchbook verna vogel steel sky woman


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.