25 April 2013

"E" is for Energy to Enable Everyone

A little while ago I agreed to make a letter for Canadian Artists for the Poor.  Today I finished painting it.  Here it is, from beginning to end:

And here's what it looks like outdoors:

The purpose of these letters - each letter painted by a different artist - is to make a banner for their summer artwalk events.  I'm curious and eager to see what the other artists have done with their letters, and how the assembled banner will look!

23 April 2013

this is then

Thursday morning, 11am: corners protected with cardboard, pallet-wrapped, ready to move to the gallery.  

When they leave the studio I feel bit of nostalgia for the paintings, most of which I will not see again - but also a sense of lightness and freedom.

Monday morning, 7am: jump into the clear, clean studio!

I have not painted much in the last month and so this feels incredibly good, feels like I'm home again.

16 April 2013

looking out

Varnishing the Skin - photographed while varnish was still wet, so it looks quite glossy in the photo below.  I like the way the stitching is defined from a sharp angle.

When dry the varnish gives a really nice almost-matte surface, perfect for skin. 

Last few days it snowed again, and the fence paintings have taken on the air of a portal.

13 April 2013


The last two weeks have been pretty busy for me.  Among other things, I'm getting all the last-minute details in place for my upcoming show, and got all my tax stuff finished!  Very productive, feels good.

After a full day of paperwork last week, I poured myself a glass of wine and had a good sit in the yard.  There was a fair breeze and the fence paintings were billowing gently in and out.  They looked alive almost, and I was filled with a sense of well-being.  

Some years ago I made a painting which I titled "Everything Has A Life Of Its Own" and as time goes by I seem to understand that sentiment more fully.

And, look: the first tiny cracks are appearing!  After 9 and a half months or so hanging on the fence through seasonal weathers, this is quite exciting.  I had been wondering when these paintings would finally begin to fall apart.

Nothing can withstand the forces of nature for long.  Although I take every care to make my work as archivally-sound as possible, I am also very drawn to the ultimate intransigence of matter. 

We humans seem to possess simultaneously a deep desire for "forever" and a deep knowledge that "forever" does not exist however we may try to create it.

Speaking of intransigence: this year I have finally begun the exhaustive job of pulling all the grass out from around the stems of the roses!  Yay me!  Really, it's a huge job.  This yard was neglected for over a decade before we came along, and that grass is well-established, ha.

The roses when they bloom are yellow, my favourite.  These poor bushes have been struggling along and I hope that my grass-removal efforts may ease their existence a bit.

A robin likes the fact that I'm digging up the soil and loosening the worms and bugs!  He hangs out in the apple tree, waiting for me to finish so he can take his meal in comfort.

And the seagulls wheel overhead, and life is good.

12 April 2013

well spent

I've been thinking I need to get out and see more art.  To that end, my husband and I drove to Banff to go for a mountain hike and to check out Linda Wilder's exhibition last weekend.  

I have been following her blog for awhile, and I must say that her paintings look great online, and even better in person!  It was really good to talk a bit with Linda, too.  She's a lovely person, very relaxed and open.

"Griffith Woods Stroll" was my favourite in the show, and my husband really liked a small street scene which I cannot now find an image of...

... and I did not bring a camera, so I have no photos of the woods, the misty mountaintops, the moss glowing green in a light drizzle, and other lovely things we came across.  Oh well, next time.

All in all it was a weekend well spent.

08 April 2013

Art World Fame

So here I am, trying to learn how to use the internet more effectively.

I've decided to go back to using this blog to some extent, and so I have updated some of the things in the sidebar, like adding a "follow by email" button, and links to a few blogs and websites, and also posted some things about my upcoming show - see previous post.

Right after the post about my upcoming show, I find this article on the death of the gallery show.  The last bit intrigues me, because it is a positive take on the machinations of the Art World.  I am certainly not in the echelons of Art World Fame, nor do I want to be, all things considered.  While I am happy to sell my work, I also hope that some of my paintings may inspire thoughtful conversation.  

And here is a photo, because happy eyes are as important as thoughts and ideas:

                              EXHIBITION ADVISORY

For Immediate Release
April 1st, 2013

Axis Contemporary Art presents “Tintinabulation”
new urban abstract paintings by Calgary artist Verna Vogel
Saturday April 20th – May 4th

Calgary, AB:  The walls Axis Contemporary Art will be alive with the patterns, rhythms and colours of our urban environment later this month as Calgary artist Verna Vogel shows new paintings in a series called “Tintinabulation”. 

Known for her vivid colours, textural stitched canvases and abstract motifs that suggest dense urbanization, Verna’s new series reflects a subtle shift in the artists’ perspective. For many years, Vogel both lived and painted in the downtown core of Calgary. Now, a move to the suburbs has altered her artistic vision. This series of paintings is her “tintinnabulation”, a visual echo of her late experience of urban immersion.

Visitors are welcome to “meet-the-artist” at the 
Opening Reception, Saturday April 20th from 2 – 5 pm.  
Axis Contemporary Art 2nd Level Art Central
#203 – 100 7th Avenue SW 

For Media Info, Interviews and High-Res images Contact:
Rob Mabee
Axis Contemporary Art

Additional Information:

Links to view the artwork
Art Central tenant site – http://artcentralcalgary.com/events/
Tintinnabulation  tin-tin-nab-u-la-tion n. The ringing, jingling or tinkling sound of bells.
In the inner ear, there are tiny hairs which vibrate in response to sound waves, part of a
process which transmits sound to the brain, allowing it to register, filter and define sounds.
This, as we all know, is called “hearing”.  Over time, the hearing process changes. Gradually, some of those tiny hairs are no longer able to stop vibrating, and will continue to vibrate even in a complete absence of sound. The speed at which this change happens is directly influenced by how much sound – how many decibels and for how long – the ears are exposed to.
The brain registers these unchecked vibrations as a kind of electric buzzing or bell-like ringing

Verna Vogel studied art at Capilano College in North Vancouver, and received a scholarship to study Chinese ink painting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 1 year.  Following her studies abroad she spent 5 years honing her visual perception and rendering skills through an intensive, self-directed study of the human figure.  In 2001, and she began directing her energies towards painting abstractly, focusing on urban and natural landscapes, creating imagery from memory and imagination.  She calls herself an experimenter and inventor who uses paint, brushes, canvas and a sewing machine to make vibrantly original works of art.
Axis Contemporary Art is a commercial gallery that opened in Calgary’s Art Central building in 2005 and shows original artwork by professional artists working in different mediums.  The gallery focuses primarily on Canadian art and looks for work that is fresh, engaging and dynamic.  In additional to its representation of fine Canadian artists, the gallery also presents exhibitions for international artists such as iconic celebrity photographer Douglas Kirkland, and The Glasgow Print Studio.  Axis has also participated in arts festivals such as Exposure Photography Festival and OYR’s High Performance Rodeo. 

Verna Vogel website –
Art Central tenant site –

Rob Mabee
Axis Contemporary Art
#203 – 100, 7th Ave SW Calgary AB
Visit us online at:  www.axisart.ca
We are located in: www.artcentralcalgary.com
@RobMabeeAxis on Twitter