29 March 2019

Exhibition: just turn your head a little

Below are a few photos of the exhibition just turn your head a little, created by Frances Vettergreen and I at the Leighton Art Centre.

Our exhibition will be up until Saturday April 13, 2019. 
While pictures and blog posts are lovely, they really do not compare to an in-person experience of any type of art.  If you have never yet been to there, this would be a great reason to go and visit the truly wonderful Leighton Art Centre!

Frances' paintings are a remembered record of her experiences.  My installation works are created in response to the place in which they are made.  

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "
Sky Land
String drawings with hanging branches
Dimensions 26" and 16" in diameter, approx 60" height
Reflecting the sky and rolling land around the Leighton Art Centre, these drawings also pay homage to the playful nature of some of Barbara Leighton's own artworks.

Strings and tree roots collected after the 2013 flood
16 x 32" each side
Strings: to work with the window frame, and to mirror shapes in Frances' painting.  
Roots: because the basement of the LAC is a world unto itself, and knowing the roots is integral to  knowing any person, place or thing.

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "
with Frances' painting "A Garden To Feed Her Family"

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "
front: One suspended transparent drawing
back: Tea-dyed office paper with root and branch, 50" in diameter x 120" height
Tea-dyed office paper, because Barbara Leighton liked to offer her guests tea, and because the LAC remains operable through the efforts of the admin staff.

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "
front: Two suspended transparent drawings
back: String drawing with stones, 59" in diameter
The string drawing is on the wall.  The stones are suspended 18" in front.  Both circles are exactly the same diameter, despite appearances to the contrary. 

This work relates to the calm and elegant feeling of the LAC.  Situated in nature, surrounded by extended vistas, the scale of human endeavours can be perceived in an alternate proportion relative to the environs.

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "
right: String drawing with stones, 59" diameter
left: Suspended transparent drawings, 24 x 90" each
Drawings: sinuous like trees, to bring the outside in.
Transparent: to see through, as in a winter forest.
Suspended: on sensitive swivel hooks, so that they move in the tiniest ambient air currents, as trees do.  These drawings are always in motion.

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "
front: Suspended transparent drawings
back: Frances' badlands paintings, which are also like drawings.
The part of the tree that we see above ground is the same size as the part we cannot see: the roots below ground.  In these suspended drawings, both parts are transparent.

It occurs to me that the transparent drawings can also be viewed as water rivulets...

Really, I hope they can be seen in many ways by many people.  I do love when people  see all sorts of things in my work.  Sometimes what someone sees gives me a kind of "ahhhhhhh...." feeling, sometimes it is very surprising to me.  

That is a big part of the fun of making art: we all do our own very individual thing, and at its best our work relates universally to other people, all of whom see their own very individual things in it.  I just love that.

Leighton Art Centre exhibition " just turn your head a little "

p.s.  I should mention that I'll be teaching an all-day art-making workshop at the LAC Education Centre on Saturday April 6th.  I believe there are still some spots available if you'd like to join us.

Until next time,

28 March 2019

Blackbook: continuing adventures

I find myself working in sketchbooks quite a lot these last couple of years.  I mean besides the portrait books which are ongoing for decades, there are now books dedicated to the exploration of abstract imagery and ideas.

Here are a few images from the Blackbook 6x8"...

Sketchbook of blind drawings, then painted in with acrylics.

Sketchbook of blind drawings, then painted in with acrylics.

Sketchbook of blind drawings, then painted in with acrylics.

Sketchbook of blind drawings, then painted in with acrylics.

Sketchbook of blind drawings, then painted in with acrylics.

First I close my eyes and draw the lines with various sorts of markers and pens, then I open my eyes and colour them in with acrylic paints, sometimes gouache.

The very repetitive process goes a long way toward developing the visual language.

01 March 2019

installation week

Exhibition: "just turn your head a little"
March 2 - April 13, 2019

verna vogel and frances vettergreen: installation and paintings
Work in progress:
my installation artworks with Frances' paintings.
Frances and I brought her paintings last weekend, and then I spent the week at the Leighton Art Centre, conceiving, creating and installing most of my work on location.

"just turn your head a little" installation in progress by Verna Vogel
In the main gallery:
my hanging drawings move with the slightest change in air currents, 
such as those made by the movement of people in the gallery.
All my pieces, by concept and by materials, relate to the LAC in some way.

The hanging drawings of trees intertwined with circles were created by dipping twigs and branches in ink, and hung from a branch at the top.  This reflects the beautifully treed environment around the house, and the cycles of nature.

just turn your head a little by Verna Vogel
First wall piece: tea-dyed paper
The circle on the far wall was created with tea-dyed office paper.  This reflects the fact that the late Barbara Leighton liked to offer her guests tea, and also the current work of administrative staff at the Art Centre.

verna vogel exhibition "just turn your head a little"
Second wall piece: strings and stones.
A circle created with strings and stones reflects the the simultaneously energized and peaceful feeling that pervades the property and house.

vernavogel and frances vettergreen "just turn your head a little"
Third wall piece, in the hallway.
A multi-circular piece reflects the undulating landscape and mountains, as well as a light sense of playfulness, which I believe would resonate with Barbara Leighton as evidenced in her own artwork.

There is a fourth wall piece which uses sections of tree roots.  No photo yet, but it is reminiscent of music, and the tree roots indicate that what lies underneath the surface is very important for understanding the history of a place.

Reflections: the hanging drawings in action.

Conceiving and creating these pieces inside the gallery has been very fulfilling for me.  It's been like a mini artist residency.

Warm thanks to the very fine folks at the LAC (including the "spirit of Barbara Leighton") for allowing me to take over the house this week!

23 February 2019

just turn your head a little

Things are feeling a bit hectic right now, as I prepare to install my part of the exhibition at the Leighton Art Centre.  I have prepared ahead some ink drawings, and will balance them with string drawings throughout the gallery, which are unplanned and will be created on the spot.

As you can see, I have opted for tree imagery incorporated with circles.  :)

Leighton Art Centre "just turn your head a little" exhibition

above: studies, approx. 12x24"

below: finished drawings, 24x40"

Leighton Art Centre "just turn your head a little" exhibition

These drawings have been made with twigs dipped in ink, on various types of surfaces.  I do love the slightly uncontrolled quality of the line work with this technique.

Here is a link to my latest newsletter, with information about the exhibition and a couple of other things.

Thanks as always for your interest, dear Reader!

12 February 2019

turn, turn, turn

colourful paintings in my studio verna vogel steel sky woman

I've been able to spend a lot of time painting in the last month.
Several projects on the go, with deadlines coming up soon...

Art Calgary upcoming exhibition at CPL - painting based on Mawson Plan design

work in progress: based on the Mawson plan

Art Calgary upcoming exhibition at CPL - painting based on Mawson Plan design

for exhibition with Art Calgary
at Calgary's new Central Public Library

Art Calgary upcoming exhibition at CPL - painting based on Mawson Plan design

another exploration of Mawson plan

Inglewood Art Supplies, Kama oil sticks, Arches oil paper

work in progress: Kama oil sticks on Arches oil paper

Inglewood Art Supplies, Kama oil sticks on canvas

work in progress: Kama oil sticks on stretched canvas
under and on top of oil paint layers

And now my studio is turned over to "intallation mode"

Artist Frances Vettergreen and I are collaborating
for upcoming exhibition at the Leighton Art Center

Leighton Art Center upcoming exhibition, installation artwork

preliminary explorations: ink drawings on paper

The thing with creating installation artworks, for me, is to allow the work to respond to the space.  I don't want to just impose my thing, you know?  The Leighton Art Centre is located in the foothills of Alberta.  Rolling landscape with copses of poplar trees and more densely wooded areas, and also open vistas and wetlands.  Thus, my plan for this exhibition is to create tree-feeling things and river-feeling things.  

I also want to use materials found in those areas, such as twigs dipped in ink to make drawings, as above.  Which by the way will NOT be displayed on the walls.  Curious?  Come out and see!  (or wait for the blog post with photos of finished installation)  :)

I will find ways to also incorporate my circles throughout the work, because circular imagery is so important to me, and relates very much to the landscape in balance.

inspired by nature - and longer daylight hours

walking above the river near my home in the evening
daylight hours increasing rapidly

And later this week I'll be doing some workshops 

Life feels very busy and very fun right now.

23 January 2019

and so a new year begins

verna vogel studio new work paintings mid-century aesthetic

It's been a long time, hasn't it.  Well, apart from the previous post which I put together in November, but only just posted a few minutes ago.  

Our sole computer kaputzed in mid-December.  Rather than hastily buy a new one we decided to get the old one fixed, and then we had to wait for a part, because it's hard to source parts for older computers.  Our wonderful tech person eventually found the necessary part and was able to fix our computer for a fraction of the cost of a new machine.  How lucky is that?  Very grateful we are.

Overall we were without a computer for about 3 weeks.  No screen, relying on our creative minds to keep occupied sans the go-to of the interwebs... it was bliss!!  But really only because it was during xmas, with the pace of life (and work) slowed down.  Now we are very happy to have everything back up and running, and I am finally making another blog post.  (However also thinking that taking a week offline here and there might be a good practice to develop.)

So...  a few studio shots, shall we?

Culling old work.  New work begins.

culling older work.  New work begins.

First thing this year I pulled everything off my painting rack, all those half-finished paintings, some of which have languished there many moons.  Time to put the poor old things out of their misery, yes?  And I did.

destroying old paintings.  Signature on the back.

Because I am that kind of nostalgic, I photographed the backs of some before destroying them.  Believe me, this drawing on the back is far more interesting than what was happening on the front.

verna vogel studio new work paintings mid-century aesthetic

New canvases on the old stretcher frames: grounds built, drawings begun.
That was January 2nd.

verna vogel studio new work paintings mid-century aesthetic

This week, a few finished, perhaps...

verna vogel studio new work paintings mid-century aesthetic

finished for now. :)

Future Exhibition:

In March/April 2019, my friend Frances Vettergreen and I will show our work together at the Leighton Art Centre.  I'll be making another string drawing installation, with a few further elements to be developed.  More excitement!

Tension : No Tension  Verna Vogel at Artpoint Gallery and Studios Society, exhibition 2017/2018
Tension : No Tension at Artpoint Upstairs Gallery, 2018
I have proposed a 5-hour workshop day in conjunction with the exhibition.  It is to be an exploration of sensory perceptions together with some fun art-making processes.  I've never done a full-day workshop before and am very eager to try it, hoping enough people sign up that it can run.

Leighton Art Centre Verna Vogel workshop just turn your head a little

I will be making a newsletter about this exhibition/workshop and other things, in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!

And thank you, as always, for reading my blog.  :)

The balance of November:

November 2018 I was engaged with quite a lot of teaching.
Here are a few of the projects...

verna vogel art class

3D Abstract Art
Grade 5

In a nutshell, one way to create abstract artwork: 
Begin with a simple shape, then respond to that shape, trying various angles and approaches to add (or remove!) the next bit.  Repeat, until you have something you like.  Your body's innate sense of balance will help you to know when it's right.

For this project, we made a unifying factor: each student's work had to have some sort of face somewhere on it.

verna vogel art class
Day 1: use cardboard to build forms

verna vogel art class
Day 2: apply papier-mache

verna vogel art class
Day 3: paint

verna vogel art class exhibition
Day 4: create exhibition

verna vogel art class
Hanging and lighting the pieces transformed them!

verna vogel art class
Our art gallery space was about 18x18 feet, contained on two sides with heavy black stage curtains, and a shadow screen at the front.

verna vogel art class
The white back wall was left exposed, to reflect the coloured lighting we used.

The class came up with a fun title for their exhibition

verna vogel art class

and they wrote about their work

verna vogel art class

it seems some students really got the "think through your hands" idea  :)

Collage + Drawing
Grade 2

verna vogel art class

I taught this several times with various parameters

verna vogel art class

here, to create mostly-2D images

with a focus on prairie imagery

 Crankie Project
Grade 4

Here, collage + drawing to create a scrolling image for a crankie box.  Before taking on this project I did not know what a crankie was.  But then I learned, and built two crankies out of two old dresser drawers, a few pieces of dowelling and a bit of simple hardware.

Here is the larger crankie box in action, with the not-quite-finished image scroll.

A few kinks to work out, as you can see from that awkward bit in the middle.  Turned out the collage was very thick and bulky in that spot, but I was able to pare it back some, and in the end the crankie functioned quite smoothly.

The full image scroll was 15" x 12 yards.

The Bottle Project
Grade 4

...of which I have no images except this one:
2L pop bottles being washed in my tub the day before the class.

verna vogel art class

This was an interesting project, to create art with detritus that goes well beyond the "pile of garbage as installation artwork" one still sometimes sees in galleries.  
I encouraged the students to really explore the aesthetic possibilities of cutting the bottles, drawing on them and inside them, filling them with various things, gluing them together, creating hanging chains of bottles, etc.

Another aim of this project was to address the reality of street bottle pickers who use this same detritus to earn income, to acknowledge that they are human beings who perform a vital function in their work.

The students' work was eventually installed outdoors as a temporary public art piece.

I also taught several Grade 3 printmaking and mask-making classes in November.  It's a pity I did not take photos, because I got the students to push these projects beyond what I usually do with them, and of course they surpassed their own (and my) expectations in doing so.  Sometimes I get so involved in the class that I forget about taking pictures!  C'est la vie, next time I will remember.  :)

I've been enjoying being back to work in my studio this month, and will write more about it in my next post here.

Thank you as always for reading!