15 January 2017

the kitchen and the studio

What happens in the kitchen is not so different from what happens in the studio. Sometimes in fact, it is pretty much exactly the same thing.



lines and shapes made with my eyes closed
lines and shapes made with my eyes closed
In the kitchen:

This morning I made a few "blind" drawings in a new 6x8" hardbound sketchbook.




It was a nice morning mediation kind of exercise, which I did while sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of hot black tea.


lines and shapes made with my eyes closed

Because I haven't done these in awhile, they feel different again.  I used more colour, and spent more time working on them, than in the previous sketchbook.



lines and shapes made with my eyes closed - oil on panel

In the studio:

During the last few weeks, I've been taking the idea of the blind drawings...


lines and shapes made with my eyes closed - oil on wood panel


(which in this case means making the lines and shapes entirely with my eyes closed, and then working them up a little bit more with eyes open)

lines and shapes made with my eyes closed - oil on wood panel

...and exploring how I might translate them into paintings.

These four studies are still in progress.  Oil on wood panels, 12x16 inches each.
lines and shapes made with my eyes closed - oil on wood panel

The feeling of a brush laden with oil paint and moving over a wood panel is quite different from the feeling of a pen or marker moving over the surface of paper.






In between all this, I made a large oil painting.  It's about 72 inches wide, and I think it's finished... though it'll have to sit for a bit before I'm sure.

lines and shapes made with my eyes closed - oil on canvas, 25x62 inches

I've heard that the studies are supposed to come before the large work, but in this case they are all happening together.

It's so good to be working with oils again, in a studio that is really separate from the house.  A couple of weeks ago my husband helped to install an exhaust fan, and together with the air exchange and wearing a mask and gloves, I am confident to use the various oil mediums again without compromising my health.

One corner of the garage studio, showing a few of the "Sound" paintings and shelving with books and printmaking tools and materials.  Also the Creative Brain, my studio mascot.

And there is one corner of my still-new garage studio, showing a few of the "Sound" paintings and my bookshelf which also contains plastic storage tubs filled with printmaking tools and supplies, including the various parts of an almost-finished installation project which I've been working on for almost 7 months now.

Also on the bookshelf, lit-up, is my Creative Brain, my much-loved studio mascot.

:)


23 December 2016

the state of the studio

Yesterday I worked in the studio, mainly just prepping some grounds.  It is a low-energy time of year for me, so prepping grounds is the perfect activity: not too much energy required, just a slow repetition of colour and texture without any pressure to create "something good" because most of it will be covered up and transformed anyway.

At the end of the evening I had some leftover paint and so I touched on a couple of the small oil paintings which have been in progress for about 15 months now.

sound studio oil paintings in progress a record of a discovery

You know that thing that can happen when you're tired and you've been working all day and then, at the end, you do something almost in a dream state and it jumps over into another path of perception.  And then you love the work you did just there, not because the work itself is great (it usually isn't) but because some part of it contains a record of a discovery.

And then, exhausted, I slept and dreamt poems where it didn't matter whether or not I knew in which direction the stream was flowing.

Here in Calgary today will be 12 seconds longer than yesterday.  By December 31st the day will be just over a minute longer than today.

Happy Solstice, dear Reader!

15 December 2016

some old, some new

Less words, more images

sketchbook drawing / painting
8x10 sketch
last night at the kitchen table


portrait drawing and painting in 9x12" sketchbook
oil-based paint marker and gouache in 9x12 sketchbook
yesterday while working at the art supply store

portrait in 9x12 sketchbook
oil-based paint marker and gouache in 9x12 sketchbook
yesterday while working at the art supply store

portrait drawing and painting in 9x12" sketchbook
oil-based paint marker and gouache in 9x12 sketchbook
yesterday while working at the art supply store



Alberta Landscape #97: view

Alberta Landscape #97: palette

verna vogel landscape oil on birchwood panel 12x12 inches
Alberta Landscape #97: oil on panel, 12x12 inches
6 weeks ago, near Black Diamond AB


ink cap mushroom drawing
Ink Cap mushrooms - they really do make an "ink" you can draw with!
8 weeks ago




03 December 2016

From the Archives (2)

Every image has a story.  Here are some images containing stories about my life after I returned from Malaysia back to Canada.  

I got my first real artist studio!  What a fine feeling, to have "a room of my own".  Although still a shared space, this studio was a big step up from painting in the tiny galley-style kitchen of my (also shared) apartment.  First thing I did was to stretch and gesso a few canvases.



I got back into "real" life drawing - in Malaysia, officially a Muslim country, art models were clothed.  The frustration of the interrupted line when drawing may have been a factor in spurring me to get more serious in my figure drawing/painting explorations over the next few years.



One day on leaving my apartment I found a plant upside-down under its pot on the walkway.  How could I not rescue it?  After a bit of attention it began to thrive again, and I made a painting of it.  This plant lives with me still; it is commonly known as a fig tree.


26 November 2016

blind line

Life has got very busy these last few weeks, and I continue along with the blind line drawings.  They have become a sort of meditation for me, an activity for which there is no hoped-for end result and therefore no pressure.

lines circles colour blind drawings verna vogel

The drawings have morphed a bit over time, as my hand develops a memory for the shapes and lines.  Some of the coloured-in bits I can also now do without looking, an interesting development.  

sketchbook verna vogel

Where will this practice take me?  For the time being I just keep drawing and watching and waiting.

lines circles colour blind drawings verna vogel

12 November 2016

patterns and people

I started my morning with a couple of quick sketches.  First an eyes-closed drawing (the colouring-in parts are done with eyes open) and then a portrait of my husband.  

Both done with Sharpie paint markers + watercolour crayons on 130lb paper, 9x12 inches.

patterns and people verna vogel

patterns and people verna vogel

Patterns and people.  A good start to this day.

08 November 2016

From the Archives (1)

I've been going through some old image files...

I went to Capilano College in 1994-6, enrolled in the Studio Arts Foundation program there.  I recently discovered, to my dismay, that the Studio Arts program no longer exists at what is now Capilano University.

While at the College, I applied for and received an international study grant which allowed me to live in Kuala Lumpur and study Fine Arts at the Institut Seni Lukis Malaysia.  It was a grand adventure, both exhilarating and at times very difficult, as all grand adventures are.  

Among other things I made some portraits while living and studying in KL.

self-portrait in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Portraits of Thain Cooi and Chine Sui made while living n Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Portraits of Laurent and Maria, made while living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

self-portraits made while living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Portraits made while living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

self-portrait made while living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

And I continued to make portraits when I returned to Canada.

portrait made while living n Vancouver, BC
portrait made while living n Vancouver, BC

portrait made while living n Vancouver, BC
portrait made while living n Vancouver, BC 



















It's interesting to look through older work, sort of nostalgic and also affirming: I've been at this art practice thing for awhile now, getting on a couple of decades.

Sometimes I feel frustrated with what seems a lack of worldly success... but then I think about all the twists and turns a life can take, and I feel fortunate to have been able to persevere with making art of one sort or another pretty much all my life.

There are many more archives and I may post some more images over the next few weeks.  It seems like a necessary sort of grounding exercise right now.

Thanks for reading :)

29 October 2016

travelling and drawing and painting

Staying entertained on an airplane is not too difficult when I have a sketchbook with me.  During each flight I decided to make drawings with my eyes closed, and I quite like how some of them turned out.  

These drawings were done in a 4x6" book of 90lb paper, using a fine-tip Sharpie marker and a gold Slicci pen:

travel drawings by verna vogel

blind drawings by verna vogel

travel drawings by verna vogel

blind drawings by verna vogel

travel drawings by verna vogel

blind drawings by verna vogel

travel drawings by verna vogel

drawing with my eyes closed by verna vogel



I also made some portraits of fellow passengers during my flights.  One must be very surreptitious in order to avoid anyone realizing they have become an artist's model and so begin to "pose".  People who are just being themselves are generally more interesting to draw than people who are trying to hold still.

my fellow passengers on WestJet flight drawings by verna vogel

travel portraits by verna vogel

my fellow passengers on WestJet flight drawings by verna vogel

travel portraits by verna vogel


Finally, a few portraits of family members and friends which I made during my stay in Ontario.  These were done in a 9x12-inch sketchbook of 130lb paper, using the Sharpie marker, oil pastels and gouache paints in quinacridone red, raw sienna, pthalocyanine green and cobalt blue:

sketchbook portrait of my brother by verna vogel made with sharpie marker and M. Graham gouache

portrait of my sister by verna vogel made with M. Graham gouache and sharpie marker

portrait drawing with gouache in sketchbook paper

portrait drawing painting with M. Graham gouache and oil pastel by verna vogel

portrait drawing painting in oil pastel and M. Graham gouache by verna vogel

portrait drawing painting with oil pastel and M. Graham brand gouache by verna vogel


Whew!  That was a lot of art-making over the course of one week.  It's always exciting to be somewhere different, and I prefer drawing over taking photographs as a method of recording my experiences.  Drawing takes more time and so contains more feeling, and in that way is a more "accurate" record for me.

Returning home, I'll be teaching a couple of classes straight away next week and working a shift at the art-supply store.  

Then, finally, I will get back into the studio to install some lighting and finish painting the ceiling.  Have I mentioned that I am in the process of moving into a *new* studio?  My studio will now be in the garage instead of in the basement of our home, which is a great improvement.  Having a work space separate from the house - even if only by a few meters - feels so wonderful.  More on that in my next posting, if all goes according to plan.

:)