29 January 2016


At first I had intended to make a few more small oil paintings.  To begin, I worked out some proportions...

studio work laying out proportions for a new painting

... cut some strips from an old painting and laid them on the canvas.  Then I became interested in how the strips looked, the random lines and shapes created by cutting up that old painting.  So I coloured blue and purple and laid the cut strips down again, and liked it enough to go with it:

in the studio exploring new ideas for painting

Below, the finished painting.  It's a little one, 14x14 inches:

mixed media artwork abstract with circles and lines blue and earth tones

In order to further explore this aesthetic, I plan to destroy a number of older, unfinished, unsalvageable works and re-use the stretcher frames.  Below, two paintings slated for destruction:

paintings slated for destruction

mixed media abstract painting red grey blue circles and lines

Above, the coloured canvas which will go onto the stretcher frames.  That portion of old painting will be cut up for the strips... I think.  We will see what transpires.

Sometimes I spend hours just shifting the cut bits around until they feel right.  Getting the base colouring to resonate can also take a long time.

mixed media abstract painting earth tones with white and gold circle and lines

mixed media abstract painting earth tones with white and gold circles and lines

Well you know: time is not for saving.  May as well spend time by shifting colours around!

mixed media abstract painting colourful circles and lines in progress

mixed media abstract paintings circles and lines showing studio tools

Today I began in the studio about 9am, and I worked until I noticed the shadows lengthening.

studio window

Then I took a break and then I worked some more.  Although they are only just slightly different from the work that went before, I am quite excited about the possibilities with these new paintings.

mixed media abstract paintings blue white gold earth tones circles and lines

Earlier this week I taught an art class in which we made a couple of group collages.  

art class group collage

Kids are so much fun, spontaneous and happy to try new creative processes.  They are generally not too worried about what things "should look like", and just go with the flow of wherever the process takes them.

copyright verna vogel

Between doing art classes with the schools and a couple of other commitments, I have less time now for the studio.  On the flip side, when I do get into my own work I am feeling a bit more free.

copyright verna vogel

15 January 2016


Chez Studio Verna, 2016 has begun with paperlings: small works on paper.

I took a break during the last few weeks of 2015, then on January 1st I was back into the studio - I was so much into the studio that I did not make any blog posts for awhile!  Now it is time.

First thing I did this year was to make some wee stitched paintings on paper.

verna vogel

I'd found some cool little frames several months ago, not knowing what I'd wind up using them for.  Often that is a good way to go about things.


These paintings are made with acrylic paint and ink on Arches rag paper.  They are called "Vibrato".  (thanks Russell for your suggestion!)

verna vogel

They are small; 4x4, 5x5 and 6x6 inches.  I have not often framed my work, and I'm liking these.

framed works on paper

I like them all together better than individually.  Perhaps because they are so small, they seem to need each other to read and breathe and live.

In between working on the Vibrato series, I played around on some other small bits of paper about 8x8 inches:

verna vogel


verna vogel

paintings on paper

verna vogel

paper paintings

verna vogel

Then yesterday I began to experiment with making collograph prints: working on paper again!

collograph print

Above, printing "plate" made with school glue drawing on matboard, and printed with a roller and Speedball water-soluble block printing ink on 140lb paper.

Below, fun with feathers:

collograph print

verna vogel

It's been a long time since I made prints, maybe 20 years.  Wow.  I am remembering just how much fun printing is!  There is a magic in working on a "plate" to create an image - and then printing from that plate, which changes the image sometimes quite radically.  

So there is the beginning of the year in my studio:  A new series of tiny, framed paintings, a few little open-ended explorations, and an initial foray into simple printmaking techniques.  All using paper.

Paperlings... I wonder where they will lead?

As ever, I'm curious about this ongoing creative journey, and happy to be able to make blog posts which I hope will connect with a few people along the way.

Thank you for reading!


27 December 2015

winter pastime

cut paper, paper cuts

a few sheets of printer paper
a pair of scissors
a bit of clear tape
a couple hours of your time...

...et voila:

cut paper

cut paper snowflakes

verna vogel

verna vogel

verna vogel

This is one of my favourite winter pastimes
as far back as I can remember.


25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

verna vogel

May this holiday give you opportunity to share your love & laughter
(and perhaps a bit of music too!)
now and into the new year.

house music

See you in 2016!

27 November 2015

all this beauty is in you

It has recently come to my attention about a thing called the mourning moon.  Very interesting.  Here's a link to some information and a lot of beautiful photos.

verna vogel
All This Beauty Is In You
acrylic on canvas, 10x10"

A few years ago I made this painting for a friend, and just now came across the image again.  How serendipitous.  It's a very appropriate image for the time of the mourning moon, aesthetically and also the title, don't you think?

19 November 2015

Bluerock Gallery

I am very pleased to announce that my work is now being represented by Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, AB.  This gallery carries gorgeous textile, ceramic and sculptural artworks as well as fine paintings.  I am in good company here.

bluerock gallery albertabluerock gallery alberta

My "Resonance" series can be viewed at the gallery in person or online:
my page on the Bluerock Gallery website.

12 November 2015


Circular cardboard templates sure come in handy.


small oil paintings

When canvas has been soaked with water, wrung out and hung to dry, it develops wrinkles.  Stretching the canvas and applying gesso does not remove the wrinkles... what to do?  Go for the layered look and make the paint look wrinkly too.

small oil paintings

small oil paintings

I worked on 8 of the small oil paintings earlier this week.  6 are now finished; ideally 3 more will be finished by the end of the month.

small oil paintings

In the acrylic world:

resonance 2

Not sure how I feel about these yet.  Each 20x33 inches and still in progress.

resonance 2

And then one frosty morning I became aware of seemingly hordes of spiders living in the spruce boughs.  

steel sky woman

This made my spirit feel very happy.


30 October 2015

open doors

I have got a cold this week, and along with the lack of physical energy my spirits have been flagging a bit.  But this morning I am determined to feel better.  The damn cold has just got to run its course, so I'm going over what I've accomplished in the last couple of weeks.  A blog post morning will do me good.

Last week I varnished all the 12x12 paintings.  We have had an unusually warm autumn and I was able to do this outdoors, in mid-October!  Sweet.  

steel sky woman

I like the backyard with its fallen leaves, laundry on the line, gardening buckets and paintings.  A more domestic scene than I would've cared for a few years ago, but which suits me now.

resonance : varnishing

I liked how the late afternoon light picked up the textures.

steel sky woman

These paintings are now all signed and inventoried, and today I will put on the hanging wires.  Then they will be ready to go out!

I also have been working on a quilt for a friend.  She's just had a baby, and this started out as a baby quilt...  but then it took on a life of its own, and grew much bigger!  There it is pinned to the studio wall behind my working table:  

verna vogel

I haven't made a quilt in some years, and it was fun to haul out all the laces and pretty things.

steel sky woman

I was hoping to finish it this week, but that didn't happen.  This quilt may wind up being a xmas present.

This week I put together 5 projects for teaching art classes in the schools.  For each project I do a concept/discussion outline, materials list, and step-by-step process outline.  It's a lot of work, but I know that once the ideas are developed they can be used for more than one class, so I'm setting up for the future here. I hope.  :)

As I do all the writing I am also making each project in my studio to work out the physics of the thing, so that it can be a successful project on both a conceptual and a practical level.

Here are some papier-mache bowls I made:

steel sky woman

papier-mache bowls

It's fun to make things outside my usual practice, and I really like how these bowls turned out.  Perhaps some of the processes I'm exploring here will find their way into future studio work...

papier-mache bowls

Yesterday, after much writing and school-project-prototype-making and despite my cold and low energy, I finally was able to work on my own paintings again!  Just a couple of glazes on a few of the little oil paintings, but what a good feeling.

oil paintings

At one point I was hoping all the little oil paintings might be finished by the end of November, but now I think not.  These need a fair bit of work yet, and the oil takes time to dry, and I'd rather not rush things.

And the fence paintings endure.  This will be their fourth winter on the fence.  Here, lit by the porch light at night:

fence paintings

I'm really hoping I can find a good balance between teaching and my studio practice.  It feels like a good time to open some new doors.