06 July 2015

exhibition: CHROMA

Next, the exhibition at Christine Klassen Gallery.

I'm feeling quite excited about the opening.  This is anxiety turned to its positive aspect.  This week I will make sure to sleep well, eat well, drink lots of water, go for walks.  Take care of a few last-minute details.  Stay focussed.

And then... oh, I am so looking forward to getting back into the studio!


exhibition: "This House Is On Fire"

A few images from the recent collective exhibition at the New Edward Gallery:

Andrew Mirth - laquered panelChris Zajko - watercolour paintings
Doug Haslam - wood tables

Mandy Stobo - "bad portraits"

Doug Williamson - oil paintings

Christy Menzies - Alberta Landscape 

Holly Timpener - performance piece residue
Dee Fontans - jewellery
Sean Mahon - oil painting

Dee Fontans - jewellery
Sean Mahon
 - oil painting
Jack Bride - watermedia painting

Chris Zajko - watercolour paintings
Eddie Nyikes - drawing
Odessa Weasel Child - drawings

Verna Vogel - 3D string art
with Dee Fontans and Dough Williamson

I really like the flow of Dee's jewellery into my string art in to Doug's painting with the chain link fence.  Here are a few more images of my string art piece:

"Rock Knot"
cotton and Jute twines, rocks, brass hooks
18 x 18 x 64 inches

22 June 2015

June newsletter

​Good morning!

I hope this day is off to a fine start for everyone.  Here in Calgary it has rained quite a lot lately, which is great for our garden, and sometimes leads to a rainbow.  Today the rain has stopped, the sun is shining, and I'm appreciating some indoor rainbows cast on the wall by a prism hung in the window.

A few new things have been going on with my art practice:

First, I am very pleased to relate that I have recently been accepted into Christine Klassen Gallery here in Calgary.  It has been some time since my old gallery, AXIS, closed its doors, and now I'm glad I waited to find a new place which seems like it will be an excellent fit.  Christine Klassen, Hilary Knutson and James MacIntyre are a great team with some out-of-the-box ideas on promoting the gallery and artists, and the gallery space itself is absolutely gorgeous.  I feel honoured to be working with them!

There is an introductory exhibition at CKG of work by myself and Calgary artist Mike Binzer; we are both new to the gallery.  The exhibition runs from July 10 to August 22, 2015.  There will be an opening reception on Friday July 10th, from 5-7pm, and I will give a brief talk about my work at 6pm.  Please come out and celebrate with us!  The exhibition will include selections from the Multiples series, and from the most recent Ellipse paintings which stem from an experience I had during an Artscape residency last November.  To view images of the work, click here.

Secondly, I have a 3-D piece accepted into "This House Is On Fire" at the New Edward Gallery", an alternative gallery space also in Calgary.  It's an exciting opportunity to make and show work which lies outside my usual studio practice.  This event, which includes visual art, music and food, opens on Wednesday, July 1 from 6-11pm.  The art will be up for 3 days only, from July 1-3, 2015.  Join us for the opening celebration or stop in to the gallery to view the artwork while it's up!

Thirdly, in May of this year I had another super fun creative opportunity: to alter and paint 3 hard hats for the groundbreaking ceremony of cSPACE Projects at the old King Edward School in Marda Loop, Calgary.  If you'd like to see the hard hats I did and learn a bit more about this cSPACE project, click here.

Finally, the AGA's Travelling Exhibition "Eye And The City" will be hosted by the Onoway Public Library from June 24 to July 22 and the Mayerthorpe Public Library from July 29 to August 26, before moving on into the Medicine Hat region for the next leg of the journey.  "Eye And The City" is an exploration of urban landscapes through artworks by Russell Bingham, Gordon Harper, David Janzen, Paul Murasko and myself.

I hope you are enjoying your day and taking time to pause for rainbows - literally and/or figuratively!

Until next time,

verna vogel steel sky woman

15 June 2015

Meanwhile, in the studio...

A rather bland portrait made a couple of weeks ago:


looks more lively when photoshopped:

steel sky woman

A new 2D series begun, these are 16.75 inches square:

verna vogel small ellipse

steel sky woman small ellipse

And a 3D piece underway for an exhibition in a non-commercial gallery!  Here are some detail shots of the first prototype in my studio:

steel sky woman

steel sky woman

verna vogel

I will make another attempt at this, using a smoother string so the knots are more easily visible.

03 June 2015

receive and send

Before I begin with the art news, allow me to show you this beautiful wildflower bouquet, comprised partly of garden plants (columbine, poppy leaves, arugula flowers) and partly of plain old weeds (grasses, violets, dandelions, and other nameless things)  Is it not wonderful?

One might say I receive the beauty of the weeds, and try my best to send some beauty back into the world.

The same day I composed that delicious bouquet, I received something else: a few older works back from one of my galleries.  I'm glad to see this painting again:

verna vogel Precipitate
mixed media and stitching on canvas
45 x 51 inches

The title is interesting as this painting was made on the eve of a tidal change in my work.

There's a lot I like about "Precipitate" as it is, but now seeing it again after two years I can imagine some improvements.  It is from a series of works I made where I left quite a bit of the raw, unpainted canvas showing.  In this particular piece, I think there may be too much of that same raw canvas colour, so I may adjust the top portion a bit.

Between taking in older work and preparing newer work to send out, my studio can get a bit cluttered:

steel sky woman
verna vogel studio
Ah, that's all nice and tidy now.  Hey, aren't artists supposed to be messy, creative geniuses working in hives of clutter?  *laughs*  Not this artist, apparently - at least, not all the time.

verna vogel paintings
9 large and 55 small paintings
arrived at CKG gallery

verna vogel paintings

I'm really excited that my work is now being represented by CKG here in Calgary!  The people at CKG are wonderful, the space is beautiful, and they have some exciting out-of-the-box ideas about promoting the gallery and artists.

It's been a year and a half since I've worked with a local gallery.  During that time my work has evolved quite a bit.  First the Multiples, and now the new Ellipse series have taken me wholly into the world of pure abstraction.

I've really felt that I'm going out on a limb in making these purely abstract works.  Going out on a creative limb is exciting and invigorating! ... but the potential of a parallel financial limb can be stressful.  This is something to consider when making artwork for one's living. I wouldn't have it any other way, though.  

After periods of darkness there is always light.

28 May 2015

Alberta Landscape #89

alberta landscape painting

Last weekend we went out again plein air painting at the Sheep River just a little way out of Calgary.  It was a perfect day for painting outdoors.

When we arrived at the river, we noticed a really beautiful trout/tag painting done under the bridge, a very sophisticated work of art:

alberta landscape painting

Here's the painting I made, downstream from the beautiful fish tag:

alberta landscape painting
Alberta Landscape #89
oil on wood panel
10x10 inches

Reflections and shadows on water are so beautiful: semi-transparent, shape-shifting, always in motion.  Like this whole world, hey.

alberta landscape painting

alberta landscape painting

18 May 2015

Miner, Healer, Instrumentalist - part II

Last week the groundbreaking ceremony for cSPACE arts hub at King Edward School took place.  Here's an article about it in the Calgary Herald.

I went to the ceremony and really enjoyed Mayor Nenshi's address, in which he spoke about the arts being not merely a frill, but an essential part of any community's financial climate.  How wonderful that our mayor has a big picture in his mind!
verna vogel hard hats
a very happy and excited crew
Reid Henry and Dale Ens described some of the history of bringing this project to fruition, which was very interesting.  A lot of people have worked together to make the idea of an arts hub at the old King Edward school a reality.

And the hats made by the other artists were fantastic!  One had a bird's nest on it; another, a carpenter's square embedded in the top.  Reid Henry was wearing a hat with the most amazing wings made from old venetian blinds, and I saw a hat covered in the tied ends of balloons, which I couldn't resist touching.  Every hat I saw was both fun and beautiful.

I also shamelessly took photos with the people who wore the hats I made:

verna vogel hard hats
Cheryl Gottselig, cSPACE board chair
wearing the Instrumentalist's hat

verna vogel hard hats
Deeter Schurig, cSPACE project manager
wearing the Miner's hat

verna vogel hard hats
Carloyn Boston, Construction Manager for cSPACE
wearing the Healer's hat
very appropriate, since she is also a shaman!

In working on these hats and talking about them, I discovered this was not the first project of its kind.  Here's a helmet that artist Lynn Kelly altered:

Verna Vogel

She describes it:
"It has a motor and the dove and sphere both rotate.  
Then there's a maple leaf on the top and the white satin garter.  
I liked inverting the hat liner to make it look like a parachute.  
It was for auction with the proceeds to support the families of Canadian soldiers."

Very cool.

Since the cSPACE ceremony, I've been doing a fair bit of gardening, and getting back into my studio work.  The break was great, and now I'm happily making a few more "Ellipse" pieces.  More about that later.

07 May 2015

the Miner, the Healer and the Instrumentalist

Between other things over the last couple of weeks, I painted/altered some hard hats for cSPACE Project groundbreaking ceremony coming up on May 13th at the King Edward school.  All three hats are finished now, and will leave my studio in a few days.

cSPACE verna vogel

I'm very glad I took on this project.  It's out of my usual practice to work on 3D objects, and it was so much fun to explore, experiment and discover what I could do with them.  They all came out quite different from one another, but still aesthetically related.  

Steel Sky Woman at cSPACE

I am pleased also with the quality of photos I managed to take.  The process for photographing 3D things is a bit different from my usual 2D paintings: different lighting requirements and a kind of staging, as the background is not completely cropped out of the final image.  

You don't need a fancy set-up to get good photos:

verna vogel hard hats

At one end of my studio I set the stage.  A piece of canvas pinned to the wall and draped over my working table creates a seamless backdrop.  Two hardware-store clamp lamps with 150W halogen flood bulbs, positioned on either side at roughly 45 degree angles, creates decent lighting.  A tripod and camera, et Voila!

If you'd like to see more photos and read a bit more about these hard hats, you could visit my website here.

27 April 2015

painting the photographer

Yesterday our friends came by for a visit, and I did an impromptu portrait session.  Sanja and Francis are both photographers, and together they do some very exciting things.  Here's their website.  

Sanja was really excited and pleased to sit for over an hour while I painted, an experience which is quite different from sitting for a photograph.

First, a quick "feeling-it-out" sketch:

verna vogel
Sharpie marker and acrylic on paper

Then I began an oil portrait, realized the composition was no good, wiped it and began again.  I really got into the drawing look of this one and decided to leave it alone, no more colours on top.  I like how the ghost of the first try remains visible.  A bit like a double exposure, very appropriate to my photographer friend, hey.  :)

verna vogel
oil on canvas, unstretched

Since I had my colours already out on the palette, I made a third portrait.  Started again with drawing:

verna vogel

And thought, "hmmm, not the same thing as last time" so scrapped that and just hauled some colours over the surface.  Pretty rough at first:

steel sky woman

Finished portrait is not a great likeness and... well, I could pick it apart but I won't.  I like the colour palette very much.  Here it is:

verna vogel
Portrait of Sanja
oil on canvas
13x20 inches

verna vogel

steel sky woman

Three aspects of Sanja.  She has a really great personality which I think has come through a bit in each one.