23 July 2016

Outside and Inside

When the weather is fine I like to set up an old table and create an outdoor painting studio.  This week I decided to set up an outdoor print studio... which turned out to be a less-than-stellar idea.

verna vogel printmaking

The main problem: water-soluble inks dry incredibly quickly in this climate!  Various attempts to humidify them had either very little effect, or resulted in a mess.

Water-soluble paints dry fast, too, but...  Inking a plate, laying the paper, pressing and lifting the paper, then hanging the print with a little clip on a line - so much slower than the immediate brush stroke.

So I moved the whole apparatus back down into my studio, and the following day's work was less frustrating and more productive.  I even devised some print-drying lines that can be very efficiently set up and taken down - sweet!

fragile planets

That was my physical challenge this week, easily dealt with once my insistence on working outdoors had been overcome.  (I can still take my lunch break outside!)

There is also a subconscious challenge embedded in my persistence to create this project in the first place, a project which has no apparent "value" in common terms.

I have been reading some essays of Herman Hesse, who writes very succinctly of the value of art, music, poetry and anything that elevates the soul.  He has some timeless practical advice, for example:

"Neither by suppression of the material streaming out of the subconscious, out of uncontrolled fancy, dreams, and the byplay of the mind, nor by permanent surrender to the unshaped infinity of the unconscious, but rather through affectionate attention to these sources, and only afterward through criticism and selection from that chaos - thus have all the great artists worked."

verna vogel printmaking

So I am back to the classics: "Be quiet, brain, and let the hands work.  You can tell us what you think later."

10 July 2016

odds & ends

In between stitching the small canvas squares and making relief prints, I do a few other art-related things.  I work at the art supply store, re-arrange the artwork in our home, go for plein air painting jaunts out on the prairie, set up dates for a couple more teaching sessions next month.

portrait of ryan statz, by verna vogel - marker and watercolour on matboard

Above, a portrait of my co-worker made with very minimal tools, during the last bit of my shift at the art store.

Below, two of my "Paperworks" framed by Candace Larsen at CK Gallery.  Candace had complete free rein on all aesthetic choices for framing these pieces.  My photos are not great, but I'm really impressed with her work!   She is a Master framer indeed.

Paperworks framed by Candace Larsen, master framer at CK Gallery

Paperworks framed by Candace Larsen, master framer at CK Gallery

The gallery has got a few more of my Paperworks series currently available.

Also CKG is having their summer exhibition which opens in a few days, and a few of my small "Vibrato" series will be included.  I look forward to seeing them on a nice clean gallery wall!  But for the moment I only have a photo of them on my messy studio wall:

Vibrato series in studio, showing now at CK Gallery 2016 summer exhibition CHROMA

And here we have a very beautiful beetle I saw while walking out on the prairie.  It is Nuttall's Blister Beetle.

Nuttall's Blister Beetle

Its body was about 2cm long, and the colour of its head and "tail" flickered through bright copper, gold and green as it moved.  I have never seen such a large and brightly-coloured beetle in this area; it reminded me of some of the amazing bugs I saw back when I lived in Malaysia.

Today I am making a small quilt for someone who's having a baby soon.  Taking a break from sewing, I make this blog post.

These days, the cycle is resting at "good life".  I will enjoy this while I can.


06 July 2016

take two

A couple of years ago I made a series of small paintings which I called the "Multiples" (you can see them here).  Now I am revisiting that idea, with a little variation: I want to create a kind of tapestry rather than paintings per se.  

The repetitive nature of the process is very meditative and relaxing.  As I work, many permutations run through my mind; nothing is settled and the possibilities remain open at this stage.  It's a wonderful place to work from. 

stitched canvas pieces for upcoming show at Library gallery in Drumheller, AB
Stitched canvas pieces.

collagraph plates & prints for upcoming shat at the Library gallery in Drumheller, AB
Collagraph prints and plates made with white glue on matboard.

After several coloured printings the plates become very beautiful.

collagraph prints made for upcoming show at Library gallery in Drumheller, AB
More collagraphs.

printing the canvas - for upcoming show at Library gallery in Drumheller, AB
Printing a piece of stitched canvas.

All these little pieces: they are all the same, but different.  Mostly the same though.