09 January 2023

Exhibition: BLINK

In October 2022 I had a solo show of my oil paintings at the Collector's Gallery.

How wonderful to once again see a collection of my work displayed on the walls of a gallery!  And how fortunate to be able to keep on working over the last few years, despite many societal and personal uncertainties and upheavals.

You can find proper images of the work at the Collector's Gallery exhibitions page

Below are a couple of screens shots from my i-g page which (if I have done it correctly) should link to the posts which contain a bit of writing about the work and a couple of wee vids:

I enjoy the immediacy of i-g these days, but feel it's also good to make a blog post every now and again.  Not quite a new year's resolution *laughs* but perhaps a kind of general leaning towards without any time pressure.

Thanks for reading these bits and I hope the links are alright.  Next post perhaps I'll put a bit more of the ideas writing directly in, but today I'm just about done with screen time and wish to head into the studio before daylight fades.

Thank you as always for reading!



28 April 2022


Blendability is an important skill, though not appropriate in all situations.

Verna Vogel oilstick on duralar colourful abstract images

I've discovered that matte Duralar is a wonderful surface to work on with oilsticks: smooth but not slick, very good for blending and wiping effects.  I have it on good authority that you can use solvents with it, too, but since I am determined to be totally solvent-free in the studio I have not tried that.

Verna Vogel oilstick on duralar colourful image

Desaturating the images, I find I like them alot in black & white... but I've yet to make any really successful b/w artworks, though.  My persistent love of colour gets in the way *laughs*

Verna Vogel oilstick on duralar

Somewhere, somewhen, I read that muted colours (ie: greys & taupes) are considered more civilized, and colourful colours more savage, so to speak.  I imagine that would be tied to how close to the surface one's emotions are allowed to be in a given situation.  Today's home designers certainly encourage a very limited palette in narrow tonal ranges, for the most part.  There's blendability for you.

My brain understands the muted logic, but my brain does not rule in the studio.  Colour brings me joy, and it seems to bring other people joy, too.

Verna Vogel oilstick on duralar colourful image

If the point is to shine a light in dark times, bring on the colour, I say.

P.S. Click here to see water-based media on clear, glossy duralar, it's the second image in the post.

P.P.S. and a link to a subsequent post showing photos of the exhibition installed.  A good memory...  I hope to be able to create immersive exhibitions again, in fact have got some work already headed that way, and a possible venue for it too.  More about that later, though.  ;-)

22 March 2022


Further development of this painting.



I think I will leave this one now and move on, 
having learned something in the process.

Thanks for reading, and looking  :)


06 March 2022

Little Fishes

Feeling a bit low-energy lately.
Taking images of unsatisfactrory paintings and running them through the photoshop, with I think some interesting visual possibilities.



One large change + a few small tweaks.
Well then!  Perhaps then I will not gesso over this one, but rather try re-working it a bit.  :)


02 March 2022

Homeostasis in the big picture

Since January 1, 2022

-- when one of my studio heaters kaputzed and it was impossible to find another after a very cold christmas, so I removed my acrylics (which must not freeze) into the house, but wanted to work in the studio even though it was cold --

I have been painting with oils, which are less temperature-sensitive.
A real learning process for me.
After some sucesses with smaller canvases, I went larger, and have run into problems.  Go figure.  *laughs*

This painting, for example....

... began with a really well composed drawing.

This is not easy for me to do on a large scale, and I was feeling quite good about it.
(it's 38 x 68", or 95 x 175 cm)

Under the darker lines, there are paler lines.
When applying the colour, I decided to follow some of those paler lines.

Yeah, not such a good idea.

Why not?  Well....

It's busy, no focus, no smooth leading of the eye: lack of flow!
The pattern is too evenly spaced: homeostatic conditions!
I lost sight of the big picture, of the elegance and simplicity of the initial drawing.
Defeated by size.

I could not see these problems, and fudged around with ir for a long time.
Nothing worked, things only got worse.


! AHA !

So I ran the image through photoshop.
My pruning was ruthless.
Now I know more-or-less what to do with it in the studio.
Sweet relief.
Thank you Robert Genn, and Photoshop.

And thank you, dear Reader, for reading.
Perhaps some of you will find this post useful.

p.s.: I did eventually find another heater, so I'm no longer painting in the cold.

06 December 2021

The Balance

... work in progress ...

Verna Vogel large abstract painting

Somewhere between these two iterations lies the balance.

Verna Vogel large abstract painting

I'm not sure if I have the skill to guide it there, but I'm gonna try.


28 October 2021

happiness is ... a well-fitted gallery

I am so pleased to announce that my work is now being represented by *drum roll*
The Collector's Gallery of Art

Click on the image above to view their newsletter, and to find my work and bio on their website.

This gallery, and gallerist, is so far an excellent fit for me.  

Case in point: when asked if I would like to schedule a future solo show, I replied that I don't make my best work under deadlines.  In fact, from a purely creative standpoint, I prefer when nothing is selling and nobody cares what I do (so to speak), because then I can do whatever I want!  Not: so many paintings by such-and-such a deadline.  

What I want is excellence.  Just that.  But, that.

To which this lovely gallerist replies: no problem, how about you bring us paintings from time to time and we'll keep a few aside every now and again, and when we have enough set aside we'll put on a show for you.

No pressure!  I'm sure my shoulders visibly relaxed.  Yep, I'm one of those people *laughs*  

It's been such a long time since I posted to this blog.  I've a feeling things will continue to be intermittent over here, as I seem to have shifted most of my images and thoughts over to *gasp* instagram! (hereafter referred to as i-g)  Link in sidebar.

i-g: I'm gonna, it's groovy, it'll getcha.  ... iguana.

Thank you dear Reader, for reading.  Your interest in my work is, always and ever, so appreciated.

25 May 2021

Another new blog post on my website blog:


Soon it will be possible to sign up to receive posts via email, and also leave comments, again!  

Meanwhile I can post the links here.  Apologies for the hassle, but hey, at least there is a temporary workaround, right?

Thanks for your continued interest, and hope to be able to see you at my website blog soon :)

14 January 2021


Happy New Year!  The solstice has passed, and we continue to move toward the light.  While things may seem rather dark in the immediate environs, I am focussing on the light which I know will increase, because nothing ever doesn't change.

I am working on building a new website.  Very exciting, very good focus for 2021.
Someone else is doing the framework for me, and I have been going through years' worth of images, deciding what to load into my new site, and how to organize everything.  20+ years of very productive art-making: it's a lot of images!

Here are a few which hold a nice nostalgia for me.

My very first studio back in the 1990's.  I was so happy!

The indestructible fig tree.
This plant has been with me also 20+ years

Downtown Calgary studio, ca. 2008
where art sales took off, enabling me to paint full-time

examples of the work I was making at that time

beautiful tools of the trade

A new direction in its infancy

basement studio ca. 2012

beautiful tools of the trade

a studio must contain a living plant or two :)

trying for asymmetrical symmetry

beautiful tools of the trade

symmetry of a different sort

making rocks for an installation piece, ca. 2016

garage studio ca. 2017

yes, I love my brushes

direction of current work

"The Creative Brain"
An art-school-era response for the assignment: create an artist toolbox.
It continues to bubble away, lighting up both artist and studio with the joy of creation.

There are, of course, many, many more photos of studio, work in process, land arts, installation arts, residencies, arts education, exhibitions etc.  You can find some of them here on this blog which dates from 2006, if you scroll through the history in the sidebar.

Soon I will have a new blog embedded in my new website, but I'll leave this blogspot one up for the archives :)

Thanks as always, dear Reader, for your time.


06 November 2020

Giving and receiving


#vernavogel @steelskywoman

#vernavogel @steelskywoman

Sending "cheer mail" to isolated elders, through Calgary Seniors.  Here, birthday cards and non-medical masks.

These cards are a sort of cut-out mobile birds that slot together in a simple way which hopfully elder hands can manage without too much difficulty.  Because why not hang a tropical bird mobile in your home at the onset of the Canadian winter?  I hope the sparks of colour and movement will bring joy.


#vernavogel @steelskywoman @bluerockgallery#vernavogel @steelskywoman @bluerockgallery

- Currently -
new paintings intermingled with other artists' work at Bluerock Gallery.

- Earlier this year -
large paintings showcased in the gallery's front window.  

#vernavogel @steelskywoman @bluerockgallery

#vernavogel @steelskywoman @bluerockgallery

It was the first time I put large work into this gallery, and this led to my first sale of a large abstract painting!  You can see more images in this instagram post.

I receive a lot of love from the wonderful people who run Bluerock, and feel ever so grateful for the community which has embraced me here.

with Dirk van Dyk's "Flutterbies"

Thank you for your continued interest, dear Reader.

I hope you are managing, during this odd and changeable time, with some giving and receiving in your life and work also.

09 August 2020

Oilstick painting no. 4

Five months of isolation later...

Some things that have changed: I miss teaching, and I sew masks for us to wear.

Some things that may never change: I work in my studio, and at times it's a bit difficult to maintain focus.

I've very recently begun exploring the use of oilsticks on canvas, along with working en plein air to create abstract paintings whose colour is informed by the outdoor surroundings.  Sometimes that means a little road trip into the country, and sometimes it means painting in my backyard.

Sometimes I start out thinking, "I will photograph the process" but you can see what happens:

oilstick painting on canvas

"oh right, I was going to snap a pic of the drawing before laying in the first colour"

oilstick painting on canvas

"oh right, I was going to snap a pic before blending the colour"

oilstick painting on canvas

... two hours later: 
"oh right, I was going to photograph the process, uh, a bit late now"

Finished painting

... and 45 minutes after that:
"oh well, one final photograph and that will have to do."

It occurred to me today that this is quite interesting: all along I've thought of the beginning and the end of a painting as happening quite fast, with a loooooong middle bit in between.

In this instance, at least, that may not have been the case.  

It seems that in the beginning things were moving slowly enough that I remembered to snap a pic.  Same situation near the end.  

But that middle bit!  Perhaps things were moving faster than I thought, my brain could not keep up with my body (well nothing new about that) and so, no pics.

Ah, but this is a one-shot painting which took about 3 hours to create...  

And there you have the beauty of oilsticks: with them one can create layered paintings without having to wait for the layers to dry.    

With a light hand, new colour can sit on top of a fresh layer.  With a bit of pressure it will blend.  With a brush barely wetted with walnut oil, the blending is very smooth, transparent effects can be acheived, and the surface texture is altered.  By moving the brush in various directions, the reflection of light off the surface can be directed.  With the handle end of the brush, scratched patterns can be created.  With a tortillon, details can be heightened.  And the layers can be built up quite thickly, so that the textures and patterns stand out and catch light.

All this, and yet the colours remain workable for many hours, even days.

This feels like new territory to me and I'm loving it.

Thank you as always for your interest, dear Reader, despite some long gaps in my postings lately.