28 February 2014

evolution or stasis?

I'm currently into an idea of using a simple and repetitive format - in this case 10x10 multiples - and playing with colour.  This is an attempt to further my experiential knowledge of acrylics.

New work begun a few weeks ago started here:

Stretched them a few days ago, and yesterday began adding colour layers.  
Transparent greens and blues and pinks and yellow-ish whites:

Then, more green - oh, too much green!  Tried to balance with red/orange/pink edge colour:

Hmmm, not quite.  making decisions too fast perhaps.

Just stop and think, let it seep, let it settle...

But we are preparing to go out of town for a few days and for some reason, instead of using the trip as a time for letting things settle in the studio, I got into this "finish the thing before we leave" mentality.  

Hmmm.  I mean, it's one thing to make sure the dishes are done so as not to return home to chaos, but in the studio?  Really?

So in the end they look like this:

Or if one prefers, like this:

I am enjoying these, enjoying the colour play and simple format, but somewhere in myself is an idea that I could be pushing them a lot more.  If I gave myself more time to look and consider, perhaps... hmmm.

Or perhaps this is it; perhaps deep in my heart I know that I have entered an era of Verna's Little Shop of Home Decor Horrors: quickly made and quickly forgotten, and I will just have to wait out the decade.


24 February 2014


About three weeks ago I started two series of multiples (multiple = a single work made up of a number of pieces) using 10x10 canvases.  

The original idea had been to make one large painting, but when I considered the logistics of stitching it, I decided to go with multiple small canvases instead.  Of course I did not have enough 10x10 stretcher frames!  Waiting for the stretchers to come in provided a good thinking space while I worked on other things.

This weekend I got the stretchers - hooray! - and today I finished the first one:

verna vogel new work
Spin, Drift, Pool, Settle
mixed media on stitched canvas
10x10 inches each piece
To see a bit about its development, you could have a look at this previous blog post.

And here is the beginning of the second "multiple" - 14 pieces which will also go on 10x10 stretchers:

While waiting for the 10x10 stretchers to arrive, I stitched yet another "multiple" piece.  Each piece measures 16x78 inches, or 90x78 inches entire.  I'm quite excited about it:

verna vogel new work

This one will need to sit in my peripherals for a bit before I stretch it... meanwhile I can work on the 10x10 multiples.

As for the "Snapshot" series: I have just got some more canvas prints, and am now waiting for the plywood I ordered to be ready so I can build stretcher frames for the continuation of that series, since they tend to be larger works.

I really enjoy having several things on the go at once, it seems to be a fairly efficient way of working for me.

Happy days!

18 February 2014

we live in a beautiful world

Yesterday: a spur-of-the-moment trip to a friend's cabin where my husband, the friend and his two boys played with snowmobiles while I painted.

steel sky woman plein air
Alberta Landscape #66
oil on panel, 10x10 inches

steel sky woman plein air painting
Alberta Landscape #67
oil on panel, 10x10 inches

steel sky woman plein air painting
Alberta Landscape #68
oil on panel, 10x10 inches

16 February 2014

get back

snapshots series by verna vogel
New series under construction, December 30, 2013

Snapshot #9:  Direction
Snapshot #9: Direction
mixed media on stitched canvas
19.25w x 36.25h inches

Snapshot #10: Priority
Snapshot #10: Priority
mixed media on stitched canvas
33w x 17.25h inches

Snapshot #11: Someone Pushed It
Snapshot #11: Someone Pushed It
mixed media on stitched canvas
33w x 17.25h inches

Snapshot #12: K4A Anonymous - by Verna Vogel
Snapshot #12: K4A Anonymous
mixed media on stitched canvas
33w x 16.75h inches

Not sure that they are all complete...  but liking them a lot at this point.  

So far I've started this year with these "Snapshot" series, then I jumped over to starting some more abstract works (see previous post), then I travelled to visit my mum for a week, and now I've jumped back to the "Snapshots"... and in between I made a couple of portraits and one plein air landscape painting.

Funny thing: when I talk with other artists they invariably tell me that they focus on one thing at a time.  This one thing could be a style of painting with various subjects, or an ongoing exploration of one subject using various styles.  

I did spend several years focussed on one thing - the "Ecosystems" paintings which were made with oil glazes on stitched canvas, and I did get very good at making them.  However, since switching to acrylics a few years ago, I have developed a habit of jumping back and forth between several ideas and painting styles simultaneously.  Lately I have been wondering whether, in doing so many things at once, I run the risk of becoming the proverbial "jack of all trades and master of none".

In the end I tell myself that this jumping between and across ideas and styles should be viewed in the context of a lifetime spent painting, and in the context of cyclical explorations (since each time I return to an idea or style it is with added information from the other things I work on in between), and then it makes more sense, the whole lifelong endeavour of my work does show a continuity of development.

And after all, I only have this one life.  May as well spend it engrossed in lifelong exploration of the visual languages.

02 February 2014


Verna Vogel and Ross Melanson
stitching and colour by Verna Vogel
shaped wires by Ross Melanson
(lamp by Sylvania)


steel sky woman
2nd incarnation

then a little colour adjustment

Plotless?  Not exactly, but trying to keep an open mind as they develop.  So far they're are looking rather a lot like home-dec items...  so, maybe push them a bit more?  Or just accept them for what they are?  ....