24 March 2014

Alberta Landscape #69

March 22nd, 2:30 - 3:30pm
Weather: -5C and a bit windy
Artist: grumpy and uncomfortable
Landscape: out of reach

Verna Vogel landscape painting on location
Alberta Landscape #69
oil on cradled panel
10x10 inches
Wind in face, clumsy gloved hands, vision obscured by slipping hat, high level of human-nature disconnection... stubbornly I painted anyway.  

It was just so beautiful out there, flat and rather bleak, basically a perfect landscape which I did not manage to depict very well.  Chalk this one up as a record of a moment, nothing more and nothing less.

13 March 2014

A Week In The Life

No part-time "other job" for a few months now.  I am feeling so very grateful to be able to work as a full-time artist.  Sure, there are continuing struggles both external and internal, but underlying all is the feeling that here is the proper rhythm.

This is what my working week has been like:

Mailed a package of the Paperworks to the Front Gallery.  Cut the last birch plywood strips into short lengths for small stretchers.  Picked up newly ripped spruce plywood strips from the lumber store.

Tried an interesting experiment with Chris Wikman, an artist located in Saskatchewan.  We connected via skype while working in our respective studios, hundreds of kilometres apart.  We each worked on our own projects while talking (or not talking) listening to music (or not listening), and generally being companionable.  It was a fun and productive day!

Verna Vogel - Steel Sky Woman
Chris' daughter was intrigued with what we were doing.
What interesting times are these!

While skyping with Chris I worked on a painting which my parents-in-law have commissioned.  This is the third commission of my career.  It's pretty close to being finished:

Verna Vogel - Steel Sky Woman
Alberta Landscape #52
oil on birch panel
original: 10 x 10 inches
enlarged: 30 x 30 inches

Also while skyping with Chris I coated the first two sets of multiples with self-levelling clear gel, which is one of my favourite acrylic mediums:

Verna Vogel - Steel Sky Woman
Spin, Drift, Pool, Settle - blue pieces
House Of Leaves - gold toned pieces

Skype-ing again, this time to make portraits of Russell Mang, another Saskatchewan artist.  First one was very fast:

Verna Vogel - Steel Sky Woman
portrait of RM
sharpie marker and acrylic ink on gesso'd 60lb paper
9 x 12 inches
Second one took a bit more time:

Verna Vogel - Steel Sky Woman
portrait of RM
oil on gesso'd 15oz canvas
10 x 13.5 inches
There are some technical deficiencies in anatomy and lighting, but overall I like it, mainly because of the style of brushwork.  Total time spent was about an hour and a half.

Preparing the new spruce plywood strips into strongbacks:

Verna Vogel - Steel Sky Woman

The neat pile on the floor to the left are prepared strongbacks.

Building stretchers is a process that I love.  There is something very relaxing and uplifting about building really good painting supports and thinking about the paintings to come.

Office-variety paperwork.  (If all goes according to plan.)

Besides the studio work there are household errands and helping a friend fallen on hard times and phoning my far-away parents and some volunteer work at the seniors' centre.

It's a simple life in many ways, and it took a long time to find, and I am so very grateful for it.

09 March 2014

The Night Garden

Verna Vogel  a.k.a.  Steel Sky Woman
The Night Garden
mixed media and stitching on canvas
55x55 inches includes spacing
(12x12 inches each)

Verna Vogel  a.k.a.  Steel Sky Woman


Patience is
wider than one
first envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable -
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time's fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn't be
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.

Kay Ryan

02 March 2014

Steven Zevitas article

This is an excellent article which gives a broader perspective to some of my own struggles as a working artist.

I find it difficult to remember, sometimes, that I am not alone in this big and mostly mystifying world.  Reading stuff like this helps.  
Getting out of my own studio and talking to other artists also helps; I need to do more of that.