31 January 2018


Dismantled my string drawings on the weekend, made a few very low-tech videos before they came down.  Here's one:

My friend Berna-Dean brought her red guitar and did some beautiful finger-picking, which unfortunately my little camera did not pick up on very well.  If you'd like to hear some well-produced versions of her lovely voice and music, click here.  

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about the end of this exhibition.  

Although in art school I always maintained that the drawings I made with a stick in the sand were of a highest quality precisely because they did not last, still I wound up spending the first part of my professional art practice focussed on making paintings that will, with a bit of luck, last well beyond my own lifetime.  

I still enjoy that process of longevity... although of course any physical thing disappears given enough time.  But my human perception of time is limited, and so I also very much enjoy the feeling of having created something perceptibly ephemeral, something that will never again exist in quite the same way during my lifetime.

And now back to my painting studio, where as-yet-unfinished work awaits completion and the illusion of permanence.

verna vogel augury series oil paintings bright colours blind drawings musical influence

25 January 2018

Waiting for paint to dry

While waiting for paint to dry, I begin some new sketches.

vernavogel drawing oil sticks waiting for paint to dry
primed with acrylic colours

vernavogel drawing oil sticks Stevenson paints waiting for paint to dry
drawn on with oilsticks.

Canvas panels are new to me; oilsticks I've only tried once before.  The oilsticks seem capable of greater subtlety than I'd previously realized.  I'm curious what will become of these sketches.

21 January 2018

Finishings, or Leavings

Unsure whether a painting is finished?  Just leave it for the time being.

I began this year by working some of the oil studies from last summer.   When I was feeling unsure about any of them, I said, "good enough" and moved on to the next one.

vernavogel studio oil studies finishings augury series or leavings
Finishings: Augury studies, oil on canvas

Then I pulled out some of the paintings which I began last January.  A whole year has passed since I was able to focus on this body of work.  What a great feeling to get into them again!  I'm calling these finished....  for now.

vernavogel oil painting finishings "all that piano" augury series no.7 or leavings
"All That Piano"  oil on canvas  17x18.5"

vernavogel oil painting finishings "downstreet" augury no.8 or leavings
"Downstreet" oil on canvas  17x18.5"

vernavogel oil painting finishings "forms of composite composure" augury series no.6 or leavings
"Forms of Composite Composure" oil on canvas  17x18.5"

vernavogel oil paintings finishings or leavings augury series
Leavings: a few of the "Augury" paintings in my studio

Yesterday I was able to spend almost 8 hours in my studio without interruption.  What luxury!  Making studio time a priority this year was a good decision, and I feel so very fortunate that I'm able to do this.

I hope your year is off to a good start too, dear Reader.

07 January 2018

begin and end and begin again

In the last few years it seems I have begun a lot of work but not finished very much.  I've been following a winding path, keeping more-or-less to the same direction while exploring a lot of side roads.

Now, from a vantage point further down the path, I look back at my unfinished explorations and decide to revisit some of them. 

oil studies circle paintings in bright colours

The little studies above, for example.  I began 11 such studies last summer, and set them aside after just 2-3 paint layers.  Digging them out now and working them over is very satisfying.

When I worked on Tension : No Tension at the turn of the year, I did not think I was finished with it yet.  But a few very articulate visitors over the last week have mentioned how complete it feels to them now, and this has given me pause.

So, I begin this year in the studio, with an eye to bringing some past work full circle.  Feels about right.


02 January 2018

Tension : No Tension

It's 2018!

Tension : No Tension  has been up at Artpoint Gallery for just over a month now.  My intention was to create an initial installation, and then spend some time re-imagining it over the two months that it's in the gallery.

Here's a link to my website showing images of the first string drawings made during December 2017.

Below, a couple of videos of the work:

hanging out in the corner

shadows on a curved wall

verna vogel string art installation at Artpoint, Upstairs Gallery   Dec 2017 - Jan 2018
The very first string drawing.  It has now been removed...

verna vogel string art installation at Artpoint, Upstairs Gallery   Dec 2017 - Jan 2018
... and replaced with another.
This is most recent string drawing, made on New Year's eve.

For many years I kept a ritual of making art over the turn of the year.  I did this out of fear that I would not be able to continue making art in my life; my thinking was to make art the last and first thing I did every year, as a way of staying on track.

This year, I felt the need to revisit my old ritual.  2017 was intense, with more projects and exhibitions than I've ever had in one year, plus quite a lot of teaching.  Not a bad life!  But in the back of my mind a growing feeling of being a tad unmoored by it all, of not spending enough time in contemplation and creation.

I'm not sure what 2018 will hold, but I would like to spend more time in my studio.  Revisiting my New Year's eve ritual may help to keep me focused on that.

verna vogel string art installation at Artpoint, Upstairs Gallery   Dec 2017 - Jan 2018

Happy 2018 to you, dear Reader.  I think it's gonna be a good one.  :)