I've been wanting to combine the texture of plaster (which I wrote an article about for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine last June) with my canoes and I'm really liking what I'm seeing so far. That's one of the greatest pleasures of being an artist, visiting hardware stores and art supply stores and craft shops and anything that strikes your fancy and then incorporate some of these fun items into the work. I feel a bit like an alchemist.
This canvas measures 36 inches in height by 18 inches in width and I think I'll have to create a few more pieces in this size as I'm really liking the shape. I also wanted to attempt a canoe that could be hung either vertically or horizontally. We'll see if I'm successful or not at the end of this process.
I also wanted to point out my new Baby Bear Spirit drum from SunJay of PowWowLodge. Do you see it on the wall in the first photo? Isn't it lovely? Not only is it a visual feast for the eyes, but it sounds absolutely beautiful...quite deep and resonant. I feel like a child again as I keep taking it down to play.
Finally, I am so pleased to share two articles (you can read them here and here) that I am absolutely grateful for...I know I've said it before, but I truly do feel blessed.
Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Alberta's Minister of Culture Heather Klimchuk at a meeting with the Creative Airdrie Society. What a vibrant, positive and inspiring woman! I am proud to be a member of a growing arts community and really am grateful to live here.
I was also excited this morning to read the article in our local newspaper about my nomination for the Lt. Governor Artist of Distinction Award. Really, really a huge honour for which I am beyond grateful (http://eedition.airdrieecho.com/doc/Airdrie-Echo/airdrie_02272013/2013022701/#20).
And finally, I recently finished a fabulous book by a local Calgary author which was amazing! Better even than I had anticipated. Which is saying a lot.
by Will Ferguson
This story revolves around the Nigerian '419' or 'advance-fee' internet scam which works on the premise that if a large dollar amount is transferred and held for a short period of time to your personal bank account you will be richly rewarded. What I found the most interesting about this story, besides the fact that it initially takes place in Calgary, was the viewpoint of both ends of the spectrum, of both the victim and the perpetrator. It is a story so beautifully written that I felt for everyone involved and could see the horror and the beauty of two different worlds. No wonder Mr. Ferguson received the highly coveted 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Definitely a recommended read.
I've been asked numerous questions about my experience with blogging, so I've decided to share some of my thoughts here. Blogging is very personal, I think, and after almost two years of a friend's recommendations I began blogging myself and have enjoyed every moment of it. My physical journal is written and/or sketched in daily so this really is just an extension of that practice. Unfortunately my original blog which was started about five years ago disappeared into the stratosphere, I don't regret anything about it, even losing it entirely. I've come to appreciate the fact that there is a time for everything.
Because of blogging, I have met amazing people and had the most incredible opportunities. My first foray into collaboration happened because of my blog...you can view the results of a year-long labour of love at http://innerworkscollaborative.blogspot.ca.
What I like about blogging is that it's basically a website but not so static. I occasionally write for other blogs as well. Just because it's fun and it really is a pleasure to connect with others. Here are the 'steps' that I have followed in my blogging journey:
1. Research. Just like anything I do, research is key. Fortunately I love researching everything so this is a natural progression for me. I took notice of what I liked and didn't particularly care for on other blogs and found that I loved things to be clean and simple. And, being a visual person, I gravitate towards anything with a pretty picture.
2. Decide what you'd like to share. Photos? Videos? Writing? Updates? Work-in-progress? Recipes? What is it that interests you? What inspires your work/life? What are you involved in? My personal choice is to share books, quotes & poems (love literature), work-in-progress, and because I've often been chastised (in a good way) for not sharing what I'm involved in, such as exhibits or arts in my community, I'm also sharing more of my daily life as an artist.
3. Find a platform you like...first of all, free was key for me as I had decided many years ago that my art supplies are expensive enough, I really don't want to pay for anything on top of that (well, within reason of course). And I wanted it to be user friendly (translation - "easy"). There are so many different blogging platforms - Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, SimpleSite, Posterous, Tumblr, among others, and my current platform Weebly.
4. Decide how much personal information you'd like to share online. I've found blogs that share every emotion throughout every day to be exhausting. Also, because I have a family history of clinical depression I try to make a point of having as many positive experiences in my day as possible so I tend to gravitate towards those blogs that share happy thoughts, beautiful photographs (even of the most mundane daily things) and interesting tips. But it really is up to you. I also keep my family a little more to myself, because lets face it, not everyone agrees that my children are the most beautiful and perfect beings on the planet (VDH?!? - acronym for my German relatives' "Vat da heck").
5. Speak in your own voice. A few years ago I took a number of writing classes just to improve my written communication, especially in my work as I write statements and articles for publication. The best thing I learned was freefall writing...just start writing and don't worry about editing for grammar and punctuation until you're done. I never plan my blog posts, I just sit down and write whatever it is that I feel like sharing at that moment. I've had some of the greatest experiences when I met people who connected with me through my blog and said that I was exactly the same in person as online. A huge compliment (I hope!).
6. Take lots of photos...if that's what you chose to add to your blog as they are great fodder for blog posts.
7. Decide on the frequency of blog posts. Some blog once a month, others daily, and others whenever they have something they'd like to share. I typically blog during the week, leaving my weekends for my family but I don't always follow that structure. I really want to enjoy this experience so if I'm not well or tired or especially busy, I let it go until I'm ready to blog again. You never need to apologize for not blogging when you choose to blog again.
8. Remember that everyone has something interesting to share. Honestly, if you love it, someone else will love it, too. It's a real pleasure to connect with like-minded souls.
I've been wanting to paint moose (from the Algonquian for 'twig eater') for some time...initially because I grew up seeing them regularly while canoeing along the Churchill River in the northern boreal forest and secondly because we recently saw a mother and calf standing in a field on our way to the mountains. I've never seen them in Alberta before. They are the funniest looking characters and yet so massive and strong.
Moose is practical, balanced, and wise. Though they may appear ungainly they are determined and agile, always reminding us to stay focused and to value our own strengths.
They are quite intimidating, standing up to 7 feet in height and weighing up to and over 1000 pounds and can be quite aggressive. One of our favorite gifts to share with nieces and nephews are moose droppings...thankfully the ones we buy are chocolate covered almonds, though I did recently find out that actual shellacked moose scat is available. Ewwww.
I have to admit that this guy gave me quite a work-out...especially how to fit such a large animal's face on such a narrow substrate and how to make him not a total cartoon? But now that I'm finished I quite like that smiling face. Two months down, ten to go....so far this 52 Weeks Project is humming along quite nicely.
A small investment in one step
Last weekend a full house of young students were excited to learn abstract painting from local artist Anita Singh at the Airdrie Public Library. Not only did they have the opportunity to be taught by an art teacher all the way from India, but also to work on canvas.
I often think how fortunate we are in my community to have access to the wonderfully talented people who are excited to share their knowledge with this younger generation. I have been working as the Art Program Co-ordinator at the library for almost five years and so often I am amazed that I have had the opportunity to connect these generous and skilled artists with local kids. And I love the fact that these kids get so excited every time.
Next month we are looking forward to a screen printing class with local graffiti artist Zac Abbott. I just know they're going to have a ton of fun as Zac is not only talented but the kids love him.
Local artist, Veronica Funk, nominated for an Alberta art award
Written by Justin Lazorko on Tuesday, 19 February 2013
You may have seen her work on power boxes along Main Street, or at the Airdrie Public Library.
Veronica Funk, who has been painting for 15 years, is being recognized for her outstanding work and contribution to the arts in Airdrie. Funk was nominated for the Lieutenant Govener's Art Award, an award that recognizes emerging and distinguished artists throughout Alberta.
The nomination places Funk in a category with artists and authors that she's looked up to for a number of years. She credits her success to the city she lives in.
The awards banquet will be held in Red Deer on June 15, 2013.
::THANK YOU CREATIVE AIRDRIE SOCIETY ~ I AM HONOURED & HUMBLED BEYOND MEASURE::
I've been asked numerous times about the business of art because it is different and can be difficult to connect in this life/business. After many years of trial and error, sometimes very good and sometimes very bad, I have found certain things to be true. I have learned that everyone's path to success is different because we are all wired so differently. Some teach. Others write. And still others create prints or license their work. I like to paint, to write, and to encourage art and artists so I exhibit, publish and work as an Art Program Co-ordinator. But in every part of my life as an artist, I have learned these valuable lessons:
1. Do the work of your heart & soul...unless you want to be in a business of manufacturing by creating things - whether it be sewing, painting, ceramics, dance...really anything creative - because you believe or someone told you that they may 'sell', you will become tired and frustrated very quickly. When you love what you do others will love it, too.
2. Do a lot of that work...create a series of pieces to not only build on your strengths but gives others the opportunity to know you. Series can mean different things to different people, whether that means utilizing the same materials, subject matter, colour palette, medium, substrate, etc.
3. Pricing can be the most challenging and I've been fortunate as I have received guidance from professionals but it is always good to research what others are doing. I have found that pricing per square inch, even though some pieces take longer than others or require more medium, helps me to keep everything sorted in my mind. Others price based their personal connection to the work but always keep in mind the cost of materials and time involved. I was also given wonderful advice from several successful Canadian artists some time ago...keep the small works reasonably priced as that way when your new patron can afford it, they will often invest in your larger works. Plus it's a wonderful feeling to be able to share your work.
4. Utilize the knowledge & expertise of others in your field of interest if you can...but remember to trust your own instincts. You should always feel comfortable with your final decision. And keep in mind never to invest what you cannot afford to lose.
5. Business cards can be created quite inexpensively. I never used to realize how important they are but am asked for them almost every time I'm out and about...and even if I don't hear from that person in the near future (or ever) it amazes me how often I am contacted because someone else connected through that initial business card. I deally I think that they should be a reflection of you and your work, which should also be a reflection of you.
6. Initially I spent money, too much in my thinking without a lot of return, on things like a website or shows but then was given the opportunity to attend a three-month Government of Canada business workshop where I learned how to create my own website among other things. The biggest things I learned about web design was to keep it clean, no flashing lights, no dark colours, and have someone else proofread what I wrote. When the screen is cluttered or difficult to navigate or upload many viewers will not bother, plus not everyone's browser (computer) can view those special items or colours. Several years ago I started on Blogger but then moved to Weebly two years ago because I wanted a website and blog all together. Weebly is easy to navigate and free though I did purchase my domain name (www.veronicafunk.com) many years ago and still utilize it. You can pay to add additional items but I'm happy with what it offers as is.
7. I used to send artist packages to galleries complete with portfolio (slides at the time) but now have everything (with a small portion of my portfolio) on my website. I also keep a Word document of my portfolio (photo, title, size, medium & date) in a binder. I have another binder for all the press I have collected through the years and a third for my gallery inventory. Because I never learned about any of this in college I found out through reading - my first great read was 'Taking the Leap' by Cay Lang about how to approach galleries. The biggest thing I learned was to make everything neat and tidy, to present myself and my work professionally as though it was a job application (which it really is), and to do research...visit galleries and see how my work would fit, see if the gallery wasn't representing someone who worked too similarly and to see how the space felt for me. Of the six galleries I had initially contacted, five called to arrange an interview.
8. A curriculum vitae (artist's resume) is really important to keep up...not only professionally but personally. It is really nice to be reminded of the things you've accomplished. And, believe me, unfortunately you do forget.
9. I haven't spent money on anything besides my supplies and business cards in years. The galleries I deal with advertise and along with my free website and facebook I send out quarterly e-newsletters through MailChimp. Because I was being asked so often what I was doing I decided to send out newsletters to share my excitement.
10. Finally, I have made it a habit to send hand-written 'Thank You' notes whenever I can. If not for those who support what I do, I couldn't do it as big, as often, and as long as I have. I am positively grateful.
Whether I blog, write articles or newsletters, I remember to speak in my own voice. I want to stay true to who I am and don't want anyone, ever to feel obligated to support my work. I want what I create to live in a home or business with someone who loves it as much as I do. It makes me feel glad and honoured when others respond to this work of my heart. I like knowing that my work lives 'out there'. I really do feel fortunate.
It's a grey and quiet morning, my family is still sleeping and I've been enjoying the silence while painting on this Family Day morning, though I do tend to miss them if they sleep in too long.
This week was a bit of a challenge to get my 52 Weeks Project piece completed...and I have to say I'm thankful for a deadline or else it may not have been finished. It's interesting for me to see how these animals have become so important to me at this time and I'm curious to see if they will continue or if my attention will be drawn elsewhere. I always find it amusing how owls are supposed to be so intelligent and wise and yet they are quite funny looking with their big googley eyes. Wisdom seems to be connected to stillness, and I'm not certain if that is always true. I tend to think it may be more about the peace felt, a sense of contentment with the choices made in life.
The great horned owl has huge talons along with a five foot wingspan and can fly faster than an eagle. He teaches us clarity and patience, to wait for the right moment in order to move forward. It is in paying attention that we learn to trust our inner wisdom. The great horned owl offers insight into the shadow self. It symbolizes feminine power, is the extractor of secrets, and the harbinger of new cycles.
I was never an animal painter though I have always had a cat or dog in our home, and at one time also a goat and horse. I did once contribute to a horse mural (panel 228 at the bottom - click on it to view it larger and read my inspiration) and painted a picture of our old basset hound, but was never drawn to painting them otherwise so this has been quite a surprise to me.
And finally, the work is complete for my opening at Bluerock Gallery on March 9 in Black Diamond. It's a fabulous space filled with the most beautiful art and crafts. Definitely worth the trip.
Here's a peacock painted by my young student...I think it's wonderful! It has been such a pleasure to share what I do with someone else who is quite passionate about art, too. We're at the halfway point in my lessons but I still have a variety of media to share with her...oil pastels, printmaking, conte, oil paints. I'm particularly glad that she enjoys working in paint as it's my absolute favorite medium.
This weekend local artist Anita Singh will be sharing her knowledge of mixed media during the Jr. Artist Program. I'm really looking forward to helping the kids learn something new and a bit different. Plus this time they're working on stretched canvas...I think they'll love it!
Every day that I work in my studio I feel grateful. Painting makes me feel so happy, and I'm glad that I've practiced this my entire adult life. When I think of people who are uncertain I wonder why I've been so lucky? Not that I haven't struggled. It isn't easy sharing such personal work publicly and leaving yourself open to criticism but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I think I realized early on that I love doing this work of my heart and hands. That it's the process I love and so I should just enjoy it. Thank goodness. Don't get me wrong...it's a real privilege to share what I love with others but it's really the act of creation that gives me the most joy. I guess that's what this life is supposed to be about...finding the thing that gives you joy.
'Honouring the Ancestors': Awesome Airdrie
AIRdirondack Art Project
'Counting Crows': Great Places Plan