The Alberta Society of Artists approached me about being a guest artist a in their 100@100 fundraiser and I didn't hesitate to say 'yes!'. This project encompasses two of my favorite things...the arts and collaboration. It reminds me a little of the Alberta Flood Rose Project that I was privileged to take part in and I can't wait to see the finished works. Here is a list of contributing artists:
I was going through my portfolio and stumbled upon this article that was published in AirdrieLIFE magazine in 2008. Though it wasn't the first time I was featured in a publication or even television, it was the first time to be featured in a local magazine and one of great distinction. I am still grateful to the writer of the article, Ellen Kelly, to the photographer, Kristy Reimer, and to the publisher, Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, as they all made me realize that interviews were just conversations and helped me to be comfortable in that area of my creative life. They have all become dear friends.
"Life's everyday comforts are the essence of Veronica Funk's art. Her warm, colourful acrylic paintings of overstuffed sofas, wingback chairs, books, coffee cups and other familiar objects produce a welcoming, secure feeling that all is right with the world.
Funk was raised in northern Manitoba - Leaf Rapids, the end of the road. 'When we first moved there,' Funk recalls, 'we had to take the train. There was no road.' As isolated as it was, Leaf Rapids had an amazing town centre that included a library and arts education centre. 'They brought in original artwork and artists, and poets would visit. Lynn Johnson taught us how to cartoon. I loved the arts centre.'
As a child, Funk knew she was an artist, but her formal fine art education began in high school in Edson, Alberta. 'The Art program had a profound influence,' she says. 'I had a great teacher who really extolled the basic principals of art - to draw properly, pay attention to line, form, shade, colour,' she says. 'I learned more from her than from any teacher since.'
Following high school, Funk attended Red Deer College where she was influenced by such artists as Mary Pratt and Robert Bateman. 'Artists would come and talk to us,' Funk recalls, 'and then after school they would come down to the little pub and sit with us all night and talk art.' She says the mentors she has met on her journey have been wonderful. 'Artists are incredibly generous with their time and support,' she says.
Funk has been a member of the Airdrie arts community for the past 10 years. In 2005 she sojourned in Saskatchewan, living on a farm for ten months where she had the opportunity to explore mixed media with a focus on oils. Besides painting, Funk is currently working on a quilt top, using one of her landscapes as a pattern. She loves literature and reading and says, 'Doing research is a huge part of who I am.' She belongs to the Alberta Society of Artists, the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Airdrie Regional Arts Society. Her art has been displayed throughout western Canada, recently at Art and Soul Gallery in High River and locally at Benjamin's Coffee House and the Airdrie Public Library. Funk says, 'Painting is my joy. I tried to give it up for awhile but I was miserable. My family said, 'You need to paint.' "
LEAVES OF GRASS has its genesis in an essay called The Poet by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in 1844, which expressed the need for the United States to have its own new and unique poet to write about the new country's virtues and vices. Whitman, reading the essay, consciously set out to answer Emerson's call as he began work on the first edition of LEAVES OF GRASS. Whitman, however, downplayed Emerson's influence, stating, "I was simmering, simmering, simmering; Emerson brought me to a boil."
As I've been working on this piece, I have layered more colour onto the distant mountains and my original plan has changed ever so slightly. I hadn't intended to add swallows but they seemed perfect when I began to think of farmland. Originally I planned sailboats since they are prevalent at Ghost Lake but, I think because I grew up in a land of canoes and fishing boats, I have never connected with images of sailboats and all things connected with the seaside. Seashells and pastel colours and a lot of white feels a little foreign to me. I find that whenever I try to incorporate images or colours that I don't connect with, my heart isn't in it and the process feels foreign and challenging...not in a good way. I'm interested to see where this rabbit hole leads. And, yes, I am working in my robe...I can't help but pop into my studio whenever inspiration hits. :)
The golden fields that are prevalent at this time of year (my favorite) are taking shape nicely on this 36x72 inch diptych. As I work in layers, I'm given much time to think about how and why I paint, which really boils down to inspiration. There are days I view other artists' work and am terribly disappointed in my own, and other days that viewing the work inspires me...thankfully the second is most common. It's not even that I'm inspired to paint how or what they do, but it just motivates me to get into my studio and begin working. I was a little stuck in how I wanted to approach this field, I knew it was wheat and golden but I didn't want it to be yellow. Then, of all things, I began to look at my watercolour sketches and had an 'A-ha!' moment in the colour palette and knew immediately that I wanted to add layers of red iron oxide, orange and unbleached titanium (cream) along with yellow and white and I'm thrilled with the results. So, in this case it was my own work that inspired the resolution on this piece but it really could have also come from my interest in using complimentary colours. I don't know why I didn't think of it in the first place. In any case, I'm happy (at the moment) and am excited to see where this leads.
On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness--and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own.
I'm excited for the visual arts programming coming up at Bert Church Theatre this fall, beginning with a yoga and paint workshop. Not only is it a privilege to teach at the theatre in my community, but also an amazing way to spend time with others. I love sharing my passion with others, regardless of age or experience. Registration is open online under Performing Arts Classes.