Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kay Lybrand Portrait Challenge

This was my favorite DSFDF challenge in that I love portraits and figurative paintings. It also became even more fun with some new artists participating, bringing the total to 130 face painters. ha. My subject was a lovely lady named Kay Lybrand and she is painting my portrait. Can hardly wait to see all the submissions this week, as the ones so far have been fantastic. Happy New Year to everyone. Thanks for all your interest and support this year. I wish you all the very best.

oil on masonite 6 1/2" x 8"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas everyone. I'm finally posting an update on my Lisbon painting. My goal was to have it done for Christmas, but that little present to myself didn't happen. (I hung it in the the entrance anyway just to see how it works, and I'm somewhat pleased). The piece is getting closer with a lot of work on the foreground and various figures, tables, chairs, etc. yet to be done. The photo is really weak, but you can get the general idea. Well everyone is coming over for dinner tonight for our traditional Christmas eve get together with family and friends, so I better get that ostrich in the oven. Hope everyone has a warm and loving Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Today I am taking off a little time from painting to present a major project that is near and dear to not only Winnipeg residents , but indeed residents of the world. Sixty-nine architectural firms from 21 different countries and 5 continents, competed for the honour and privilege of creating this dream of one Israel Asper, and in the end, the award winning design shown above, by Antoine Predock of the USA, won out. It will be a truly magnificent structure with the crystalline Tower Of Hope rising 100 meters (395 ft.)into the sky.
It is anticipated that 250,000 people will visit the museum every year and I quote from the architect's statement,
"Our proposal for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights reinforces an optimistic
recollection of the history of the struggle for human rights, with an intention to uplift,
made legible in an architecture of dualities: light and shadow, ephemera and stone,
gravity and weightlessness, reflection and opacity, earth and sky. The massing, the
spaces within, and its materiality reinforce the Museum as an embodiment of a
universal humanitarian consciousness, necessarily a vessel of knowledge and history
charged with hope. Rooted in humanity, the architecture renders palpable the
communal and universal struggle for human rights."
It will be the largest human rights center in the world, an international forum for learning, reflection, dialogue and debate. It will change our modest prairie city forever, and will undoubtedly impact, in a positive manner, many others in far away places. We as Winnipeggers are very excited and extremely proud of the contribution this museum will make to the world. To see more, please visit There is a great video that explains far better than I ever could, what and how this all will be presented. It is really quite extraordinary with construction to begin quite soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Well after giving this project a bit, okay a lot of bum time just looking at it, I finally made some decisions that for the most part I'm happy with, and painting has commenced. I will be going back into all areas, but this is what I've got so far.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Every week there seems to be a new artistic challenge for most of us, in that we may not have previously tackled a particular subject or may have opted to try a different approach in how we interpret it. In the end, it can be a fabulous learning experience for some, a way to showcase art, or a great opportunity to make a few new friends. This week was a challenge for me as most weeks are, and I came away with a result that makes me want to try it again. Never having really paid attention to what a hydrangea looks like, I struggled with this. Karin says, "Don't do what you know you can, do what you think you can not. It motivates you." Sage words that work for me. The next attempts I am sure will show some improvement. This is the real beauty of the weekly challenges. They make you paint and hopefully stretch your abilities. Whoa, this is starting to sound like I've been locked in the basement for just a little too long. So I will finish off by saying... 8"x8" oil on masonite.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is a larger piece that I am currently working on, 48" x 72" (how do you like my easel, I made it myself). I've done my drawing using acrylic paint and now that I have a couple of oil paintings under my belt, am proceeding with same. It is somewhat of a daunting task, but nonetheless exciting. There's no substitute for the impact of a larger piece and this one represents a trip to Portugal and will hang in our entrance if all goes well. This street in Lisbon is quite famous (Ruo Augusto) and leads into the Triumphal Arch. There are so many amazing sights and sites in that country that I would highly recommend it as a vacation destination. I took this picture and then in the drawing stage encountered some issues. I punched up Lisbon in Google pictures and virtually found the same shots and was able to make sense of a couple of things. I'll post some updates as I go. Suggestions are gratefully welcomed as I git it on with this monster. I haven't worked out colors or how loosely I want to proceed yet. But that's me, fly by the seat of your pants Vern. I should do a small color sketch...ah we'll see.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tagged but not Bagged

  • Alice Thompson I can't believe you just tagged me. The last time I played tag was when I was about 8 or 23. But now that I think about it, a year or so ago, the cop that said I was doing 62 in a 50 zone promptly "tagged" me for speeding. This is far more enjoyable. Anyway, having just gotten started with art again, Karin's DSFDF and a brand spankin new blog, I feel honored and hope the seven people who I have no idea who they are, feel the same way. I chose artists for the most part that participate in the weekly challenge whose paintings and blogs I enjoy. They are all very talented individuals. So the rules as I understand them are as follows... Tell the world seven things not commonly known about yourself and tag seven other lucky people to keep the dream alive. Oh ya, and put a link in your post to the person (that would be me) that tagged you. And the lucky winners are: Jerry Points, Lesley Spanos, Karel Tuinart, Kari Tirrell, Annie Salness, Jeanne Bauer, Amber Lounder. Aparantly collecting on this prize is optional, but FUN! Hope you all join in, but if you don't, no harm no foul. Now Alice said I would be learning a couple of things here about blogging. Well we'll see. So far...nothing......still nothing......pause...........okay I'm back and thanks to Alice's tutorial I was able to link everyone, but I still don't know how to make this look pretty. And now, without further ado, here are seven things about me. #1. Everything that Camille LaRue Olsen said in her list except #'s 1,2,3,4,6,&7. #2. If ever I barf, it comes out my nose, so know this, that NEVER happens. Way back when, the docs used to remove everything that was superfluous if they had you on the bench. Kind of like making a stock car. In the end I wasn't half bad in track and field. #3. I have fabulous twin daughters who will be extremely proud of their father when they read #2. #4. I have a lovely and very bright wife, Rose, who is a human resources director at a large hotel here in Winnipeg. (my nickname for her is... CSI, nothing gets past her) #5. I dropped out of a business administration college course after a couple of months knowing that any kind of structure in my life was not going to work. It didn't hurt that my psych teacher strongly agreed with that idea. I ended up as a self employed manufacturers agent and the rest as they say is history. #6. I started painting in the mid 80's, but business and family took my eye off the ball for a few years and it's only been recently that I have started back in ernest. I love painting and virtually any kind of creativity and definitely want to be an artist when I grow up. #7. Karin Jurick is my hero for getting the inspiration and creative juices flowing. Man I hope she doesn't think I'm some kind of stalker, but I am beholdin to that gal. And I'm sure there are a few more out there who feel the same as me. That's it, that's all. Thanks for taking the time and I wish you all good painting or whatever it is you do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Karin decided to take us out of our comfort zones this week and have us sketch and paint this weeks challenge upside down. With eyebrows raised initially , I dove in and have to say, the drawing went very quickly and pretty darn accurately. Great tip and a ton of fun. When I thought I was pretty much done painting, I flipped it over and started to clean it up a little. I must admit though, ten minutes turned into sixty in the interest of producing a better result. 6 1/2" x 8" oil on masonite

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The painting of the Koi Fish in my blog header is one where I borrowed heavily from a painting done by a brilliant artist named Gabor Nagy. It is 6' x 3' as is his, but my done in acrylics does not quite have the same magical movement or brilliance of colour of the original which was done in oils. I added lily pads in an effort to distance mine from his. I learned a lot from doing this piece, and as the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery.This painting will never be sold or leave my family's possession.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What the....?

Well I thought I would give myself a challenge this weekend with my new oils. (not the best photo of the painting) They are amazing. I had resisted using them because of odors, toxicity concerns etc. I was told to try odorless solvent (TALTINE) and must admit, I am noticing some irritation in my sinuses. I don't know if it's the solvent or the paints. My "studio" is a reasonable size, but in the winter it is tough to keep the windows open. Any suggestions or thoughts on this? I'd really appreciate any input, as I'd like to get started properly with this new medium. As near as I can reckon, this is about my 63rd painting. When I first started, an accomplished art professional that helped me along was Nick Bjelajac. He suggested that I might get to where I'd like to be as an artist after I'd completed about 200 paintings. Now that I've been re-inspired, this has become a real goal. It is a genuine thrill for me to declare ... 12" x 12" oil on masonite.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Three To Go

Karin Jurick keeps coming up with cool photos for the weekly challenge. This is my second attempt with water mixable oils on a 8" x 6 1/2" masonite panel. Yesterday I bought my first set of traditional oils and I'm ready to roll. I'll still use the acrylics, but I've always longed to try painting with the same medium as used by most of the artists I admire. The water mixables are good, but mine are kind of dried up. Bought them and never used them, because I didn't like the way they worked initially. Thanks to some of the utube demos, I got a chance to see some artists at work and decided to give them another try. Internet school, gotta love it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

White House

Week 9 A great photo challenge from Karin Jurick. For this weeks painting, I ventured into the unknown and tried water mixable oils. What a difference from working with acrylics. The blending and redos seem a lot easier (because you can wipe, scrape or brush away the bad paint) and the subtleties seem more natural. Could be hooked here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Southern cow

Week 8 This was another great subject that was a lot of fun to paint. Being a big Joe Fafard fan, I've always wanted to try a portrait of a cow. Acrylic on 6"x 8" masonite panel.


Week 6-7 ... 5 1/2"x 7" acrylic on masonite panel


Ah, this wouldn't be complete without a picture of my dear old Dad. He passed away on Oct.31,2004 at the age of 90 and this was a portrait that I did for my sister just before that. We all miss him.
This blogging stuff is a blast. Thanks Ms. Thompson for the friendly boot to get me started. I always wondered how this all worked and how a person got involved. I didn't realize that this format was open and free to everyone. Now if I could only figure out how to get rid of the tools on the right side!!!

Mike and Lynn

Mike and Lynn Martin won a painting of their choice at a charity raffle. After about two years it was decided to try something at their cottage/home and this was the result. What a great time we had, and what a wonderful couple.


I've decided to slowly start adding some of my older work to round out the blog. This is one of my favorites. It is painted from a photo taken by one of his grandparents. Ted said he took it, but later decided that it could have been Ruth. At any rate, a great photo and really fun to paint. Acrylic on masonite approx. 12" x 18"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Craig and Brandy's Excellent Holiday

This is a 6x3ft. Mexican beach scene that I just completed yesterday. It was a commission. Sure hope they like it!!!

Three white pumpkins

Week 3

What's new?

Week 2 and now we are starting to have some fun.


This was week 2 of DSFDF challenge and my first contribution
Thank you so much Karin Jurick for starting Different Strokes From Different Folks. I'm sure that I am not the only one whose imagination has been captured by your wonderful challenges. I've never been this excited about painting, and now, I feel totally inspired. I've been a fan for some time now, and love this new "club" that I feel I've become a part of. Your art is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous, and your generosity of time and effort is amazing. You rock Karin.

Ludwig Nickel

Probably the first real portrait I ever did, was of my friend Ludwig Nickel. He was an amazing artist and craftsman who encouraged me to try painting. The object to his right is a copper door which he designed and fashioned. It graced the front of his store where he sold his amazing gold and silver pieces of jewelery, most notable being the cloisonne. He will never be forgotten.

acrylic on canvas 48" x 36"