The Bicycle Journals of Elizabeth Verhagen: For over 40 years, artist Elizabeth Verhagen explored rural Alberta (Canada) by bicycle, kept meticulous journals, took photographs, made drawings, and made oil paintings on paper. Her studio painting drew upon these sources.
As of 2016, her journals included 645 pages. She took 80 photographs, made 525 drawings, and 35 oils on paper. In her studio, she created 31 paintings from the drawings. Over the decades, Verhagen carefully inked the trips onto a map of Alberta.
Elizabeth Verhagen was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She immigrated to Canada with her parents and siblings in 1954.
Elizabeth started drawing and painting at an early age. Highly self-motivated, in her twentieth year she decided to dedicate her life to art and has consistently pursued that goal with passionate determination.
She spends the warm months bicycling extensively throughout Alberta, drawing at every opportunity; the winter season is devoted to painting in her Edmonton studio.
She is continually inspired by the vibrant intensity of the Alberta countryside. The pure colours of the landscape and brilliant hues of the sky are vividly expressed in her paintings. A major part of her artistic activity consists of creating constructions, innovative works that combine painting with pasted and mounted objects and materials. She also creates paintings of faces based on her drawings of individuals sketched in public places.
Elizabeth’s paintings and constructions have been displayed in galleries in Edmonton, Toronto, New York, and South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Her landscape paintings, sketchbooks, and bicycling journals have also been included in the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition, shown in various locations throughout Alberta.
Elizabeth’s works have been selling since 1965. Her paintings, drawings, constructions, and photographs are in collections in Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Chile, and Australia.
Babcock John Driscoll, director, Babcock Galleries, New York:
Your work looks good -- a fine vision, technically accomplished and interesting.
Edward van Vliet of Profiles Art Gallery, St. Albert:
A sense of mystery pervades Verhagen's paintings. Her skies are layers of orange and yellow, as if there is a perpetual sunset in her world. In one of her paintings, 'Second Growth', a road is a dramatic swoop of colour, like an energetic pinwheel spinning gleefully out of control.
Calgary student Rebecca Graham's blog:
At our school we have a travelling art exhibit featuring the artist, Elizabeth Verhagen.
Elizabeth has travelled all over Alberta on her bike sketching and painting Alberta landscapes.
We learned about horizon lines and perspective in a painting.
We attempted to recreate Elizabeth's work by using paint, brushes, stencils and sponges.
Fun! Check her out on the internet.
John Maywood, curator, Stony Plain Multicultural Centre Art Gallery:
[Elizabeth's] paintings have colour, warmth, and the complications of the construction collages are good, vivid, vibrant.
Ania Sleczkowska, a well-known Edmonton curator, has high praise for Verhagen's artistic endeavours.
Elizabeth is inspired by the strong shapes and dramatic light in Alberta landscapes.
She amplifies that in her paintings and collage constructions to give them
a heightened, magical, almost illustrative quality, dazzling with intense colour,
from the most fiery reds to the coolest blues.
Art Gallery Alberta Art Rental & Sales, Sanctuary by Elizabeth Verhagen:
Spruce Grove Examiner - September 13, 2013, article about exhibition at Stony Plain Multicultural Centre:
Article on bicycle tour, Highlands Community League newsletter, page 8:
To contact Elizabeth Verhagen, call: 1 780 479-4876