Jacqueline Verge is an accomplished artist, an aspiring naturalist, as well as an avid photographer. Combining these three passions, Verge is able to create works of art that truly capture nature on canvas. One of her works has been chosen for print in a Ducks Unlimited Competition two years in a row. Jackie won the 2010 Pauline Manning award and the Mayor’s Award in 2007. In 2011, she won first place in the Juried Show of the Contemporary Art Society of Nova Scotia. Her work can be found at the Winding River Gallery, Stewiacke and online at http://www.wildernessreflections.ca/
How do you work? What research do you do?
As wildlife is the primary focus of my art, photography is integral to my work. After all, most wild animals just won’t stay around and stand still while you paint. So a quality digital SLR camera and a mega zoom lens (600 mm) are some of my prized possessions. I spend weeks upon weeks in the wilderness constantly observing behavior and gathering resource material (photos). Later when I’m home I pour through my images deciding what best captures the feel of the moment, the spirit of the wildlife and the beauty of nature.
What artist has inspired you the most?
Robert Bateman. When I was 12 years old, I watched a documentary about him and that day I knew what I wanted to be … a wildlife artist. How he dedicated his life to capturing nature’s beauty and expressing it. In 2006 I had the incredible opportunity and was accepted to be taught by him at his Master Artist’s Seminar in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. I learned so much from him which I still use to this day. Taking an extra 2 weeks to explore the Yellowstone wilderness, often called the North American Serengeti was a lifetime experience, photographing wolves, grizzly and mighty elk.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
On a trip to the Gaspesie Mountains in Quebec a couple years ago, I came upon two huge moose fighting for their domain. I spent over an hour observing and photographing them. Later that same trip, in a high alpine meadow we came across a complete moose skull. As I sat there in the tall frost covered grasses, I imagined how this majestic creature may have met his end … Was he wounded in a battle just like the one I witnessed just days before? Later, I put paint to canvas using the meadow, the skull and the two moose challenging each other for territory, commemorating the struggle for survival that happens every fall yet rarely seen in our Canadian forests. I titled it “The Challenger”.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A few years ago I was accepted to attend a workshop by world renowned wildlife artist John Banovich. A perk to the workshop was that Banovich would critique up to 3 of your works during the workshop. I was so busy listening to John while he instructed each of the artists, I really never got settled into the piece I was painting. As other artists work was displayed, he gave a detailed critique pointing out the strengths and places for improvement. Then when it came time for him to critique my work and my first image was flashed onto the screen, I was rewarded with a long silence, then an enthusiastic “Jackie” followed by more silence and then “All I can say is that I wish I had painted this myself!”. What an encouragement he was for me.
What is your dream project?
To visit the Canadian North and capture it’s incredible rugged beauty and wildlife on film and canvas. To experience the teaming herds of Caribou crossing the tundra, to observe Musk Ox creating an impenetrable circle wall protecting their young and watch wolves trotting tirelessly across the horizon.
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