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Featured Artist of the Week: Vera Donefer

Name: Vera Donefer

Age: 85

Medium: Acrylic

Raised by Polish and Russian parents, Vera Donefer was destined to be a secretary or teacher if her father had it his way. But growing up in New York City, Donefer fell in love with art, spending every weekend at a museum. After studying commercial art at a college in Manhattan, Donefer worked as a fashion illustrator until her husband landed a job in Montreal, which led them to Canada. From here, she worked as a fibre artist. Now, Donefer is an acrylic artist here in Kingston, where she works from her home studio.

How did you originally get into your craft?

Discovered Lila Lewis Irving. I don’t remember where the first course was with her. She is fabulous.

How long have you been doing it?

Probably 18 to 20 years for sure. I don’t remember.

What artists inspire you?

Many artists inspire me. Clyfford Still... there is an african artist (El Anatsui)… he takes bottle caps and pieces of metal and pieces them together… And, of course, Van Gogh. So those. Mark Rothco, I mean, I could go on. Canadian, Tom Thomson.

What is your creative process?

I’m an intuitive painter. I thrive on colour and texture. I want to give the impression that things are done fast, but obviously they’re not. And I want those who view the paintings to judge for themselves what it’s about and how they react to it.

Describe what your workspace looks like.

It’s always a mess. It’s in my house so I don’t have to go out. I can go there any time of the day or night… It’s a large room. I wish it was larger.

What part of your style makes you stand out as an artist?

I think the colour, the movement and the texture.

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve made?

The one (I’m) working on.

What is the best part about doing what you do?

The making of it. When you’re finished, you’re finished. And sometimes, when you look at a painting x numbers of months or weeks afterwards, you truly do not know how it was made. Like, something takes over and it just works.

What is the most challenging?

The beginning. When you’ve got a whole wonderful experience to go through, but it’s challenging.

What is something people don’t realize about what you do?

That it’s hard. They think painting is very easy. They think what I do, a child can do. And maybe they can. But it’s more than they think it is.

What do you want people to take away from your work?

Feelings. I don’t care if it’s joy or like or dislike, but there has to be a reaction.

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