Portfolio Link

Should you be interested in viewing a more "formal" portfolio site, please visit: http://www.carlverster.com

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Of Art and Fly Fishing

Imperfect Storm
Oil on Canvas
20cm x 20cm x 4cm
(Anyone have a decent camera I can use?)
Yesterday I took the day off to take my dad flyfishing in the Drakensburg.  It had been literally half a decade since we last just "hung out" so we were both excited by the prospect of a day of fishing and talking nonsense. The sun was shining, a strong breeze blowing and the recent heavy rains had left the dirt roads muddy and slippery, the billowing grass brilliantly green and the rivers swollen. When we arrived at our destination the wind was blowing a gale and we discovered that flooding had left the water very murky, so fishing was not likely to be at it's best ... and it was then that it struck me that something in me has changed. It is no longer about the fish! The idea of spending all day fishing and not catching didn't bother me. Simply working on my casting style, enjoying the fresh air and mountains ... that was enough. 
I spent all day fishing and caught nothing.  The occaisional 'knock' kept me excited, but nothing was landed. And I had a lovely day. And while fishing and thinking about this something else dawned on me ... I feel the same way about now about fishing that I do about painting.  I don't paint with selling the piece in mind.  It's all about the self expression, enjoying the process, mastering the craft and experimenting with methodology that appeals to me. If it sells, that's wonderful; it enhances the experience and increases the enjoyment, but it isn't the purpose.

There is something very liberating in that attitude. To do for doing sake and not for the outcome.
If I wasn't a very committed Christian I might be wondering if I was becoming a buddhist. ;o)

And the most recent poll results?  The new Zebra painting will be called "So This is Freedom". One vote made the difference. Ever heard this song?

In upcoming posts ... more about the thinking processes I go through in my painting and my thoughts about Avant-garde and their "true art" theories.

Carl is:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feeling spoiled?

You should be!  Two posts in two days ... proof that I have no life to speak of and that I really love talking to you dear reader.  :o)

"Wuthering Heights"
Oil on canvas
1.5m x .5m x 4cm
 In case you're interested ... this is the usual approach I take to painting (It obviously varies from painting to painting according to the subject and what I want to achieve):
  1. Prime canvas.
  2. Sketch the planned layout on paper.
  3. Copy the sketch to canvas.
  4. Rework the pencil lines with diluted acrylic.
  5. Add basic detail to the acrylic "sketch".
  6. Block in the sketch with acrylic base to get the tonal values at foundation.
  7. Prime the canvas for oils with medium mixture (a mix of mineral turpentine and linseed oil).
  8. Begin 1st shadow layering with oils and dry.
  9. 2nd shadow layering with oils and dry.
  10. 3rd shadow layering with oils and dry.
  11. Detail layers, highlights ... and dry.
  12. Spot glazing certain areas and dry.
  13. Gel glazing.
  14. Dry.
  15. Ship to client. :o)

Because of all the drying that takes place I usually end up working on multiple canvases at once (between 2 and 6).

I'll tell you more about my processes in the next post if you are interested?
Carl is:
  • Listening to this.
  • Going to run this because he is able to run again without pain (slowly)!
"Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one."  Stella Adler

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Living on the Edge

    "Edge of Desire"
    100cm x 110cm x 4cm
    Oil on canvas

    So this is obviously different from anything I have done in the past ... I know.
    I'm interested to see what the reaction is.
    It's quite big (as always I battle to get photos to do the painting justice).
    A couple of things of significance. She's facing the wind, but her body is turned away from it toward the sky. The hilltop. Her eyes are covered. The title.

    Have fun working it out.

    Carl is:

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    New Poll

    It's been another mind bendingly tiring day filled with polite smiles, tiring dialogues, shiny shoes and even impromtu presentations.("Carl, ladies and gentleman, isn't expecting this .... but Carl, would you mind coming up and talking to us about bla, bla, bla?" I think well on my feet. :o)

    Anyway ... babbling on ... proof of my exhaustion ... where was I? .... oh yes ...The POLL!
    So basically a sum total of 8 votes (shocking people, shocking!) ... and of those 8 you pretty much ALL want me to paint more of EVERYTHING???! (Figures got 1 more vote than the others). Fine!  I'll do it ... with one provisor  ... If you want more portraits send me people that want to be painted. I aint gonna just suck those pics out of my head now am I? :)

    For the next poll, help me name that last Zebra ... yes, the one with the wire that you helped me paint. That fun?  I thought so.

    Leave me alone now, I'm going to bed ... I have to be up at 4am to drive to Pretoria.  *Sigh*

    Carl is watching:
    Invictus (and loved it! Literally tears streaming down cheeks!)

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010


    I will flesh this post out tomorrow I promise (tonight I am simply exhausted ... organising 2 days of conferences, 18 hour work days, and emotional car wreckedness have caught up with me! I don't even have the energy to try and be entertaining. Sorry.*imagine me saying something whitty in this space here*), ... but these are my current project challenges:
    • UK project still in progress
    • Supply 10 paintings for exciting new gallery in Tanzania called "Exhibit" owned by the sometime author (incredible writer!) and artist, dynamic Ms Kerry Radloff  (More about this exciting development when she is ready for the publicity). ... oh and figure out a way of cheaply and safely shipping the still 'wet' canvases up to her (oils take around 6 months to properly dry remember).
    • Supply another 5 canvases to Mercia's EssensualArt Gallery in Clarens.
    • Get ready for another shot at Art in the Park.
    • Start a new series of work which I am on fire to get going ... dying to start just need new stock of canvases!!!!
    • I'll also comment on the poll result and post a new one, save the whales and solve the world energy crisis tomorrow, right after predicting the future and inventing the worlds first AI robotic lettuce .... promise.
    Carl is:

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    Saturday, February 13, 2010



    Three paintings sold this morning at Essensual Art in Clarens!
    (Thank you Mercia!)

    Carl is:
    .. and this is awaiting barbedwire so still WIP?
    Would have made someone a nice Valentines Day gift. :)

      Friday, February 12, 2010

      Wanna help?

      So ... this latest Zebra painting.
      I'm about to add a barbed wire strand to the background.
      What do you think? Will it ruin it or enhance it? (I have my reasons for wanting to add it).
      Give me your opinion by adding a comment. (You can comment "anonymously" if you feel I'm going to be sensitive or upset by it and don't want me to know it was you who said it ;-)

      Come on. I haven't made up my mind ... this is your opportunity to participate in the process!

      Wednesday, February 10, 2010

      What does freedom feel like?

      "Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole." - Oscar Wilde

      I love Oscar Wilde. His writing was passionate, insightful and completely absorbed in beauty and angst. He had a rough time of things in his later life. Victorian England wasn't kind to homosexuals. Read him if you haven't already! Start with "A Picture of Dorian Gray".

      Anyway ... tonights mission ... to start and complete a monster Zebra canvas (something I haven't done in ages!) 1.5m x 75cm. I'll post when I'm finished.

      >>>> time passes

      Okay ... so it's not finished and I suppose I should get some sleep (see how stuffed I look?)... but I did get quite far. Check it out.  What do you think so far?  I'll finish it tomorrow night.

      Monday, February 8, 2010

      60 Questions

      So I picked up this dumb 60 questions quiz, and I thought, "hey, what the heck, I'll do it on my blog!" So I will ... it's my frikken blog, I'll do what I like! You got a problem with that? Huh? Huh? Do ya?

      1. Eye Color?
      What a boring start! That's right up there with ... "fill your name in here."
      I actually don't know what colour my eyes are ... they are kind of a blue green grey ...they seem to change. No, really, they do. Really. Is that weird?
      2. What did you have for lunch yesterday?
       Flip, I can't remember!  ... Maybe I'm suffereing from some form of short term memory loss? .... Oh wait!!!! A cornish pastie!  That's what I had! Yup ... love those!
      3. Been caught doing something you weren't supposed to do?
       Well of course ... and no I'm not going to tell you what I was doing.
      4. Piercings?
       Not any more ... tried twice, both got infected ... maybe I shouldn't have done it myself.
      5. What was the last movie you watched?
       The Time Travellers Wife.
      6. What's the habit you're proudest of breaking?
       I stopped passive smoking when I was three.  That was tough.
      7. What's your favorite Web site?
      That would have to be deviantart.com. There are a few others I monitor daily.
      8. Can you do a headstand (not using the wall)?
       What kind of a question is that?? ... but yes, I can.
      ... was just thinking ... imagine how cool it would be if someone could do a headstand not using the floor! Now THAT would be impressive!
      9. Favorite TV show?
       Dexter (the serial killer, not the cartoon ... gimme some credit!). I also love "The Big Bang Theory" ... a prog about a couple of geeky social misfits. Right up my alley.
      10. What was your most recent trip of more than 50 miles?
      To Clarens to drop off some paintings.
      11. How is the weather right now?
      Bloody hot! It's nearly midnight and its still sweltering.
      12. Ever hitchhiked?
      Oh yeah!  In fact that's all I did for a 3 month period of my life. Hitchhiked all over Scotland too. I actually consider myself quite a master at it. I was going to write a book about it and everything! Ever want to know the best places to stand, what to wear and how to stand to give yourself the best chance of getting a ride? Ask me. I'm your man.
      13. What's the longest you've gone without sleep?
      That would have to be the last 10 years. Sleep and I are not on a firstname basis. Sleep calls me Mr Verster.
      14. Siblings?
       One. My brother, Kerin.
      15. What do you order when you eat Chinese food?
      Sweet n sour pork with noodles.
      16. What's the best costume you've ever worn?
       I can't tell you that without revealing my secret identity.
      17. What's your least favorite word?
       I don't really have a problem with any words per se. Most words and I get along just fine.  Context can stuff that up though, in which case the word I have the most problem with is "no".
      18. If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?
       Now THATS an interesting question!  I'm assuming we're talking American states here yes?  mmmm would have to be Utah ... sounds cool. Utah Verster ... yeah ... like that!
      19. What's your favorite Cyndi Lauper song?
      She bop.
      20. Describe something that's happened to you for which you have no explanation.
      I would, but I can't explain it. (Hah! That answer has me feeling smug!)
      21. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
      Actually, there are very few places I wouldn't want to go.  I love travelling. I would love to go to the Seychelles, and I'm keep to see more of Europe too.
      22. Have you ever loved someone?
      23. Have you ever been stung by a bee?
      A few times ... who hasn't?
      24. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
      How old school do you think I am? Wikipedia!
      25. Have you ever been snorkeling? Scuba diving?
      Lots and lots and lots of both.  Did I say lots?
      26. Which TV character from your childhood did you have a crush on?
      Okay, I'll tell you, but you have to promise never to tell anyone else! Ever! When I was a kid I had a crush on Sunni Gummy from the Gummy Bears. I was very young okay! Don't laugh! Are you trying to tell me you were never attracted to an animated bear? Liar!
      27. What's the sickest you've ever been?
      I thought I was going to die once when backpacking around eastern Turkey back in the day when they were at war with their neighbours. Man I was sick ... too weak to get up to get water. If it wasn't for the buddy I was with I think I may have been toast (and not the type of toast that goes well with tea either!).
      28. What's your favorite form of exercise?
      Trail running still does it for me ... although mountainbiking, kayaking and spearfishing take care of the fun factor.
      29. Who's your favorite Care Bear?
      Man!  What kind of two timing bear loving player do you think I am? I'm a one bear kinda guy ... I would never watch the Care Bears! Never!
      30. What did you do for your 13th birthday?
      I have no idea. Birthdays were never big on my parents agenda. I actually can't remember a single birthday barring one party when I think I was 11 or 12.
      31. Are you afaid of heights?
      Yes ... although less so these days.
      32. Have you ever taken dance lessons?
      No. But you know what? It is actually something I would like to do. Unfortunately significant others have never wanted to ... and doing it on your own seems kind of lame.
      33. What's your favorite newspaper?
      I don't read newspapers. Ever.
      34. Do you have a Tattoo?
      Yes. Four. They are all significant in their meaning and were done with a lot of forethought after real life-changing events. Someone asked me last week what my next one will be ... but i don't have any intent to get a new tat anytime soon.
      35. What's the most memorable class you've ever taken?
      In my last year of highschool I had this really cool art teacher who exposed us to a hell of a lot (right down to playing Jimmy Hendrix in class!). Those were pretty memorable classes.
      36. Height?
      Six Foot. Pretty much on the button.  (But I mean regular feet; not like tiny little feet.)
      37. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
       I wish I could give you some kind of an exciting answer here, but to be honest I think it's just the persons posture or how they carry themselves and the attitude they project... after that I guess I look at boring things how they are dressed.  Once I'm passed that I look at eyes and hair ... if they've reached this level of attention they're well on their way to passing my attractiveness test and I move onto paying more attention to more obvious, male interest umm physical attributes.
      38. How do you want to die?
       .................... @#$%!  Where did that come from?  You lull me into this false sense of security, send me of on a quick little fantasy about the opposite sex and then hit me with my mortality! The structure of this could do with a little bit of a review don't you think? Grief!! Dying in my sleep sounds like a pretty peaceful way to go. I'm guessing there aren't a lot of takers for the long and protracted fight with some painful dread disease.
      39. Do you prefer baths or showers?
      Showers, unless I am completely stuffed in which case lying down is pretty attractive.
      40. Chocolate or Vanilla?
       Vanilla more so these days. I love chocolate, but there is something understated and subtle about vanilla that makes the experience more ... meaningful.
      41. If you were a crayon what color would you be?
      If I was a little wax stick I don't think colour would be one of my major concerns!
      42. Whats your favorite number?
       Seven.  I don't know why.
      43. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
       Definitely flying!!! ... or turning invisible .... Oooo wait, wait ... breathing underwater .... yes definitely that! ... but x-ray vision would be nice .... mmmmm ... or .....
      44. Do you like guacamole?
       Indeed I do.
      45. What color underwear/boxers wearing now?
      Blue 'Bad Boy' ones. I like them.
      46. Hugs or Kisses?
      Both!  That's like asking if you like the front or the back wheel of your bicycle!they go together for Pete's sake! .... okay, okay, keep your hair on ... if you're gonna force me to choose it would have to be kisses. ... I still can't believe you made me choose.
      48. What's the longest you've ever waited in line?
       I once sat in an airline queue for about 14 hours.
      49. Have you ever taken a picture in one of those little booths?
      I have!  there were 4 of us all crammed together ... oh to be young and spontaeous.
      50. What are you listening to right now?
      Such a cool band actually ... it's called Dead Man's Bones.  Lovely stuff! It's got Ryan Gosling (the actor) in it with a mate of is.  It's uber creative! (My fave song on the album?  "My body's a zombie for you".  See I TOLD you it was cool!)
      51. Have you ever cried for no reason?
      No ... when I cry it's always for a good reason.
      52. What books are you reading?
      As usual I'm reading a whole bunch at once.  I really couldn't be bothered to tell you all. If you consider that I'm still wading through the complete works of Plato you'll understand why.
      53. Favorite movies?
      Amelie, Some Kind of Wonderful, all Luc Besson movies, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society .... etc.
      54. What were u doing before this?
      Before this as in before this blog? Painting my ass off.
      55. Are you missing someone?
      Yes I am.
      56. Are you still friends with people from kindergarten?
      No. I hated nursery school. Don't ever force me to socialise ... I've practiced being antisocial since I was very young.
      57. Have you ever fired a gun?
      Yes. (But not at anyone).
      58. Do you like to travel by plane?
      Yes. I love it.  Actually it's more the airports that I love. I'm a compulsive people watcher, and airports provide fantastic opportunities in that regard.
      59. How many pillows do you sleep with?
      Three.  One under my head, one over my head and one to hold.
      60. Dogs or cats?
      What an anticlimax! Finishing off with this? Pah! I mean dogs (cats are just too smug for their own good. I don't like being in a room with an animal that's got a bigger ego than me.), but really "dogs or cats?" what kind of a pathetic end question is that?  I would have expected something much more meaty. Like "What are you opinions on the socio-economic ramifications that ongoing conflict between the working class an middle class labour force has had on socisalist oriented labour organisations in third world countries with first world aspirations" (Like that? I just made it up.). So yeah, dogs; but I mean really!!
      Was that as fun for you as it was for me?
      Didn't think so. :)

      Oh ... some art news? "Just One Child" has left the building and should now be safely in the hands of Lara Mellon waiting for the EveryOneCounts exhibition.

      20cm x 20cm x 4cm
      Oil on Canvas

      Tuesday, February 2, 2010

      Music is what feelings sound like ...

      Have you ever listened to a song and felt like it was singing your story? Of course you have ... music is just a means of telling stories, and all our human stories are the same; repeated again and again with just the names and places changing ... to protect the innocent. ;o)
       120cm x 60cm x 2cm
      Oil on Canvas
      Title courtesy of:
      Placebo - For What it's Worth
      I have had two conversations in this last week which got me thinking more along that line. One was with a publisher (a website customer), the other with a writer friend (who also happens to be an artist). What interested me was the same comment was made by both of them ... completely unbidden and  resulting from completely different trains of conversation. To paraphrase them both "Writing comes from the same place that art comes from. The creative processes are the same, they fulfil the creator in the same way and are both crafted with similar aims in mind." I suspect that if I had a chat with a musician, he /she would say something similar. It's obvious isn't it. There is a connectedness in all these "crafts". They all spring from the same well. It's no coincidence that art movements track music movements, which imitate writing movements ,which influence art movements etc etc etc. They are all part of the same family. The Greeks felt it ... look at the 9 Muses ... I even found an oblique reference in the Bible to the Holy Spirit being the source of art (Exodus 31) ... and what was the Holy Spirit most famous for inspiring? Only the most important piece of literature ever ... the Gospel!
      What I find interesting is the influence one craft has on the other ... how what I read influences what I paint ... how what I paint begs me to listen to certain types of music, and how that music inspires me to new work. Whether I'm painting or writing, it feeds that same craving, that same need within (I also feel a huge need to create music, but alas, I'm no musician.) It's no co-incidence that many of my paintings are 'borrowed' song titles ... they were pivotal in the crafting of that piece, in what it was doing for me and what it's saying. We all have our inspiration, my muse is hard to reach, and music helps me feel her out.
      "Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness". ~Maya Angelou
      PS: Interestingly, the writer / artist friend of mine ... she says that when she is writing, she cannot paint. And when she is painting, her writing dries up.  And me?  I've got a book to write.  ... and "Nemesis" by David Gray is doing my head in at the moment as I paint.