Portfolio Link

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exhibition moved to December

The "Songs on the Eve of Destruction" exibition is being moved from September to December.
We decided that there would be a better turnout and response if it's held over the Christmas holidays when Clarens is literally buzzing with visitors.
Personally I am relieved too as it gives me more time to work on the exhibition pieces, and give them time to dry etc.. :)
Have you seen Essensual Art's post about it all?
  • Watched this a short while ago ... and as misguided (in some respects) and generally arb as the movie is, there is something to be said for it too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Photographic Evidence

If you are wondering why I'm not posting much at the moment, it's partly because I have made loose agreement with my ever intrepid art dealer friend Mercia that we would hold the posting of the exhibition work till just prior to the exhibition (whether I have the discipline to conform to that remains to be seen), and partly because i wasn't sure whether anyone would be interested in anything I write that doesn't have a pretty picture associated with it. But a little encouragement goes a long way ... so ... pictures or no pictures I'll carry on posting. :)

So then ...
A couple days ago I was engaged in conversation with an artist who asked me what my opinion was on painting from photographs. She had always secretly harboured the fear that she was not a "real artist" because she works from photos, and "real artists" either work from reality or from their imaginations. She'd somehow, somewhere got this idea in her head that true artists paint this way and that she was a fraud because she did not. Now I know that there are some artists who feel very strongly about this topic. There are artists who are emphatic that painting from a photograph is not acceptable. I don't believe this to be the case at all. I would label them romantic idealists (not a bad judgement ... just quaint and old-fashioned view). They are hung up on the romantic idea of an artist labouring in front of an easel, a freezing, cramped model holding pose in a cluster of carefully arranged props. Seriously! Who has the time? No model I know is prepared to pop over to my place at 3am in the morning and I'm buggered if I'm going to lob a two meter long canvas off to the bushveld every time I want to paint a zebra. I read a comparison somewhere on the net ... painting from photographs is similar to buying wine with a screwcap bottle.  The wine is as good (if you believe experts they will tell you a screwcap is actually better for the wine), opening the bottle is more convenient than a corked bottle, but everybody feels better about themselves opening a bottle with a corkscrew. Romance. I get that. But, it's no match for the convenience of photographic reference.
I do acknowledge that there is a greater level of certain skills involved in painting without the convenience of a still photograph ... but I can't agree with the perception that this affects the quality, validity or spirit of the output.  That is fully in the hands of the artist. A photograph is a subject, and the subject does not determine the validity of an art work. 

Personally I don't advertise the fact that I generally paint from photo's, but, by the same token I don't see much point in trying to hide it either, which some artists seem to do. Incidently, the photo above is a painting I did of my daughter, from memory.  It's good enought that she recognises herself ... it would have been better if I'd used a photo.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010


The special request charcoal sketches that haven't been sent out yet will be posted on Monday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tough Day

Completely miserable. Just don't know what to do anymore. In light of that, completely appropriate that I collected "Vacant Stare" which was framed today and will be part of the exhibition. (Not every painting is going to be this gloomy ... promise). The frame I chose really sets it off don't you think?

Listening to:

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week

This week will be a busy one.
I am making an earnest start on the paintings for "Songs ...", but also need to complete the charcoal drawings I have been asked to do. I will hopefully wrap the drawings up in the next couple days so that I can focus on the exhibition paintings.

Reading this (really an enthralling series).

I also won an Amazon voucher for a video I created, and blew the whole lot on art books. I can't wait for them to arrive so I can read them!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stretching Myself

This week has been an intesting one for me.
Virtually oblivious to the FIFA world cup celebrations and deafening vuvuzelas being trumpeted around me I have been getting my head around what I have gotten myself into.

It hadn't escaped my notice that I agreed to doing an exhibition at a time when I have exactly zero paintings in stock, at a time when I have just stepped up responsibilities in my day job, at a time when I am more alone than I have ever been in my life and have what amounts to a few weeks to get it all together, especially if the work is to be anywhere near dry by deadline. So, in my usual fashion I began processing.
Things to do:
  • Decide what I want to say with the work ... what will the subject matter be?
    • Well ... that took me 3 days of contemplation. I know what I want to achieve, what I want to say. Who I want to say it to. It's going to be difficult. It will be a challenge. No ... I won't be telling you what I am doing until it's done. :) But I do hope you love the concept.
  • Decide on an exhibition theme and title.
    • Once I had worked out what I wanted to paint, the title was easy. I sat with it on my mind for a day and night to make sure it worked. I felt it did. "Songs on the Eve of Destruction". Sold the idea to Mercia. She bought it once I'd explained my thinking ... but then, she may have just been being polite ;) Do you like it? I believe you do. Maybe it will make more sense when you see the work.
  • Get thumbs up from my fabulous hostess.
    • See above
  • How many pieces?
    • Okay ... this one scared me a bit ... if I work out how many I need and divide that by the time I have available, I need to have started work sometime back in Feb! Best I get cracking!
  • Get canvases.
    • This would never usually have been a challenge. I had a super supplier who then dropped off the face of the earth. I eventually reached his wife. He has been diagnosed with serious cancer. She is taking huge strain ... poor old dear. I managed to secure a roll of primed canvas and have been stretching my own canvases for the last three nights. My fingers are bleeding, but they look good ... the canvases, not my fingers!
    • Stock up on oils 
      • Tick!
    • Paint, paint, paint ...
      • and so it begins.  
    Listening to some beautiful classical music.

        Wednesday, June 9, 2010

        Solo Exhibition Alert!

        So ... after much arm twisting (my arm being twisted), weeping (of mine), gnashing of teeth (others) and gentle persuasion (my persuasion being gentled), this weekend, Mercia (of Essensual Art fame) and a few others (of their own fames) finally convinced me and I have agreed to go ahead with a solo exhibition in September.

        More about it all later, but the working title that I have decided on for the exhibition is "Songs on the Eve of Destruction".

        Let me know what you think of the title with the poll on the right if you feel like it. (Not that it will make any difference ... I won't change it if no-one likes it, but maybe you will feel like you were consulted). :)

        Exhibition content clue.
        Oh ... and please watch this movie ... it's delightful!!, especially for a blogger. :)

        Monday, June 7, 2010

        Friday, June 4, 2010

        Art in Park

        It's late ... dark, cold and I suppose I should head to bed soon.
        I've been sitting next to the fire alone, reading, thinking, wondering. I don't feel like painting, even though I have work to do.
        Last night I went to 'Maritzburg's annual Nashua Art in the Park .

        It's a regular thing for me to go, although I couldn't bring myself to go last year, and must confess to battling to pull myself together enough to go this year (emotional reasons). Anyway I went, and have to say it was a good thing to do. Memories, of course, came flooding back, but the crisp fallen leaves, the crisper winter air and the smell of woodsmoke and dust soon won me over.
        I had mixed feelings about the art I saw there this year.  A lot of the pieces were just (I felt) pretty pictures. As a friend of mine says of these type of artists, they are too "precious". In other words the art does not speak to you ... it's simply pretty to look at. Don't get me wrong, I believe that pretty pictures have their place in the art world. They do. However, I do find it very intellectually disengaging looking at canvas after canvas which says very little but just looks good. It's boring. Much I imagine like hanging out with a beautiful person who doesn't talk much, has no opinion on anything and has very little going on between their ears. Eventually eye-candy becomes dull. We need a bit of a challenge. Four artists in particular in my mind rescued the evening for me. One, Michelle Decker, I knew and have always found inspirational (her work is incredible), but there were three others that also kept me from banging my head against the dusty old oak trees under which we spectators wandered, and allowed me to savour my red wine instead of unsing it to make slipping into a coma more fun. Eve Page (contrast and colour), Nicola Firth (beautiful use of spaces, compositions were wow) and Gerhard Snyman (raw energy and colour) were new to me, and I found their work refreshing. There were of course many others who I though were marvelous in their skill and technically brilliant, but much of this was souless.  I don't see much point is a painting that looks like a photo and is as cold and lifeless.
        I hope I don't sound jaded ... it was, as always, a special experience, but for once I actually felt as though I could stand among these artists and feel comfortable displaying there. So my resolution? ... not to go back until I'm exhibiting there. :)
        I drove home, and on the way was tempted to stop for Chinese for sentimentality sake. But decided that I didn't think my heart could handle it.

        Play me.

        Tuesday, June 1, 2010

        Petite Poems

        Mercia has asked for a short poem for each of the 5 pieces going up to the Petite exhibition at Essenssual Art, to place next to the painting.
        So far we have two poems (one for 'This Kiss' and one for 'Dreams of Eros') ... does anyone want to assist with the writing of a short poem for "Kiss Me?", "Eros" and "Psyche"?
        Give me the 1st line or two for each and I will complete the rest.

        Also ... some exciting news. Mercia has almost convinced me to have a formal exhibition (something I have never done before ... only having contributed to joint exhibitions in the past). It's not within my comfort zone and terrifies me, but as Mercia would be hosting it I feel better about the idea ... excited. We will be talking through some ideas and beginning to plot and plan this weekend! Terrified, but SO excited too.

        So poems please ....

        Listening to this