Portfolio Link

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

At the feet of the Masters

At the end of September I will be back in London for a week or so. One of the first things I will do is head back to the National Gallery to stalk the halls and follow the footsteps of those who have been before. The opportunity to once again wonder in awe at the Dutch and Flemish masters is too much to pass up.

It hasn't been very fashionable in the art scene for a few generations now to admit to having admiration for the masters of old. For me it is something I cannot help. There is a level of skill, of mastery of a medium and understanding of light, of air, of nature that we have all but lost. I long to attain that art, that quality of work, that ability to capture the sentiment, that purity of form and tone. Fashionable or not, that's where my heart lies.
There does, more recently seem to be a shift in attitude toward the aritsts of old, I think largely due to artists such as Odd Nerdrum and the rebirth of 'Kitsch'. I, for one, am pleased to see it.

I think that what is special about the periods of classical fine art is principally about the values behind it; about what art meant at that time and what the artists of the times were made of. The traditional training methods alone meant that artists of high calibre could be produced, unlike today where anyone with a brush and a will with the correct marketing and attitude can call himself an artist (not that I can claim to be any different in that regard). Artists came out of that system of exhaustive apprenticeship with all the technical skills, the craft and the values required to produce great art. The 'moral code' of artists meant that their art had instrinsic meaning. It wasn't something that needed to be grasped for, as seems to be the case of later generations. We seem, with the advent of the 20th century to have turned anti-art into art. I can see the academic argument for it, understand the rationale behind it, and even admire the skill in it and it's cleverness; but there is a small voice, deep down inside me that whispers to me that this is not what art should be.
I am sure there would be a large proportion of the art world up in arms and ranting against my ignorant statements if my ramblings were to reach their ears, but I hazard a very opionated guess that their protestations are merely so loud in order to drown out their own small voice, admonishing them with the same words.
What the heck ... maybe I'll pop across to the Tate Modern too while I'm there, to make sure my education is at least balanced.

Recommended diversions:
"From Paris with Love"The latest Luc Besson project ... great action movie!

"I'm Your Fan". A tribute to Leonard Cohen. Loving this album at the moment it's old and dusty, but is really good.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sonnet 24

Feels like I haven't painted in weeks. :(
"Sonnet 24"; Oil on Canvas; 60cm x 40cm x 4cm

Recommended diversions:
"Rocket Gibraltar" Yes, it's an old movie (1988), but it's very sweet and has a killer soundtrack (Billie H). Watch it if you haven't.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Worm Food

This isn't the post I've been trying to work on in the background while life happens all around me at crazy pace and drags me in insane directions, but I thought I'd keep that one on ice while I shared this little snippet of life.

I am (trying to) study the techniques used by the past masters. There is something that their work has which is rare and valuable which so much art today lacks.(This is the subject that my pending blog is on BTW). I want to capture that; bottle it, and use it. Wish I could!

As part of that quest I ordered, via amazon.co.uk, and using a voucher that I won to fund it, a number of books that I have been patiently waiting for for a month and a half.  I ran out of patience, and after hounding Amazon repeatedly my five, very expensive, high quality books finally arrived on Saturday. I paid my import duties and was presented with a torn bag of soggy, buckled books and very damaged packaging, literally falling out as they hit the counter.  How A4 size hardcover, coffee-table style books get bent in two I'll never know.  The books were wet, the pages glued together (one so badly that it is in effect a block of paper mache), and every one of them looking like they had fallen from the plane somewhere over the amazon jungle and then driven over by logging trucks.  What on earth did they DO to them?!  For a book lover (that's called a bibliophile my dear children) such as myself this was like receiving the head of a decapitated child in the mail. Oh the horror! Literally worm food.
Needless to say Amazon were superb and are sending me replacement books at their cost as we speak (and I had been waiting in breatless anticipation for sooooooo long already!) ... I suffer the additional import duty, but ah well, such is life.  The books are everything I hoped they would be in respect of content, so I am reassured that I ordered well ... but what a shame!

Recommended diversions:
Latest read:


Friday, July 9, 2010


The current exhibition called "Petite" is now open at Essensual Art and will run until the end of July. All the pieces are no larger than 20x20cm. Affordable art just small enough to pop into you handbag and take home with you! Other artworks are also still available during the exhibition.

Participating artists:
Carl Verster
Heidi Kern
Mercia Deale
Frances Lozear
Barry Keyser

 Until then I'll Fall with Your Knife

Monday, July 5, 2010

From the latest Essensual Art Newsletter: Vol 3 Issue 1

Future exhibition: Carl Verster “Songs on the Eve of destruction”



Questions or comments for Essensual Art? Please email them on art@essensual.co.za or call 082 210 689 during office hours. Alternatively, BLOG with them: www.essensualartgallery.blogspot.com

"I know that it's a wonderful world but I can't see it right now.
And ..."
James Morrison - Songs for you Truths for Me

Friday, July 2, 2010

Book of Days

Well, it's been a hell of a week ... one of the most stressful in a long time. So many things have been going on on so many fronts, and not in a happy way.
My art has suffered too, ... from a productivity perspective.
I have now finished all the charcoals I wanted to, have sent them off to their respective destinations and now just await confirmation of their arrivals which, knowing the postal service, will be in the distant future.
I may elect to do a few more charcoals for other people that have asked, but I need to get to work on the exhibition with total focus for a while.  I have started a few paintings, which I am happy with so far, but I need to throw myself into it. It's difficult when the day is sapping and the nights draining. I have been challenged a few times about painting things that will sell vs painting what I feel like painting. I have a few opinions on this topic (no suprise :), but I am thinking about it all quite a lot.  I wonder what you think, dear readers. Maybe I'll blog about it.
Thank goodness we shifted the exhibition date! In September I will be going to Mozambique, then Swaziland and then London for a week, so squeezing my exhibition into that would have been, well ... a disaster, I'm sure.

I've decided to enter some online art competitions ... just for kicks.

I am sinking in this
I watched this (it reminded me of this!) I wouldn't call either fun to watch, but it was quite good.