the view at 65 is worth it

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I have decided to take the social media plunge at age 68, and invite people to join me on Facebook to follow my journey as artist, author, and mentor. I finished my Master of Arts in Communication and Technology at the University of Alberta, and I am now a Doctoral Candidate at St.Stephen's College / University of Alberta. 

I finished writing the epic poem "Cerulean Odyssey." It took 8 years (2004-2012) and it's 10 volumes. Now I'm putting the finishing touches to a historical novel of WWII, titled "Sweet Bitter Spring." 

And yes, now you can follow me on Facebook for "65 and beyond".

See you there....

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Day in the Life of....

Frequent visitor to the studio
You might have wondered what a person does when he decides to go back to school at age 65 in pursuit of graduate research. That was 4 years ago. I’ve completed a Master’s degree and I’m half way towards a Doctorate. I know everyone has their own routine, but sometimes it helps to see “how it’s made” from another perspective, mine. So, this is not a recipe for success. Just some encouragement for you along the way.
6:00 am, awake not by choice but by metabolism and bio-rhythms.
6:15 am, breakfast (favourite? Honey Nut Cheerios).
6:30 am, bike ride (seasonal except for the rainy season which is shorter than most people think when they hear about our rainy season in BC). 
7:00 am, at my computer which before my return to formal studies used to be 7:00 am in the studio. But, I am planning my return to drawing and painting.
7:00 am – 12:00, research and writing, mostly for my Doctorate, but I do find time for creative writing as well. Occasionally, I just have to do a drawing in the studio.
12:00 noon, lunch and quick nap.
12:30 pm, thoughts about what to do for the rest of the afternoon. Options are: continue my morning’s work, administration for the Drawing Society of Canada, keep up with my students enrolled in the Canadian Academy of Drawing, church & ministry admin., emails, blog updates, website management, etc.
3:00 pm, done for the day and time to visit with friends on the island.
6:00 pm. Dinner
6:00 pm – bedtime (10:00), Relax, Wheel of Fortune with Alice, reading.
Of course none of the above is cast in concrete. There are numerous interruptions, spontaneous chats with Alice, on-the-go decisions, Monday’s off-island to do Coffee Shop People sketches, work on my poetry, errands, and going for a nice drive “up-island,” cutting the lawn, my valuable meditation time, and the luxury of deciding to do nothing for a day. Oh yes, at least 2 Vanilla Chocolate Lattes (homemade, low-cal, honestly) per day.
Remember, it’s easier to change course when you’re moving than to change course when you’re standing still.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Yes, I am proud to announce the publishing of my first of 3 completed novels.

On The Run is a novel of love and survival. The book is especially written for a young adult audience, however, many adults have thoroughly enjoyed the pace of drama in On The Run.

The time is a modern history of anarchy when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Corinne is fourteen years old. Adam who is her godfather and Corinne are on the run from the Hunters, who are bounty hunters for The Collection Agency, a national government initiative to boost the economy by taking “surplus” young girls and selling them into the international sex trade. The setting for the book is a fictionalized Pacific north west coast, which is also my home.

I would appreciate your support by buying a copy at ( and let your friends know it's worth the read. (softcover, 319 pages).Thanks.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Matter of Choice

“For most of my adult life I have chosen to surround myself with art, literature and music, including the art and writings of my own personal creative journey. I have also been inspired by the discipleship process of studying the kingdom of God and other spiritual studies. All together, these resulted in a critical thought process that gave birth to such initiatives as a nationally accredited advertising agency, a teaching ministry, an umbrella not-for-profit ministry organization, my Masterpeace Fine Art Studio, the Drawing Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Drawing online, and a “back-to-school” initiative at age 65 to complete a master’s degree and a doctoral degree. Many have supported and encouraged me en route, but it all began with a conscious choice to exercise my freewill towards quality decisions of excellence regardless of mistakes made along the way, and an abiding faith to ensure the foundations of my journey remained strong. Along the way, the environment of art has been a good place for retreat, reflection, illumination, and a sacred place to ponder the next steps forward."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Return to Drawing

After 4 years of research and writing, and having completed my Master of Arts in Communication and Technology and well into my Doctoral Program, I just had to take a break from my self-imposed studio sabbatical and return to drawing. Just to experience again the beauty of drawing. I am also writing about "the spiritual in art." The spiritual in art is the act of drawing itself based on intuitive and cognitive experiences, that is, inspiration grounded in a lifetime of learning contemporary and ancient traditions, and endless hours of drawing. So, I mounted a large piece of Japanese paper on Stonehenge paper and began a classical figure drawing of a model I had drawn many times before. The result was very satisfying and gave me the assurance that the assumption "use it or lose it," is not a foregone conclusion.

"Kriya," by Gerrit Verstraete, 2013. Cat.No, 1223. (22 ¼ X 30 in. / 56.7 X 76.4 cm, unframed) Wollf's Carbon Pencil.

Friday, April 19, 2013

To edify one another

What can I possibly contribute to a professional network when our respective journeys are so divergent and distinctly our own? Is there a “scarlet thread” that links us as people regardless of our similarities and differences? I think that “scarlet thread” is a mutual quest to be edified, or as the dictionary defines: to encourage, enlighten and benefit, especially intellectually, morally and spiritually.

Invitations to all sorts of social and professional media sites abound. But is there room for a network that encourages a new kind of dialogue, such as the exploration of questions we all encounter on our professional journeys?
1. How to appropriate satisfaction in achievement whether great or small?
2. What is fulfillment in a postmodern world?
3. What to share with others that is neither bragging nor opportunistic, but truly worth sharing?

For example: Over a period of 8 years, from 2004 to 2012, I completed writing an epic poem that filled 10 volumes. Joseph Glaser, a young composer at UBC took Cerulean, the main character of the epic, to heart as reflecting his own journey of discovery. He began work on a musical movement for volume 1 of the epic Cerulean Odyssey. It took him over a year. In the Spring of this year the movement was accepted by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for their annual Jean Coulthard Readings along with eight other young composers. The performance took place at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver on March 20, 2013. You can imagine my awe and thrill to hear the 7 minute movement played twice by the entire orchestra. There is was. My epic put to orchestral music. Now the composer wants to explore writing a full symphony for the entire epic poem. Imagine how difficult it is to share my joy with the hope others receive it as such, and not as me selling anything or proposing some sort of business opportunity?

Cereulan Odyssey is an integral part of my Doctoral work, as an expression of visual language and the experience of life at the intersection of art, critical thought, and spirituality such as the kingdom of God.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Essays and Papers on Hastac

For those of you interested in reading my essays and papers for research purposes or general reading, I have joined HASTAC to bring my voice to the public's attention. My first posting is a paper titled: "An Unfolding View of Cultural Engagement."
(Gerrit Verstraete - keywords: culture, cultural criticism, communications theory)
I checked and it seems best to enter the search words "cultural criticism". I'm about 4 down the list.

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, pronounced "haystack") is a virtual organization of more than 10,000 individuals and institutions dedicated to innovative new modes of learning and research, with network members contributing to the community by sharing work and ideas with others via the open-access website

HASTAC was founded in 2002 by Cathy N. Davidson, Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Co-director of the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at Duke University and co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, and David Theo Goldberg, Director of the University of California's state-wide Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI).


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