By going "Back to school at 65," I embarked upon an academic and scholarly adventure to complete a Master of Arts in Communication and Technology degree (University of Alberta, Canada), where I am also currently enrolled in a Doctoral program at UofA's St.Stephen's College. My focus is research at the intersection of art, critical thought and spirituality. I have been a professional artist since I graduated from OCAD University (1968, when it was the Ontario College of Art). I am a poet and a writer with a passion to give a written voice to what has been the experience of a comprehensive visual and spiritual journey. I live on a small Pacific northwest coastal island in British Columbia, Canada.
I also have a blog at http://backtoschoolat65.blogspot.ca
Gerrit V.L.Verstraete AOCA, BFA, MA.
He has been a professional artist for over 45 years. He began his fine art studies as a child in the Netherlands, his country of birth. In 1950, at age five, he was introduced to formal art lessons by renowned Dutch artist, Stien Eelsingh (1903 -1964), who was also co-founder of the arts group Het Palet at the Hopmanshuis in the medieval city of Zwolle, home of the Verstraete family. In 1958, the Verstraete family moved to Canada. After completing high school in 1964, he enrolled at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto and graduated in 1968 (now OCAD University). Special mentors who influenced his work were: Canadian drawing masters Eric Freifeld, John Newman, Tom La Pierre, Richard Nevitt, Fred Hagen, John Alfsen and David Owen Campbell, as well as Renaissance drawing master, Michelangelo.
He has a Bachelor of Fine arts degree from Thompson Rivers University, and a Master of Arts in Communication & Technology, from the University of Alberta. he is currently doing research for his Doctorate degree, at St.Stephen’s College / University of Alberta.
In 1968, he founded and owned a commercial design studio that soon grew into a nationally accredited advertising agency. For 15 years, his creativity appeared in print, on billboards, radio, television, in corporate design and "business theatre". His work included many creative projects especially in the world of performing arts with some of Canada's leading dance and theatre companies. In 1982, he founded the Christian Communications Centre whose work included teaching, seminar and conference management, and publishing.
In 1993, he moved his family to Gabriola Island, British Columbia, on Canada’s spectacular Pacific northwest coast (some 3 hrs. north of Seattle). There he built a large family home including a spacious studio. Today he spends full time drawing and painting in his Masterpeace Fine Art Studio. He is one of the world’s leading artists who works in silverpoint, both in its traditional form and contemporary experimental forms.
Gerrit Verstraete is founder of the non-profit, educational Drawing Society of Canada. In 2005, he launched the Canadian Academy of Drawing featuring an online classical figurative drawing course based on the renowned “Drawing Course” by Charles Bargue, first published in Paris in 1860, and a favourite of the French and English Academies. Students from many countries study this course online under Gerrit Verstraete’s critique and mentorship.
Gerrit Verstraete’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries and is collected by individuals as well as corporations and institutions. And when he does manage to find extra time, he continues to write poetry, including the contemporary epic “Cerulean’s Odyssey”, begun in 2004. The epic was completed with over 10 volumes in 2012, and is the longest epic poem in Canadian literary history.
He and his wife Alice are founders of the Church On The Rock, and the HOPE Centre on Gabriola island.
© 2012. www.gverstraete.com / www.masterpeacegallery.com www.drawingsociety.com