Monday, 23 March 2015


Alexis Fernandez - Detail - Bottom of the Dreams
If you have come this far, you know by now that our gallery has a loving motivation and a space of serenity.

Third thing you need to open a gallery is a business case, this is the tricky part.

Our business case is that we don’t have one.

The following is the statement that best defines my husband’s and my business abilities:  “If we invest in cemeteries, people will stop dying”.

Take good notes, because I have decided not to repeat this, as it doesn’t help to connect us with abundance, but it is just funny.

The truth is that our anti -business case is as follows:

We will not sell art to anybody.


This is also the concept behind the name of the gallery, VER  = To Look, in Spanish.

Our goal and utmost pleasure is to invite people to come and look (Ven a Ver…)

Just look.

We do believe art is something you cannot sell.

What we are hoping, really hoping, is that art will buy you.

When you think you have bought a piece of art, what is really happening is that you have been captured by a piece of yourself hidden in the artist’s universe.  

Job done.

Art has the magical capability to captivate you, to arrest you.

So before this gets too complicated, I summarize:

We don’t intend to sell art, that would even be disrespectful.

We are just hoping and facilitating the experience for you to find a piece of your dreams, a segment of your very inner self, in the artist’s truthful eye and expression.

Real art does this.  

Maybe now you might understand my husband’s and my previous business experiences and the joke I will not repeat again.

But, thinking twice, after all, people might really stop dying.

Art is eternal.

Next: Chapter 4: Marketing Strategy

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


So now that we established that love of art is the first motivation for starting an art gallery, the second step is to find a space.

Since this is a small business, fully funded by our savings, to start with, we could not afford an expensive lease.

So the solution was our home basement and that didn’t sound very appealing really.

Basements are dark places, covered with the dust of centuries, where things you don’t really want, hide for the rest of the eternity.  
All the opposite you need for an art gallery.

Art needs light. Naked light.

Basements are also a cluttered, chaotic department of our psyche, where air is trapped, ghosts dance and shadows remain.

Lots of secrets live in these low worlds of our homes and our minds.

So all in all, our basement was not exactly that welcoming and inviting.

However, it had three saving graces: it was big, it had a nice curved set of stairs that sail you down and, most important, we had nowhere else to put our pictures.

We persisted in the fascinating adventure of recovering the sub-world.

The task of rebuilding this underworld was beautiful. Subterranean spaces are also full of divine knowledge, with clear water streams and treasures.

There is also silence. Isabel Allende, Chilean writer, says that “life is a big noise between two abysmal silences”. In general, we all live in this big chaotic noisy world.

In the process of recovering the basement, we also achieved a certain kind of self-transformation. When you clean your underground layers, changes start happening.  Some state of peace suddenly covered our lives; the rest was painting, plumbers and electricians

“Canvas white” was the paint selection for the walls; ceiling lights were cleaned, inspected and repaired; furniture was donated and sold;  clutter was removed, not hidden somewhere else, but put in the best place they could be: away.

Suddenly we had a huge, beautiful, bright, quiet space, both in our house, and in our lives.

A space of serenity.

Art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos”
American author Saul Bellow

Next Post: Chapter 3: Our Business Plan (a very bizarre one)

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Nostalgia (nóstos, a return home, álgos, pain”): The painful longing for an absent home.
I don’t think I am sick with Nostalgia anymore. (it can be a disease)
Home is a roof under a kind piece of sky where you try to enjoy life.
But I have missed colours. Still do.
My office, where I have spent most of my hours for the last 9 years, used to look like this:

My old office

My backyard fence was grey, and I thought my whole life, even my thoughts were turning grey.  (I corrected this by painting a mural on my fence) Not sure if my neighbours appreciated it.
My old house: painted the whole thing grey when we left

When we moved to Calgary, we brought with us our modest Venezuelan art collection: Turrillo, Nieves, Borjas, Cavallieri, Baroni, Merchan, Alamo, Duro’. ( see Private Collection
Without being real connoisseurs, with a very naïve approach really, we love art, as, under the same premise, we love wine.  
Basically, we know if we like it or not, and at the end, art and wine, in their own way, have a similar effect:
It finds you. It touches you. It enraptures you. It makes you happy.
Our Venezuelan art helped the new sky, become a home. Also, we noticed, our pictures, were usually admired by our Canadian visitors and friends.
This might have given us the first clue. The light, theme and character of the Latin American art (Venezuelan in this case) were well appreciated in this latitude, at least in our house.
We would have never thought this would become a bigger challenge: to captivate a bigger audience.
Behind a new door, there is always a new uncertainty, a fascinating uncertainty. The start of an extravagance: An art gallery.
In my husband’s words, “nobody regrets an extravagance”, and, also his words, worst case scenario, nothing happens, we will find ourselves with a house full of art, and a heart full happiness.
So in March 2014 we started our Latin American Art collection in Calgary. Alberta.
Slowly, month after month, pictures started arriving and with each of them, a thrill, a feeling of excitement, a spark.
Colour, colour, colour, so desperately needed; brushstrokes of the tropical nights; the vibrant imagery and soul of southern latitudes; childhood dreams, lost places,  knocked our doors wrapped in tubes and DHL  boxes.
This is what we intend to share.
In summary, I think we have finally identified our main motivation:
Love of art.  
This is how our art gallery project started.
Ars longa, vita brevis

Next:  Chapter 2:  From dark to light: A space of serenity

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


Roberto Duro' /Anthem to Life (Canto a la Vida)  Coleccion Privada

For mysterious reasons, I keep in my wallet, the words I wrote for his funeral, December 21, 2007.

In the midst of the pain of the loss, I tried to capture his essence.

Roberto was, a loving man, a humble man, a kind man, an artist.

He was born in Spain (Catalonia) but spent most of his life in Caracas, sharing the light and the breezes of the valley with his beloved Mimi.

I want to dedicate this VER Art Gallery dream to our uncle, Roberto Duro’.

Pain touched his life deeply, as he lost his only son at the age of 20, from a terrible and painful disease.
Even after this tragedy, his human quality, his serene presence, his talent, remained and made him a giant.

His memory is as colourful and rich, as the picture that illustrates this post: Anthem to Life / Canto a la Vida.

VER Art Gallery is dedicated to the memory of this loving man, this modest, yet brilliant artist: Roberto Duro’.

What follows is the translation of his obituary.

In Memoriam:


In this moment I imagine you in some corner of the Universe, beside your son, among chords of guitar of your natal Spain and nostalgia of the Caracas’s Avila. I imagine you, serene and fulfilled; looking at the world through your bamboo telescope, “Catalejo de Bambu”, that was the name of the newspaper column you used to write and that defines precisely your particular way of observing the world. Ingeniously, sharply, and above of all, kindly. Once, you told me that kindness was the biggest virtue in a man. I think, in the long journey of your life, beside your beautiful Mimi, you exerted kindness in its purest way. Your love for art, for nature, for children, for earth, for everything that is authentic, was fruitful. I will always remember you as a man of exquisite spirit, delicious conversations, jokes, and explosive laughter.  I will remember you in the oranges of your garden, in the sharpness of your intelligent sense of humour. For all of us who had the honour of knowing you, your memory will always be the essence of talent and nobility. You have now arrived to your port; the journey is over; as well as the long wait for the encounter with your son. Now you can sit and paint those other landscapes, and observe us from there, beyond, with your bamboo telescope.

We will miss you.

Leonor Henriquez de Fontijn
Caracas 21 December, 2007


Always with me

Monday, 2 March 2015


Alexis Fernandez - Detail of the picture "Painting the Avila" -
Private collection

“When we dream alone, it is only a dream,
but when many dream together,
it is the beginning of a new reality”

F. Hunderwassen


My husband and I are engineers. We have lived in Calgary, Alberta, for the last nine years.

I am Venezuelan. He is English.

We both worked for the Oil and Gas business for years; too many years, for my taste.

I like to write, to read poetry, to play the piano and drink white wine. I also like painting, but my pictures go straight to the furnace room, or if they are lucky, to the garage.

My husband likes cars, read astrophysics books, Sudoku, gin&tonic and carpentry.

So, how is it that we ended up starting a Contemporary Latin American Art Gallery in Calgary?

We are still trying to answer that question.

This is what this blog is about.

VER ART GALLERY is our new reality.

Special thanks to the following people for supporting us on building the dream: for free.
They are truly “dreamineers”

Leo Perez - Graphic Designer and Visual Communications

Alba Gamboa – Software Engineer

Santiago Perez – Telecommunications Engineer and Business Developer

Carlos Vera – Economist and Financial Advisor

Maria Eugenia Otero – Art Agent

Sancho – Our four legged loyal friend.
Logo by Leo Perez -