PLEASE NOTE: Although this in-person class was limited to 4 participants and is technically full, I have moved to a larger studio space in Courtenay so I can accommodate a few more people! For enquiries and to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this lively weekend workshop, participants will learn how to bring more depth, movement, and dynamic brushwork into their landscape paintings, and strategies for mixing greens. On the second day you will apply the lessons to your own personal project. Nourishing lunches provided by the delightful Kimi Nakamura.
Some painting experience recommended. Oil or acrylic
March 25/26, 10am-4pm
Tuition: $300 includes GST E-transfer or cash
Registration: email@example.com 778-865-2650
Supply List and location provided upon registration.
Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ advance notice if you need to cancel at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.
Okay I’m in, I have a new studio! So great to spread out and have a real art-making space once again. Now that I’m sure I am staying in Courtenay I decided it’s time to put down roots. I’m thrilled to share this new bright space with you, a quirky old office building very near downtown. There is a bank of four windows facing east so I get some gorgeous morning light, then it evens out the rest of the day for fantastic painting illumination.
The Courtenay River is a half-block away so I can ride my bike to and from work, and take airy walks to view the ever-changing estuary and observe the bird and rabbit action (yes, rabbits!). Oh and there is a Bean Around the World just five minutes’ walk away for a little social time and great coffee.
Those of you who have signed up for my most recent course please take note of my new address:
#228b-2270 Cliffe at Mansfield Centre in Courtenay. It’s near the Airpark on the main drag before you hit downtown (that is if you are travelling north).
Are you a realist painter, and looking for ways to create more painterly flow and movement in your work? Join me in my studio for eight fun and challenging studio sessions amongst like-minded fellow artists.
If you have been painting alone, the group dynamic of a class creates a sense of camaraderie through an exchange of ideas. Warm-up exercises at the beginning of each session will give you new tools with which to understand how to move the paint around more freely.
Students can bring their personal projects already in process or start new ones in the class. The instructor will cover issues such as paint handling, improving drawing abilities, palette and composition tips as well as historical and contemporary painting references. Both acrylic and also oil painters with a little experience are welcome (no turpentine, please).
This is an intimate and friendly setting in a professional artist’s personal studio.
If this sounds like something you would like to take part in, feel free to call or text me at 778-865-2650 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past couple months I have been wanting to bring more of a feeling of confidence and directness that seems to have faded of late. Sometimes it’s good to refresh and work in a different medium and even subject matter for a while, in order to get out of old habits that may have become entrenched in one’s process.
So I decided to go back to drawing with ink pen. Here I am forced to own every mark because I cannot erase it. I felt like focussing on portrait, partly because I just like portraits and enjoy the challenge. The human form is the most challenging thing one can tackle as an artist, and I knew from previous experience that if I can have some success in that realm it can build back any confidence I may feel is lacking in my work.
I grabbed this image from my travel photos, which I had spotted in a Parisian shop window in the 6th arrondissment:
I had always wanted to make something from this, but wasn’t sure if it fit with the other work I was doing. So now was the time:
I liked this one a lot in terms of the colour and texture in the original photo, and wanted to see how I might try combine the ink pen with water-based media. So I made it again:
In this one I am using gouache. At first I worked with very transparent washes, especially in the detailing of the jacket. I was careful not to cover up the liveliness of the ink lines. You can get the most vibrant colour when you use glazing and let the white of the paper show through.
But when it came to the face and hair, I was pushed to work pretty thickly, more like oil-paint in order to achieve the painterly quality of brushwork I like to see.
Gouache dries darker when you use more water– the best way to hit the correct values is to be bold and use just paint. In the background I used a technique whereby instead of just plain grey, I broke it up into warm and cool light value brush strokes. I was influenced by a wonderful portrait artist I have discovered on Instagram named Nicolás Uribe. Check out his work at https://www.ourpaintedlives.com/.
I was also thinking of Manet’s portraits I love so much, especially this one which I think I may have shared before:
I also had my new friend Heather come to my studio and sit for me. There was a kind of failed attempt at painting her from life which was partly because my space at the time was not very suitable for this due to the less than adequate lighting setup. I have just secured a bigger studio so I look forward to sharing more about that soon.
Although I did achieve a likeness in two and a half hours, I found myself bumping up against what I have noticed in the past– I have trouble drawing and painting people I know from life, because I feel compelled to engage with them as friends. This gets in the way of the quiet and for me fragile, vulnerable process of looking and recording, which takes all of my concentration. And I need to put in a lot of time until I am satisfied. Not everyone can give that amount of time, and I would feel like it is too much to ask to do so.
So I decided to try a new tack by arranging a photo shoot. Heather could only give me twenty minutes out of her busy schedule as a graphic designer and her part-time day job, so I wanted to be as efficient as possible.
Here is an ink sketch from that session, enhanced with opaque white gel pen, because I always end up needing to make alterations in portraiture. So you could say that this is inching into the world of painting by adding a bit of white:
And here is an oil-painting of Heather:
Heather wore this fantastic scarf that I admire which added some pattern energy. And I love the sculptural shape of Heather’s hairstyle. Her dark features remind me a little of Manet’s sister-in-law and a talented artist in her own right, Berthe Morisot. She sat for him many times:
In my research I also did a back-to-the-basics online oil painting course with UK artist Alex Tsavaras. He delivers very good, clear instruction at SIMPLIFY Drawing and Painting and on his Patreon channel. This was a very humbling experience. I admire his direct, beautiful brushwork in his portraits and looked closely at his supply list, which introduced me to some wonderful brushes I have added to my arsenal of tools: Rosemary and Co Eclipse Comber long-haired brushes.
They are synthetic but feel like animal hair, with more spring and muscle than softer sables. They can be used for oil, acrylic, or gouache. I made a few pet portraits and discovered they are fantastic for doing detail such as hair and fur.
I’m in the process of testing the comber brushes on other subject matter such as branches, twigs and fern-fronds in landscape.
And now it’s time to plan the move into my new studio. Talk soon!
If you think you can’t draw, this course is for you! This jumpstart into drawing expands the student’s ability to perceive and render the world around them. You will be introduced to contour drawing, gesture, mark-making, approaches to basic portraiture and figure drawing without measuring, and more. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what all of this means!
No experience necessary. 😉 Bring your 2B pencil, and eraser and a stack of inexpensive paper or a sketchbook
Sunday Jan 22, 2021 10am-4pm
Tuition: $90 incl GST E-transfer or cash
Location: Val’s studio in Courtenay, BC (location details upon registration)
I offer private in-person classes, and classes for up to four students at my studio in Courtenay, Vancouver Island. email@example.com!
CURRENT CLASS OFFERINGS: I usually have several group classes on offer, just check the class menu on my homepage.
GIFT OF ART Coupon: Do you have a loved one you would like to inspire through gifting them with a class coupon? Email me and we can set that up! firstname.lastname@example.org
CUSTOM PRIVATE CLASSES for Individuals and couples – Bring a friend, family member, or co-worker! I design lessons just for you, based on your needs and your schedule. You get plenty of personal attention in these intimate classes! Choose from some of the lesson ideas in the Class Menu, or let’s chat and come up with a plan.
Classes for two: $160/hr incl GST / Package of 4 hours $350 each incl GST
Group Classes: $400 half-day/ $750 full day ( a half-day is 3 hrs/full day 6 hrs)
Artist talk: $350
Painting Demo: $350
*Cancellation policy: One weeks’ notice is required if you must cancel. Cancellation must be by email to email@example.com or text 778-865-2650. Sorry due to the small class sizes, there are no refunds, however I am happy to credit you toward a future class within a 12-month period.
Instructor Biography: A finalist in the Royal Bank Painting Competition, Val Nelson has exhibited widely across Canada, and has taught painting at the Shadbolt Arts Centre, Emily Carr University, and Vancouver Island School of Art. She has 1800+ students and five-star reviews for her online painting course with Bluprint (formerly Craftsy). Val believes that painting can be fun and challenging, offering a beautiful pathway to self-realisation.
I’m excited to continue to offer in-person classes. The vibe is so much better when we are all in the same room! Please join me for my upcoming Winter 2023 in-person sessions of Painting for Beginners.
I so love teaching this class because I get to watch my students glean understanding and quickly move forward with their painting technique. My goal is for you come away from this class with the confidence to make your own work in your home studio.
Not sure if this class is for you? Below are some common questions I am asked that I hope will inspire you to jump right in and get the paint flowing.
“Do I need to have painted before?” Some of my students are taking up their paint brush for the first time. We all knew how to make art when we were children. We were born creative! It’s just that some of us kind of forgot somewhere along the way! Be assured, it does come back with a little coaching. Some of you have enjoyed playing with paint and experimenting, but may have felt frustrated because of some technical questions you just couldn’t find a way around. That’s where I come in!
“I don’t really know how to draw.” Don’t worry! Learning to paint is largely allowing yourself to open up your perception. I take you step-by-step through a process that helps you train your brain to learn how to really see. It’s super cool. In fact, you might even notice that as you expand your abilities in painting, you see the world around you differently too.
“What will I learn?” In six information-packed three-hour sessions, you will learn important steps to building an acrylic painting using a loose, impressionistic approach. As you paint a simple still life, I give demonstrations to help you understand the block-in, develop your work with more detail, and learn about how value, basic colour theory, edge control, and brushwork can be used to create a dynamic painting with strong structure. By the end of the class, you will have begun and possibly completed your own personal project.
“Yikes, that sounds complicated!” Nope. The class begins with limited colour and gradually expands to full-colour projects. And the class size is small, so you get plenty of one-on-one instruction.
“I have a crazy schedule. What if I have to miss a class?” If you must miss a class, I will do my best to fill you in when you return.
“Great! When does it start, and how much does it cost?” Classes are on Monday afternoons, beginning Jan 23, 2023. See below for more details!
PAINTING FOR BEGINNERS
SixMonday afternoons, 3-6pm
Mondays 3-6pm: Jan 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, & 27
ClassFee: $425 (includes GST)
Location: Courtenay, BC–details provided upon registration
Supply List: Provided upon registration
How to pay: Cash or E-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s just one week left to view my solo exhibition at Visualspace Gallery in Vancouver. If you haven’t yet been able to view the show, I hope you can make it! The show closes Saturday, May 7.
I’m so grateful that there was a great turnout at my opening and also my artist talk. So many friendly and enthusiastic friends, art lovers, and former students. Thank you so much for coming!
A sneakpeek virtual tour of the show can be viewed on the gallery’s Instagram page, and the entire collection can be viewed here. A video of my talk is being edited and we will be able to share it with you soon.
Never say never, but these may be the last historic interiors I paint, as new things are percolating in my studio now.
Hi folks, I’ve had a few requests for class offerings for the Spring, but have been focussing on my Vancouver show and will be taking a little time away from teaching. Thanks for your interest! I may teach a few in-person workshops this summer, so stay tuned.