LOVE! BIRDS! Drawing event at Mudsharks Mar 11, 6-7:30pm

Please join me at Mudsharks Cafe in Courtenay for a group drawing event. The theme this time will be LOVE! BIRDS! We will be making colorful drawings of birds using mixed drawing materials. Just bring yourself, and your smile. Come a little early for a drink and some food. 🙂

$20 all supplies included.

Questions? Feel free to contact me here: val@valnelson.ca 778-865-02650

MAKES A GREAT GIFT FOR YOUR VALENTINE!

REGISTRATION IS IN-PERSON AT THE FRONT COUNTER. Limited seating of 12.

Mudsharks Cafe (250) 338-0939

255 6th Street #111, Courtenay, BC V9N 1L9 Canada

DRAWING CRASH COURSE ONE-DAY WORKSHOP Wednesday, Jan 10, 2024 9:30am-3:30pm

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. 😉

SUPPLY LIST: Bring your 2B pencil, an eraser and a stack of inexpensive paper or a sketchbook

TUITION: $95 incl GST

TO REGISTER: Please email val@valnelson expressing your interest.  An E-transfer secures your spot! Please send to val@valnelson.ca

LOCATION: 2270 Cliffe Ave, #228b

Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.

PAINTING SKILL-BUILDER

Once-per-month painting challenges, to advance your painting chops!

Fall 2023 Dates: The 3rd Monday afternoon of each month: September 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18. As this class is becoming popular, please note we may run this course again in 2024, contact Val if you are interested!

Time: 4-7pm

Location: Val Nelson Studio, 2270 Cliffe Ave, Suite #228a (enter at back door)

Tuition/Registration: $285 for 4 sessions sent by E-transfer to: val@valnelson.ca (or cash also appreciated) Drop-ins $75: email val@valnelson with enquiries



This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3857-skillbuilder-tegan-steve-750x750.jpeg

Painting Skill-builder is an ongoing series of three-hour painting sessions designed to enhance your painting abilities and move your painting practise to the next level! Tackling assigned exercises with specific target skills for each session, we will mostly be working from direct observation. Through this process, you will expand your capacity to see and render forms in space with more confidence, develop an eye for proportion, understand colour more deeply, and absorb the possibilities of brushwork nuance . If you have been painting alone, the camaraderie of a group dynamic can inject new energy into your artistic process. The group meets once per month, with a commitment via pre-registration as a benefit to you (for accountability!) and the other participants. Acrylic or oil.

Pre-requisite: Painting for Beginners Class or equivalent based on your previous work

Fall 2023 Dates: The 3rd Monday afternoon of each month: September 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18

Time: 4-7pm

Location: Val Nelson Studio, 2270 Cliffe Ave, Suite #228a (enter at back door)

Tuition/Registration: $285 for 4 sessions sent by E-transfer to: val@valnelson.ca (or cash also appreciated) Drop-ins $75

Supply list: Provided upon registration

Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which time I will be happy to credit you toward a future class within a year of your class purchase.



WINTER 2024: Painting for Beginners Jan 16-Feb 20

Six 3-hour sessions, Tuesdays 4-7pm: Jan 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, & 20

Tuition: $425

Location: Val Nelson Studio, 2270 Cliffe Ave, Suite #228b

beginner-colour

I so love teaching this class because I get to watch my students quickly move forward with their painting technique. My goal is for you to gain confidence to paint independantly in your home studio, and have some fun.

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 see more deeply. 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.

Below is the final project of a student who had only “dabbled a little with watercolor” and done some introductory drawing with me before completing this course:

Student final 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 start Tuesday afternoons, 4-7 pm beginning January 16, 2024.

TO REGISTER: Please email val@valnelson expressing your interest.  Payments made via E-transfer to : val@valnelson.ca 778-865-2650

Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.

CLASSES OVERVIEW

I offer in-person classes for up to six students at my professional art studio in Courtenay, Vancouver Island. Check the Classes menu above for current offerings. These often include Painting for Beginners, my One-Day Drawing Crash Course, Painting Skill-builder, Landscape Painting, and sometimes my Loosen Up! painting course. If you have a class idea you would like me to offer, let me know.

Take a look below to see other options that are available, such as private lessons, lessons for two, drawing and painting demos, mentorship for serious students wanting to build a professional art practise, and art talks. I am also offering Zoom classes depending on space in my schedule. Feel free to reach out if you would like to learn with me! val@valnelson.ca 778-865-2650

Landscape Painting Weekend
One-Day Drawing Crash Course
Painting for Beginners

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! val@valnelson.ca

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.

Privates: $120/hr / Package of 4 hours $425

Classes for two: $160 / Package of 4 hours $640

Group Classes: $400 half-day / $750 full day (half-day is 3 hrs/full day 6 hrs)

I offer customized in-person group art sessions for art groups, to nurture corporate and small business staff team-building.

Mentorship/Critique: $120/hr

Artist talk: $350

Painting Demo: $350

*Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which time I will be happy to credit you toward a future class within a year of your class purchase.

About the Instructor: For Val, painting is an act of devotion, offering a profound pathway to self-realisation and transformation. “Pigments have a consciousness. When I paint, I imbue these materials with the focussed energies of my heart, mind, and gestures of my body. The pigments absorb these energetic frequencies, and project them back out to the viewer. Painting is its own language, beyond words and the limitations of the logical mind.”

A former professional ballet dancer, Val went on to study at Emily Carr University, where she graduated in 1988 with honours and received the Helen Pitt Award. A finalist in the Royal Bank Painting Competition, Val has been painting full-time since 2003, exhibiting for a number of years at Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver and Toronto, and Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal. She has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Centre and St Georges’ Senior School in Vancouver, and has taught painting at the Shadbolt Arts Centre, Emily Carr University, Vancouver Island School of Art, and since 2009, out of her private painting studio. Her work is in public collections including Canada Council Art Bank, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver General Hospital, and many private collections. Val has 1800+ students and five-star reviews for her online painting course with Craftsy.

I’m so looking forward to making art with you!

TARGET PRACTICE

Over the past couple months I have been wanting to bring more of a feeling of 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 partly because tackling the human form is the most challenging thing one can approach as an artist; it enhances your skill level, sothat anything else you draw or paint can come more easily.

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:

A Bar at the Folies Bergére, Edouard Manet, 1882, Collection of the Courtauld Institute

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:

Detail of a portrait of Berthe Morisot by Édouard Manet

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.

Pumpkin, oil on primed paper, 2023

I’m in the process of testing the comber brushes on other subject matter such as branches, twigs and fern-fronds in landscape.

Talk soon!

warmly,

Val

One Week Left: VAL NELSON at VISUALSPACE GALLERY

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. 

Visualspace Gallery

3352 Dunbar Street at 17th Ave

Vancouver, BC

604-559-0576

Gallery hours: Tues to Sat, noon to 5 pm

Gallery director: Yukiko Onley

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 7-TheLightofTruth24x30in-email-750x606.jpg

PHANTOM DNA at VISUALSPACE GALLERY

I’m excited to announce my solo gallery exhibition April 7-May 7 at Visualspace Gallery in Vancouver. Now that things are opening up again in BC, it’s time to celebrate! I look forward to seeing my wonderful friends and supporters there, with their smiles. 🙂

Please join me for the OPENING RECEPTION on Saturday April 9, 2-4pm. There will also be an ARTIST GALLERY TOUR ON April 23 at 2 pm.

Photography credit: Diane Burroughes

THE PAINTED PORTRAIT

I will be demonstrating a copy of a 16th century anonymous master for the Chemainus Art Group next week. I did this open acrylic study on cardboard to prep for that. I used a very limited palette: Titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red, and raw umber, similar to the Zorn Palette but replacing black with the warmer umber. It’s fascinating to see how much range you can achieve with only four colours.