In this lively weekend workshop, participants will learn how to bring more depth, movement, and dynamic brushwork into their landscape paintings. Expanding the range of your green mixtures will also be covered. Students will execute several landscape studies and also work on a personal project they bring to class.

Some painting experience recommended. Oil or acrylic

A delicious lunch will be provided by Kimi Nakamura, consisting of gluten-free, vegetarian dishes designed to feed the body and mind in support of the creative atmosphere of the workshop!  

Please provide any dietary requests upon sign-up

November 19/20, 10am-4pm

Tuition: $285 incl GST

In-person class limited to 4 participants..

Registration: 778-865-2650

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.

New offering: Pet Portrait Commissions

Our beloved furry friends from the animal kingdom who share our homes and hearts are so much part of the family. Below is a portrait I made of my male cat Radar. He was quite the character–my former husband and I adopted Radar when he was “fired” from the film industry as an aspiring movie cat because he couldn’t take direction!

Our home already “belonged” to Frieda (our calico cat) when Radar arrived. Mayhem ensued for about seven days because Frieda was really pissed off about having to endure the presence of this very large rambunctious newcomer. Then about one week later, there was a moment we saw them on the windowsill, sitting quite close together and looking pretty relaxed. Whew! They brightened our lives for the next 15 years.

If you have a beloved pet you would like to have commemorated with a handmade artwork, shoot me an email and I will send you a quote on a few options. This could range from an oil painting on canvas to a simple pencil drawing.

Please note: I just discovered there is another Valerie Nelson who makes pet portraits. Duh-0h. Total fluke! I am NOT “Val’sPetPortraits” who seems to be located in Ontario. 🙂

I’m Val Nelson in Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada. Contact:

DRAWING CRASH COURSE ONE-DAY WORKSHOP Saturday Nov 26, 2022, 10am-4pm

SATURDAY, Nov 26, 2022, 10am-4pm

If you think you can’t draw, this course is for you! We had some lovely breakthroughs in my previous Weekend Drawing Crash Course so I thought I would keep this course going. This jumpstart into drawing expands the student’s ability to perceive and render the world around them. You will be introduced to contour drawing, massing into gesture, mark-making, easy approaches to basic portraiture and figure drawing without measuring, and more. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what that means!

No experience necessary. 😉 Bring your HB pencil and 8.5 x 11″ sketchbook.

SATURDAY, Nov 26, 2022, 10am-4pm

Tuition: $85 incl GST

Location: Val’s studio in Courtenay, BC (exact address emailed to you upon registration)

Registration: By Email to

PAINTING FOR BEGINNERS with Val Nelson Fall 2022 Mondays: Sept 19, 26, Oct 3, (break for Thanksgiving), Oct 17, 24 & 31

Hey Painter Wannabes! Please join me for the upcoming Fall 2022 sessions of Painting for Beginners.

I so love teaching this class because I get to watch my students light up and get cracking at the easel with a little technical know-how.

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 Sept 19, 2022. See below for more details!



Six Monday afternoons, 3-6pm

Sept 19, 26, Oct 3, (break for Thanksgiving), Oct 17, 24 & 31

Class Fee: $420 (includes GST)

Location: Courtenay, BC, details provided upon registration

Supply List: Provided upon registration

How to pay: Cash, or E-transfer to

To register: 778-865-2650

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


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


Gallery hours: Tues to Sat, noon to 5 pm

Gallery director: Yukiko Onley

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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.


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

New! LOOSEN UP Painting Tips: Series of 6 x One-hour Lessons

Saturdays 2-3pm. Jan 15, 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 19

Loosen Up, Oil on mylar, 24 x 36 inches, 2021

Do you feel a bit stuck in your painting process? Do you yearn to find your own “style” and get out of your own way in the studio so you can have more fun? Part of the solution lies in mindset, and part of it is technical. By working through a series of painterly problems, you will come away with a number of strategies that you can apply to your refresh your studio time beyond the lessons.

Some experience recommended. Oil or acrylic. Supply list provided upon registration.

Tuition: $145 incl GST


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.