This engagjng three-day themed painting workshop focuses on the theme of “Arcadia”. In terms of subject, Arcadia could be represented by a place in nature, a poetic space in the imagination, or a cozy domestic interior. Conceptually Arcadia could also suggest a frame of mind where one can feel free to let go and express oneself, using art-making as a forum for play and pleasure. Bring your sense of humour!

The workshop includes a brief slide lecture of inspiring historic and contemporary artists who have a “loose” approach to their work. For instance, paintings by artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, and Edouard Manet offered a way of painting that broke free of the constraints of expectation around colour palette, painting technique, and the idea of “finish” in painting. More recent artists such as David Hockney and Karen Kilimnik bring their unique sensibility into their work that has one foot in the past yet looks unmistakably of today.

Over the course of the workshop,participants will be assigned fun and challenging timed painting exercises to build confidence to take risks and discover new strategies to their painting practice. Includes blind-contour drawing, semi-blind painting, collaborative painting, limited palette, mark-making, experimental colour, and other approaches to make the process more playful and exciting.

The workshop will culminate with a final personal painting project.

Oil and acrylic. A supply list will be provided in plenty of time before the workshop.

October 22, 23, 24:  9:30-4pm 

Tuition: $202.25

Registration deadline: October 7, 2019

Location: The Art Studio, North Island College, 9669 Roger St, Port Alberni

To register please contact Sue Thomas: suzyqt@telus.net

Instructor Biography: A finalist in the Royal Bank Painting Competition, Val Nelson has exhibited widely across Canada, and her work has been collected enthusiastically worldwide. Val has taught painting at the Gordon Smith Gallery, 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-realization.



12 x 16” Canvas-paper multi-sheet pad or 10 primed canvasses

Paint (oil or acrylic)

Titanium white 150 ml

Cadmium yellow light or cadmium lemon 150 ml

Quinacrodone red 150 ml

Ultramarine blue 150 ml

Pthalo green 150 ml

Burnt umber 150 ml

Brushes: Bring what you have, generally bristle brushes for oil painters, synthetic brushes for acrylic painters. Below are recommended sizes and brush types.

Filberts, two of each: #12, #6,  #2

Round x 2: #0

1.5” flat synthetic brush

Mediums and Accessories for Oil painters

Gamblin Galkyd light 16oz or Liquin original 250ml or your preferred quick-dry medium

1 litre Gamblin Gamsol or equivalent odorless mineral spirits (no turpentine please)

3 x 250 ml glass containers with lids

Brush holder, or 500 ml glass jar to hold brushes

Grey disposable palette sheets 12 x 16” (White okay if grey not available.)

Mediums and Accessories for Acrylic painters

Golden satin glazing liquid or equivalent 8oz

Bucket or 2 x 1 litre yogurt containers for water

Plastic yogurt container lid for medium

Grey disposable palette sheets 12 x 16” (White okay if grey not available.)

Large spray bottle for water


We will be working from photo images. I will provided many for the studies, but bring along several of your own printed photo images for your final project(s) which you will paint on Day Three,

on the theme of “Arcadia”. Recommended print size bigger than a snapshot ie 8 x 12”

Tabletop easel or free-standing easel if you have one. Or you can just work on the tabletop.

Brown bag lunch/ snacks

Masking tape or green housepainter tape

Sketchbook and HB pencil

Box-cutter knife or pencil sharpener

1/8” MDF board 24 x 36 inch

Chopsticks or thin bamboo (½” or ¼” in width and approx. 15” long) x 6


2 small trowel-type palette knives  (approx 1” long blades)

Plentyof shop-towels or paper towels or rags

Nitrile disposable gloves (latex-free, available at London Drugs) or barrier cream (art supply store)

To wear: Apron or old clothes and old shoes


A Beginner Student with her final projects. A big jump forward from Day 1!

Do you love art but need some guidance on how to make your own? Painting For Beginners on Sunday mornings 10am-1pm still has room for you! We start with really basic steps and build each weekend for 6 sessions until you really understand it! And if you already know something about the painting process, there is still Saturday afternoons available for the Open Painting Studio, 2:30-5:30pm, also 6 sessions.

Classes start September 28, so act now to make your weekend art-filled! See the Class menu above to find out more.


Check out my upcoming workshops for the Fall which take place at my 1000 Parker Street studio. You can find them listed in order under the Classes menu.

I’m excited to be doing a workshop in Medicine Hat September 14/15, a well as guest teaching in November at Dene Croft’s studios in North Van.

Flow: Works from the Permanent Collection

See paintings, sculptures, and ceramics from our Permanent Collection that “flow” in different ways. (Featured image: Val Nelson, Rush Hour 2 (2014), oil on canvas, 122 cm x 152 cm. Collection of Surrey Art Gallery, gift of the artist.)

Our world is marked by the ever-present movement of peoples, products, and ideas over vast distances and at rapid speeds. These movements and transmissions dictate the limits of life, the energetic potential of nature, the dynamics of economies, and the transformative potential of society and individuals.

Our world is marked by the ever-present movement of peoples, products, and ideas over vast distances and at rapid speeds. These movements and transmissions dictate the limits of life, the energetic potential of nature, the dynamics of economies, and the transformative potential of society and individuals.

Sara Graham, Thornton Rail Yard, Surrey #4 (2015), mixed papers and silicone glue.

Drawing from Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection, the over two dozen artworks presented address numerous themes, including transnational migration, the circulation of information and data, the force of waterways and weather systems, the physical movement of human bodies, and the transportation of materials and products to market by rail or by foot.

Some works, like Val Nelson’s painting Rush Hour 2 (2014), draw attention to the flow of people in our cities. In particular, Nelson’s work examines the relationship between the congestion of our roadways with our culture’s enthusiasm for grand detached homes and single-occupancy vehicles. Delving more into the movement of goods, Sara Graham’s Thornton Railyard, Surrey, BC (2015) uses miniature filigreed collage techniques to depict the contours and history of movement of one of British Columbia’s largest rail yards.

Brendan Tang, Manga Ormolu Version 4.1-a (2009), ceramic clay and mixed media.

Soheila Esfahani’s The Immigrants: Homage to F.H. Varley (2015) reimagines a classic image of new immigrants arriving in Canada as seen in Varley’s c.1922 painting with found blue and white porcelain plates and custom ceramic decals. Brendan Lee Satish Tang’s brightly coloured clay vessel Manga Ormolu Version 4.1-a (2009) combines stylistic elements from Ming Dynasty era ceramics with techno-pop robotic elements reminiscent of Japanese anime, manga, toys, and video games. Out of Tang’s vessel gushes a black pumice-like ectoplasm meant to evoke both nineteenth-century spiritualism and twentieth-century science fiction. The potential for gushing black liquid of another sort is seen in Edward Burtynsky’s large-scale photographs showing shiny steel liquid natural gas pipelines zig-zagging across British Columbian landscapes.

The wide variety of images and objects make visible some of the most central conflicts and issue of our time.

The opening reception is the evening of April 14th.
We hope that you will be able to join us for the opening and post-opening gathering later that same evening.

Exhibition Details
Location: Surrey Art Gallery – 13750 88 Ave
Price: Free
Date: Apr 14, 2018 – Jun 10, 2018
Tuesday – Thursday, 9am – 9pm
Friday, 9am-5pm
Saturday, 10am-5pm
Sunday, 12-5pm
Closed Mondays and holidays

SPLASH Art Auction Benefits Young Creators

I’m thrilled to have my work included in a strong roster of artists in support of Arts Umbrella’s excellent art programs for children at the Splash Art Auctionwhich takes place October 13, 2018 at Vancouver’ Fairmont Hotel.

Among the artists donating work are Fiona Ackerman, Douglas Coupland, Andy Dixon, Graham Gillmore, Angela Grossman, Marie Khouri, and Etienne Zack, to name just a few. The donated paintings, photography, and sculpture can be viewed at the beautiful Pendulum Gallery in the Hong Kong bank in downtown Vancouver on Georgia Street, across from the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Preview runs through October 2.

Arts Umbrella provides the highest quality dance, theatre, and visual arts programming for young people and, for nearly 40 years, they have helped more than half a million children and youth explore their potential and build community. Each year, they serve more than 20,000 young people, reaching close to 16,000 through free community programs across Metro Vancouver. Arts Umbrella is also about to expand their programming across Canada.


OCTOBER 13, 2018
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 West Georgia Street

Tickets are sold out, which is great news, but there is a waitlistbeing taken and it’s possible to make absentee bids.


New Drawings

Lux 2, 7 x 7 inches, white painted wood frame, 8-ply mat, $695

Are you thinking that you would like a drawing to brighten your space? Between some of my larger paintings, I like to put my attention towards drawings. Please contact me for a private art viewing, or to put aside a piece for you.


Thank you so much!


val@valnelson.ca    778-865-2650

“Art-making Magic”: Contemporary Art Bus Tour from Surrey to View Vancouver Studios

    Photo credit: Michael Cox

Six-hour trip on Nov. 8 will be led by Surrey Art Gallery staff

SURREY — A tour bus organized by Surrey Art Gallery is headed to Vancouver to visit studios where “artmaking magic happens,” on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The six-hour daytime Contemporary Art Bus Tour, led by SAG curator Jordan Strom and curatorial researcher Rhys Edwards, will make stops at six studios on Vancouver’s Eastside, including those operated by artists Lyse Lemieux, Elizabeth McIntosh, Ian Wallace, Tiko Kerr, Val Nelson and Judson Beaumont.

“This is a fabulous, up-close opportunity to talk to several critically acclaimed artists about how they make art and organize their studios to facilitate their creative process,” notes a post on the city’s website.

“On this tour, you’ll experience a real diversity of art mediums, styles, and studios while getting to know some prominent Vancouver artists.”

The fee is $39 for the tour, designed for those aged 16 and up. Tour runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is presented by Surrey Art Gallery in partnership with Surrey Art Gallery Association, or SAGA, a non-profit society.

More event details can be found at surrey.ca/artgallery, or call 604-501-5566.

-Tom Zillich, Surrey Now Leader


CRAFTSY Online Painting Class

For those of you who enjoy my paintings and also like painting yourselves,  you might like an inside view of how I make them! Here’s a link for 25% off on my CRAFTSY online class: Loosen Up! Techniques for the Painterly Approach. Lots of tips on brushwork, composition, and some pointers on colour mixing. Enjoy!



Palace of the Mind: EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL Nov 17-20

Come visit my studio during the Crawl and see my current collection of paintings and prints–– Optimistic Pursuits: Palace of the Mind. 10% of sales benefit Vancouver Recovery Through Art Society.

Nov 17 & 18: 5-10pm

Nov 20-21: 10am-6pm

#322b-1000 Parker Street, East Vancouver



Little Theatre of the Mind, 11 x 15 inches, drypoint print, Invitational Group Show at Fine Art Framing #100-1000 Parker Street

My paintings and drawings of baroque and rococo interiors invite the viewer to surrender to spaces of seductive old-world opulence and beauty. Sometimes serene and restful, sometimes “crashed” together with mysterious juxtapositions such as urban traffic jams, they suggest the interior life of the human imagination, in its limitless capacity to transform reality.

Intimate drawings of Paris rooftops and historic European interiors in warm magentas and ochres appeal to the dreamer as a place of refuge, distant from the cares of the world. As these tend to sell quickly, please let me know you’re interested in them! I’m going to Paris in Spring of 2017 and  taking requests for drawings that I make from that trip.  I’m also planning a pop-up exhibition based on myresearch there.

Look for the magic Optimistic Pursuits drawing pencil! (by donation, 100% to VRTS)


I’m thrilled to support this wonderful initiative whose front line is The Art Studios, providing art classes, workshops, psycho-educational groups, and studio time for people struggling with mental health and addictions issues. It is an incredible space, both in regards to the dedicated and patient staff that work tirelessly to help make the studio run and to the talented artists that come to utilize the space. Most significant is the honesty, comfort, and candidness that the members so freely share in regards to having mental health and addictions issues. Many clients are quick to attribute massive changes and benefits in their lives to the program and the community that it has created.

Mark your calendar also for November 24th at Heritage Hall from 12-8pm: The Art Studios Winter Art Sale. Proceeds from the artwork sold will go to the artists themselves and to the members’ fund, in addition to the money raised from donations, the silent auction and raffle. Don’t miss the opportunity to see an amazing and varied array of artworks set to the backdrop of live music, and, more importantly, come and show encouragement and support to talented people healing themselves through art, while trying to help others do the same.