Paper works and New Paintings: EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL Nov 15-18, 2018

For the first time at the Culture Crawl I’m offering a limited edition print of one of my paintings, Rush Hour. There will be only 10 in the edition,  10 x 10 inches on archival paper with archival inks. A framed sample beautifully put together by Fine Art Framing will be on display in my studio. I will be taking orders for this and a few other limited editions  also available at a price point that allows for affordable gift-giving, for a loved one, or for yourself!

Rush Hour, 10 x 10 inch limited edition print on archival paper

Also available: A 50-page book of select paintings from twelve years of my Tourist series.

As well you will find six new paintings, and  a drypoint print, Syon House Interior that I recently re-discovered in my print portfolio, along with some framed 7 x 7 inch 3-colour pencil crayon drawings.

Detail, Syon House Interior, drypoint print with chine collé on BFK Rives paper
Detail of one of several drawings on offer.

See you there!

1000 Parker Street, #322b

EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL DATES AND HOURS

Thursday, November 15
5 pm – 10 pm

Friday, November 16
5 pm – 10 pm

Saturday, November 17
11 am – 6 pm

Sunday, November 18
11 am – 6 pm

Haptic Splendour

For the past 15 years, I’ve painted opulent European 18th and 19th century interiors. Designed as theatrical displays of status and power by wealthy aristocrats and bourgeoisie, these formerly private sites are now museums, providing entertainment and pleasure for touristic consumption, while also opening up a space for philosophical contemplation.

Although I use photography as a structural device through which I enter the painting process, with each piece I always seem to arrive at a point of crisis where I need to break free from the tyranny of the image. Through partly destroying the image I discover fresh solutions to painterly problems I set for myself.

Throughout my childhood and into my mid-twenties, I was a ballet dancer. That intense training of spatial awareness and interpretive questioning is still deeply stamped in my DNA. A painting to me is a kind of choreography; there’s a haptic dance that takes place from my optical experience of an image, through to the way my nervous system signals to my body how to translate and record it. As painter/dancer I tease out meaning through working and reworking, coming up to speed as I gain understanding, and making the last strikes with absolute commitment.

Treat yourself to a painting class: 2018 Open Studio with Val

Make a date with your painting practise! This is a great way to get your process moving forward, by committing to six 3-hour once-per-week painting sessions. With Val’s helpful tutelage, tackle technical and conceptual concerns in the company of like-minded painters. You will work on a personal project during the class–bring a project to completion (very empowering!) or begin something new.  Each session will begin with a drawing warm-up exercise in your sketchbook. Arrive early to set up (2pm and later) so you can make the most of your time!

I will have room for only 5 students, so don’t delay 🙂 I look forward to seeing you soon!

OPEN STUDIO PAINTING WORKSHOP Feb/March 2018

Six Friday afternoons: 2:30-5:30pm

Dates: Feb 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23

Location: Val Nelson Studio, 1000 Parker Street, #322b

Pre-requisite: This is not a beginners’ class. Some painting experience recommended. Oil or acrylic.

Tuition: $350 includes GST

To Register: $75 deposit secures your spot. E-transfer, cheque, or hand-delivered cash all acceptable. Send to val@valnelson.ca

Cancellation policy: Please note that one weeks’ notice is required for cancellation with full refund of deposit. No refund for last-minute cancellations unless I can fill your spot.

Questions?: To determine if this class is for you, send me an email or call me: val@valnelson.ca   778-865-2650

 

 

You’re invited: EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL 2017 Thursday, Nov 16-Sunday Nov 19

It’s that time of year again! I look forward to sharing with you some recent work in my studio at the Eastside Culture Crawl, where I’ll be showing gestural line drawings and paintings of baroque interiors, as well as intimate Paris portrait drawings and self-portraits.

You can view Available Work here.

I’m excited that my new book, Song for a Tired Businessman, will be for sale.

 

And once again I’ll be taking donations for my Optimistic Pursuits pencils, 100% proceeds to Recovery Through Art Society .

I hope to see you there!

FESTIVAL HOURS

Thursday, November 16
5 pm – 10 pm

Friday, November 17
5 pm – 10 pm

Saturday, November 18
11 am – 6 pm

Sunday, November 19
11 am – 6 pm

STUDIO LOCATION: #322b-1000 Parker Street

ENQUIRIES: val@valnelson.ca  778-865-2650

xoxVal

 

 

 

 

Some Portraits

I’ve been researching portraiture, including a series of painted and drawn self-portraits, and also some drawn portrait studies I made in Paris of people I met there this past Spring. All but one of these were painted from life.

Self-portrait with headphones, oil on paper, 15 x 11 inches
Self-portrait with big neck, oil on paper, 15 x 11 inches
Self-portrait as Kokoschka, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches
Self-portrait as a Dutchwoman, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches
Mute, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches
Self-portrait painting, oil on canvas and oil on paper diptych, approx dimensions: 10 x 10 and 11 x 15 inches

 

Self-portrait in electric light, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches
Self-portrait with broken clavicle, approx dimensions 11 x 11 inches, graphite and pencil crayon on paper
Self-portrait in springtime, oil on paper, 8 x 10 inches
Pauline, Paris, graphite pencil in Moleskine sketch book, 8.25 x 10.25 inches

 

 

Michelle, Paris, graphite pencil in Moleskine sketch book, 8.25 x 5 inches
Melissa, Paris, graphite pencil in Moleskine sketch book, 8.25 x 5 inches

 

Julien, Paris (detail), graphite pencil in Moleskine sketch book, 8.25 x 5 inches

Tuscany Painting Retreat Sneak Peek 2017

I’m in the final stages of planning a painting holiday for early June 2017. Here’s a sneak peak of the location––a very old stone farmhouse and a charming converted tobacco drying tower in the Italian countryside, located just outside the little town of Mercatale, halfway between Umbertide and Cortona.

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Students will spend five days of painting and soaking up the beautiful surroundings and bucolic Italian atmosphere.

Monday to Friday, there will be six hours of painting instruction each day–– three hours in the morning, then a break in the middle of the day for free time to explore the surrounding area and adopt the Italian spirit of “dolce far niente” (it’s sweet to do nothing). From 4 to 7pm we will reconvene and paint plein air when the light becomes more and more spectacular. Perfetto, non?

If you’d like to find out more, please send me an email: val@valnelson.ca

ciao, Val

 

 

 

 

Amsterdam!

I’m pretty excited to be skipping town for a week to take in some amazing art and have a little rest. One of my first stops in the museum district will be the Rijksmuseum, where I’m interested to see wonderful portraiture and still life paintings of the old Masters. I’ll also want to check out how they facilitate the #startdrawing program. On Saturday mornings,  museum staff-members encourage visitors to make drawings in order to experience the work differently from the (sadly common) quick photo document snapped with a smartphone.

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The Goldfinch (detail), Carel Fabritius, 13.2 x 9 inches, oil on panel, 1654

Also I’ll take in Rembrandt House,  the Stedilijk, Van Gogh Museum, and hopefully the Mauritshuis in the Hague, where I can see Vermeer’s The Pearl Earring and Fabritius’ delightful The Goldfinch firsthand. I heard also that I must visit the Jordaan district where I can find many contemporary art galleries. Hoping I can find some inspiring contemporary painting.

Naturally I’ll do some goofing off as well, wander along the canals and generally drift. I brought my trusty Moleskine sketchbook in case I’m feeling ambitious. 🙂

 

See you when I return!

cheers, Val

 

 

Talking objects

Below are images of a work shown in progress through to completion, of the Porcelain Dining Room in the Chateau de Versailles. It’s a commission I’ve enjoyed making for a private home near Toronto.  The wide panoramic format was pieced together from individual photographs I took from a trip in France a number of years ago. I remember going through the chateau twice, the second pass offered a satisfying, golden afternoon light. The composition reminds me of the forced perspective one observes on the virtual tours of museum websites.

Porcelainpanorama-studioshotinprogress

Porcelainpanorama in progress
Day 3, Porcelain Panorama (working title), 36 x 72 inches, oil on canvas

Blocking in always begins with big brushes, to locate everything and establish colour family and main values. The next step in the painting is to use smaller brushes and go in for specifics of detail, sharpening edges and creating stronger focal points. I want the viewer to feel immersed in the space, with lots to encourage the eye to keep meandering, discovering new subtleties and maybe even surprises. It’s important to me that a painting unfold for the viewer slowly, to withstand the test of time.

In the final session something happened that wasn’t planned. Here’s the finished piece with its new title, Mantlepiece with Talking Objects (Versailles).

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Mantelpiece with talking objects (Versailles), 36 x 72 inches, oil on canvas, 2016

Working with the warm colors of the parquet flooring, gilding, and marble, really helped energize the gray days of winter.

porcelainpanorama-palette

 

 

Itness

Now that the cooler weather of Fall is here, I’m so grateful to be able to get back into the studio and paint paint paint. A little study I made last winter of a scene on my breakfast table has been calling to me. I painted it on an old envelope.

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Val Nelson, V5Y, 4.25 x 6.25 inches, oil on PVA on paper, 2015

The appearance of objects, and their quiet presence or “itness”, has long been something that really gets to me.  I wasn’t sure about this humble image, but after much deliberation I decided there’s something about it I need to pay attention to.

So here’s a painting I made this week:

ValNelson-A-Room-in-Mount-Pleasant-web
Val Nelson, A Room in Mount Pleasant, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches, 2015

And I started another one:

my-apt-day-one
Day One: A Room in Mount Pleasant #2

For the next several months all I want to do is immerse myself in the wordless process of looking,  and recording what I see. I’ve been tussling with a purist notion that I must work only from life; but the practicality of it has not been easy to deal with. The dimensions of my apartment limit me from painting there with an easel; a way around it could have been working very small, but to be honest I get very claustrophobic with all my painting gear cluttering up the place. My home is a sanctuary, where I can rest. So the solution is of course

photography.

This past year of working off and on from life has really helped me. Observing how light changes in a space over time informs how I now see colour, and I realize I have more freedom to mess around with what goes on in the rectangle. At the same time my drawing is getting better.

And my Ipad and Iphone now have those updated apps that have much better options for image correction.

You can see I’ve put grid marks on the canvas above. Having watched Antonio Garcia Lopez paint in the film El Sol del Mebrillo by Victor Erice I realized that within extreme control (measuring), one can then have great freedom (painterly interpretation). But Garcia doesn’t like working from photography. I’m okay with acknowledging I live in the 21st century and can use any technology I want, as did Bonnard, Vuillard, Degas, and those guys who probably used the camera obscura (Vermeer, Caravaggio). However, so far I’m not interested in actually projecting and tracing. I like drawing too much, and I feel like something interesting happens when I get things slightly wrong even though I’m trying to get it right.