Optimistic Pursuits has moved!

View from Notre Dame in Pink, Green, and Grey

If you enjoy my posts, I’ve now amalgamated this blog into my website. So come on over and follow me here. If you want to be part of my newsletter list, please then click on CONTACT and follow the prompts. Thanks so much for being part of my painting adventures!

August Painting Workshops and Free Demo at Opus

Hello fellow Painters,

I hope you’re all having a great summer!

I’ve had several requests for workshops so I will be doing a block of three Open Studio classes in August on Saturday mornings. This will be a great opportunity to bring in projects you have been working on for feedback and assistance, or start something new. As usual we will be doing a painting warm-up at the beginning of each class, to get that paint flying and help shift you quickly into creativity mode.

You’ll see that there will be a break partway through the month as I will be giving a free demo at Opus Art Supplies, “Painting Space with Oil Paint” on Granville Island on Saturday August 23 from 2-4 pm. So mark your calendars for that as well!

More info on the demo is here.

The Open Studio session dates and times are below:
Saturday mornings, 10am-1 pm
August 9
August 16
August 30

Location: Val Nelson Studio, #322b-1000 Parker Street, east Vancouver
Fee: Classes are $55 each, including GST. Cash is appreciated.
Please let me know by email if you want to join in:
Warm regards, and happy painting!


Opening Reception 2014

Thanks for your patience as my web maestra and I finalize my new website, which will be incorporating this blog! You’ll be able to find recent work and events, studio activities, classes, everything all in one place.

Meanwhile my show just opened on May 3, and I am just beginning to recuperate from the push to the finish. I’m thrilled and touched  by such a positive response from my friends and loyal supporters. The opening was very well-attended and people seem to be wanting to take some of the work home with them–I don’t mind that at all!

I’ll be posting images of new paintings from the show really soon.

Meanwhile here are a few shots from the opening day:

The opening reception always calls for new shoes!
photo 3(2)
“Being There”, opening reception at Bau-xi Gallery, Vancouver 2014


mark-mushet.and conrad-and-val-nelsons-rush-hour
Photographer Mark Mushet’s arty shot of my friend Conrad Alexandrowicz (Wild Excursions theatre director) taking an iphone shot of “Rush Hour”
photo 2(4)
Vancouver artist Esther Burghardt and her new twins seem to be merging into “Late Afternoon at the Strandbar”, my festive summer Berlin diptych painting depicting a location in Mitte across the Spree from Museum Island.
photo 2(4) copy
Zaena Campbell sent me this fun tondo from the big day. Looking a little tired, but happy!


New Work at the Eastside Culture Crawl 2013

The Cross, 48 x 36 inches, oil on panel, 2013

Two days left to drop by my studio and see some of my new work! The Eastside Culture Crawl is open all weekend, with hundreds of artists opening their doors to invite you in, 11am-6pm on Saturday and Sunday, Nov 16 and 17.

Please do come by and say hello, I love to share my work with people who enjoy painting. Or if you can’t make it this weekend, contact me and we can set up a studio visit.

All the best!

Val  778-865-2650

PARKER STREET STUDIOS, Suite #322b-1000 Parker Street
Vancouver, BC

Adam Macarenko: All is not as it seems

Macarenko_ Frozen-Ship1

Adam Macarenko, Shipwreck – Edition 1/1
chromogenic print
21 X 31 inches

Adam Macarenko creates artificial worlds that resemble our own. He constructs miniature dioramas by hand, and then photographs the set; these constructed realities tell stories. His images recall Romantic painting, but contain a contemporary edge because of the not-quite believable representation. Skillfully as these beautiful copies are executed, you sense that something is not quite right about the image, which makes you want to look longer.

Macarenko’s recent work will be on show at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto, June 8-22, 2013.

Learn more about his photographs, films, and award winning music videos on his website.


Inline images 1
Image: (Detail) Thief with a Toy Camera, 45 x 60 inches, 2013


April 18, 2013, 6-9 pm

#322b and #326-1000 Parker Street,


(entrance on east side of the building)

Refusing to be categorized in terms of subject matter or painting style, with this new body of work Vancouver painter Val Nelson allowed images to rise to the surface and demand to be painted. Travel photos from Berlin and New York, images found on the internet, and art history texts are sources for her paintings. Acknowledging numerous influences including Menzel, Manet, and Picabia, she paints still life, portraiture, painstakingly repainted collage and over-painting of found objects, linking them in a fluid overall narrative much like the collision of images in film montage.

Breaking Lent, 2013, overpainted found object, oil, glass, wood, paper, approximate dimension 6 x 8 inches

Studio location map

Telephone: 778-865-2650