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

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!

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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

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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)

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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.

 

WE ARE A CAMERA at THE BIG DRAW 2016 VANCOUVER

Saturday, OCTOBER 1, 2016

10am – 4pm

Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre | 181 Roundhouse Mews
FREE | No registration required

Join artist Val Nelson to create a spectacular 135-foot long collaborative drawing exploring contour and motion, the individual and the ensemble. Stay for a few minutes or a few hours working with gesture and contour to capture the dynamism of live dancers as they create movement. Participants of all ages and experience are welcome.

A beautiful moment from The Big Draw. For a cool timelapse video, go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/val.nelson.3726/videos/t.590680665/10153674570930666/?type=2&theater

 

 

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Val Nelson has a diverse interdisciplinary arts practice as a dancer and visual artist, film-maker and educator. She was a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, then majored in Media Arts with Honors at Emily Carr University in 1988. From 1988-2001, she made collaborative dance videos with Holy Body Tattoo, choreographer Anthony Morgan, and Katherine Labelle Dance, that screened worldwide. In 2003 she was shortlisted for the Royal Bank Painting Prize, and from 2003-2016, had eleven solo painting exhibitions in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. In 2012 Val began research on her project I Am  A Camera which “archived” recordings of dance and opera performances through her eyes, nervous system, and hand onto paper. In 2016 she expanded on the project with seven-foot wide drawings, made in collaboration with Kokoro Dance, dumb instrument dance, and Sujit Vaidya. Her drawings were exhibited at the 2016 Vancouver International Dance Festival.


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The Roundhouse is the Vancouver Park board’s only solely dedicated Arts and Culture Community Centre. The historic building is home to a 200 seat black box theatre, a 2500  foot exhibition hall and artist in residence projects in dance, music and the visual arts as well as a full roster of recreation programs

It is also the home of Engine 374, the locomotive that pulled the first passenger train across Canada from coast to coast.


For more information:
Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre
Website | 604.713.1800

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.

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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.

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I am a camera at Vancouver International Dance Festival

I’m excited to be creating new work from my I am a camera series, for a visual art exhibition at the Vancouver International Dance Festival, alongside dance photography by Chris Randle, and woven willow sculpture by Ken Clarke, March 3-19. The artwork will be displayed in the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall in Yaletown. A number of dance companies participating in the festival have graciously welcomed me into their rehearsal studios to draw them as they prepare for their performances. Seeing them at work is a beautiful thing––the  total commitment to their artform is palpable and so inspiring. I hope you will be able to take in the vast array of wonderful performances to choose from during the festival, scheduled at various venues.

There will also be free noon-hour life drawing sessions every weekday beginning Thursday, March 3 through Friday March 18 at the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall. Practice your drawing skills and let your creativity be inspired by dancers and life models posing in either costumes or plain clothes.

These public sessions, presented in partnership with the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, are open to all skill levels, are free, and require no pre-registration. Sketching paper, pencils, and other supplies are available for participants to borrow, courtesy of a generous donation by Opus Art Supplies.