Bau-Xi Gallery is pleased to present WASHED by Water,a group exhibition centered on the theme of water.
“The water understands Civilization well” famously states Ralph Waldo Emerson in his seminal poem, Water about the independence, transcendence, and spiritual union of water and society in the nineteenth century. An essential life giving element that is as precious a commodity as it is a dangerous and volatile source of destruction, water has an ever more complicated relationship with civilization today. If once, society valued the element for hydration, ablution, regeneration and transportation, water has become an inexplicable source of power rife with political, financial and environmental contention. Never has society better understood the importance of water and simultaneously taken it for granted.
WASHED by Water will explore the metaphorical, environmental, material significance of water and bodies of water as they inform visual culture in the twenty-first century. Artists will look at the different formations water takes and offer work that comments on their own unique relationship with the element. Special attention will be paid to depicting the aesthetic quality of the element – how to capture its various color, its fluidity and its ability to reflect light.
Please join us Saturday, December 12, 12-5 pm for light refreshments and festivities, with 11 galleries, 11 group shows to enjoy. I’m happy to be showing a couple of new drawings at Bau-Xi Gallery, 3045 Granville St (between West 14th and 15th streets). I’ll be at the gallery between 12:30 and 2:30, and hope to see your smiling face there!
Please join me for the Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver’s annual visual arts festival! I will have some new work and works in progress––drop by my studio at #322b-1000 Parker Street and say hello.
There will be so much art and craft to see, by talented local artists and artisans, opening their studios all over the Eastside neighbourhood. Please visit the Crawl website for maps, previews of artist work, and special events. See you there!
Hey everyone, it’s studio time! Due to popular demand, I have a couple of things lined up for October and November. There will be a reprise of my one-day Painting Jumpstart Intensive, so dust off your paint tubes and jump in as we have some fun and push the paint around in a number of different ways. Also Open Studios returns for four sessions for those of you who have projects on the go and want structured time to get them moving forward.
I have a couple of things lined up for October and November. There will be a reprise of my one-day Painting Jumpstart Intensive, so dust off your paint tubes and jump in as we have some fun and push the paint around in a number of different ways. Also Open Studios returns for four sessions for those of you who have projects on the go and want structured time to get them moving forward.
This class will inject new energy into your painting process. You will be guided through a series of playful painting exercises on paper, which will include mark-making, colour exercises, and observational painting with a twist.
Location: VAL NELSON STUDIO #322b-1000 Parker Street
TO REGISTER: An e-transfer is fine, or cheque to my home address will secure your spot. Two weeks’ notice for cancellation is required, otherwise the fee is non-refundable. If you need to cancel after the two-week window, if I can fill your spot, I will refund you.
Val will guide you as you tackle technical and conceptual concerns in your painting practice. In the company of like-minded painters, you will work on a personal project during the workshop. Each session will begin with a 30-minute painting warm-up exercise on paper.
Location: VAL NELSON STUDIO #322b-1000 Parker Street
TO REGISTER: As space is limited, a $55 deposit is required to secure your spot, with the remaining fee payable upon first day of class. An e-transfer is fine, or cheque to my home address is good also. Two weeks’ notice for cancellation is required, otherwise the deposit is non-refundable. If you need to cancel after the two-week window, if I can fill your spot, I will refund you.
Contact: Val Nelson email@example.com 778-865-2650
LEARN PAINTING with Val ONLINE
I’ve been working with Craftsy, a company in Denver that specializes in interactive classes on cooking and crafting, which is listed among the top 30 start-up companies in America by Forbes, and is watched by 2.5 million viewers. They produced an online tutorial of my “Loosen Up” class, which you can access anytime, anywhere, and it is now online. Here’s a little story about how it all happened. 🙂
Some student testimonials on the Craftsy class:
“Val, I loved everything about these lessons. The way you communicated the step by step processes, taking us through from start to finish was easy to follow and clear. The filming was fantastic and the way you talked to us made me feel like I was in the room. You’ve inspired me!
Highly recommend this for any painter wanting to loosen up or just enjoy painting! Thank you.”
“Val Nelson’s experience with painting is a joy to watch and learn. Her approach is encouraging, informative, and she offers a variety of techniques of how to paint more loosely. She shows how painting in a more expressive way is about using the materials in a thoughtful and resourceful manner. I highly recommend this course to any artist who wants to learn how to paint in a more expressive style.”
“This class has revealed so many techniques that I have missing at my level of painting. Thank you for sharing your expertise. I’m self taught so my knowledge of the essential elements of composition, structure, and brush work is weak. This class has been so very valuable to my artistic journey. Thank you, Val Nelson and, once again, Craftsy!”
Here’s a link to my Craftsy class, and make sure you have a look at another class by my friend and awesome oil painter and teacher, Jay Senetchko–– Paint and Palette Essentials.
MORE ABOUT MY CLASSES
I paint full-time, so I teach when my schedule permits. In my studio in Vancouver, I can accommodate up to six students, so there is plenty of one-on-one attention. My classes are usually in six-week blocks (one 3-hour session per week), and sometimes I teach weekend and multi-day intensives. I’m also available as a consultant to aspiring professional artists, as a guest teacher at art-schools and for painting groups, and I occasionally give painting demonstrations.
Group classes at your choice of location:Full day (6-7 hours) $450 Half day (3 hours) $300
For classes outside of Vancouver, travel expenses extra.
Private Consultation/Mentorship: $65/hr
Demonstration/Artist talk: Honorarium appreciated
Testimonials: Click here if you would like to read about how others feel about my classes.
Email list: If you’d like to be notified of future workshops and classes, or would like to discuss other ways in which we could work together that could be potentially awesome, please email me : firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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:
And I started another one:
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
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.
Anyone can draw. But people in our culture often think of drawing as something done by children, or a specialist in drawing, called an “artist”. Many times I’ve heard stories from people about an early point in their lives when someone looked at a drawing they had made and said “that doesn’t look real,” or “what’s that supposed to be?” which sadly discouraged them from continuing to draw. They just stopped.
Most of us as children had the compulsion to take crayon to paper or any available surface, out of the sheer joy of making marks, expressing something we saw or imagined or felt.
Right from the early cave drawings we humans have been recording our experience of the world. What excites me the most about drawing is that when you slow down and really look, the beauty and variety in the world around you begin to reveal themselves. You begin to notice the proportions of buildings, the difference between the ears on a cat compared to those on a dog, the complexity of pattern of wood-grain, or the subtle gradations of light that make up a back-lit glass of water.
On August 9, I will be leading a one-day intensive in my studio, “Drawing Jumpstart.” I encourage anyone, draw-ers and “non-drawers” alike, who have some curiosity and a sense of play to join me. We will have a wonderful day together as we explore the process of recording what we see in various ways.
I also have a few spots available in my “Painting Jumpstart” class on August 23.
For more information about the classes and for registration, go to the Teaching page on my website.
Ahhh—the meditative experience of train travel, as the landscape floats gently by. After saying goodbye to Barcelona, a few hours later I arrived at the beautiful Atocha Station in Madrid.
I love the in-between spaces of travel, where time is suspended, and human presence, ephemeral.
Taking the handy metro from Atocha, I emerged in the Plaza Tirso de Molina, where I was delighted to find that my new accommodations overlooked this interesting view, great for people-watching.
Also, I didn’t at all mind the hit of colour in the hot pink bedspread.
First stop, the main reason for coming to sunny Spain: the magnificent Prado Museum, where I spent most of the day soaking up the fantastic works of Diego de Velázquez. No photography was allowed, but I did make a small drawing of one of his dwarfs, whichVelázquez painted around 1645.
Velasquez made a number of paintings of jesters and dwarves for his patron, King Philip V, to be hung in the royal hunting lodge. Though these characters were employed as a source of amusement and entertainment for the Spanish court, Velasquez captures the intelligence and dignity of his subject, The Jester Don Diego de Acedo, el Primo.
I spent several hours in the large room with Velázquez’ masterpiece, Las Meninas, and a number of fabulous Equestrian portraits. Alas, the one of the young prince Carlos was on loan to another museum.
I had previously painted a study of that one from a reproduction in my dog-eared book, Velázquez: The Technique of Genius, so I was looking forward to seeing the painting firsthand, having become so familiar with the master’s work.
But there were still plenty of top-notch painting chops to absorb, such as Goya, El Greco, and Bosch — oh my! But perhaps that is for another blog.
One gets hungry looking at so much art. Luckily on the road across from the Prado, you can visit the very fine Museum of Ham, or “jamón” as they say in Spain.
And behind the Prado is the lovely Buen Retiro Park, where you can eat and drink at little cafés, overlooking a peaceful lake. I returned here several times over the course of my eight days in Madrid, to rest up from the intensity of sight-seeing. There’s nothing like hanging around trees and water to help you recharge.
A friend from Vancouver put me in touch with her friend Maria who lives in Madrid. Her apartment has a view of the Palacio Real. Maria kindly served me tapas, and invited me back to photograph her lovely apartment in the daytime, as I was charmed by it and saw potential for new paintings.
I was fortunate to be able to see an exhibition of royal portraits at the Palacio after my photo session. The show included a very good group portrait of the current Spanish royal family by contemporary Spanish painter, Antonio Garcia Lopez. The painting took 20 years to complete because, as the artist says, he was hindered by having to work from photographs.
Lopez, who usually only works from life, is an artist I have been admiring for some time now–there is a wonderful film, El Sol del Membrillo (Dream of Light) which unfortunately is only available in PAL format, so I have to admit that I sometimes look at a pirated Youtube version in Spanish with no subtitles. This award-winning film by Victor Erice is probably one of the best films I’ve seen on the life of a painter.
I also like to immerse myself in this very good book about Lopez.
Here is another of Lopez’ paintings. Isn’t it fabulous?
And here is a spot very close to where he made it. The Edificio Metrópolis building in the left foreground has been vastly improved by the shroud of a celphone ad.
At the Bellas Artes building, you pay a few Euros and take an elevator to the roof, where you’ll get a panoramic view of Madrid. Madrid’s Academy of Art has its headquarters here, and this is where Dali and Picasso were once students. I now know that there is also an excellent painting gallery there. If you visit Madrid, please go and visit it and tell me what you think.
September 20, 11am-1pm at Opus Art Supplies, Granville Island, Vancouver.
Gain confidence in working with a limited palette. Award-winning artist and sought-after painting instructor Val Nelson will demonstrate, in oil paint, how the informed use of values and edges is integral to painterly realism.
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Opus Granville Island or contact them at 604‑736‑7028 to register.
Bau–Xi Gallery will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary with special exhibitions running May 7-30, 2015 at both Bau–Xi Toronto and Bau–Xi Vancouver.
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 7, 7- 9pm*
*Due to space limitations, please RSVP here for the Opening Reception. contact: 604-733-7011
I’m excited to be showing new work at this upcoming exhibition, which will include historic Canadian art from the Huang family’s private collection including Jack Shadbolt, Gordon Smith, and Maxwell Bates, along with new work by current gallery artists.
If you have a story or picture you would like to share from your visits to the gallery, please email them. They would love to hear about it. It may be selected to be included on their website and/or in the exhibition.
How thrilling to disembark from the airport shuttle and step onto a Spanish plaza! A quick walk down the Ramblas brought me to my new AirBnB home for the next five days in the Barri Gòtic, which was pretty handy for seeing a lot of the city’s offerings in a short period of time.
A long sleep helped me shake off jetlag, and my first day’s exciting agenda was to go and say hello to Pablo. Five minutes’ walk down narrow Medieval streets was the Museo Picasso, which held a fine collection of works made by the Catalan artist in his formative years, including academic figure studies, plein air landscapes, and paintings of friends and family.
I spent a little time furiously drawing in pencil the bronze bust of one of Picasso’s first girlfriends, Fernand. Shortly afterward I was taking a break on a bench in the foyer, beside a young woman who had apparently been doing a bit too much site-seeing. She kept nodding off, and jerking awake again. Amused by the spectacle and recognizing a great drawing opportunity, I did a quick semi-blind contour drawing of her without turning my sketchbook page. I finished off the composition by including a ceramic owl that I could see in the next room.
A short train-ride away from Barcelona is a quiet little seaside village, Arenys de Mar. There I was given a quick tour of the Art Print Residency, run by the master printmakers and gracious hosts, Jordi and Claudia.
It has a fantastic print studio, three bedrooms available to residency artists, views of the surrounding landscape and the sea below, and cork trees growing on the hillside, on which Jordi showed me the cutting marks from previous cork harvestings.
Afterward he dropped me off at the next village, Caldes d’Estrac, where I spent a beautiful afternoon at the Fundacio Palau, and afterward stumbled upon the local peoples’ favorite haunt, an unassuming beach café with the Mediterranean surf rolling in. One of those beautiful unplanned moments I always treasure on my travels.