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

 

 

Picture

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.


Val_Nelson-Artist-image-headshot3inch copy

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.

IMG_5685

IMG_5683

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

 

 

 

 

FALL PAINTING CLASSES

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.

 

PAINTING JUMPSTART ONE-DAY INTENSIVE

This class is full. Please email Val for information on the next one!

Sunday, October 4, 10am-3:30pm

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.

Fee: $80

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.

Contact: Val Nelson    val@valnelson.ca   778-865-2650

 

OPEN STUDIO

This class is full with a wait-list. Please email Val for information on the next set of classes.

Four Sundays, 2-5pm: October 18 & 25, Nov 1 & 8

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.

Fee: $210

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    val@valnelson.ca   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. 🙂

loosen-up-title-card

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 : val@valnelson.ca

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.

ValNelson-V5Y-web
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.

 

 

 

 

 

Painting On-Site

The past two weeks have been super interesting. I’ve been making a painting on-site in my local art store, Opus, on Granville Island. The staff there have been great in welcoming me as I test out painting live in a public space, to learn how the experience might affect my painting practice. Standing on a platform in the paper and sketch-book section affords me a high-angle view of the space, where I can get a bit of distance and a dynamic perspective of the aisles and shelving.

Opus-DayOne
Day 1 at Opus–the first panel of the diptych

What interests me about this part of the store are the rhythmic patterns of different colored papers as they recede in space, and the wonderful childrens’ paintings hanging on the back wall below the managers’ office windows. I always find it interesting making paintings of paintings.

Opus-Day 5
Day 5 at Opus

For quite some time now I’ve been wanting to act on the strong compulsion to be in the world as I render it; in contrast to the isolation of the studio and working from the flattened image of a photograph, I’m finding the immediacy of painting from direct observation to be incredibly energizing and challenging. And I’ve always loved a challenge!

The occasional conversations with interested passers-by is a welcome break from the focused intensity required to do the work outside of my comfort zone; and the happenstance chats with Opus staff throughout the day have enriched the experience––most of the people working there are artists themselves, so it’s lovely to hear a bit about their backgrounds, and share conversation about creativity, the value of time, some nuggets about the history of Granville Island, and how this month’s friendly goal-setting challenge of “28 days of art practice” has been helpful in encouraging them to draw or make something every day. The wall at the entrance to the store is gradually filling up with wonderful little drawings made over the past two weeks.

OpusWalloDrawings
Opus daily practice wall of drawings, by customers and staff

This new way of working has been a bit of a learning curve: the first week I painted four days in a row, then worked on another project and did some teaching on the weekend. The second week I painted three days, and by the fourth day I realized how challenging this process has been on my energies.

The heightened stimulation of this new painting situation, which in a way is a kind of performance,  means I have to monitor how it’s affecting my physical well-being. On Wednesday night I slept twelve hours, and I then took it easy Thursday. I visited the store only in the afternoon to show the painting to a couple of artist friends, but didn’t paint that day. I’m learning that the time between painting is important, to recharge, think about the work and where it’s going, and what might come next.

Loosening Up! with Craftsy

craft-shoot-comp

My new online painting class with Craftsy has launched! I’m excited to announce this because over the past five years I’ve been honing a painting class called Loosen Up! that helps students be more relaxed about their painting process. People seem to really enjoy my classes, and it makes me so happy to see their work blossom! I teach out of my studio, and as a guest instructor in some art schools and various art guilds around BC.

As the Craftsy catalogue already has some solid classes on basic painting technique, they wanted me to deliver something more like a “tips” class so people could take their painting further. So in the class I talk about brushwork, and tips on avoiding muddiness, and light and dark patterns. I especially focus on edges; in other words how to paint objects without hard contours around everything.

Craftsy flew me to Denver for a three-day shoot in October, and everyone there was fantastic and they all love their jobs! I met some other lovely instructors there, like knitters (one in particular whom I will talk about in another blog) and cake makers, who help people to get better at making things they love.

Over the winter the Craftsy editors have been putting it all together and now that it’s live, it’s starting to attract new students from all over. Students can play the video lessons and review what they’ve learned,  as many times as they want, and they can access the classes forever.

Here’s what students have been saying:

“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 is a link to my Craftsy class. Check it out and tell me what you think 🙂

loosen-up-title-card

 

 

 

 

A Passion for Design

Ainslie CyopicIn the 1990’s, when I was a dance videographer, I first knew Ainslie Cyopik as a sought-after dancer in Vancouver. A number of years later, I witnessed her retirement from professional dance and her beginnings as she started a small business designing dancewear.

dancers in AinsliewearHer success has been phenomenal, and her optimism and passion for what she does is a bit contagious when you meet her. The driving force behind AinslieWear, she has bridged the gap from professional dancer to professional designer. Having spent 15 years dancing with companies such the National Ballet of Canada and Ballet British Columbia, she often found the dancewear available didn’t quite fit right or meet the needs of long rehearsal days. Instead of “just making do”, she created a line of dancewear for herself with all the qualities she was looking for. Over the years, her reputation grew as a designer of dancewear clothing that not only looked great on, but was also made with a personal understanding of a dancer’s needs.

AW102A-Square-neck-velvet-frontCarrying on her love for the art of dance and a true passion for the grace of its practitioners, Ainslie started a business focusing on her design and development of dancewear on a full-time basis in 1997. Today, AinslieWear bodysuits, known for their exceptional quality and fabulous fit, are worn by leading dancers and students alike, from Paris to Tokyo.

ainslie'sfirstcostume

At left  is Ainslie photographed in her first costume she made for herself at ballet school in her late teens. “I used two gorgeous dusty mauve shades of fabric and it flowed so well when I danced. I even kept a little piece of the fabric.”

More about Ainslie’s wonderful designs are on her website.

Doing What You Love

DSCF9231 youngwomencarrycanvascopy

Below is an excerpt posted from the delightful newsletter I receive each Sunday from Brainpickings Weekly:

“There is an ugliness in being paid for work one does not like,” Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary in 1941. Indeed, finding a sense of purpose and doing what makes the heart sing is one of the greatest human aspirations – and yet too many people remain caught in the hamster wheel of unfulfilling work. In 1949, career counselor William J. Reilly penned How To Avoid Work (UK; public library) – a short guide to finding your purpose and doing what you love. Despite the occasional vintage self-helpism of the tone, the book is remarkable for many reasons – written at the dawn of the American corporate era and the golden age of the housewife, it not only encouraged people of all ages to pursue their passions over conventional, safe occupations, but it also spoke to both men and women with equal regard.

Reilly begins by exploring the mythologies of work and play, something Lewis Hyde has written of beautifully, with an uncomfortable but wonderfully apt metaphor:

Most [people] have the ridiculous notion that anything they do which produces an income is work – and that anything they do outside ‘working’ hours is play. There is no logic to that. … Your life is too short and too valuable to fritter away in work. If you don’t get out now, you may end up like the frog that is placed in a pot of fresh water on the stove. As the temperature is gradually increased, the frog feels restless and uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to jump out. Without being aware that a chance is taking place, be is gradually lulled into unconsciousness.

Much the same thing happens when you take a person and put him in a job which he does not like. He gets irritable in his groove. His duties soon become a monotonous routine that slowly dulls his senses. As I walk into offices, through factories and stores, I often find myself looking into the expressionless faces of people going through mechanical motions. They are people whose minds are stunned and slowly dying.

To illustrate the idea that “life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want,” Reilly quotes Amelia Earhart, a woman of strong and refreshing liberal for their time opinions:

I flew the Atlantic because I wanted to. If that be what they call ‘a woman’s reason,’ make the most of it. It isn’t, I think, a reason to be apologized for by man or woman. … Whether you are flying the Atlantic or selling sausages or building a skyscraper or driving a truck, your greatest power comes from the fact that you want tremendously to do that very thing, and do it well.