DRAWING CRASH COURSE ONE-DAY WORKSHOP Wednesday Apr 3, 2024 9:30am-3:30pm

If you think you can’t draw, this course is for you! This jumpstart into drawing expands the student’s ability to perceive and render the world around them. You will be introduced to contour drawing, gesture, mark-making, approaches to basic portraiture and figure drawing without measuring, and more. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what all of this means!

No experience necessary. 😉

SUPPLY LIST: Bring your 2B pencil, an eraser and pencil sharpener, and a stack of inexpensive paper or a sketchbook

TUITION: $95 incl GST

TO REGISTER: Please email val@valnelson expressing your interest.  Then, an E-transfer secures your spot! Please send to val@valnelson.ca

LOCATION: 2270 Cliffe Ave #228b, Courtenay, BC

Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.

INTERMEDIATE PAINTING CLASS: Tues Apr 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14

LET’S PAINT!

Are you finding working alone a bit challenging? Would you like the camaraderie of a painting group, and also wish you had some technical assistance to carry out your artistic goals? This could be the class for you!

Each three-hour session begins with a lesson or focus of study designed to expand your painting knowledge. The remaining two hours you will be given time to develop your own painting project, with tips and guidance from your instructor. Acrylic or oil.

Pre-requisite: Painting for Beginners or equivalent experience

Registering now:

INTERMEDIATE PAINTING

Six sessions: Tues 4-7pm

Apr 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14

Location: Val Nelson Studio, 228b-2270 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay, BC

Fee: $425

TO REGISTER: Please email val@valnelson expressing your interest.  Payments made via E-transfer to : val@valnelson.ca 778-865-2650

Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.

SUPPLY LIST

Bring your usual materials such as paints, brushes, preferred palette, mediums (if any). No turpentine please for oil painterss (odorless mineral spirits good). Easels, tables are provided.

Please also bring a practise canvas or primed (gessoed) canvas pad sheet 16×12 or 8×10″ for our one hour painting study.

Please bring your own project to work on for the remaining two hours.

Paint Colors: Bring what you have. I like bare minimum to have these: Titanium white, medium yellow or light yellow, yellow ochre, quinacrodone red, ultramarine blue, burnt umber, pthalo green

CLASSES OVERVIEW

I offer in-person classes at my professional art studio in Courtenay, Vancouver Island. Check the Classes menu above for current offerings. These often include Painting for Beginners, Intermediate Painting, my One-Day Drawing Crash Course, Landscape Painting, and sometimes my Loosen Up! painting course. If you have a class idea you would like me to offer you or your art group, let me know.

I also offer private lessons, lessons for two, drawing and painting demos, mentorship for serious students wanting to build a professional art practise, and art talks. I am also offering Zoom classes depending on space in my schedule. See below for details. 🙂

Feel free to reach out if you would like to learn with me! val@valnelson.ca 778-865-2650

Landscape Painting Weekend
One-Day Drawing Crash Course
Painting for Beginners

GIFT OF ART Coupon: Do you have a loved one you would like to inspire through gifting them with a class coupon? Email me and we can set that up! val@valnelson.ca

CUSTOM PRIVATE CLASSES for Individuals and couples – Bring a friend, family member, or co-worker! I design lessons just for you, based on your needs and your schedule. You get plenty of personal attention in these intimate classes! Choose from some of the lesson ideas in the Class Menu, or let’s chat and come up with a plan.

Privates: $120/hr / Package of 4 hours $425

Classes for two: $160 / Package of 4 hours $640

Group Classes: $400 half-day / $750 full day (half-day is 3 hrs/full day 6 hrs)

I offer customized in-person group art sessions for art groups, to nurture corporate and small business staff team-building.

Mentorship/Critique: $120/hr

Artist talk: $350

Painting Demo: $350

*Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which time I will be happy to credit you toward a future class within a year of your class purchase.

About the Instructor: For Val, painting is an act of devotion, offering a profound pathway to self-realisation and transformation. “Pigments have a consciousness. When I paint, I imbue these materials with the focussed energies of my heart, mind, and gestures of my body. The pigments absorb these energetic frequencies, and project them back out to the viewer. Painting is its own language, beyond words and the limitations of the logical mind.”

A former professional ballet dancer, Val went on to study at Emily Carr University, where she graduated in 1988 with honours and received the Helen Pitt Award. A finalist in the Royal Bank Painting Competition, Val has been painting full-time since 2003, exhibiting for a number of years at Bau-Xi Gallery in Vancouver and Toronto, and Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal. She has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Centre and St Georges’ Senior School in Vancouver, and has taught painting at the Shadbolt Arts Centre, Emily Carr University, Vancouver Island School of Art, and since 2009, out of her private painting studio. Her work is in public collections including Canada Council Art Bank, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver General Hospital, and many private collections. Val has 1800+ students and five-star reviews for her online painting course with Craftsy.

I’m so looking forward to making art with you!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Hola Diego and Raoul!

I’m heading off to Barcelona and Madrid in March! The draw? Well, the sunshine OF COURSE! But actually, my main focus will be the extensive collection of Velasquez works (amongst many other important historic painters) at the Prado, and very fortunately for me at the same time there will be a Raoul Dufy show on at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza just down the road. A nice mix of serious historic painting chops contrasted with a more graphic, pleasure-filled counterpoint. I’m inspired by both.

Study of a detail after Velasquez' Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar Carlos, 26 x 20 inches, oil on panel, 2014
Study of a detail after Velasquez’ Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar Carlos, 26 x 20 inches, oil on panel, 2014

Gotta say that having booked my flight it was a treat to surf around to find what Air Bnb I would stay in. I’d much rather stay in an an apartment with homey appeal than a generic over-priced hotel any day. In both cities I’ll be staying right in the middle of the centre, so I can stride out the door after my morning coffee and be at the museums after a brisk 15-minute walk. That way I can have my fill of art, stroll home for a siesta, have some lunch and a café con leche and go and do some exploring and drawing.

I’ve been obsessing over what art supplies to bring, waffling between oils (too involved for such a short stay), gouache (easier to travel with but I’m not terribly fluent in using them), drypoint on copper (plates too heavy, and security might confiscate the plates and diamond tip tool as potential weapons on the plane).

I’ve finally decided on my favorite simple drawing tools: pen, pencil and sketchbook.

Hasta luego!

Val

 

 

 

Passion and Work

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf

Julia Child
photo: Paul Child

I waited six weeks to receive an email from the Vancouver Public Library that the book I had reserved was waiting for me at my local library around the corner. I was in luck–it was a Thursday night, which meant the  library was open late. I could nip out before dinner and grab my precious object tout de suite.

Running all the way, I enthused to the librarian about my excited anticipation to read Julia Child’s already iconic biography, My Life in France. From the first page I knew I would not be disappointed. I’m half way through, and already mourning the event I know is coming––when I reach the final page.

Ms. Childs’ engaging story of her journey to becoming herself through her love of French cooking, and her descriptions of an American woman living in France in the 1950’s is an entertaining and delightful read.

Here is an excerpt describing a philosophy on cooking the lowly scramble egg by Chef Bugnard, one of her instructors at the Cordon Bleu cooking school:

His eggs were always perfect, and although he must have made this dish several thousand times, he always took great pride and pleasure in this performance. Bugnard insisted that one pay attention, learn the correct technique, and that one enjoy one’s cooking––”Yes, Madame Scheeld, fun!” he’d say “Joy!”

I am not the most adept of cooks; though I love eating, I’m the type who can make a decent meal when called upon, but most of my artistic energy goes into work in the studio. Reading My Life in France has me thinking that maybe I should sign up for that cooking course; I might actually enjoy myself.

Go, go at once, dear reader, and get yourself a copy of this wonderful book.

Passion and Work

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf

Julia Child
photo: Paul Child

I waited six weeks to receive an email from the Vancouver Public Library that the book I had reserved was waiting for me at my local library around the corner. I was in luck–it was a Thursday night, which meant the  library was open late. I could nip out before dinner and grab my precious object tout de suite.

Running all the way, I enthused to the librarian about my excited anticipation to read Julia Child’s already iconic biography, My Life in France. From the first page I knew I would not be disappointed. I’m half way through, and already mourning the event I know is coming––when I reach the final page.

Ms. Childs’ engaging story of her journey to becoming herself through her love of French cooking, and her descriptions of an American woman living in France in the 1950’s is an entertaining and delightful read.

Here is an excerpt describing a philosophy on cooking the lowly scramble egg by Chef Bugnard, one of her instructors at the Cordon Bleu cooking school:

His eggs were always perfect, and although he must have made this dish several thousand times, he always took great pride and pleasure in this performance. Bugnard insisted that one pay attention, learn the correct technique, and that one enjoy one’s cooking––”Yes, Madame Scheeld, fun!” he’d say “Joy!”

I am not the most adept of cooks; though I love eating, I’m the type who can make a decent meal when called upon, but most of my artistic energy goes into work in the studio. Reading My Life in France has me thinking that maybe I should sign up for that cooking course; I might actually enjoy myself.

Go, go at once, dear reader, and get yourself a copy of this wonderful book.

Only connect: Funding art during a Depression

Rothko at Tate Modern, London, UK
Rothko at Tate Modern, London, UK

I find it downright puzzling that the British Columbia government has decided to cut more than 85 per cent of provincial arts funding in the next two years. Admittedly, there is indeed an economic “recession”, but I propose that now is the time to invest in cultural workers, not dismantle what has lovingly and laboriously been built up.

The provincial government’s cuts to the Arts are a very shortsighted strategy, since the arts are literally a money magnet. According to statistics from the Alliance for Arts and Culture, 5.2 billion dollars is raised by British Columbia’s arts, culture, and heritage industries alone.

Anyone who has travelled knows that cities such as London, Paris, and New York are not visited for their scenery or business connections alone; their theatre, visual arts, literature, design, and fashion are at the core of what makes them such vibrant places in which to visit, live, and work.

In the United States, the Federal Government is actually increasing their investment to the Arts, in order, as stated in their Arts and Culture policy, “to remain competitive in the global economy”. Their policy includes increasing funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, promoting cultural diplomacy with other nations, and publicly championing the importance of art education. Studies in Chicago have domonstrated that test scores improved faster for students enrolled in low-income schools that link arts across the curriculum than scores for students in schools lacking such programs.

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the United States’ Federal Arts Project funded out-of-work artists and provided art for non-federal government buildings: schools, hospitals, libraries and the like. The work was divided into art production, art instruction and art research, providing an income for out-of-work artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Louise Nevelson, and Philip Guston.  These artists went on to make history. Imagine a world where these talented individuals weren’t given a leg-up at a crucial period in their development?

Interestingly, these artists are now shown in major museums which attract visitors from around the world to the cities in which these museums are situated.

I strongly recommend the BC Government rethink their devastating cuts to the arts, and I propose that now is in fact the time to invest in the arts, fostering the work they have already begun with the exciting Cultural Olympiad.

Premier Campbell & the Arts
Premier Campbell & the Arts (by Raeside)


The Pleasures of Art

In these difficult times, looking at and making art can help us get back in touch with the best things that humans are capable of–– a sense of play, a sense of excitement in the creative act.

The following excerpt,  from David Hockney’s book, That’s the Way I See It, reveals the artist’s philosophy on viewing and making art:

I have always believed that art should be a deep pleasure. I think there is a contradiction in an art of total despair, because the very fact that the art is made seems to contradict despair. It means at least that you are trying to communicate what you feel to somebody else and the very fact that you can communicate it takes away a little of the despair. Art has this contradiction built into it. All one has to do is look at its history.

A few years ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there was a show of Fragonard. He is an artist who has been thought sometimes to be much too pleasurable, much too playful, much too sweet to be serious, and certainly in the early nineteenth century that’s how he was dismissed. It was only the Goncourt brothers who started looking seriously at his paintings and buying them.

Today we see him differently. To me Fragonard is a wonderful artist. I think you can’t have art without play; Picasso always understood that. I think you can’t have much human activity of any kind without a sense of playfulness. Someone once criticized my work, saying it was too playful. I said, That’s hardly a criticism at all, that’s a compliment. I do see it as a compliment because I believe that without a sense of play there’s not much curiosity either; even a scientist has a sense of play. And that allows for surprises, the unexpected, discoveries. Anybody who gets good at it knows that. You can use it. I use it. People tend to forget that play is serious, but I know that of course it is. Some people have got the idea that if it’s boring it’s art and if it’s not boring it’s not art. Well, I’ve always thought it was the other way round. If it’s boring, more than likely it’s not art, if it’s exciting, thrilling, more than likely it is. I don’t know of any good art that’s boring, in music, poetry or painting. Isn’t that why Shakespeare is so exciting?

You can find more information on David Hockney on the Artsy website.

Text excerpt from That’s the Way I See It, page 133 © David Hockney