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!

Haptic Splendour

For the past 15 years, I’ve painted opulent European 18th and 19th century interiors. Designed as theatrical displays of status and power by wealthy aristocrats and bourgeoisie, these formerly private sites are now museums, providing entertainment and pleasure for touristic consumption, while also opening up a space for philosophical contemplation.

Although I use photography as a structural device through which I enter the painting process, with each piece I always seem to arrive at a point of crisis where I need to break free from the tyranny of the image. Through partly destroying the image I discover fresh solutions to painterly problems I set for myself.

Throughout my childhood and into my mid-twenties, I was a ballet dancer. That intense training of spatial awareness and interpretive questioning is still deeply stamped in my DNA. A painting to me is a kind of choreography; there’s a haptic dance that takes place from my optical experience of an image, through to the way my nervous system signals to my body how to translate and record it. As painter/dancer I tease out meaning through working and reworking, coming up to speed as I gain understanding, and making the last strikes with absolute commitment.

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.

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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:

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Val Nelson, A Room in Mount Pleasant, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches, 2015

And I started another one:

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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.

Shooting for fun

I came across a quote by Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu on “Brain Pickings”, one of my favorite blogs about the creative process by the excellent Maria Popova. I think it speaks volumes about the importance of enjoying the process, without attachment to outcomes.

Johns-target-with-four-faces-MOMA
Jasper Johns, Target with Four Faces, Encaustic, newspaper, cloth, canvas, plaster, wood, hinges, 33 5/8 x 26 x 3″, 1955, MOMA

Certainly in painting, I find that the best work comes when I’m relaxed and curious, rather than trying to make something that I think someone would like. First of all, I have to enjoy what I’m doing, and then I need to be sure it’s something that resonates for me. If I’m trying to second-guess an audience, the work is usually dead in the water.

Here’s the quote:

When an archer is shooting for fun
He has all his skill.

If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.

If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind

Or sees two targets –
He is out of his mind.

His skill has not changed,
But the prize divides him.

He cares
He thinks more of winning
Than of shooting –
And the need to win
Drains him of power.

~Chuang Tzu

Optimistic Pursuits has moved!

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View from Notre Dame in Pink, Green, and Grey

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