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. 😉 Bring your 2B pencil, and eraser and a stack of inexpensive paper or a sketchbook
Sunday Jan 22, 2021 10am-4pm
Tuition: $90 incl GST E-transfer or cash
Location: Val’s studio in Courtenay, BC (location details upon registration)
I offer private in-person classes, and classes for up to four students at my studio in Courtenay, Vancouver Island. email@example.com!
CURRENT CLASS OFFERINGS: I usually have several group classes on offer, just check the class menu on my homepage.
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! firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Classes for two: $160/hr incl GST / Package of 4 hours $350 each incl GST
Group Classes: $400 half-day/ $750 full day ( a half-day is 3 hrs/full day 6 hrs)
Artist talk: $350
Painting Demo: $350
*Cancellation policy: One weeks’ notice is required if you must cancel. Cancellation must be by email to email@example.com or text 778-865-2650. Sorry due to the small class sizes, there are no refunds, however I am happy to credit you toward a future class within a 12-month period.
Instructor Biography: A finalist in the Royal Bank Painting Competition, Val Nelson has exhibited widely across Canada, and has taught painting at the Shadbolt Arts Centre, Emily Carr University, and Vancouver Island School of Art. She has 1800+ students and five-star reviews for her online painting course with Bluprint (formerly Craftsy). Val believes that painting can be fun and challenging, offering a beautiful pathway to self-realisation.
PLEASE NOTE: Although this in-person class was limited to 4 participants and is technically full, I have moved to a larger studio space in Courtenay so I can accommodate a few more people! For enquiries and to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this lively weekend workshop, participants will learn how to bring more depth, movement, and dynamic brushwork into their landscape paintings, and strategies for mixing greens. On the second day you will apply the lessons to your own personal project. Nourishing lunches provided by the delightful Kimi Nakamura.
Some painting experience recommended. Oil or acrylic
March 25/26, 10am-4pm
Tuition: $300 includes GST E-transfer or cash
Registration: email@example.com 778-865-2650
Supply List and location provided upon registration.
Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ advance notice if you need to cancel at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.
I’ve been working on a 24 x 30″ canvas of Sans Souci Palace. Sans Souci means “without a care”.
I’m pretty stoked, because I got up at the crack of dawn yesterday and was at the easel by 8am, which was totally awesome.
What made yesterday’s session work? And how can I repeat that?
Hmmmmm, well maybe it’s helpful to look at what does not work? It seems that on days that I check my email before painting, it kind of scrambles the brain and gets me thinking about all the niggling things I feel obliged to do.
The golden rule: Paint first, admin later!
Maybe you painters out there have your “go-to” rituals that get the good stuff going in your studio, like lighting a candle, or a playing a certain song of music.
Here’s what works for me:
Up early after a solid sleep, a quiet breakfast of clean food with an excellent coffee avec oat milk, and while clear-headed, calm, relaxed, remaining playful and curious–
That sweet-spot mode of non-attachment to outcome, focussed like a laser on colour-mixing nuances and paying attention to USING THE RIGHT BRUSH for the job at hand.
ergo: no teeny tiny brushes in the background!
it flattens the space!
and makes things too busy!
and no “trying”!
Kind of a zen thing–“try/not try”.
At the start of a painting session it takes a bit of time to switch into “painting mode”. First I take a few minutes to assess where this piece is at and get a glimmer of understanding of what I need to develop. You have to set some kind of intention, even if it ends up changing. No flailing desperately. Okay, sometimes flinging paint on randomly CAN jumpstart you, just make sure you are relaxed about it!
And through the doing, the brain becomes wordless and judgement-less and something magical starts to happen after I have put on enough wet paint with which to have a conversation. Now we’re in business.
There’s a method that is pretty effective called “Tomato” (it seems to have come out of someone using their kitchen cooking timer which was in the actual shape of a tomato).
I love when I remember to use this handy trick to get some sh*t done on my canvas. Set your timer for 30 minutes, and just go for it. Do not stop and check email. Do not go and eat chocolate. Do not sort your laundry or make phone calls or cut your toenails.
Just paint, already. Only for 30 minutes. You can do that, right?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.