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 a stack of inexpensive paper or a sketchbook
TUITION: $95 incl GST
TO REGISTER: Please email val@valnelson expressing your interest. An E-transfer secures your spot! Please send to email@example.com
LOCATION: 2270 Cliffe Ave, #228b
Cancellation policy: Please provide 7 days’ notice if you need to cancel, at which point you can receive a credit toward a future class.
THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT! But it may be offered again in the future. 🙂 If you are interested to be informed, send me an email and I would be happy to keep you on a list for that! firstname.lastname@example.org
Join me on Monday November 6 for a fun and informative drawing session at Mudsharks Coffee Bar in Courtenay! We will play with a number of interesting approaches to drawing, and some surprising subject matter! Bring a pencil, eraser, and paper to draw on. I will also have some drawing materials if you want to just bring yourself. Grab a coffee/snack and let’s make some art together!
I offer in-person classes for up to five students at my professional art studio in Courtenay, Vancouver Island. Check the Classes menu above for current offerings. These often include Painting for Beginners, my One-Day Drawing Crash Course,Painting Skill-builder, Landscape Painting, and sometimes my Loosen Up! painting course. If you have a class idea you would like me to offer, let me know.
Take a look below to see other options that are available, such as 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. Feel free to reach out if you would like to learn with me! email@example.com
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.
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)
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.
Okay I’m in, I have a new studio! So great to spread out and have a real art-making space once again. Now that I’m sure I am staying in Courtenay I decided it’s time to put down roots. I’m thrilled to share this new bright space with you, a quirky old office building very near downtown. There is a bank of four windows facing east so I get some gorgeous morning light, then it evens out the rest of the day for fantastic painting illumination.
The Courtenay River is a half-block away so I can ride my bike to and from work, and take airy walks to view the ever-changing estuary and observe the bird and rabbit action (yes, rabbits!). Oh and there is a Bean Around the World just five minutes’ walk away for a little social time and great coffee.
Those of you who have signed up for my most recent course please take note of my new address:
#228b-2270 Cliffe at Mansfield Centre in Courtenay. It’s near the Airpark on the main drag before you hit downtown (that is if you are travelling north).
I will be demonstrating a copy of a 16th century anonymous master for the Chemainus Art Group next week. I did this open acrylic study on cardboard to prep for that. I used a very limited palette: Titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red, and raw umber, similar to the Zorn Palette but replacing black with the warmer umber. It’s fascinating to see how much range you can achieve with only four colours.
This is something I’m working on right now. It’s the interior of a bistro I fell in love with on Rue Oberkampf in Paris. I really enjoyed the zing of colour of the fruit, and the play of morning light bouncing around on various surfaces. And of course the fuschia pink bar stool are très française. At right are gleaming bottles and glassware which will be really fun to paint when I dive back in to finish this.
Initially I made a smaller version of this painting, but realized the subject warranted a bigger scale for a more immersive experience.
The new canvas is 24 x 32 inches. This is not a custom size you can find off the rack at the art supply store, so my darling man cut down a 24 x 36 canvas for me.
I like to use a grey palette at this stage, so I can see how highlights stand out against that midtone. The final hits on the painting are usually the lightest lights, and the darkest darks. I am nuts about the in-between colour mixtures that you can’t quite name, the “greyed down” colours which help the brighter colours sing out.
As usual this is a process through which the painting will eventually tell me what it wants to be, and the meaning comes through the making.
When I see this kind of setting, I can’t help but think of Manet’s brilliant paintingA Bar at the Folies-Bergère which he painted in 1882. I dare not compare my work to his, but I am certainly inspired by his lush use of thick paint, and his ability to strategically choose what to emphasize in the composition. This is exceptionally sophisticated art-making.
I was fortunate to be able to view this painting first-hand at the Courtauld Institute in London. This is from the institution’s website:
This painting was Manet’s last major work. It represents the bustling interior of one of the most prominent music halls and cabarets of Paris, the Folies-Bergère. The venue opened in 1869 and its atmosphere was described as “unmixed joy”. In contrast, the barmaid in Manet’s representation is detached and marooned behind the bar.
The Folies-Bergère was also notorious as a place to pick up prostitutes. The writer Guy de Maupassant described the barmaids as “vendors of drink and of love”.
Manet knew the place well. He made a number of preparatory sketches there but the final work was painted in his studio. He set up a bar and asked one of the barmaids, Suzon, to serve as his model.
The painting was first exhibited in 1882, at the annual fine arts exhibition in Paris, the Salon. Visitors and critics found the composition unsettling. The inaccuracy of the barmaid’s reflection, shifted too far to the right, has continued to spark much debate.
To my mind, good painting that stands the test of time needs to be aesthetically captivating to keep the viewer’s attention (it is visual art after all), but also open to a number of interpretations that cannot be locked down.
However as humans we are captivated by story; we are compelled to know more.
It is possible that he was directly pointing to the barmaid being just another seductive object for consuming with one’s gaze–notice the two round white electric globes flanking her, echoing the lens of binoculars held by a woman in the crowd.
Manet was also known to be an admirer of the work of Spanish court painter, Diego Velàsquez. A similar contradictory space and perplexing riddle are present in Velàsquez’ Las Meninas.
The painter is looking out at the scene he is creating. Like in Manet’s Bar scene, in the spotlight here is also a beautiful female wearing a corsage on her breast. She looks out at us, while her courtiers attend her. At back is a also a mirror, this time reflecting the images of the king and queen who in this space would seem to be in the studio but only apparent through their reflection. Their physical presence is only implied, and is outside the frame. In the 17th century, when this was painted, the young princess was being groomed to be the wife and queen in a politically arranged marriage to further the power of the Spanish monarchy. So she too is merely an object for trade. Everyone here has their role to play, and know their place.
But although it would appear that all is luxury and ease, the Spanish monarchy was in fact crumbling and its King, Philip II who was Velasquez’ patron, was a weak ruler. One could say that Velàsquez was a skilled propaganda artist. The fact that he painted himself into this image may suggest he is saying directly to future viewers of his masterpiece, “I painted this, and I knew what was actually going on.”
Velàsquez, an avid reader of philosophy, knew that creation is alchemy. We artists conjure our own realities through the power of our imaginations, with the skills of our hearts, minds, and hands.
For the first time at the Culture Crawl I’m offering a limited edition print of one of my paintings, Rush Hour. There will be only 10 in the edition, 10 x 10 inches on archival paper with archival inks. A framed sample beautifully put together by Fine Art Framing will be on display in my studio. I will be taking orders for this and a few other limited editions also available at a price point that allows for affordable gift-giving, for a loved one, or for yourself!
Rush Hour, 10 x 10 inch limited edition print on archival paper
Also available: A 50-page book of select paintings from twelve years of my Tourist series.
As well you will find six new paintings, and a drypoint print, Syon House Interior that I recently re-discovered in my print portfolio, along with some framed 7 x 7 inch 3-colour pencil crayon drawings.
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.
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.