One-Day Drawing Crash Course Students: “Hi Val, I wanted to thank you again for the drawing class. It was very enjoyable. I shared my drawings with my son that lives in Croatia. I had to laugh at his comment. Probably the last words I ever expected to hear. I’ll be 69 in June so apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks 😂 “

“Dear Val – I Loved the class today and the way you took us thru exercises which resulted in a couple amazing drawings!  As I look at them again, including the gestures, I can see the motion and picture.   It IS about slowing down and looking at the shapes and shadows. Thank you for your brilliant instruction. ”  -KN

Loosen Up! Painting Class student: “I was just reviewing my notes from Val Nelson’s Loosen up with Oils workshop – which I took 4 years ago! Once again I am struck by the clarity of her descriptions of process, and enough “how to’s” in her lively and stimulating demonstrations to have come away with a very satisfying new experience of making a painting . Val guided us through excellent exercises to get us out of our heads and into the moment and the subject, and then provided direction and support to paint our own realistic representations – but with loose energetic marks and gestures and the confidence to go with it.  The magical rhythm and the dance of interacting with your painting as it unfolds.   All this within the context of extremely well organized, supportive,  and easy to follow instruction and demos make Val’s workshops particularly valuable.  Go if you can!”


“Val’s Painting for Beginners sessions furthered my understanding of fundamentals in material use and my colours have never looked so alive! Theory, exercise, and one-on-one guidance kept me on track. Her insistence in ‘getting closer to your goal’ was a valuable lesson for me in patience with the work itself. Val is also a super fun teacher,  and she creates a very encouraging and welcoming experience for everyone. Thank you, Val! ”   Lea Chambers

“Val is already right at the top of her game as an artist and teacher and has the potential to excel even further. She is exceptional in her creativity, raw talent, communication skills, and personality. I’ve taken two workshops with Val Nelson in my capacity as a working artist. I found the experience very valuable and I would definitely take another course with Val.

Val has an approach to teaching that allows each participant to grow in their own direction, she is able to draw out of artists what it is they are trying to achieve and help them get there. Her knowledge of contemporary art provides a great foundation for her workshops, her examples inspire creativity and make one feel a part of the greater art world. JP, painter/drawer, retired architect 

“Technically, Val has skills to share. Whether it’s safe studio practices, paint application or professional experience, Val is generous with her knowledge, and she is encouraging and pragmatic. I would recommend Val’s course to any artist.“
Meghan Hildebrand, visual artist, Powell River, BC 

“I participated in Val Nelson’s Problem-Solving for Painters  class in which we focused on “loosening up” our work. We began each class with a relaxed discussion followed by a sketching exercise to warm us up, which I loved. Also helpful and really interesting was Val“s demonstration of her own method and approach to painting.

Val’s enthusiasm, sense of humour and gentle critiques kept me going as I worked tentatively through a frustrating time. For me “loosening up” meant working in the moment, rather than thinking ahead to a finished piece. I felt myself breaking through to a new way of working, both intellectually and technically, and I feel like my mind is finally connecting with my paintbrush!“
Camille Sleeman, visual artist, Vancouver, BC

“I had been stuck in my painting for much longer than I cared to admit when for the first time since graduating from art school some decades ago, I dove, with trepidation, into a workshop led by painter, Val Nelson. Her fluid approach, her invaluable demonstrations, her charm and ability to nail the good the bad and the ugly, contributed to an atmosphere which allowed me to tread the balance between the fear and excitement that stares out of a blank canvas. I left feeling encouraged and invigorated, and went home with my brushes drawn like pistols, ready and willing. It has absolutely changed the way I approach my painting — I highly recommend anyone take advantage of the opportunity to study with Val Nelson.“
Barbara Langmaid, visual artist, Powell River, BC 

“I recently had the pleasure of participating in Val’s Loosen Up oil painting weekend. Her teaching, much like her paintings, is layered and inspiring. This workshop was suitable for all levels. She offers as much to the beginning artist as she does to the professional.

Val began each session with a demonstration. While taking the blank canvas to an impressionistic flourish, she generously shared her expertise on painting techniques, colour mixing, composition and perspective. Her reminders of some of basics such as colour theory, principles of design, brush selection and maintenance, as well as palette set up were much appreciated.

The main focus of the sessions was “loosening up” — this entailed new ways of seeing the subject matter, using various types and sizes of paint brushes, blocking in shapes with tonal variations as well as trying new stances and approaches to the canvas. The studio is bright, immaculate and spacious. Each participant had a more than adequate work area. Val strives to be as Eco-Friendly and health conscious as one can when working with oil paint and solvents.

I really enjoyed observing Val paint — at one point, she likened her stance and strokes to those in a fencing match. Her approach to the canvas is astute and emotional. Her brush strokes are spontaneous yet disciplined — much like viewing a graceful dance. Val gave each participant a great deal of personal feedback. Her lovely personality and interesting anecdotes added to the overall experience. This painting weekend reignited my passion for painting! It was so worth while! Thanks Val!“
Miyeko Nabata, English, creative writing, and art teacher, North Delta Secondary School 

“I was fortunate to meet Val Nelson through an association with her work with CARFAC BC, a volunteer organisation in the arts sector… I have no hesitation in recommending Val, as she is a professional and collegiate artist who not only was able to deliver what she promised on time and without fuss, but who was well liked and respected by her colleagues and clients at the gallery. Val is reliable and honest, and can be trusted on all levels. As an artist, it has been my pleasure to watch Val’s practice and work develop and succeed in a variety of creative endeavors. She is a thoughtful and committed artist, and I can highly recommend her as an instructor in the arts.
Amy Stein