“Art is a sort of painkiller, a truce, a pleasant uncertainty which gives peace and tranquility”
I have these words by Matisse on the notice board in my studio and they remind me daily that I am privileged to have the creative channel of painting as a medium of
expression and communication.
I am a mixed-media painter working in acrylics and cold wax/oil. I am based mainly in Woodbridge on the beautiful East-Anglian coast of England. However my summers are spent in my inherited house in Marie; a Medieval mountain village in the Alpes Maritimes in France. There, where the air is pure and the light is soft, I have a beautiful large studio which overlooks the village and the mountains where I am able to work on large canvasses. It is a wild and lovely environment that holds many stories.
My current work emerges as a result of hours of intuitive applications of layer upon layer of information in pigment, glaze and mixed media, some of which in the process of “archaeological” digging, re-emerges on the surface as hidden or suggested history.
As a former art therapist; it is only now as a result of the recent painful path my own life has taken and the new me that has emerged; that I can truly resonate with the power of art to explore and to touch the secret hidden places in the soul and thus begin the long process of healing.
Painting for me is like breathing, it sustains, heals and emotionally strengthens.
My paintings begin with spontaneous play or experimentation using mark making, collage and textures; as the painting begins to reveal itself, the layering process becomes like a dance. Gradually the history below is revealed as a mysterious suggestion of what might be, or what might have been. Finally, as the process nears completion, the pace slows, colours become more refined, and marks become more thoughtful.
With music as my muse, I work intuitively, allowing the subconscious to direct, and visual stories to emerge; sometimes surprisingly, always truthfully.
Born in Stoke-on Trent to an army family, Valerie had an itinerant childhood; moving homes and schools in the UK and abroad often within the year. This has led to a life-long curiosity about other cultures and a need to travel the world.
She studied textiles in Hornsey and Croydon art colleges in the revolutionary late 1960’s, mosaics in the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris in the early 70's, followed by a graduate Art Therapy diploma. She went on to practice as an art therapist in psychiatric institutions and schools until her children were born in the 1980’s.
With small children at school, Valerie set up a business, making and painting folding screens to commission, painting murals and paint effects in client’s homes, and painting and antiquing furniture.
The acquisition of an etching press led to several years practice as a print maker. However, the longing to paint led to her finally taking the Art2Life training in painting with Nicholas Wilton from California in 2016. From that moment painting became her life. Nowadays the combination of self-expression through painting and her past profession as an art therapist have combined to become a personal tool for healing.
1967 Dip Ad Textiles. Hornsey College of Art, London
1968 – 70 SIAD Textiles. Croydon College of Art
1972 – 1975 Département matière/espace. École des Beaux-Arts, Paris
1975/76 St Albans College of Art. Post-Graduate diploma in Art Therapy
2017 & 2018 CVP with Nicholas Wilton
2020 “BORDERS.” Ipswich & Colchester art societies. Firstsite. Colchester
2020 “FACING FEAR/ FEELING JOY. Artspace Woodbridge
2020 “EXHIBITION OF COLOUR.” Artspace, Woodbridge
2019 “12+ ARTS.” Grundisburgh,
2019 “ARTWORKS AT THE FESTIVAL.” Bury St Edmunds
2019 “IPSWICH ART SOCIETY OPEN”. Ipswich
2019 “MEMORIES” Artspace, Woodbridge
2019 “HOME” Cambridge refugee action group. Cambridge
2019 “ARTWORKS 20 th exhibition. Blackthorpe Barn
2018 “SECRETS & WHISPERS” Artspace, Woodbridge
2018 “ST MARYS EXHIBITION” Debenham
2018 “IPSWICH ART SOCIETY OPEN” Ipswich
2018 “SERMO” Ipswich
2018 “MEDITATIONS” Aldeburgh
2018 “ARTWORKS” Blackthorpe Barn
2017 “ARTWORKS” Blackthorpe Barn
2017 “FROM THE MODEL” Rendlesham
2016 “EXPLOSION OF THE PALETTE” Wivenhoe
2016 “LES ARTISTES DE MARIE” Marie, France
2016 “ARTWORKS” Blackthorpe Barn
2016 “ALTERED SPACES” Aldeburgh
SOLO EXHIBITIONS SINCE 2012
2014 “DIGNITY” Aldeburgh
2012 “ON THE WALL” Re+New, Woodbridge
2012 “MOVING CLOSER” ST Johns College, Oxford
“THE FOLDING SCREEN” by Charles Hemming & Mark Aldbrook
“DICTIONARY OF ARTISTS IN BRITAIN SINCE1945” By David Buckman
“HOW ARTISTS SEE PEOPLE” Green Pebble Publication