Originally from London, Ontario, Valerie was born into a household surrounded by music. Her mother, whose passion was music taught piano six days a week to support a family and a husband who was dying with cancer. “Music is the most abstract of the arts. It’s just an arrangement of sounds, colors and textures and yet people listen to it and never question what it is. It’s real to them. Abstract art for me is a visual form of music”.
Valerie discovered art on a trip to the Yukon with the piano teacher she was studying with at the time and who had recently started painting. Inspired by the incredible landscape and her friend painting, she started drawing and loved it. The journey continued through the Yukon and up to Alaska where Valerie was drawn to some sculptures by an artist from Baffin Island.
Upon their return, she started sculpting and enrolled in a sculpture course at London’s Fanshawe College. As well as sculpture, Valerie was inspired by Canadian painter Emily Carr and started experimenting with very free landscapes that had a lot of movement to them. Already enrolled in music college at the University of Western Ontario, and falling more and more in love with art, she quit music college to study piano privately at the Royal Conservatory of Music and at the same time was accepted into Toronto’s Ontario College of Art.
“It was an incredible time in my life – a highlight – a whole building of people exploring their creativity”. When studying the old masters, the technique of glazing, the layering of one semi-transparent layer of paint on top of each other, became a fascination. The love of clay and textures grew into acrylic textures using modelling paste. Peaks, crevices and movement formed not unlike those of water surfaces, earth, snow or bark formations.
“The one element that sculpture never had was color. The new acrylic gel allows the color to seem wet and jump off the canvas. I love color.”
During the Toronto years, Valerie met artist-composer Robert Daigneault and started performing his music. After many solo concerts, she finds she now loves working with other musicians.” Music will always be an incredibly important part of my life. The two are just so connected.”
Valerie has been showing paintings in galleries across Ontario for the past twenty years. Her pieces are part of many corporate collections including “Top Performance” in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her paintings hang in several public buildings including the C.N. building Montreal, Quebec, The Ontario Lottery Corporation Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, The Ministry of Community and Social Services Building, North Bay and Grace United Church in Thornbury Ontario.
Continuing her exploration of color and texture – “I’m always searching for the magic combination that takes me to another world”. Valerie continues to paint from her home in the country just outside of Meaford, Ont.