Valerie Nichol discovered art on a trip to the Yukon. Inspired by the incredible landscape and her friend painting, she started drawing and loved it. The journey continued 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. In 1985 she 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.”
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.