Access Art: Elisa Valentine Transforms Words, Images and The Natural World Into Painting

by Laura Goldstein

Elisa Valentine of Studio Valentine is a Renaissance woman. A former casting associate for film and television (Stargate, Elf,) she is one of those rare people who combines both the cerebral process of composing the written word with the emotional expression of painting.

Some of her earliest memories of growing up in Vancouver were running through rows of raspberries on her parents’ property and to this day, immersing herself in the sensory lushness of the West Coast. Valentine brings her unique interpretations of the natural world to the inaugural Artist-in -Residence interactive programme presented by SwitzerCultCreative the first Saturday of each month from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. beginning May 4th to August (tba.) The final date will tie-in with The Armoury Design District’s summer celebration.

Entitled Access Art, “It’s a very inviting look into an artistic process, and designed to bring clientele closer to that process,” Valentine explains. Closer indeed, as she will set up her easel in the window of the SwitzerCultCreative showroom, one of British Columbia’s foremost supporters of local, Canadian and international furniture, pottery, glass and lighting.

“Since opening our SwitzerCultCreative showroom in 2015, we strive to champion the exceptional talents of Canadian craftspeople especially those from the Pacific Northwest,” says founder/partner, Renee Switzer.“ Elisa Valentine is a Vancouver – based artist who brought us the idea of hosting an Artist-in-Residence programme in our space. We look forward to welcoming Elisa and the public to our showroom over the spring and summer for these special events.”

Fascinated with texture, Valentine wields her brush using built-up acrylics on raw canvas giving the impression of 3-dimensional gesso. She also employs the use of charcoal, ink and sometimes found objects in nature. “I see painting as the sensory poetry of nature,” she rhapsodizes.

Her popular Valentine’s Letters series was created using custom-made woodblocks in the style of old typewriter fonts. Using graphic design techniques, she illuminates each letter with botanical imagery then applies them to a variety of merchandise including stationery, notebooks and totes. A portion of those sales supports charitable organizations dedicated to literacy and the arts for children.

Inspired by a photograph of beach sand covered in frost by Vancouver professional photographer, Josh Neufeld, Valentine penned a short story and sent it off to him. “A few months later he contacted me and suggested we collaborate on a book,” says Valentine of the serendipitous partnership. the nature of She is a metaphorical contemplation of Mother Nature and the feminine explored through photography, poetry and short story.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Valentine also conducts “pen & paint” workshops at The Museum of Vancouver that combine en plein air painting with the creation of a story or poem. “I find it’s a wonderful tool for storytelling because painting evokes our memories,” she explains.

SwitzerCultCreative kicks-off the first Access Art event on Saturday, May 4th with Engage With the Artist and an opportunity to meet Elisa Valentine as she works on a large scale painting.

June 8th The Colour of Your Letters: Elisa invites clients and walk-ins to choose a woodblock printed letter from her alphabet series and choice of three acrylic colours for a one-of-a-kind-commission on canvas.

July 6th Pen & Paint: will welcome the summer season with a mini workshop in which clientele will spend a few hours exploring their untapped creativity through the application of writing & painting. All materials will be included. NOTE: Only 8 pre-reserved spots are available.

August date (tba) to coincide with The Armoury Design District’s Summer Celebration

SwitzerCultCreative Unit 102-1636 West 2nd Avenue, is located in The Armoury Design District, Vancouver (604) 736-3020