In the Artist's Studio with Valerie McLenahan

June 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This next in the series – In the Artist’s Studio highlights the president of the High River Art Society, Valerie McLenahan. HRAS member since 2004 and president since 2006 she is committed to the society’s mandate to support the arts community in the Highwood area.

I met with Valerie last week and gained insight into her style as well as her personality. I must say her style is every bit a reflection of the space she has created in which to work her watercolour magic. It’s fun and unconstrained.

In the studio with Valerie

To quote her artist’s statement she is “inspired by flow and mingling of colours [and] inspired by shapes. Colours I like to paint with are reds & earthly colours but purple is my favourite.”

Valerie will paint every day for weeks or months and then take a week or two off to recharge the batteries.

A pencil sketcher since childhood, Valerie aspired to attend art college but was persuaded that a business career would be more practical. She never lost her desire to put pencil to paper and capture the moments around her. Practicing drawing is still fundamental to her creative process.

When she is not painting she can be found sketching or photographing inspiration for her next painting.

Before I met the lady behind the paintings, when I joined the art society, I already knew she loved animals, I had seen some of her work at shows and that love came through loud and clear. After a visit to her home that love was never more evident.

The big fella was very tolerant with the idea of being "painted" and the cat was just plain curious!

The space that nurtures creativity must have had an affect on her children as well as her husband as they all have taken to creating music, which in turn is reflected in her art.

Surrounded by a family of musicians can't but help to add fodder for creativity

Valerie is a busy lady, but she finds a creative balance by combining her busy social side with the development of her art. She is a founding member of the Blackie Artists Guild, as well as her active role in the High River Art Society and she belongs to Okotoks Station Artists.

Artist, active community member, mother, wife and now teacher = a busy lady.

Teaching is a relatively new undertaking for Valerie but one that she says inspires and reinvigorates her creativity. Next opportunity to catch one of her classes will be in November at the High River Library. (Thursdays, 1:30 – 4:30)

Matted prints available for sale.

If you don’t want to wait until the HRAS Fall Show & Sale in October, for an opportunity to enjoy Valerie’s work up close and personal, you can catch her at the summer market hosted by the Okotoks Art Gallery – Thursdays, July 9 & 23 or August 6 & 27 from 4 – 8:00 p.m. She also displays at 2nd floor of the High River Hospital and Blackie ATB Financial.  You can go online to www.valeriemclenahan.ca to visit her portfolio as well.


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