Valerie Coursen

Valerie Coursen

I drew and painted as a child then in high school I took the train to Boston U. for figure drawing classes on Saturdays. Four years at RISD was a time of exploration and managing the student-run coffee shop as well as organizing art shows. Next was heading to the midwest to Kansas City, Missouri to try my hand at paper products at Shoebox Greetings, another kind of education. Then back in the Boston area at a community art studio at the Emerson Umbrella in Concord MA, I was inspired by the natural setting preserved from the days of Henry David Thoreau. Newly married, we move to Philadelphia, and a burst of energy came at 915 Spring Garden where I met many eclectic artists and began to create and publish books for children and adults. I continue with creating books and paintings from my barn studio I had built behind my house. The excitement for visual arts I had as a child continues and I look forward to this year to have full days to create.

Statement

I usually begin with either loose sketches or by painting large swathes of natural papers such as rice, darkened hemp, and mulberry and paint with gouache, acrylic, oil sticks and other mediums. The experimentation at this stage is child-like, how the paint takes to the various papers and the unconventional tools I find to use. There is no wrong and many happy accidents here; point in the process that is full of possibilities. Some papers are painted solid flat colors and others are layered loose patterns. The chalky matte surface appeals to me and combining unusual color combinations. 

When dry they are pinned to the wall of my studio looking like large fallen leaves. Acting like a tailor I select colors that excite my eye and on a large table play with composition loosely. The flowers become gestural like figures interacting with each other. Sometimes a breeze blows them on the table and this creates a more organic feel to the piece. Since they are on paper I frame them simply in raw birch frames. They are as close as I have come to a fresh, non-labored feeling that I am seemingly always striving for. 

www.valeriecoursen.com

Charles Clary

Charles Clary

Dogs, Cats and Cake: Interview with Artist Vanessa Stockard

Dogs, Cats and Cake: Interview with Artist Vanessa Stockard