My work emerges as a result of careful applications of layers of information in pigment, glaze and mixed media; some of which in the process of “archaeological” digging, re-emerges on the surface as hidden or suggested history. As a former art therapist, it is only now as a result of the recent painful path my own life has taken and the new me that has emerged as a result, that I can truly resonate with the power of art to explore and to touch the secret hidden places in the soul, and thus begin the long process of healing. Painting for me is like breathing, it sustains, heals and emotionally strengthens.
My paintings begin with spontaneous play or experimentation using mark making, collage and textures; as the painting begins to reveal itself, the layering process becomes like a dance. Finally, as the process nears completion, the pace slows, colours become more refined and marks more thoughtful. With music as my muse I work intuitively, allowing the subconscious to direct, and visual stories to emerge sometimes surprisingly, always truthfully.
Gallery (click to view)
After graduating in textiles from Croydon College of Art, I spent a year in Sweden employed in the design studios of a ceramic factory. I then lived in Paris for four years working as a lay-out artist for the publishing House, Trianon Press, specialising in facsimiles of William Blake. Back in the UK, I gained a post graduate qualification in art therapy; following which I worked in psychiatric hospitals and therapeutic centres as an art therapist. I moved from London to Suffolk with a young family and finding the combination of the responsibility of performing as a therapist and bringing up children too stressful, I turned back to my own creativity, and set up a business making painted folding screens to commission. In recent years, a fascination for experimental printmaking, collage and layered mixed media painting has gradually led me to a more experimental and abstract way of working.
Recent Exhibitions and Projects
THE MINDS EYE, Artspace Gallery, Woodbridge
BORDERS, First Site Gallery Colchester
LOCKDOWN Exhibition, Artspace Gallery
ARTWORKS Annual Exhibition, Blackthorpe Barn
MEMORIES, Artspace Gallery, Woodbridge
ALTERED SPACES, Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh
MEDITATIONS, Aldeburgh Gallery
EXPLOSION OF THE PALETTE, The Sentinel Gallery, Wivenhoe
ARTISTES DU VILLAGE, Marie Village, Alpes Maritimes, France
MOVING CLOSER, St John’s College, Oxford
The Folding Screen, by Charles Hemming & Mark Aldbrook
Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945, by David Buckman, published 2006
How Artists see People, Green Pebble Publication
Contact Valerie Armstrong