Sunday, December 31, 2006

My 10th Wedding Anniversary

I wrote about getting married on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas and it's hard to believe but it's been 10 years today! One of the bands John managed, "Common Sense" was the opening act for "Hootie and the Blowfish" New Years Eve 1996. So we got hitched at Graceland and John's daughter Ohara, his son Morgan, brother Paul and a few of my close friends came. It was a sweet little ceremony and then we went to the gig at the Hard Rock Hotel. Vegas on New Years is a circus! The opposite of our life in Topanga to be sure. But it was fun and memorable. We had our reception a few months later in Santa Monica, invited all our friends and family and John's brother Phil Hartman interviewed a lot of our guests on video with his famous comedic flair and it is a happy treasured time captured on tape.
Top: At the Mermaid in Topanga last New Years Eve my friend sent me this picture.
Bottom: Cover Art for my reception invites. Click on to Graceland to view it larger

Friday, December 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: Phoenix

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Phoenix" is from a series of illustrations that I created for Celine Dion. In July 2002 I received a call from a fellow that acted as my agent asking me if I was interested in doing some spec work for a possible merchandising deal involving Celine Dion and her upcoming commitment to have an exclusive show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Celine would have her own gift store at Caesars and I could be on the ground floor of creating art that would go on all of the merchandise, ie calendars, cards, stationary, tees etc. This was not my ultimate dream job but Joe already had an appointment for me to show her lawyer Paul, rough illustrations in 2 days. I was worried because I paint buildings but I pulled an all-nighter and came up with some stuff that I thought she might be attracted to. I tried to think of what I knew of her and I know she likes fashion so I did 4 that were reminiscent of vintage fashion illustrations with her name at the top in the style she used on her album covers. One was with her new little boy and they are outside in a beautiful cove playing together, one was her in an evening gown reclining outside looking up at fireworks and this one. Like a beautiful bird that is starting a new life in this exotic paradise. I did it in white and also in black but I never finished the black version because I ran out of time. I met with the lawyer/agent and he loved my ideas and the work and would present them to Ms. Dion. I don't know how I drove home that day on P.C.H. my eyes kept closing as I wound my way back up the canyon. So all these guys went back and forth, emails flying around and finally I received a simple email that said: "She likes it". That made me soar! Much time passed and I got another call aking me to do a lot more work but it still was not a go and I sensed this could go on and on. I pulled out because I had real paying gigs. Celine Dion opened at Caesars in March 2003 and I have no idea what happened with the merchandise in her gift shop but I still have the email from her lawyer saying she liked it. She rose from a big star to an even bigger star in Vegas and I learned a lot about myself, still able to pull an all-nighter, to not let down the agent and myself and to know when to throw in the towel.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Illustration Friday: Peace

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Peace" is from one of my valgal winter holiday cards. I did this card for Habitat for Humanity a few years back. I donated 1000 calendars to Habitat for 2002 and they asked me to create a holiday card that they could send out. I had gone to Marthas Vineyard that summer and those sweet campground houses inspired this theme. Once again the thrust of this card is to "Celebrate the Holidays Together". I hope everyone has an inspired time with family and friends this holiday season! Peace for all!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Illustration Friday: Help

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Help" is from my 2004 HomeMade calendar and the title is "House Pet". It's always wise to have a pet that helps around the house. Goats were used for brush clearing in Topanga State Park a long time ago. And many people have and still do raise goat and sheep here. I hear the goats on my walks. This painting was for the month of February and the quote is: Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look, when hearts are of each other sure. ~John Keble~

copyright 2003

Friday, December 08, 2006

Illustration Friday: Mask

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Mask" is the little cat "Babs" that I use in most of my HomeMade calendar paintings and she has been featured in Marisol cards and some of my greeting cards too.The top image is her very own sticker the middle is showing her pampered lifestyle for a card and the bottom view, excuse the pun is a cover of my calendar.
The cutest mask is worn by Rat with a couple of his girlfriends. all images by Valerie Walsh copyright 2002

Friday, December 01, 2006

Illustration Friday: Might

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Might" is my holiday card this season. This might be the perfect time to celebrate the holidays together!
celebrate copyright 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Illustration Friday: Invention

My submissions for Illustration Friday's "Invention" are my Building Clocks. Clocks are a great invention because they are useful, functional and can be beautiful too. My personal invention the "Building Clocks" will be featured in summer 2007 on the HGTV show " That's Clever". We filmed my sequence November 7th 2006, it took 8 hours to shoot because my project is complicated. It was quite a unique experience! We worked in my airbrush and resin studio and it was difficult for the crew because it is a solarium, it's all windows, great for ventilation, bad for tv because it creates hotspots on camera. I had to make 5 versions of the clock in different stages of completion and of course a finished version. It took almost a month to prepare my clocks for the show and ready my space. The director and field producer came a couple days before the shoot and checked out me and my scene. The crew was great, it consisted of 2 camera people, director , and a sound guy. It is a very small low-budget production company but they are tight and professional. I love making something from nothing or creating something from unexpected materials. The clocks shown here range from 2ft. to 5ft. tall. They have an attic room with a little door that houses the clock parts and you can change the time and battery. I always add a message to the recipient that is a quote about home. I typically get several custom orders a year and sandwich them between my "Houscapes" and paintings. I add elements from peoples lives, their cats and dogs and things they love. I am making one for a client to give to her husband for Christmas and it is a small version of their Montana cabin. It has a balcony deck that wraps around the building and I will post it when it's done. I used this quote a couple weeks ago but it's so perfect for today: "Home is an invention on which no one has yet improved" ~Ann Douglas~
My building clocks are made from foamboard and coated with a 2-part polymer resin.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Illustration Friday: Thanksgiving

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Thanksgiving" is from my 2004 HomeMade calendar and the title is "Field House". It is for the month of November and the quote is: "Ten little Indians standing in a line, one went home and then there were nine." ~Anonymous Nursery Rhyme~

I hope everyone has a peaceful and abundant Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Illustration Friday: Clear

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Clear" is from Marisol's everyday card line and the message is clear! Looks like this ducky is gonna have a date...
copyright 1995 Marisol

Friday, November 03, 2006

Illustration Friday: Smoke

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Smoke" is from my 2003 calendar and the title is "House Warming. This is for the month of August and the quote is: "Burned biscuits will not make a warm house. ~proverb~
copyright 2002

Friday, October 27, 2006

Illustration Friday: Wind

My submission for Illustration Friday"s "Wind" is from my 2003 HomeMade Calendar and the title is "Mill House". This painting is for the month of November and the quote is: "Home is an Invention on which no one has yet improved". ~Ann Douglas~

copyright 2002

Monday, October 23, 2006

Black and Orange Contest

Halloween is almost here and I love to paint haunted houses so I decided to submit my dimensional Haunted House Candy box for the Black and Orange contest. This is a valgal haunted house sticker. I love Halloween! You can purchase Valerie Walsh HomeSpun Haunted House Candy boxes at: click on to Gift boxes and scroll down to find this trick or treat! To see more entries for the contest

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rick Davis/Topanga Outsider Artist

Rick Davis in his studio with Hoochie Coochie
The secluded Topanga property he shares with his partner Penny and dog Max

I have known Rick Davis for quite some time and today I want to showcase his unique creations. I find his work very appealing, Rick is one of those artists that find their own way of sharing feelings through tongue in cheek humour and a thoughtful approach that requires intricate knowledge of woodworking and articulated moving parts. The thing I love most about his work is the vintage feel, it brings me back to a simpler time and I love that feeling. I call Rick Davis a Topanga Outsider artist because he lives way in the hills of Topanga and his art has that handcrafted old fashioned quality with a rustic feel that only someone who spends time alone away from the beaten path could produce. He has some pieces that will be for sale on Etsy and I encourage you to check him out at Enjoy!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Illustration Friday: Ghost

Please click on image to view it larger

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Ghost" is from my 2001 HomeMade calendar and the title is "Haunted House". This painting has ghosts, witches, a pumpkin patch and even an old cemetary filled with tombstones that house all the dogs my family and friends have known and loved... Of course this was for the month of October and the quote is: " Laughter is sunshine in a house" ~William Makepeace Thackery
Haunted House copyright 2000

Friday, October 13, 2006

Illustration Friday: Smitten

Please click on image to enlarge it.

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Smitten" is from an adult themed card I created for Marisol. Even though the man and woman are probably getting amourous in her apartment, I feel that these little birds have something going on as well, it looks like they are smitten!

copyright 1995

Monday, October 09, 2006

Songs of my Life kj tagged me for "Songs of my Life" and I've had to think about it for a few days. How do you pick a few songs? It's so hard! So I will choose 10 and some will be songs and some will just be a type of music or a singer or band.
1." Over the Rainbow " / Judy Garland. This is the pivotal song and movie in my young life and when I saw the movie turn from black and white to colour and the way all the characters could be and do what they wanted to do I knew that I would paint this kind of scene, feeling and colour all of my life.
2. Julie Andrews/ Sound of Music/ Throughly Modern Millie/ Mary Poppins. I know this sounds cornball but these movies and songs and Julie herself was a huge inspiration as I was growing up when Musicals were big and she is and always will be a real lady.
3. Blue/ Joni Mitchell What can I say? This is one of the myriad of songs that she has written and performed that make me feel all the things you want from a song, a poem, a story, painting or life.
4.Crazy Love/Poco I adore this song! I play it often, loud and sing along. Legend is a close second!
5. I love bluegrass music very much and you know that song in the movie "O Brother where art thou?" "I am a man of constant sorrow". It's a great song!
6. Me'shell Ndegocello/ Ecclesiastes:Free my Heart. If you don't know who she is, you should! My husband John managed her for a little while and I admire her voice, soul, lyrics and musical ability beyond words. I like so many of her songs that it was hard to choose!
7. JJ Cale/ Tijuana He is one of the greats! Love all of his music since I had to pick one I chose this because Tijuana was my neighbor for a long time being from San Diego and this song conjures up all the feelings from this strange place.
8.Robbie Robertson/ Somewhere down the Crazy River. Love all of his songs too, Great on roadtrips!!
9.Eagles/I can't tell you why. All you have to do is listen and you will know why.
10.Valerie Carter/ ooh Child/ We had a friendship long ago, a true talent and an amazing singer. Appalachia and Cowboy Angel are both equally amazing! Listened to this record since I was 17.
Well this is 10, I could go on and on citing more exceptional and inspiring artists like Joan Armatrading, Shawn Colvin, Graham Nash's Our House and more but I must stop for now.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Illustration Friday: Trouble

Please click on to the small picture , it's a bit more clear but the laundry pole got cut off .

My Submission for Illustration Friday's "Trouble" is from a painting called "Puppy Love". The image was used for a puzzle produced and distributed in Japan. It was funny to me that they chose this image but it sold very well there and was even reprinted too. The artist Michael Bedard intoduced me to a wonderful Japanese agent and within a short period I got a very large puzzle deal. The company that made these puzzles did a beautiful job, replete with a board, glue, sponge and my very own valgal sticker!

Sorry to those that have seen this image before, my work load has tripled for the holiday season and my whole goal with IF is to go as long as I can using existing works. Speaking of that it is now one year that I started my blog and posting on Illustration Friday and I have made it through all those weeks using my art from the past so I can't Thank everyone enough for all your fun comments and inspiration. I hope it goes on and on!
Puppy Love copyright 1986

Friday, September 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: Quiet

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Quiet" is from my 2002 HomeMade calendar and the title is "Homeward Bound". Some of you might recognize the pooch to be my Rat boy. I am in Seattle today and I am celebrating my Mom's 69th birthday with my sis and my Mom's sis and we are having a party! 69 is mighty fine! This is why my post is incomplete as I don't have access to my stuff but I got my picture off the internet and will fix when I get home. My addiction to IF is pretty obvious and if I don't post on IF I might explode! Have a great weekend!!!

Back from Seattle today and I had a wonderful time with my family! Updated the picture, this is a bit bigger and want to add the usual info: This painting was for the month of August and the quote is "Life''s a voyage that's homeward bound" ~proverb

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wasserman SilkScreen Company

I mentioned last Friday that I would like to talk about my printing adventures, but first I must introduce you to a brilliant printer and the men that I worked with at Wasserman SilkScreen Company. My printing experiences surely changed the course of my life because it introduced me to many types of art and artists that were the cream of the crop during that time period in 1980's Los Angeles. These printers and artists helped to shape me into the artist that I am today and of course you know by now I love colour and blends (gradations of colour) in my work and that is one of the better parts of Serigraphy, a good printer can make a gorgeous blend and each print is uniquely different so they are like originals on paper. I love the smell of ink and paper in the morning and I will never forget those days with the boys printing, reading the paper and Playboy magazine (the years before sexual harrassment in the workplace) and in all honesty I loved being one of the boys, getting your hands dirty and making art. Jeff would always say "Let's kick ass and take names" and I still smile when I think of that phrase! Please read this amazing article about Jeff Wasserman, me and the guys when you have some free time and I promise it will inspire you.

Wasserman Page One
Wasserman Page Two
Wasserman Page Three
Wasserman Page Four
Wasserman Page Five

Article from ScreenPrinting Magazine November 1988

Friday, September 22, 2006

Illustration Friday: Phobia

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Phobia" is the first print in a series of three that I handprinted into a portfolio of limited editions. Printing was my life for over 15 years, I printed many pieces and I promise when I get some good time soon I'll post about my amazing printing adventures. This is an 9 colour silkscreen and for any of you that have hand printed, the more colours the more registration issues. This is a tight fit too so for my first personal edition it was ambitious. I created a transparent glaze with a little white that turned all my colours from one to two. So for instance I printed the purple lady than I cut out just her face and printed the transparent white and it turns the purple into a softer lavendar and now it looks like 2 totally different colours, I did one pass of transparent white over all of the print and it looks like 14 colours now! My whole reason to print was to stretch the boundaries and be a self sufficient artist. You don't want to do whats been done you want to pioneer new techniques. This print helped me land a job with a master printer and I worked as his assistant for 5 years. In April I wrote a post called "I never forget a face" that is the 2nd print in this portfolio, it was 10 colours and the 3rd print is almost 20. The guy in the picture is Bob and the name of this print is "Strangers in the Night". This is about show businss and that subject is rife with phobias. Stage fright is a major phobia.

Strangers in the Night copyright 1980

Friday, September 15, 2006

Illustration Friday: Change

My Submission for Illustration Friday's "Change" comes from a painting titled "Hanging Around". If dry cleaning was sent through your home, you'd always be ready for a change!

I made this painting in 1997 and hung it in a gallery on Main Street in Santa Monica and within a few days a naked person came in and bought it. Just kidding, they wore clothes. Have a fun weekend my friends!
Hanging Around is Acrylics on masonite, wood, foam, paper, prismacolor pencil, and cord. copyright 1997

Friday, September 08, 2006

Illustration Friday: Farm

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Farm" is from a greeting card I created for Marisol's everyday line and the title is "Farm House". I love painting farm houses and farms and barns and rolling golden fields. The recipient of this card gets the gift of time with someone they care about. What a great idea! Have a wonderful weekend, I need to finish painting the walls of my studio.
copyright 1995 Valerie Walsh

Friday, September 01, 2006

Illustration Friday: Safe

My submisson for Illustration Friday's "Safe is from my 2001 HomeMade Calendar and the title is "Bird House". For years I have observed the birds in my little neck of the woods and they always seem to feel safe when they are in their little houses and nests. They seem to sweep a lot too, they are always making sweeping sounds and moving the leaves around and gathering tidbits to bring home. It makes me feel safe listening to the sounds they make. This illustration is for the month of January and the quote is: "The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it" ~Emerson.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


526 Fernwood, Topanga also known as the Gingerbread House

The most frequently asked question in my artistic life is" Why houses? Why? Because our homes are one of the ways we truly express who we are. In a lot of ways our home and the buildings that we conduct business in reflect how we like to think of ourselves and express our identities. That in itself is interesting to me because we are not the architects of most of our homes and the places we work in but we paint them, fix them up, sculpt the grounds and remodel the interiors to reflect how we feel and live with ourselves and others.

My "Houscapes" capture little architectural slices of life that are often overlooked or neglected. Houses are like people, they have faces, a light glowing within that shines outward and hopefully something wonderful going on inside! In between the "Houscapes" that I paint to make a living, I splice in landmark buildings from Topanga. Eventually I hope to have a show of these pieces
so the people that live here can see glimpses of how I preserved the past. Painting houses still gives me a creative spark. When I was little, old houses were always intriguing, the attics that seem to be filled with secrets. I was drawn to books about houses and homes and I love old illustrations and paintings of homes. Through this blog I have been able to show my commitment to this subject and it is extensive! I have made houses in clay, wood, foam, paper, prints and paintings. In 1984 I went to meet a unique family on Maui. The lady invited me to meet Elisabeth Kubler Ross. She wrote many books but her groundbreaking book "On Death and Dying" is most well known. She ran a hospice on the island called Shanti Nalaya. There she told me the story of a little girl who was dying, she drew a picture of herself as a house and most of the drawing was pleasant, pretty colours , nice and neat. But in one small corner of the attic there was a black blob. The blob was her tumor, she fully recognized that she was the house and it wasn't a safe place anymore.The girl had an acceptance that was more refined than most adults that had to face that it was their time. This sounds corny now but I knew this was another sign to paint houses and buildings, it is my way to express feelings. Some artists paint people, some still lifes, while others prefer landscapes and I paint houses. A very thorough and well written review of the Topanga Art Studio Tour came out in July and it had to be covered by 2 writers and one photographer. The writer that interviewed me wrote a wonderful short piece about my work and it made me feel she got it: "Valerie Walsh's work also captures the magic of created places, the unique shells that house the lives of the people who work and live in Southern California. Her trademark "Houscapes" portraits of local homes and historic buildings combine a colorful, clean, illustrative style, with exaggerated dimensions, images that are whimsical, fantasy-like and humorous and which manage to communicate the absolute truth of Los Angeles' playful and diverse architectural history---images familiar to us all in a style that creates a sense of timeless preservation. ~ Laura Mauney

Houscape of 526 Fernwood, Topanga also known as the Gingerbread house

Friday, August 25, 2006

Illustration Friday: Run

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Run" is from a tryptich commissioned by Paul Gallin. He started a company in Ohio called Ohio Travel Bag, he loved his home and decided to have me create three paintings for his kitchen. The theme and title of these pieces are "The Dish ran away with the Spoon". I have alway's loved the idea of everyday objects coming to life when we leave the room. In the first scene we see the open kitchen window and someone has just baked a pie, it's cooling on the window sill and the dish is on one side of the sink and the spoon is in the mixing bowl on the counter of the opposite side of the sink. In the second scene the dish is flirting with the spoon and they have come to life and are the only dimensional characters in the room. The third scene shows us the living room as the dish and spoon are running away into the wild blue yonder. This was made in 1999 and I had a lot of fun creating it for Paul's kitchen. He has a home decorated with bright colours and a southwest motif, hence the rug and mirror. He sent pictures of items in his home and I recreated them out of handmade paper with embroidery thread making the tassles for the rug a small mirror and wood made up the likeness of his own mirror. I have never actually seen it hang in his home, I paint the art, ship it out and the pieces have a life somewhere out in the world in a new home.

The dish ran away with the spoon copyright 1999 Valerie Walsh

Friday, August 18, 2006

Illustration Friday: Match

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Match" is a dimensional painting I made in 1991 for the Revness family in Brentwood. This piece is called "Some Enchanted Evening". The guy is seranading the woman and if this works out it is a match made in heaven...
Please click on image to see it larger
Acrylic on masonite, buildings are wood and foam 28" x 34"