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"

Friday, August 11, 2006

Illustration Friday: Play

My submission for Illustration Friday's "Play" is from my 2004 HomeMade calendar and the title is "Summer House". This is a good way for us to play, camping under the stars, telling stories , laughing and having fun. This was for the month of July and the quote is: Childhood memories have attached me to this house with ties of affection and well being... ~George Sand~
SummerHouse /ValerieWalsh copyright 2003

Friday, August 04, 2006

Illustration Friday: Capture

My Submission for Illustration Friday's "Capture" is from my 2003 HomeMade calendar and the title is "Animal House". I think it must have been hard for Noah to capture all those animals and load them on to the Ark! Do you recognize a familiar face on the boat? Yes, it is my darling Rat boy! He had a major operation yesterday and he is not feeling well at all today so I was tickled that I could feature him on IF . This little guy captured my heart 11 years ago and every day I feel lucky to have him in my life.

Animal House copyright 2002