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