Val Coopet: Her art journey, detours and what propelled her watercolor painting career.

Rumriver Art Center will feature Artist Val Coopet’s show: ‘Faces and Places,’ in the 21 Step Gallery. Show Open: Sat, March 4, 2pm-4pm. Her Artist Talk will be Sat, March 11, 11am-12;30pm.  Faces and Places will remain in the 21 Step Gallery through March 25, 2023

Rumriver Art Center is excited to welcome Val Coopet to our gallery and blog. We appreciate the opportunity to learn from our artist’s stories, experiences and artwork. Art is woven throughout Val’s story. Learn how a thoughtful retirement gift ignited her artist career. Val shares how she landed on watercolor, as her medium of choice.

Some artists emerge along the way, and others appear to be born an artist. Val shares how art was part of her earliest memories. New experiences fueled her fascination and love of art as she grew. 

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love creating some kind of art. One of my earliest memories was sitting in a sandbox, definitely pre-k, telling my friend that I wanted to grow up and illustrate children’s books.  I also wanted to live in a rose covered log cabin in the woods!”

“When I was in school I remember all of my art teachers and so many projects. I was fascinated when Mr. Gould taught perspective and shading to create 3D objects in 7th grade. In 11th grade, a 4 piece set of hand thrown dishes were destroyed in the kiln when someone’s piece exploded!”

Although Val felt a strong pull to pursue art, she experienced life’s typical obstacles and detours. 

“I wanted to major in art in college and took all the required classes but could never get into a required photography class. My minor, Art History, became my major so I could graduate. 

Oh, how I loved seeing the influences artists had on each other through time and place. One of my favorite things to do is go to museums and look for those connections.” 

Val’s Journey as an artist.

“When I retired, my friends knew I painted a bit and made jewelry. They threw a retirement party for me and surprised me with an envelope full of cash to use for art classes.”

Val took a class at Rumriver Art Center, taught by David Smith, where she was introduced to Watercolor. 

“It was that class that narrowed my focus to watercolor. Watercolor presents unique challenges and surprises. Creating a painting from lights to darks requires thoughtful planning. Mixing colors and finding the correct intensity is creative and exciting. I don’t always end up with exactly what I envisioned. Sometimes, the paint works its own magic and amazes me and teaches me new things. Watercolor is the most dynamic medium I have worked with.”

“A friend encouraged me to enter a Bird Show at the Rumriver Art Center. I loved the vibrant art community there and decided to throw caution to the wind and I applied for my own show. Voila! I was accepted.”

“The whole journey has been serendipitous!”

“I have been painting commissioned dog portraits for several years. Nothing motivates me more than seeing the expression on the faces of the pet owners. I also love painting portraits. It is exciting to see the people I paint come alive. I love the feeling of intimacy that developed as I work on my paintings of both people and animals.” 

“Painting landscapes has been something I have been working on for the past year. Instead of loving the subjects, I find I really enjoy creating the composition and finding techniques that make a satisfying painting. I do prefer painting places I have been, but I will often choose a subject that provides a challenge for my skills.

Painting is a very pleasant pastime for me. Even when something I paint is a failure I focus on what I learned while painting. Whether I paint a living being or a landscape I like seeing people enjoy my paintings. Especially, if they feel a connection to my subject, or my painting evokes special memories.” 

Why Val choose ‘Faces and Places’ as the title in her exhibit 

“I love the intensely personal feeling I have when I paint places that mean a great deal to me. When I paint faces of people and animals, I develop a closeness and feeling of intimacy with them. The pieces in this show all have that special, intimate connection to me.”

Who is your biggest supporter and influencer?

“My art teachers, past and present, and family were my greatest influences and supporters. I had several successful artists and hobby artists in my family. When my father was ill he told me to keep painting and never stop.  He would be so excited for me if he knew I was having my first solo show now.” 

Val’s closing comments:

“Nothing connects a person to the experiences of another person, culture, or period in history like art, whether it is painting, sculpture, architecture or prose. This connection has probably been my number one reason for becoming involved in the arts.”

Stop by Rumriver Art Center and enjoy Val Coopet’s watercolor paintings. Faces and Places will be in the 21 Step Gallery: March 4th – March 25, 2023

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