Love Color. Can't Have Just One!
Above all, I love the physicality of paint and the poetry of color.
I was blown away when I saw Vrubel's demon paintings in Moscow. His use of color and the emotional presence of his huge canvases. Wow. Chagall, the stained glass windows I saw in the Gothic cathedrals of Germany, the flat color geometry of Stella in the eighties, the magnificent shimmering color fields of Rothko, the quietness of Newman was instructive, the bold black and white gestures of Kline, and the works of many, many colorists.
As a young artist I experienced and responded to the original work I had access to in the many galleries that used to line West 57th Street in New York, and in the exhibitions in the early 80s at MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney and the Met: the sculptures of de St Phalle, the contradiction of exactness and whimsy of Klee, the romance of Redon's pastels (a favorite medium of mine for many years), the lush paint and color of Renoir, the patterns, shapes and brilliant colors of Matisse, and the mastery and intricacies of Cezanne's landscapes. It really was an amazing time to be in NY, where on my way to or from the Art Students League, I could pop into any number of galleries, stacked one above the other along West 57th street, get off an elevator and be standing alone surrounded by Rothko's large, stunning color fields and one shop over see Renoir and Picasso's paintings right there, free to view inside or a foot away in the window display.
When the paint moves across the painting surface it's about dark and light, smoothness and texture and the color, always the color. In many ways, painting is a moving meditation where instead of sitting still and focusing on the breath, the focus is the movement of the pigment across its surface and the traces it leaves behind. Then the poetry emerges.
I was born in Scotland and graduated from St. Andrews University. I also lived in and attended school in Germany, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Russia, graduated in textile design from FIT, New York and, spent several years studying painting at the Art Student's League in New York before moving to the west coast and settling in Oregon.
I have exhibited on the east and west coast of the U.S. My last solo show was Critic's Choice in Portland, Oregon, USA. At the end of 2016, I was the winner of the Liquitex International competition cosponsored by ArtFinder, with the triptych The Wonder Of Days II chosen from entries by artists in 37 countries.
My work is held in collections worldwide including the United States, Canada, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Poland, Singapore, Australia, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.
The Splendor. Acrylic on canvas 72" x 48"
©2017 Valerie Erichsen Thomson
"In a time where monochrome and monotone seem to be taking over as popular trends, it's refreshing to see such bold colours that instantly pull the viewer in.
Her use of colour is exceptional."