Val draws mainly for her own pleasure; however she does undertake commissions for both flowers and potraits of animals. Some can be completed quickly but others can take much longer. Obviously it depends on the size and complexity of the subject.

"I prefer to work from life, particularly for plant pictures. However, plants do die (and they move!) and when there is no chance of obtaining another specimen (or the plant is a wild one which cannot be picked) I may, in extremis, resort to photographs however unsatisfactory this may be regarded in some quarters. For animals, as they rarely consent to "sit" for their portraits, there is little alternative but to take many digital photographs and work from them. I prefer to take my own photos because I know which parts need particularly good photos."

Choice, together with some neuromuscular problems, have led Val to specialise in coloured and graphite pencils, sometimes separately, sometimes together. Both media are more tolerant than watercolour of undesired wiggles consequent upon involuntary muscle twitches! Both types of pencil are very subtle and versatile, allowing many different textures to be depicted. The end results of coloured pencil work is barely distinguishable from that using paint, but the technique does take much longer to complete.

Val is a full exhibiting member of the Society of Floral Painters (SFP). She contributes regularly to the exhibitions of this Society and the Gloucestershire Society for Botanical Illustration (GSBI) as well as others in the area. Some of her drawings can be seen on “The Big Art Web”, the SFP web-site and on UK Coloured Pencil Society (UKCPS) web-site.

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