Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie McMullen.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
From a very early age, I was influenced by art and creativity. My father was a talented watercolorist whose detailed paintings of tropical birds and flowers provided an early inspiration. In high school, my art teacher encouraged me to develop my drawing and painting abilities, and upon graduation I continued my education in art, graduating from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art.
My art was put on the sidelines when I became a flight attendant for American Airlines based in NYC. For over a decade I traveled to many cities both foreign and domestic. I utilized my time in the major cities I flew to by visiting well-known museums, where I was able to view firsthand the artwork of the many great masters I had studied in college. It was during this time I met and married my husband, who encouraged me to pursue my passion for painting and watercolor. Once again I picked up the brush and began to create art.
After taking many classes and painting traditional watercolors, it was a workshop with noted Pennsylvania artist Nessa Grainger that led me to a new outlook. In this workshop, I was exposed to mixed media and collage which I employ in my work today. After relocating back to the Southwest, I joined the Arizona Watercolor Association where I met a famed local artist, Stan Kurth. I started taking workshops from him and was inspired by his intuitive method of painting abstractly which is how I continue to paint to this day.
Please tell us about your art.
I create paintings on canvas primarily in acrylic, but also employ many mixed media techniques using collage, pencil, charcoal, and oil sticks. My work is non-objective abstraction, and I allow my intuition to guide me, whereby I have no preconceived idea or notion. Oftentimes I let the painting lead me in the direction it wants to take, sometimes quietly observing or analyzing the painting in various stages. The visual story that emerges is often a relationship between geometric and organic shapes combined with pattern. My wish is to create narratives that take the viewer on a path of discovery. I enjoy the freedom and process of creating a balance between abstraction and realism. Each painting becomes a new journey waiting to be explored.
What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
With the advent of the internet, artists of today are provided with many platforms that weren’t available years ago. Social media is a great tool to help artists get their work seen not only locally but around the globe. It can be a little intimidating to make that first step, but the support you will find in the artistic community is very welcoming. I’m also grateful for online publications like Voyage Media that give a platform for artists and creatives alike to showcase their work so that we can be seen beyond the walls of our studios.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
People can view my work on my website at www.valeriemcmullen.com or they can follow me along my artistic journey on Instagram @valeriemcmullenart. I always enjoy meeting new people and encouraging my fellow artistic friends on their own paths of art and exploration.
- Website: https://www.valeriemcmullen.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valeriemcmullenart/
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/valmcmullen/
Profile image credit to Krisie Ramsey
All artwork photographed by Valerie McMullen