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I’m a 2nd generation Californian. I live and work in Topanga, CA as a professional artist.
My work and this blog are all dedicated to my love of houses and buildings.
“You always know that you are home when a house speaks to you- and they do speak, the best of them.”
-A heartfelt home Marianne Gingher
Mame, The Wizard of Oz ,Mary Poppins ,The Sound of Music.
J.J. Cale, Robbie Robertson, Joni Mitchell, Poco.
Fairyland Frolics by Doreen Baxter, Thomas Hart Benton, anything by Lois Lenski.
The art of Valerie Walsh has been presented in galleries as well as collected and
commissioned for over twenty-five years. Her paintings draw the viewer into a
world of brilliant color, dancing buildings and starry skies.
Born in San Diego, CA much of her youth was spent pouring over children’s books
at her local public library. Walsh says, “Children’s books have been my inspiration
for as long as I can remember. Beautifully written stories that shape your
imagination with wonderful illustrations like Lois Lenski (Strawberry Girl,
Blue Ridge Billy), Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy, Tacy & Tib), Doreen Baxter
(Fairyland Frolics) and so on.” I also love movies that are saturated with color,
ever since I was little I loved “The Wizard of Oz”, “Mary Poppins”,
“The Sound of Music” and “Mame”. Color is the key to all the doors that open up
In 1981 Valerie’s first posters and limited edition prints were published by Luna Art
of Venice, CA. Her work was shown at Art Expo and in Decor Magazine and
distributed throughout the United States and Europe. She was the youngest artist
signed to Luna Art amid a small roster of well known talent that included Michael
Bedard, Siegbert Reinhard and James Paul Brown. Her work has appeared on
television and magazines. In 1985 the Santa Monica Place Mall started
“Centerpiece” a supplement in the L.A. Times to feature artist’s work from the
Santa Monica community and they chose Valerie’s “Swept Away” a 35 color plate
lithograph that she hand printed in Topanga with artist and printmaker Sid Francis
for the first full color cover. The November 1988 issue of Screen Printing Magazine
included Val in a feature story about master printmaker Jeff Wasserman of
Wasserman SilkScreen Company. Valerie worked under Jeff, four other printers and
some of California’s most notable artists. They printed limited editions and originals
for the likes of Alexis Smith, Joseph Kosuth, Ed Moses, John Register, Ron Davis,
Betye Saar, William Wegman and many more. Val says, “It was an exciting time for
art and printmaking and working hands on with all of those amazing artists
enhanced my work. I learned more about color than I ever would have on my own.
My friendships with artist’s Michael Bedard, Siegbert Reinhard, Stuart Moskowitz,
Mark Beam and 5 years apprenticing with Jeff Wasserman was my formal
Valerie’s art was reproduced for puzzles that were extremely popular in Japan. Her
award winning wine labels have graced the bottles of Justin Vineyards for more than
a decade. Marisol Inc. commissioned Val to create paintings for over one hundred
different greeting cards and her custom creations for Microsoft, Fred Segal Fun
Style, Habitat for Humanity and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra show her signature
colors and humor. Val’s inclusion in the artist’s section of “The Topanga Story” a
history of Topanga is a particular source of pride to the artist. She says, “Topanga
has been a big part of my life for over 25 years. My dog Rat (a Queensland Heeler)
and I walk the hills together every day and enjoy the nature and breathtaking beauty.
My husband and biggest fan John Hartmann and I live and work here. One of the
projects I’m working on is a series that will showcase historical homes and unique
buildings in this town”. Valerie was one of 9 artists featured in Julianne Reynolds
documentary film “California Canyon” short essays on artists of Topanga. Ms.
Reynolds film highlights a slice of the 40 plus artists that participate in the
“Art Studio Tours”. Once a year the public is invited to meet the artists in their
studios to view and talk about their work.
For her multi-dimensional “Cityscapes” and “views”, Valerie combines printmaking
and sculpting skills with the air and brush strokes that distinguish her style. A
glazed finish brightens the color and content of each tableau. Under the
“HomeMade” and “HomeSpun” brands she markets a wide range of cards,
calendars and framed prints. Her series of “Houscapes” are treasured portraits
of collectors homes captured in her whimsical style.
The abiding theme in Valerie’s work is buildings. She imagines that their windows,
shutters and doors mask the lives inside. Twilight and moon aglow, each piece is
a mysterious invitation lit from within. Every painting is unique, a place you can
hang on the wall.