Optimistic Pursuits has moved!


View from Notre Dame in Pink, Green, and Grey

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August Painting Workshops and Free Demo at Opus

Hello fellow Painters,

I hope you’re all having a great summer!

I’ve had several requests for workshops so I will be doing a block of three Open Studio classes in August on Saturday mornings. This will be a great opportunity to bring in projects you have been working on for feedback and assistance, or start something new. As usual we will be doing a painting warm-up at the beginning of each class, to get that paint flying and help shift you quickly into creativity mode.

You’ll see that there will be a break partway through the month as I will be giving a free demo at Opus Art Supplies, “Painting Space with Oil Paint” on Granville Island on Saturday August 23 from 2-4 pm. So mark your calendars for that as well!

More info on the demo is here.

The Open Studio session dates and times are below:
Saturday mornings, 10am-1 pm
August 9
August 16
August 30

Location: Val Nelson Studio, #322b-1000 Parker Street, east Vancouver
Fee: Classes are $55 each, including GST. Cash is appreciated.
Please let me know by email if you want to join in:
Warm regards, and happy painting!


Opening Reception 2014

Thanks for your patience as my web maestra and I finalize my new website, which will be incorporating this blog! You’ll be able to find recent work and events, studio activities, classes, everything all in one place.

Meanwhile my show just opened on May 3, and I am just beginning to recuperate from the push to the finish. I’m thrilled and touched¬† by such a positive response from my friends and loyal supporters. The opening was very well-attended and people seem to be wanting to take some of the work home with them–I don’t mind that at all!

I’ll be posting images of new paintings from the show really soon.

Meanwhile here are a few shots from the opening day:


The opening reception always calls for new shoes!

photo 3(2)

“Being There”, opening reception at Bau-xi Gallery, Vancouver 2014


mark-mushet.and conrad-and-val-nelsons-rush-hour

Photographer Mark Mushet’s arty shot of my friend Conrad Alexandrowicz (Wild Excursions theatre director) taking an iphone shot of “Rush Hour”

photo 2(4)

Vancouver artist Esther Burghardt and her new twins seem to be merging into “Late Afternoon at the Strandbar”, my festive summer Berlin diptych painting depicting a location in Mitte across the Spree from Museum Island.

photo 2(4) copy

Zaena Campbell sent me this fun tondo from the big day. Looking a little tired, but happy!



Anthony Eyton


The Bridge, Rainforest, Eden 2009


Adam Macarenko: All is not as it seems

Macarenko_ Frozen-Ship1

Adam Macarenko, Shipwreck – Edition 1/1
chromogenic print
21 X 31 inches

Adam Macarenko creates artificial worlds that resemble our own. He constructs miniature dioramas by hand, and then photographs the set; these constructed realities tell stories. His images recall Romantic painting, but contain a contemporary edge because of the not-quite believable representation. Skillfully as these beautiful copies are executed, you sense that something is not quite right about the image, which makes you want to look longer.

Macarenko’s recent work will be on show at Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto, June 8-22, 2013.

Learn more about his photographs, films, and award winning music videos on his website.

Lewis Desoto: The Restoration Artist


Lewis DeSoto is the author of the novels A Blade of Grass, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and The Restoration Artist, which was just published by HarperCollins. Lewis Desoto “gave up” painting to become a writer, but still paints for himself.

Read more in this article.

Canadian Conceptual Painter Makes Images of Domestic Cats


Todd Lambeth, Noah, 12 x 14 inches, oil on canvas, 2012

Victoria painter Todd Lambeth was seriously injured in a cycling accident recently, and found himself housebound with limited movement as he convalesced. Cats at rest are the subject matter of the paintings that came out of that period.¬† The artists says, “These are not paintings of urban hustle; rather they are oases of meditative calm and reflection. The banal subject of the ubiquitous family cat is transformed into images that celebrate the humility and comfort of our private lives.”

Watch an excellent video interview of Lambeth talking about his project, by filmmaker Michael Cox.

Lambeth’s exhibition “Oh! You Pretty Things” is on view at Deluge Gallery in Victoria to June 15, 2013