An expression of the constant quest for freedom of expression and passion to let the subconscious take control...

Valerie Butters is an artist who burst upon the art scene in Montreal, Toronto, British Columbia and Ottawa. She is fascinated by the subconscious and influenced by surrealism and expressionism. Valerie has studied under many prominent contemporary artists such as: Jennifer Hornyak, Marilyn Rubenstein, Seymour Segal, Shirly Jats, Philip Iverson and Sophie Jodoin. She was also inspired by the revolutionary Canadian artist, Paul-Emile Borduas.

Borduas created a very different vision of life and art with his spontaneous expressions of emotions, feelings and sensations. While his work was considered radical at the time, Butter's work is seen as joyful explosions of colour and emotion. Her evolution and exuberant exploration of colour and composition make her still-lifes and landscapes flamboyant and exciting.

Valerie attended the Ottawa School of Art in 2001, and in 2005, graduated from a three-year Comprehensive Arts Program at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, in Montreal, where she received art scholarships in 2003 and in 2004. Her quick evolution and exploration of colour and compositions resides in her still-lifes and landscapes. Her large formats and flamboyant style have caught the eye of art critics such as Herny Lehman of the Montreal Gazette, who described her work at "....interestingly gaudy, exuberantly messy..."

Valerie now resides and paints in Pemberton, British Columbia with her husband and son.

Artist Bio


"I'm searching for that organic tension, those fleeting and ghost like experiences as a reflection of nature and the cycle of life that is free and effortless."

-Valerie Butters

"Pure Psychic automatsim ... the dedication of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason and outside of all moral or aesthetic concerns".

-Andre Breton
(1924 Manifesto of surrealism) 

"Expressionism refers to art in which the image of reality is distorted in order to make it expressive of the artist's inner feelings or ideas"

-Wassily Kandinsky 




As of late, I have been captivated by James Elkins theory of Alchemy. The science of understanding the structure of matter, breaking it down then reconstructing it as something else. In Alchemy, the painter seeks to be transformed by the medium. There is sacrifice involved as the law of equivalent exchange is the basis of Alchemy. You can not gain something without sacrificing something.

As an expressionist influenced by the Canadian automatist and the automatic way of working, I am not just re-animating old strategies, but infusing them with new life as a response to my environment.

Working in a spontaneous manner while holding impulse accountable. My works are not only about evoking emotion in the subject but creating a visual story through my marks in the paint through the freedom of gesture and mark making. The art becomes process-oriented founded on deconstruction and construction, simultaneously, and that forces me to respond to what's happening in the moment rather than try to force it to become an idea in a contrived way.  

Working in a limited palette with a variety of brushes and other tools, 
I am looking for interesting paint that can be achieved not only by applying paint, but to remove it and push it around as well. Having spent almost two decades studying my muse, I find myself abandoning a physical reference and working from memory. 

I'm fascinated by beauty in all cycles of life. As a woman, the exploration of being feminine by deconstructing my response to femininity and reconstructing it, resulting in an unapologetic boldness mixed with a tender softness in transparencies.
I work intuitively and spontaneously but the intuition is based on knowledge and experience. Controlled accidents creating a certain amount of ambiguity that leads the eye to participate in the experience of trying to complete something that is not complete. I'm searching for that organic tension, those fleeting and ghost like irregularities in beauty and experiences as a reflection of nature and the cycle of life that is free and effortless.

So, what am I'm giving up as a sacrifice to this reconstructed deconstruction? The alchemist must compromise. This exploration of deconstruction often feels dangerous and incongruities gain friction only if i am open to accidents and surrender control to the process without judgment and by painting in the "now". These steps to achieve a freedom and effortlessness, this compromise is to let go, and value the process that in turn connects me to the medium and transforms me as an artist. And i hope to gain daring new life in older strategies.

Artist Statement

The Alchemist

Become the artist you want to be...




This workshop is for painters who have a background in painting but are looking to break through stiffness and loosen up. Through learning design and colour theory, you will be working individually on your own series with an open mind to take things apart and learn to be fearless in order to identify your own mark. With a focus on composition and gesture, this class is an intensive class that is five full days of stepping out of your comfort zone in order to break though to the next level of your art. The only way to get there is to work through it. In a workshop scenario, the support system of your peers and myself will provide a safe and vulnerable place to evolve artistically.

I'm looking to run this class in the beautiful mountains of the Pemberton Valley (British Columbia) on Lil'wat nation land in their new ceremonial learning centre. There we will be immersed in nature in a spiritual environment without distractions of every day life. I will provide a list of B&B's as well as a local hotel.  

Please note that my previous students have first rights so there is a waiting list should you wish to join the class. A maximum of 14.

October 2019
Prices and specific dates coming soon.


Become the artist you want to be...