A Family Tradition
In the beginning…
"My father, mother and I escaped across the border from Hungary to Austria. He was worried about the political situation back home," Valerie explains. "We journeyed across Europe looking for a safe haven, and added two siblings as we travelled. Three years later, we returned to Austria where my father, a pastry/bread baker who had apprenticed for seven years, found some work. We were displaced persons living in barrack-like buildings and then we were accepted as refugees to Canada. After arriving in Montreal, we added my brother to the mix." Valerie still remembers her first moments of artistic creation – taking a pencil, or sometimes paints, and putting tentative design to paper at the behest of her parents. Her mother, Margit, designed clothing and devoted her free time to inspiring four-year-old Valerie. "She taught me to draw and paint apple trees and little ballerinas on their toes," Valerie recalls. "She was always totally supportive of my selecting art as a career path." Artistic talent coursed through the generations of Valerie’s family; her grandfather was also a painter. Although she never knew him, Valerie had heard several stories about the public places in Czechoslovakia where he painted murals. Her father painted in oils. His favourite artist was Chagall, and he loved to paint memories of his childhood village – horses pulling wagons along the Danube and the little school house he attended as a boy, peopled with his long-gone friends and relatives.
left, The Souk Market, acrylic on canvas, 33" x 43" above, The Far Eastern Market, acrylic on paper, 24" x 24"