|Sadie Jernigan Valeri "Self Portrait at 41 in the Studio (with Dog)" 2013
Sadie Jernigan Valeri (b. 1971) is a contemporary painter based in San Francisco whose work falls into the category of Classical Realism. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in illustration. For many years she worked as a graphic designer and website/interface designer (which is easy to tell from the unusually readable design and blessed ease of navigation found on her own website!) In 2006 Valeri left her full-time employment and returned to her first love, painting, taking master classes and studying privately with accomplished contemporary realists such as Juliette Aristides and Michael Grimaldi.
Valeri is particularly interested in the Flemish Layering Technique, which she studied with Kirstine Reiner. This is a very gradual and painstaking process of building up paint layers and necessarily slows output to the point where Valeri has pretty much given up standard commercial gallery representation except for participation in group shows. In the commercial gallery world, to be taken as a serious player, you generally need enough new work to have a one person show every two or three years and Valeri's slower pace and careful craftsmanship made that schedule seem unduly hectic. Nonetheless, she sells her work to enthusiastic collectors and has won numerous awards for her detailed and evocative still-life pieces, including the First Prize for Still Life in the 2010 ARC International Salon.
The brand new self-portrait pictured above was not done with her usual Flemish layering method. Instead, Valeri says, "This is a [relatively] fast, direct, painting, much much faster than my flemish method work. It would take me a year to do a painting that size [31 x 41 inches] with the level of detail I apply to still life. After the week of setting up, and about 3 days of drawing a rough sketch, I think it took about 10 studio days to paint."
Valeri is also a respected teacher, and runs an atelier where she and other faculty instruct students in the rudiments of traditional drawing and painting. She and her filmmaker husband are collaborating on creating instructional videos, which can be seen here. In addition, Valeri is the founder of Women Painting Women, an influential blog which has initiated several exhibits of the work of some of the principal contributors. The next Women Painting Women show will be held at Principle Gallery, opening in September 2013.