About the Artist
Natalia Torres del Valle received her BS in Elementary Education and ESL Education from NC State University and her MA in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University. In addition to her LCMHCA license, she holds licenses in Elementary Education (K-6) and ESL Education (K-12). Additionally, she is a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT) through the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association. She was awarded A+ Teacher of the Year by A+ Schools of North Carolina in 2013 and participated in the Artist Residency in Motherhood in 2019. Natalia is a member of Spilt Milk Gallery and the Durham Art Guild.
She has experience working in Wake County Public Schools, Durham County Schools, Chapel Hill-Carrborro City Schools, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Veritas Collaborative’s adolescent hospital, A+ Schools, community centers, The Art Therapy Institute of NC, and her own private practice where she incorporates all artistic modalities into her therapeutic and teaching practice.
I make abstract and highly textural paintings built on memories of natural landscapes that I have seen or experienced. My intuitive approach to materials and process is influenced by my expressive arts therapy practice. In my work, I meet individuals where they are and respond to what is presented in the moment. This same idea drives my art making process. It often entails discovering what is underneath the surface and responding to the unpredictable forms that emerge.
I do not use a reference while painting because I want the memory of place to be distant and faded, drawing a parallel between the erosion of memory and erosion of the physical environment. I sketch loose outlines of what I remember and jot down notes of any particular textures or forms that caught my eye. When I paint, I repeatedly build up and erode the image using water and air to break down layers of color, mirroring the natural erosion of the environment.
My paintings are dimensional and feel like rare moments of witnessing life, growth, light, and form, on walks in the mountains and forests, or even in your own backyard. My color choices represent the extreme possibilities of color found in nature and are representations of the time, history, and change we see in the life forms around us. My art making process is a constant exploration of the ephemerality of a material, landscape, and memory. I hope that my work encourages a deeper intimacy with and a sense of urgency to protect the natural world.