Valériane Leblond Naive Artist - Aberystwyth, Wales

You have been in Wales since 2007, how did this move come about?

I met my partner, who is Welsh, in Britany and after a few years together in France we decided to move back to his country.

Do you feel as a ‘newcomer’? Bringing the Welsh countryside afresh to your audience?

I probably bring something different, but I don’t know if it is because I am from a different country or because I see things differently.

There are many aspects that you are painting, can you elaborate on 3 with an image and discuss?


I like painting people at work and who are leading a simple life, fulfilled by the daily routine.


When I first arrived in Wales, I was really impressed by the way people had built their dwellings in a practical way, from the materials they had available on the direct land. For this reason, cottages are completely part of the landscape; they are made of it and melt into it.

Windswept seas



There is something very moving about the sea, especially in hostile places that haven’t been spoilt by tourism – you wonder what is laying underneath, what secrets it keeps.

Can you discuss how and why you work on wood?

Wood is a wonderful material for my work, always different, and unique, each piece has got its own character.

When I start a new painting, I first chose a plank, and then by observing the grain, the knots and the specific shape, decide what I should paint on it. I work mostly with acrylics and oil paints, tiny brushes and needles.

Does the shape of the wood give you some of the inspiration to the particular work?

Yes, it does.

Discuss how your work is framed?

My work on paper is framed, but for wood, I only paint the sides and the back in bright white and leave it as simple as possible. I don’t think frames work with wood paintings, and I like the odd shapes that the wood has.

Is collection and storage of the wood a problem?

Not at all, I enjoy looking for new pieces of wood, through beach combing and ruin hunting. I also have some wood especially cut and sawn for me, and it is all very easy. For storage, I have a rather large studio, and I am tidy enough to keep it all sorted and use what I have before looking for more!

Can you explain how your tiny wooden cottages came about?

One day I found a tiny little piece of driftwood which had just the shape of a house with the angle of the roof. I decided to paint it simply, just for fun, and I was very happy with the result, so I asked a friend if he could make me more little cottages with his saw and some reclaimed wood.

I really enjoy painting them, they don’t ask me too much thinking, and I have always loved miniature objects.

Expand on your “Jen Jones” series and how this developed?

I’m interested in Welsh quilt the way I am interested in Welsh cottages : they are a reflection on how to make something useful, needed, with very little material, all found on the spot.

I first made a picture featuring quilts for an exhibition in Aberystwyth, and Jen Jones’ curator saw it and it is how we started to work together. She has the most amazing collection of quilts, and she understands perfectly what I am trying to do.

I love painting quilts, people, cottages and landscape, and show how these four elements are part of each other in the Welsh culture.

Where is it printed?

It is printed in the National Library of Wales.

What sizes do you have printed?

Mostly A4 and A3, but I can print other sizes if requested.

What is the print run?

I always do limited editions of 25; all print are titled, signed and numbered. It allows me to keep my shop fresh, with new prints coming all the time, and makes my prints more valuable as there are only 25 of them.

Discuss how you choose which work will go to the printer and also the sale of the original?

When I am particularly happy with a painting, and when the shape of the wood is not too odd (a print will go in a frame, so it is better to have a rather square/rectangle shape), I have it professionally scanned and printed. Original artwork is sold through galleries or through my online shop.

Do you often have a series printed?

No, but if I work for an exhibition, I will try to have some prints of the original paintings for sale as well.

Can you enlarge on the comparison between your paintings and quilting and how this came about?



While quilting has a useful purpose (making an object that will keep you warm at night), there isn’t much use to my artwork, but I think the way I work could be similar to what a quilter does, with tiny stitches, holding pieces together, and drawing a pattern with thread.
Also, the Welsh landscape, with its enclosed fields has an obvious look of a patchwork quilt!

The titles of your work, how do they come about? Also, can you elborate on your choice of using Welsh or English?

Titles of my works are all in Welsh first, never in English (only if they have been translated). I sometimes have an idea of something I wanted to say, something I thought about while painting, and sometimes I ask my partner to find a title for me, this brings a different angle to the picture, and makes it more interesting.

Contact details.


Valériane Leblond, Aberystwyth, Wales

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, February, 2014