Val van der Poel from Wynndel, BC, started to dabble in art when her grandfather gave her some calligraphy lessons—she was nine years old at the time. But it wasn’t until 1996 that she started taking art as a serious avocation. Although mostly self-taught, Val has studied with Zoltan Szabo, Joyce Kamakura, Katherine Haynes and a number of local artists. Her work has been exhibited locally and regionally, and is in a number of private collections internationally. Val enjoys encouraging and helping emerging artists—since 2000 she has taught several beginner artist groups. If variety is the spice of life, then Val is living life to its fullest though her art. She works in watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, charcoal, pencil, and mixed media. Her subject matter is varied as well, including flowers, landscapes, still-lifes, birds, animals, and even the occasional abstract. When working with acrylic, Val will try almost any surface from rocks to fabric. Size and style vary to meet almost any interest and any pocketbook.