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Valerie Hopkins has no formal art training, indeed, at school she was told she was hopeless at art, partly, she suspects, because it was poorly taught. After school she studied for a degree in Zoology followed by a Diploma in Education. Apart from a break to raise her son, she taught for many years. She was obliged to take early retirement on health grounds and later studied part time for another degree, this time in Religious Studies and English.

After finishing this she happened to see work by some of the students of the much respected Botanist and Illustrator, Michael Hickey. She fell in love with this art form and promptly enrolled on Mike’s classes. After Mike’s sad death she continued learning with the well known wild life illustrator, Stuart Lafford. She has also been influenced by, and received help and encouragement from, Susan Christopher-Coulson, Valerie Oxley and Julie Small amongst others. Her preferred media are graphite and coloured pencils used either separately or together. She is a full exhibiting member of the Society of Floral Painters (SFP). She contributes regularly to the exhibitions of this Society and the GSBI as well as others in the area. Some of her drawings can be seen on “The Big Art Web”, the SFP web-site and on UK Coloured Pencil Society (UKCPS) web-site.

For some years now she has organised Botanical Illustration Classes (Gloucestershire Botanical Illustration Classes [GBIC]) based in Shurdington near Cheltenham, first with Mike and then with Stuart. She is also a past Chairman of the Gloucestershire Society for Botanical Illustration.

She is happy to take commissions, both for potraits of flowers and animals, and sells cards and prints of her work as well as originals. She can be contacted by e-mail on val@ada-augusta.demon.co.uk