Living in the small town of Plains in beautiful Sanders County, northwest Montana; Valerie, although mostly self-taught, spent most of 2014 under the tutelage of Leonid Afremov in his intermediate and advanced class in Palette Knife Painting. Under the pseudonym of Art by Valia, she has been painting for the last 10 years, her more recent works have all been done with the palette knife either in oils or acrylics. She has been called the most productive artist in the valley. She currently exhibits in Art on the Walls, and Artists in Paradise and other varied venues. She lives with her cat Sniper and her home is her studio, so she is always surrounded by walls full of her colorful paintings.