Natalia Torres del Valle
About the Artist
I am a mixed-media artist primarily focusing on hand embroidery and painting. My inspiration is drawn from the textures and forms of the natural world. I paint and stitch intuitively, often incorporating a variety of media. My work is playful, full of texture, and mark-making reflecting the wooded North Carolina landscape that surrounds me.
My process is also greatly influenced by my work as an expressive arts therapist. 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 embroidering or painting the forms that emerge.
Underlying my current body of work is processing the loss of time I have with my daughter after her father and I divorced. Sharing time with her is difficult for me; I miss tucking my daughter into bed on nights we are apart, daily walks home through the woods after school where we unpack our days.
These pieces first came about after my daughter brought home polaroid photos from a hike she took with her father. I held the photos in my hands and thought about how the images captured singular moments from the past, moments that could not be experienced with her or recreated again.
Time is precious to me and the experience of motherhood is often complicated by my work as an educator and expressive arts therapist for children. Leaving my daughter to go care for the children of others is sometimes challenging as my heart strains to have any moment I can with her. Time has also caused me to be more intentional with my artwork. Squeezing art in between responsibilities and including my daughter in the studio space or process.
These paintings reflect fading memories of times my daughter and I have spent together outdoors, memories she experiences outdoors that I will not experience with her, and imagined places I would like to take her one day. The eroding shapes and forms of the flora representing the passing of time are mended by thread, tying together these times apart and healing the feelings of loss when I am not with her.