The art of Lily and Val returns to tradition with hand drawn and absolutely stunning chalkboard art turned into gifts Valerie, a native Pittsburgher, had a brief stint in Harrisburg, but has since returned and resides in Shadyside. Valerie’s favorite flower is a stargazer lily which is where the “Lily” came from in the name of her company “Lily & Val”.
Starting with a blank chalkboard Valerie McKeehan creates art from a after she primes the board by taking chalk and covering the entire board and then erases it. According to the book, next is lines drawn to highlight where the text will be. Then there is graphics and shading of the elements. Valerie likes chalkboard art because a piece can be fixed by an eraser and done over. Nothing is permanent and chalk can move with different angles of a sharpened tip. Keeping up with traditional artist style she creates each piece from scratch and then photographs or scans each piece to be made into gifts, books or other art hangings.
She just completed a how-to book on chalkboard art called: “The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering” for sale on her website. (link) The book includes tips for how to prep the board, sharpen the chalk, shading and how-to do different font styles. The book also includes a chalkboard in the back. Next up for Valerie is doing more with the gift line.
“Stand Tall Darling” a piece with a flamingo standing on one leg has been on cards, hanging art, mugs, and other gifts is Valerie’s favorite piece she ever did, because she heard personal stories over the card that it helped people through personal struggles.
For Valerie, her success shocked her. After her first successful holiday on Etsy, she knew she had something and eventually landed spots on Food Network, KDKA Pittsburgh Live and in various magazines and blogs. Now she makes it her full time job with hopes for the future including more gifts. With the rise of small businesses in Pittsburgh, I had to ask if she has hopes for a brick and mortar shop and she said maybe someday in the future, but for now she encourages artists to practice their crafts.