Valerie Losell has combined her talent for art and poetry into her first hardcover book, called Holding up the Sky.

A book launch will be held in Barrie, at The Camphill Store, on June 9. Some of her art work can be seen at the store.

“This has all been a joy (and) a way to move forward,” said Losell.

Creating 33 paintings and their poems was integral to Losell’s recovery from a sports accident in 2010 that left her with a brain injury. Prior to that, she taught English as a second language to new Canadians. She discovered her talent for painting through art therapy after the accident. She has had a love affair with words for most of her life.

“I’m a self-taught artist (but) I definitely went to school for literature – studied, taught it, read it my whole life,” she said. “I love words, I always have. Words and ideas put together beautifully literally make me giddy.”

Losell lives in Barrie. She has three adult children, ranging in age from 22 to 34, and all are creative. She’s married to Andre Beneteau, a professional photographer, who frames her work and gives her tips on lighting for her paintings. She is planning on posting poetry readings once each month on YouTube.

The author reading and book signing will be held at 3 p.m. on June 9, at Camphill Store, 111 Dunlop St. E. Some of the book’s original artwork will be on display. The book is available in hard cover, paperback and ebooks through or Paper versions – $20 soft /$30 hard cover – are also available by emailing the author at

Andre Beneteau photo

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