Valda Cuming OAM passed away on 7th April. A prolific artist and member of MSWPS since 1995, Valda, in 2019 received her OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for her services to the arts.
Rebecca Robinson, also MSWPS Member has written the following Tribute:
Valda was born on 31st July 1929.
She devoted most of her life to art. Other than her love for family, art was her passion.
She traveled a lot in her life and lived in various countries throughout the world. Sailing around Australia with her husband Lindsay and their children.
I was reacquainted with Valda in 2005 when I joined her watercolour class at the Beaumaris Art Group. This women seemed very familiar to me and it came to light that my husband had sailed the same class of yacht, Paper Tigers with Valda’s youngest son Doug Cuming back in the 70’s and 80’s. From then on, a family friendship formed and as Valda did with a lot of her students, encouraged artistic endeavours.
She was President and Vice President of the Beaumaris Art Group. She was the convenor of the Beaumaris Art Group Enplein Air Group for many years. mentoring and encouraging artists with their art. She did the same for me.
A couple of winters I spent time in her pottery studio learning and making Raku pottery pieces often staying for lunch with both Lindsay and Valda. A glass of wine then back to pottery. I had completed a Diploma in Graphic Design but had never done any pottery. Valda made it fun and understood my short comings.
Valda was extremely prolific as a ceramist, sculptor and painter and has left a huge body of work. She had so much energy.
She was a member and past President of The Association of Sculptors of Victoria, A member of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, and various other art groups and on a lot of committees. She exhibited many time with MSWPS and was a passionate supporter of the Women’s Group. She encouraged me to join. She was on the committee for many years and worked tirelessly for MSWPS. Her quirky sculptures and ceramics were always a talking point and she won several MSWPS Awards for sculpture.
Her commitment especially to the Beaumaris Art Group being a former President, teacher and Convenor of the Outdoor Painters lead her to be made a life member in 2015. She retired from teaching at the Beaumaris Art Group at the end of 2018.
My relationship with Valda became a little closer in 2018 when she was unable to drive to Outdoor Painting on Tuesdays and I started picking her up and taking her to all the places she loved to paint in the bayside area. I guess my love for this little women with a big heart wanted me to see her continue to do what she loved, Enplein Air Painting. I became the Convenor and this let Valda come for the painting.
In 2019 on her 90th Birthday year she was awarded an OAM for her services to the Arts. The Beaumaris Art Group held a 90th Birthday Party in August for her. A beautiful celebration to her and her Art. All her closest friends and family were there.
Right up until a month ago Valda was outdoor painting.
Her keen interest in others including artists made her most loved and popular. What a wonderful life.
She will be sorely missed.