Valda was very interested in the ability of the human face and figure to convey emotion and personality. Therefore, portraiture was a major focus of her art throughout her career.
Beginning in the 1930s and continuing into the early 1950s, Valda studied at the Art Students League of New York. Her instructors included the legendary teacher Robert Beverly Hale and the artist Reginald Marsh with whom she worked closely.
A relatively small number of Valda's paintings have survived from this period. Most are done in oils mixed with turpentine and Damar varnish or egg tempra. The identities of the sitters is for the most part unknown but some likely were ASL models.
Art of Valda - Early Portraits