Nothing says summer like the beach, sun glinting on blue water, fishing boats bobbing in the waves and couples strolling romantically along the shore. Picture yourself there, ice cream in hand drinking in your surroundings then peering around to watch an artist capture this beautiful landscape.
It may be a little early to imagine these unseasonably warm spring temperatures lasting and for artists to be hauling their easels outdoors to paint, but anytime you can watch an artist put paint to canvas is truly a joyful event. And to witness this act of artistic expression, near the shores of Lake Erie and multiplied by four, is somewhat of a creative orgasm.
That’s exactly what took place this past Thursday when renowned artist and Niagara Falls resident Christopher Arthur Pew teamed up with three other popular Niagara artists at the Crystal Chandelier in Crystal Beach to host “Live Art”.
Pew was inspired to put Live Art together by similar events that take place frequently in European culture. “It really gives the artists an opportunity to showcase their work and for the public to come and witness the magic that would otherwise happen behind a closed door in their studio” he states.
On this particular evening, along with Pew, were three ladies each with very different creative styles, taking part in a two hour “stand and paint”. What happens here is that a model poses for the artists and each one recreates their image on canvas using their specific media. Pew, who is clearly one of the region’s best portrait painters, was joined by St. Catharines' native Amber Lee Williams. William’s style is described as being “a modern twist on an ancient art”. By using a homemade wax base medium and layering pigments of colour fused with various heat tools, her work - which is officially described as “encaustic painting” - produces a unique flavour and dimension.
Joining Williams and Pew was Niagara Falls artist Emily Andrews, a true artist in every sense from art to music to acting. She has been described by the Niagara Falls Review’s John Law as “a cultural butterfly, always in the middle of whatever artistic thing is happening in her town”. Andrews was using pastels on her canvas.
Last, but certainly not least, was Leona Skye (pictured) whose native heritage and background brings an aboriginal flair and authenticity to her work. Skye was using paint on her canvas.
If you’ve never been to The Crystal Chandelier then you are missing one of Niagara’s hidden treasures. Located in the tiny town of Crystal Beach, the Chandelier is an eclectic mix of beach bar and New Orleans style restaurant. Showcasing some of Niagara’s best musical talent every week, patrons can dine on scrumptious food picked from the restaurants classic album cover menus whilst drinking in the area’s cultural offerings.
It is so interesting and relaxing to watch these masters of their craft, each with a different interpretation, bring life to a blank canvas. The Europeans definitely know how to live. Next time you see a “Live Art” event, be sure to drop in!
By Jenifer Cass