Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Cynthia Rand has exhibited her art locally many times, but she has a special place in her heart for the Pelham Art Festival.
It’s an event that attracts interesting artists and a wide range of art, she said, and it’s always been fun to meet the other artists and talk about their work.
It’s also been an art show that has a cheerful atmosphere, attracting a good crowd of art lovers.
This year, like so much else, it will be online, and that was a bit of a challenge for Rand at first, having to set up a themed exhibit of her paintings not on a wall, but on a website. That was accomplished with the help of her husband Peter, and Saturday, the virtual exhibit opened online for all to view.
It continues until May 15, and can be viewed at pelhamartfestival.com.
“This is the modern method of communication,” says Rand, who misses talking to the artists and those looking to purchase a work of art, but adds the hard work is done, and she can sit back and wait to see if anyone is interested in her art.
When she chose the 15 paintings she wanted to submit, she had a theme of her own. When she and her husband moved into their Line 2 home about 45 years ago, there was some rope left behind in the barn on the property, which eventually made its way into some of her work. She also likes to incorporate old, twisted vineyard wire or rusty nails she’s picked up — expect to see some of those farmyard connections in her paintings as well.
In her introduction on the festival website, she says, “my work still shows my love of fibre and fabric, and is strengthened by the flow of acrylics and the occasional addition of old, found objects. In this present series, the objects are those found on our centennial farm.”
This will be Rand’s fourth year at the festival, which is typically an exhausting and intense three-day show over Mother’s Day weekend, she says.
It was postponed a few times last year, and eventually cancelled due to pandemic restrictions, so this is the first virtual exhibit.
She is one of seven artists from Niagara-on-the-Lake who are taking part in the show, which is themed Our Planet, Our Future, and includes 60 artists and artwork in a range of styles and mediums. A portion of artist sales goes toward fundraising efforts to donate to Pelham libraries, fine arts scholarships, and to community art endeavours.
Local artist Julia Kane, also participating in the show, says she loves the in-person exhibits, far more than the virtual events.
“You get a chance to talk to people looking at your art, and the interactions are special. Also, the visitor at an art show sees the actual painting, size, structure and reacts to it. It is that emotion evoked that makes the painting special to each individual collector. I can hardly wait ’til we can do that again.”
Kane, who lives and paints in St. Davids, is known for her vineyard scenes. “I love living here. I enjoy the atmosphere of Niagara and it’s nature and agriculture,” she says.
This year she has taken an interest in “the fragility of the bee and butterfly populations, and am advocating for the planting of pollinator plants in our gardens and surrounds. Several paintings in this show feature both.”
With so few opportunities for artists to showcase their work, Kane says she hopes the virtual show will encourage art lovers to “buy local.”
Other NOTL artists included in the show are Bev Aldridge, Cathy Cullis, Rick Cullis, Ruth Aspinall, and Tim Sullivan.