Artist Magdalena Titian has always loved outdoor art shows.
She’s been part of them at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre from its earliest days, even before its restoration — she was the first art instructor.
“It was nice in the building, with old, cracked windows, and it still had the pump in the front room,” she says. “But most of the shows at that time were outdoors.”
And she loves to paint en plein art, outdoors, she says.
“It’s where I get my inspiration, and my energy, from nature.”
At the moment, she’s excited about a show she is planning in her own garden beside her Gate Street home, which she discovered more than 40 years ago when she came to NOTL. Since then, she’s painted many gardens, and in many gardens — her signature beautiful vibrant watercolours for which she has become known.
The idea for this show came to her as a result of the loss of trees that bordered her home, when a new neighbour removed a row of mature cedars to build a fence, and she created a garden to fill the empty space.
She and the previous neighbour had planted the trees together years ago, she says, and it broke her heart to see them go.
But she has been creative, moving plants around on her large property to fill what she is calling her fantasy garden. After adding soil and loads of mulch, she has also brought out some of the clay figures she has collected on her travels around the world, places like Mexico and Guatemala, one almost five feet tall.
“It’s been a lot of work. This property is a lot of work, 210 feet deep with a woodlot at the back.” And a row of eight to 12 oaks that have to come down, she says.
While she finds it a lot to take care of at this stage in her life, she hasn’t found any alternatives that would entice her to leave her historic home that drew her from Toronto, on a street that allows her to walk to the grocery store or pharmacy, the post office and coffee shops.
“These are all the reasons I came here,” she says.
She can’t envision where she would go, if she left her 1840 cottage, built by an escaped slave, a cobbler, who worked in a barn in the back and lived in the house with his six daughters.
In decades past, as well as being an art instructor, and painting local landscapes, she has also travelled to many countries, sometimes leading tours with groups of students, painting a wide variety of landscapes.
She’s painted her way across Canada in an RV, from Nova Scotia to B.C. and down through California, and although travelling has been off the table for a while, if and when it’s possible, she’d love to visit Italy again to paint its beautiful gardens.
But it is mostly local landscapes and gardens she will be putting outside for her upcoming show. Most of her paintings are large — typically she paints 28 inches by 36 inches — but she will also bring out a portfolio of smaller works.
She’s hoping for good weather July 31 and Aug. 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but if not, she has a rain date of Aug. 6 and 7 for the following weekend, same times, at 429 Gate St.
For a look at her gallery, visit https://magdalenatitian.wordpress.com.