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Installation of artwork at Artist Project in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Above: Art installation at Artist Project Toronto (April 2024) © 2024 Sandra Iafrate

 I have finally sat down to share some news and thoughts about the special connections we have made around our mutual appreciation of art.


Firstly, I want to thank those who came out to visit me at Toronto Artist Project last month. I can not tell you how much I appreciate (after spending days on end, working away in the studio) how great it is to experience your interpretations of my work and learn about your personal related stories. I don't always get the opportunity to meet those who have questions about my work nor hear how it resonates with them. Meeting you made me realize how making art is really about sharing visual narratives and igniting something meaningful within. That is my ultimate goal as an artist.


Also, I'm sending a belated 'thank you' to everyone who visited my studio during the NOTL Rotary Club's Holiday House Tour, which took place way back in December. It was such an honour to have my studio as part of this event and get the opportunity to share my work, process and ongoings with guests while being able to contribute to the Club's initiative in their incredible national and international programs.

Open Studio Invitation


Along with this, I want to extend a special invitation to visit my Open Studio this summer when I will have some of my new works and work-in-progress on exhibit.


Click on a select date to RSVP.

*with artist reception and talk on Sat., June 8th at 7 PM


*with artist reception and talk on Sat., Aug. 10th, at 7 PM


If you wish to visit outside of these times, please message me by replying to this email to schedule your visit.

Upcoming Thesis Exhibit TBA

 As some of you may know I have completed the halfway mark of my Master of Fine Art -Painting at Savannah College of Art and I can now safely say that I have passed my candidacy review and I am currently working towards my graduate thesis and solo exhibit. It will likely be held within the Greater Toronto Area in late Fall and I will be sure to follow up with more information on this once the dates and location are arranged. If you wish to sign up to be invited to the opening please see my exhibits page here. I hope you will be able to join!

South Florida Exhibit: ANIMALS

As part of my MFA requirements, I had the opportunity to spend the most enriching time working as Assistant Curator in South Florida at the Hollywood Arts and Culture Center where I worked on three separate exhibits: "The South Florida Cultural Consortium," "Environmental Futures III" showcasing international women photographers, and "Somewhere I Belong." an immersive digital exhibit by artist AdrienneRose Gionta.


I am also excited to be one of the artists in their upcoming group exhibit entitled ANIMALS which runs Sat., May 18 - Sun., Aug. 18, 2024. If you happen to be in the Broward County/Miami/Ft.Lauderdale area you must visit this thriving cultural center and gallery.

Other upcoming exhibits include the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce annual Artistry by the Lake outdoor show where I will show some small works in oil, mixed media, and works on paper over Canada Day weekend June 29 - July 1, 2024.


Follow me on Instagram

I know we all love to hate social media! However, I am trying to use Instagram more efficiently-- to quickly share finished work, work-in-progress, and upcoming events on a current and more regular basis. My link is and I invite you to follow me and peek into my day-to-day ongoings. My goal is to be 'real,' with me and my dog, art critic Danté (Alighieri,) so I will not be wearing beautiful garb, or showing fake mock-up designer installations. It's just us, making a mess and figuring out what I need to say on canvas. Hope to see you there.


For Artists

Due to a schedule conflict with my upcoming thesis show, I sadly had to postpone my Sicily retreat initially scheduled for this Fall. In place of this, I've added two separate one-day workshops to be held in Niagara-on-the-Lake: one on Aug. 3rd for beginner and intermediate artists and one to be held on August 4th for advanced working artists. If this interests you, please visit my workshop page for more information and registration or see the links below.

Finally, as promised, I will not add to your inbox too often, but I will follow up in the Fall so I do want to ensure I've added your contacts correctly here. If you are receiving my emails in error or need to unsubscribe or update your information, please do so at the end of my email.

Lastly, if you know someone who is an art enthusiast like yourself, please feel free to pass this email along to them!

For now, Happy Spring All🌷


Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Dear Art Enthusiast, As we transition into the new season, I want to take a moment to reflect on the artistic process and its connection to the world around us. From current events to our personal experiences and relationships, everything we do influences our art. As an artist, I strive to create meaningful layers in my paintings that capture the essence of my experiences and emotions.

My latest work, "Portrait of Past and Present," is an example of this approach. Using a mix of recycled materials such as old maps, book pages, antique lace, and my own photos and technical drawings, I wanted to create a unique signature with selective colors and organic applications of acrylic paint and mediums. It is an invitation for the viewer to engage with the narrative and characters, while celebrating the past and embracing the future.

large square painting of a woman's face in mixed media acrylic collage
Portrait of Past and Present, 60"x60" mixed media on canvas by Sandra Iafrate on exhibit at Toronto Artist Project

I am thrilled to announce that this painting, along with other new work, will be showcased at the upcoming Toronto Artist Project, I'm honoured to be exhibiting amongst more than 200 independent artists selected from across Canada. The event will take place from April 13-18, 2023, and I will be available to meet visitors at BOOTH 918.

This is a great opportunity for art enthusiasts to interact with artists and purchase unique, contemporary artwork directly from the source. If you are interested in attending Artist Project please visit my EXHIBITS page and sign up to receive a discount code for tickets.

STUDIO VISITS - Niagara-on-the-Lake

Additionally, I'll be hosting an Open Studio Show at my Gate Street Studio in beautiful food-and-wine-country, Niagara-on-the-Lake starting May 12, 2023 and continuing throughout summer. To schedule a visit please check my exhibits page or the link below and let me know when you will be visiting.


a painting of Niagara Falls on an easel
Work in progress 24'X36" oil on canvas

I have also been keeping busy with interesting commission work. Currently, I am working on a painting of Niagara Falls that blends historical underpainting with contemporary techniques. It is always so inspiring to capture the essence of the region's beauty and history. This painting is a work-in-progress and awaits rushing water and mist lastly. Following this is another landscape of vineyards in winter and more landscapes of protected spaces such as Algonquin Park which I hope to update on my website in coming months.


I'm also thrilled to announce a few upcoming workshops, including my Sicily Painting Holiday workshop from Oct. 1-8, 2023, and a Full-Day Niagara-on-the-Lake Workshop on August 5, 2023.

The Sicily Painting Holiday is a magical week of art, food, and travel in the Baroque areas of East Sicily. We stay in a beautiful spacious villa with our own private chef. Daily studio sessions in our large bright studio on site, will include some observational drawing and painting from olive and pomegranate trees surrounding us as well as historical stone facades, doorways and windows. We also delve into contemporary and mixed media techniques and explore abstract processes from our endless inspiration during the week. The week's excursions visit stunning towns of Noto, Marzamemi, Ragusa and Modica.

For more information and registration on this and other workshops check out the links below.

I'm also offering shorter 3-hour workshops on mixed media (Niagara-on-the-Lake) and a Spring Flower painting workshop in Toronto, May 7th, 2023 (2 spots left!). Please check my workshop page for more information and registration details.


To Benefit Kids Help Phone

As you may know I've spent the month of January creating a painting-a-day along with fellow GOLDEN Artist Educators for my annual January Challenge. I find this daily painting practice to be very important for an artist's development while adding to this theme of the Artist's Process. Each of these works, the color palette, brushwork and composition speak to my influences from flowers, antiquity and Dutch flower paintings. In all honesty, the challenge was difficult to manage along with other studio work as well as work and life outside of studio, but the idea is to create a small input every day. I am so thankful that I was able to make some small work while I continue to grow and learn as an artist. These small paintings and studies range from sizes 5"x7" to 10"x12" and are now on my website available to purchase. Once again, this year I am contributing 50% of sales from these works to benefit Kids Help Phone.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in my artwork and of course the artist's process. If you have any questions at all about the art or events mentioned here, please contact me using the form below or by email. I look forward to seeing you this spring and sharing my passion for art with you. Best regards,

Sandra Iafrate

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Spring is quickly approaching but there is a grey cloud as we process the dramatic events taking place around the world. It has been said that “art is an expression of the heart.” I have found that my work as an artist allows me to absorb world events and express my hearts desire for peace more poignantly. Whatever your craft, be it music, painting, drawing, sculpting or dance, embrace it with vigour and purpose. Below are a number of options to engage in artistic activities in the months to come. I look forward to welcoming you to several of these events!

OPEN STUDIO in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Book Your Visit

I will be opening my Niagara-on-the-Lake studio/gallery for visitors starting May 1st, Thursday to Saturday from 11AM - 4PM and Sundays 11AM - 2PM. If you are planning to come to the Niagara Region and would like to see some new work, please schedule your individual or group visit below.

New Work for Spring

In the gallery I have select works from a new series showing figure and floral inspired by George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion." Also, I have some larger landscape paintings in oil, inspired by protected land and iconic views of Northern Ontario and Niagara. Select works are also available in print in the studio and online.

Pygmalion Series by Sandra Iafrate

This painting series inspired by classical art and literature. It combines pencil and charcoal drawing with acrylic florals inspired by Dutch flower paintings. Entitled “Pygmalion” the series of 5 paintings evolved from the narrative of George Bernard Shaw’s play which was written to support the suffragette movement in the early 20th-Century, and to subtly influence the audience. Also, Shaw’s idea is based on the ancient poem by Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book X, where the artist, Pygmalion, creates out of ivory what he considers the most beautiful and perfect woman.

The composition takes the theme and character into a mix of a classical contemporary composition which conveys a confident woman who has discovered she can be herself in spite of having learned how to be something of a “perfect” person. The figure is a strong, confident, intelligent person who is really a regular “common” person inside. My hope is that the elements in these works are perceived as bold yet elegant and poignant. Here she takes pause surrounded by a contemporary rendition of classical floral paintings. It is an old meets new. Nostalgic yet fresh and current.

Behind the Scenes

As the lead-up to these works, I created several drawings and watercolour sketches to decide on positioning and colour. This involved a wonderful photoshoot in the studio, experimenting with vintage dresses, different positioning and gestures with a model.

Many thanks go to the Shaw Festival Theatre for the loan of the costumes for this photoshoot in my studio during the pandemic spring of 2021. Also credit goes to Rijksmuseum for several images and rights to the use of elements of Dutch Flower paintings as reference. I had also arranged several floral head dresses to be used as a reference prop.

drawing of a woman's head by leonardo davinci By Leonardo da Vinci - File:Leonardo da vinci, testa di fanciulla detta la scapigliata, 1500-10 ca., disegno su tavola, 02.jpg, Public Domain,
By Leonardo da Vinci - File:Leonardo da vinci, testa di fanciulla detta la scapigliata, 1500-10 ca., disegno su tavola, 02.jpg, Public Domain,

This series was also inspired by figure paintings by John Everett Millais, the ever so delicate da Vinci drawings such as La Scapigliata, Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Woman and The Birth of Venus, and the drawings and figure paintings of Albrecht Durer. The work shows the figure in a surreal yet meaningful environment, visually aesthetic with the portraiture partially obscured at the focal point. Like these works I want my viewers to know and agree with the figure, feel the connection of that pause and gesture.


Toronto Artist Project exhibit and sale is back live and I will be there along with over 240 contemporary artists from across Canada April 21 - 24, 2022 at Queen Elizabeth Building. You can find me at BOOTH #605. Please visit my exhibits page for tickets to this great event and use coupon code : EXHIBIT 16 to save 10% off!


If you are feeling creative and dream of experiencing an unforgettable holiday, join me as I will be offering an upcoming painting retreat in Italy this Fall, as well as a full-day retreat in Niagara-on-the-Lake this

August. These workshops fill quickly and space will be limited to 8 participants. So please let me know if you are interested. For more information visit my workshop page.

Tuscany Workshop

Countryside Near Siena, Italy

Oct. 1 - 9, 2022 (3 spots left!)

Only a few spots remaining for this wonderful week-long painting holiday at a private Tuscan villa amidst olive groves and vineyards. All you will need is your flight. Tuition, meals and excursions included.

Artist Retreat

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada

The 3rd annual artist retreat will take place in Niagara-on-the-Lake August 6, 2022 from 10AM - 4PM. The emphasis is on composition and abstract. All you need is your creative spirit and to dress for mess. Includes an artisan farm to table lunch, local wine and all art materials.


Last call to get art and GIVE! As you may know I have been selling small works from my 31-day painting challenge with 100% of proceeds going to benefit Kids Help Phone (KHP). All paintings are under $100 each and include shipping. They will be on sale for this very important fundraiser until the end of the month. See KHP fundraiser paintings here.

I will be following up with another update next month and will be including some more information on work-in-progress as well as some great tips on how to hang and install art in your home or business. Until then, take good care.

- Sandra Iafrate

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