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Spring 2022

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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