If these structures could talk…
The history of a city, the energy within a structure, the deep colours of a landscape’s mood often can’t be expressed by the written word or even by a photograph, but rather find their voice in the portrayal of an artist’s thoughts.
Dynamic Newfoundland artist, Keli-Ann Pye- Beshara takes an unexpected, new angle on traditional structures, sceneries and life in her acrylic representations.
Her work is instantly recognizable and mysterious in the same moment. She spends time exploring with her husband and muse, Brent Beshara, driving and hiking across the countryside, lingering on the interesting angles, fine details and intriguing views. ￼
She began her career in unique expression at a young age, lending her drawings great detail and finding inspiration in her surroundings. “I liked to draw itty bitty details of anything,” she says. “I loved drawing plates of food and drawing every little pea. Mom said I was the only kid drawing eyelashes and lips on my people while other kids were doing dots for eyes.” A visual artist since 1990 with a fine arts degree from Memorial University, Pye-Beshara is known for her whimsical representations of historic sites, Canadian architecture and vibrant landscapes, all weaving a story through each brush stroke and unexpected angle.
As she paints, she mixes most of her acrylic shades from primary colours and tends to water them down to get a “wash” effect, and to push the boundaries further, encouraging drips of paint within her art. “In my career, I have used lots of other mediums, but acrylic gives me the response I like—dries fast, easy clean up, flat colour,” says Pye-Beshara.
Although she painted for years on the rectangular canvases and textured paper at her disposal, Pye- Beshara has been painting outside the confines of canvas for the past couple of years, launching her plywood cut-out style with a selection of life-sized rooftops and boat hulls. “It’s my new, ‘exciting to me,’ medium,” she says, her friendly, brown eyes filled with contagious energy. “Once I broke away from canvas and paper, it just opened up a whole new world.”
Recently, Pye-Beshara shook the iconic view of St. John’s out of the box and splashed the cityscape onto a 14-foot plywood canvas for all to watch. She set up shop in the city’s Delta Hotel lobby and spent eight days mixing shades of musty yellow and shadowy blue in front of a rotating audience of hotel guests and local visitors.
As the audience watched the layers converge and the downtown they thought they knew burst forth with vibrancy and life, the social artist fielded questions, aiming to educate viewers on the artistic process while they enjoyed the show.
Pye-Beshara takes these leaps of bravery and bares her artistic process to the public in the hopes of exposing viewers to her work, meeting interesting, new people and giving those interested in art an experience in real time. The work now hangs at the front desk of the Delta Hotel, greeting locals and visitors with a true East Coast spirit.
However, painting in public isn’t her only social endeavour. This modern-day talent has used social media to her best advantage and devotes time each day to upload progress reports from her home studio, often with accompanying photography of her latest masterpiece.
“It’s my way of still being in a collective artist studio like I have been in the past,” she says of this limitless, new market. “It’s my virtual studio, so I always have feedback and an audience with fresh eyes.” She adds that her fantastic network of fellow artists as well as art appreciators gives her multiple sources of input.
Because of the availability of an online customer base, Pye-Beshara is able to sell all of her own originals without the need of a gallery. “I also like hearing the opinions and stories of people who aren’t in the art world,” she says. “It’s fresh and beautiful.”
Beyond online, Pye-Beshara sells prints of her originals and takes on commissioned pieces, never leaving a client any less than thrilled. Her cultural prints and cards can be found in shops throughout Newfoundland. So, the next time you find yourself smiling back at a piece of art, like it’s a good friend you haven’t seen in a while, you may just have Pye- Beshara to thank. www.keli-annpye-beshara.ca
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