Beach Arts Scene

The members of The Beach Guild of Fine Art presents the eighth annual Small Paintings for Small Spaces Art Show, May 13-15, at Kew Cottage (a.k.a., the Gardener’s Cottage) in Kew Gardens. This is your opportunity to visit the historic Kew Cottage and see what the Beaches Rotary Club – in combination with the City of Toronto – have done to renovate the iconic building. It is also an excellent opportunity to purchase original art for a reasonable price (no painting is more than $250), as well as note cards and prints by the 40-member Beach Guild of Fine Art.

To celebrate spring, the Guild will be raffling off a special basket filled with goodies based on the theme of gardening. All proceeds will go towards the Gardener’s Cottage Improvement Fund. There is no admission, and the show will be open Friday from 1 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members of the Guild will be on hand to welcome you.

Like many artists in the Beach, Shelley Cinnamon has made a really neat place her home. Right smack dab at the foot of Leuty Avenue, across the street from the boardwalk, and with a great view of the lake, Cinnamon has perched herself these past 20 years on the second floor of a large rambling home. The hallway that runs from her living room at the front of her apartment down to the kitchen and dining room at the rear of her place is very long.

“When I first moved here,” she said. “I had thought of painting the entire wall as if you were in a railway car. Out of each window I was going to paint a different scene from each of the 10 provinces.” As you might expect, though, it is filled with her paintings – all shapes, sizes, and styles.

President of the BGFA, Shelley Cinnamon, is one of 40 artists who will be displaying their works at Kew Cottage for the eighth annual Small Paintings for Small Spaces on May 13 to 15. PHOTO: PHIL LAMEIRA / BEACH METRO NEWS

Cinnamon, the current president of the Beach Guild of Fine Art, has been painting since she was a child in Alberta. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in painting and printmaking. Since her move to Toronto, she has taken courses from various colleges and schools, including George Brown, Seneca, and the Toronto School of Art.

Before being ‘pretired’, Shelley was for 19 years the Art Director at Harlequin Enterprises, the huge publishing house for Harlequin and Silhouette books. There she oversaw the creation and commissioning of book covers at the rate of 110 books per month. Such a busy full time professional position didn’t leave much time or energy for painting.

“Being let go was a gift,” Cinnamon said. “It allowed me to concentrate on painting full time. I’d never want to go back to the corporate world.” Over the last seven years she has seen her output increase ten-fold. She is a member of the Artists Network of Riverdale, participating annually in the popular Riverdale Art Walk. She has had several solo exhibitions – a couple here in the Beach at the Cobalt Gallery, 870A Kingston Rd., and the Beacher Café – and participated in many group shows at various galleries around town, and in Edmonton. A couple of her paintings are currently hanging in the City Hall office of Councillor for Ward 32, Mary-Margaret McMahon, part of the rotating series of Guild members’ work.

“Getting a luminosity of colour is harder with acrylics,” Shelley says of her preference for working mostly in oils, although she said that she has used many of the usual media; acrylics, watercolours, charcoal, even pastels.

“I tend to lay the paint thinly on the canvas, then build up layers of paint.”

She admits to trying acrylics once again, and takes me down to her dining room studio. It’s a bright, east-facing space with a large patio door that lets in plenty of light. On the table is a work in progress – a large canvas on which is the background of a beach scene.

Cinnamon says she likes to work en pleine air (painting out of doors, on site) when she can, but mostly works from photos she has taken. Sometimes she admits to using the photos more as reference points, capturing a mood, or an image, then working on a piece that when completed is nothing at all like the photo. She calls her style “realistic with Impressionistic overtones.”

Most of her work is landscapes, or seascapes, although she did say she has experimented with abstracts. Some of her newer work takes what one could call a bird’s eye view of her subjects. Imagining looking down on a subject has, as she says, “pushed the creative thought process.”

Three years ago Shelley was invited to join the Beach Guild of Fine Art, and has risen to the office of president this year.

“The Guild is a fabulous group of local artists,” she says. “They’re tremendous people as well – a great social network.”

Her role in the Guild is keeping her busy lately as she scrambles to organize the upcoming Small Paintings for Small Spaces, May 13 to 15 at the historic Kew Cottage. She will be one of more than 40 Guild members on exhibition there, one of the Guild’s two annual shows. Be sure to stop in and say, ‘hi.’

Arts On Queen, 2198 Queen St. E., presents Weaving Portals, an exhibition of paintings based on the art of weaving, by Jane Colden, May 1 to 31. Colden began her artistic career as a weaver working with yarns to create layers of colour and texture.
“My intent is to achieve this level of craftsmanship with my approach to the canvas,” she says. “In my paintings the imagery is a gentle nod to nature while my palette is still weaving – only now it is weaving with paint.” She applies collaged materials accompanied by many layers of paint before “reconstructing” them into a finished work.
For more information call Arts On Queen at 416-699-6127, or visit

Rudolf Stüssi presents a new collection of paintings of Toronto cityscapes, called City On Edge, at the David Kaye Gallery, 1092 Queen St. W., from May 1 through 29. This will be the last exhibition in Toronto for Stüssi before the celebrated Beach artist leaves for a year in Europe. The exhibition will feature both oils and watercolours.
Also part of the exhibition will be some ‘teaser’ images from a new series Stüssi has been working on called R=Lativity images exploring Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. For more information visit
There will be an artist’s reception on May 7, from 2 to 5 p.m. which will feature a short video by Ema Ziemsen in which she documents the painting of her portrait by Stüssi. For more information call the David Kaye Gallery at 416-532-9075.

Cobalt Gallery, 870A Kingston Rd., presents Co-dependencies, by artist Felicity Somerset, May 1 to 31.
“Co-dependencies is a series of portraits of the skeletons of broken shells,” says Somerset in her artist’s statement. “Battered and worn by the Atlantic surf… these remnants of shells have been removed from their ocean context.” Somerset photographs the shells reflected on a field of dark glass. “The images suggest a co-dependency and intimacy of relationship in this created context.” The exhibition is part of CONTACT 2011, the annual city-wide photography exhibition.
There will be an artist’s reception May 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call Cobalt Gallery at 416-694-0156, or visit

Variety Village is holding its annual Art Show and Sale, May 14 through 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Variety Village, 3701 Danforth Ave. More than 18 local artists will be taking part in this show, including Bob Adams, Anna T. Benevides, Sandra Davidson, and Wendy Daly. Entertainment will be provided by pianist Bruce Smith, and harmonica player Bob Adams.  There will also be a barbecue lunch and door prizes, all for a great cause.
Admission is free. For more information, call Variety Village at 416-699-7167, or visit

The Visual Arts Department of Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute (DCTI) presents Exhibitart11, an exhibition of works by students, staff and alumni of DCTI, May 18 and 19, at the Todmorden Mills Papermill Gallery, 67 Pottery Rd.
There will be an opening reception May 18, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with music supplied by the DCTI Ensemble. For more information, and gallery hours, call the Papermill Gallery at 416-396-2820.

Was this article informative? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!