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The Weather Network
Aug. 24, 2019 | Saturday
Local News
Carving up a lifetime of art: Felicia Weinstein
Felicia Weinstein at her studio space in Virgil. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

Felicia Weinstein says the power of nature has inspired, driven and influenced every aspect of her life.

In her home, work and artistic spaces she is surrounded by vibrant colours and detailed textures, all mimicking the natural world. It’s where she says she feels most at home.

“I was always drawn to nature and the colours of nature, from when I was a kid.”

Her home on Line 2 Road serves as a studio. She says she encourages anyone interested to touch base with her to arrange a viewing, by emailing felicia@floworganizedsolutions.com.

She is also showcasing four pieces at Art Space 106, at 106 Queen. St. in NOTL until September. 

Nature’s raw energy and unrestrained quality paired with the intense beauty and dynamic colours is what she says always sent her looking to it for inspiration, in art and otherwise in her life.

Painting is her passion, but she also has a love for organizing, interior design and Feng Shui, a Chinese concept related to the flow of energy and harmonizing spaces with nature.

Her business, aptly called Flow Organized Solutions, offers customized home and office organization options. Her career has adapted over the years. She first went to school for biology when she was still living in Caracas, Venezuela. When she had the opportunity to study architecture, she says she jumped at it. Architecture was always a passion, she says.

That evolved into a career as an interior designer, which she carried with her when she moved her family to Canada in 1991.

Although Venezuela is beautiful, with perfect weather, it wasn’t safe for her children, so she decided to make the move north, she says.

One condition of her immigration was that she had to open a business with one Canadian employee. She launched her interior design business and, while she moved around the Toronto area for most of the last 25 years, she continued opening new locations and starting over with each move.

“As an interior designer I had my own store. I did everything I was passionate about. I designed houses and organized houses.”

Now, she has settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake and has brought her love of organization with her.

Incorporating the natural flow of life into her art and work she says she has little say over a how a finished painting will look, just as we have no control over nature.

“I’m just the messenger,” she adds.

Recounting when she tried painting plein air, which is painting outdoors amid nature, she says it’s not something she pursues because of the effect temperature has on the oils.

“We were in the backyard of one of the lady’s that was hosting. I ended up with a painting that was a forest and a trail and what-not. That was not the backyard.” She says she might start with an idea or an image in mind, but by the time she finishes a painting, it has taken on its own form.

“So, I just let it happen. You cannot resist it, you just let it be. And some days you don’t want to paint, and some days you have this itch that you really want to paint now, and it just happens,” she says.

She has been focusing her artistic talent on pallet knives and oil paints – her style has evolved naturally over time, and she says she expects it will continue to adapt as she goes.

“I still change, I do landscapes and then I move into doing abstracts, I do both, I’ll do flowers sometimes. It’s whatever hits you that particular day or over a period of time.”

She first began painting with brushes when she had an artist come by to teach her children. Her interest was piqued and she started picking up the craft on her own. Continuing with brushes for a long time, she says it wasn’t until she experimented with the one pallet knife she had on hand on for cleaning her canvases that she discovered her passion for the medium.

“There’s a magic there, because I don’t decide to do that blotch, that shape. That maybe is the magic of working with the medium I work with. I’m just the one holding the pallet knife waiting for something to happen beyond my control.”

Peaks and valleys are formed on canvas to create landscapes, florals and abstract works – but never people, she says.

“It’s just that I’m honouring nature, I don’t want the person there, taking away from nature. No, I don’t want people in my picture. I want the landscape on its own,” she says.

Nature’s influence on Weinstein is evident in her artwork, but it’s also clear in her personal space. Walking into her apartment on the third floor of her condo, it’s as though you’re instantly transported to a lush oasis. Which makes sense considering she has such a love for the natural world and was born and raised in South America.

Now, she lives alone, happily, she says. Her two children live out of town with their families, and combined she has five grandchildren – all boys.

“I had a husband, and I had a boyfriend, and now I just have myself. I would say by choice. As you grow older you are more comfortable in the way you live your life, and more demanding on who you want to share your life with. Those two things end up putting you in a good place.”

Enjoying the quiet pleasures, she says she loves bicycling in NOTL. Between that and the Shaw Festival, she was drawn to town long before she ever moved here, she says.

Attracted to the magic in both nature and her art, the two blend seamlessly in Weinstein’s perspective, she says.

“In the fall when I see all those leaves on the ground, I say to myself: ‘How many are there?’ And then next year they’ll be coming out again. And we have no say in that. I think that’s magical, I really do. We all should be like nature.”

She says she feels fortunate to have lived a good life, and though everything can’t be perfect all the time, she tries to go with the flow and do what she’s passionate about.

“One thing people don’t know about me is I talk to the universe, and the universe listens. If you put a thought out there, that’s what’s going to happen.”

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