Prince of Wales Hotel — Niagara-on-the-Lake

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but some places, some events, you need far more than one picture to capture the spirit of the place. Knowing I’d be visiting Niagara-on-the-lake I did some research. Looked on Pinterest for what places to make sure you visit while there, and I took a virtual stroll down the street with the help of google street view. I found the Prince of Wales hotel and knew I wanted to paint it. When I was there I took many photos, enjoying the flowers and architecture. Getting different viewpoints from near and farther away. I looked through the photos I’d taken trying to find that one that would completely capture the hotel and the surrounding beauty. Like past landscapes and city scenes I’d done, I realized sometimes you can’t capture all something has to offer, but you can give a glimpse. You portray a moment. And really it’s not a bad thing to be left wanting more. Perhaps prompting the viewer to go and explore it for themselves. The beauty snags you, draws you in, invites you to more.

As I write a story I’ve read many times comes to mind. About a man who had a big request. He asked for something so amazing he wouldn’t be able to take it in or fully grasp or appreciate it.

The man was Moses, he wanted to see God in all his glory. And God, knowing what Moses could and couldn’t handle responded;

“And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:21-23 ESV

Moses caught a glimpse, not the whole. That glimpse gave him what he needed at the time. And yet it wasn’t over, Moses went up the mountain to talk with God many times. Heard his voice, saw him work, and grew in intimacy. In this age of information and got to have it now, sometimes appreciation comes from seeing new aspects over time. Appreciating each piece as it comes. So here is one small view of the beautiful Prince of Wales hotel in Niagara-on-the-lake.

detail of painting
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Flower cafe #1 — Niagara-on-the-lake

Acrylic on canvas
24×24

Over the past year or so I delved into painting cityscapes or street scenes. That place where nature and civilization intersect. In most cases sharing space, at times one becoming more dominant. I find the best way to acquire photographs to work from is to walk around an area and take it in. Take the time to examine different angles, nuances missed when whizzing by in a car.

Not sure why, but I find myself drawn to outdoor cafes or restaurants who have some outdoor seating. (Particularly if they have umbrellas.) I’ve never been to Europe to see squares filled with such places. But I’ve found spots locally and in my travels that appeal to me. Maybe it’s the access to people watching, or the intentionality sitting and enjoying the meal and the time spent in fellowship.

As I’ve painted more I find myself asking why? Why does it appeal to me, touch me, have an emotional response? Not sure I have the answer fully for outdoor cafes. They are a reminder to slow down and enjoy. Invest in the moment. How one can survive on very little, yet it’s beauty around us, in us, in others that help us to thrive.

So expect to see more outdoor cafes from me in the future. This one is from The Epicurean restaurant in Niagara-on-the-lake. Loved the small area and of course the lavish flowers. (Took photos of several other eateries nearby that I will explore in upcoming works.)