Artists in our Midst this weekend was a great success

Well, it’s over! The weekend of Open Studios of Artists in our Midst has been most successful. I want to thank all of you who came to visit my studio and a very special thank you to all of those who purchased my art. I enjoyed meeting old friends and was thrilled to see new faces. It was gratifying to sense the enthusiasm and the pleasure of all of you who left carrying a piece of art that would enrich your life, while contributing to a great cause that is helping many others.

I am glad to report that that I am proud to help Stand up for Mental Health by handing them a donation of $15,000 that reflects the proceeds of the art you have bought from me. This donation will enable the organisation to open a new venue in Victoria, which they were unable to do until now for lack of funds.

Many thanks also to the few people who sent SMH cheques, since they were unable to come to the studio.

Thank you all and enjoy the art!

Laugh All You Can – It’s Good for the Soul! Big Artsy Fundraiser

It is time for you to become an art collector and support a good cause. What can bring you more happiness than this?

On the occasion of the 25thAnniversary of West of Main / Artists in our Midst, I will hold a benefit art sale in my studio. All large prints and works on canvas will be offered at a 50% discount with all proceeds donated to Stand up for Mental Health, an organization like no other, created by David Granirer and now active across Canada, the US and Australia.

Led by award-winning counsellor and stand-up comedian David Granirer, Stand up for Mental Health (which was featured in the VOICE award winning CBC documentary Cracking Up) teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.
Open Studio and Benefit Sale: May 27 – 28, from 11 am – 5 pm

4557 W. 4th Ave., in the back studio, tel. 604-224-6795

Artists in our Midst – Featured artist

pnina painting2.narrowRead the interview with Pnina Granirer as featured artist for Artists in our Midst 2017 Open Studios.

Opening at the Roundhouse, May 18th, 7 – 9


Open studio May 27- 28, 11 am – 6 pm, 4557 W. 4th Ave.

During the open studio all large prints and works on canvas will be offered at 50% discount, with all proceeds donated to Stand up for Mental Health. (www.standupfor

Light within the Shadows; a painter’s memoir

Pnina Granirer’s memoir. Light within the Shadows, will be launched during the Artists in our Midst /West side of Main Open Studios event, on May 25th, from 7 – 9 pm, at Lord Byng School, 16th and Crown (entrance on Crown).

LWS cover


Pnina Granirer’s memoir of her life from 1935 to the present describes a true artist’s odyssey conceived as a drama in three acts, starting with a perilous childhood as a Jewish girl in 1940s Romania, continuing with emigration to Israel in the early years of the state, and concluding with a long creative period in North America, mostly based in Vancouver. Granirer writes with a painter’s eye, vividly evoking cities from Jerusalem to Paris to Montreal, and landscapes from the coastal sand dunes of Israel to the far north of Canada.

Granirer shares her creative process and how it relates to her life experience in three very different cultures, with their different opportunities and limitations

This thoughtful and fascinating memoir would appeal to anyone interested in the creative life, and how it was lived by one gifted and determined artist through the vicissitudes of the 20th century and into the 21st.

Graham Good

Professor Emeritus of English, UBC

Author of The Observing Self and Humanism Betrayed

Good Company

42a3cfcf0da27faf174771df8a9abcf4I am honoured to be part of the prestigious permanent collection of Museo Fondacion Eugenio Granell, Spain. I am in good company, indeed, as seen in the list of artists below.

My work, Discovery at Gabriola 3, 22×30 in, mixed media on paper, 1987, has been selected to represent this permanent exhibition on the website of the Museum.



Sala 1. Segunda Planta
Con obras de Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Toyen, Pnina Granirer, Penelope Rosemont, entre muchos otros.

La exposición Colección Surrealista, comisariada por Natalia Fernández Segarra, se compone de una selección de obras de la colección del mismo nombre creada por Granell a lo largo de su vida.
Entre los artistas que conforman la muestra destacamos a Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Joan Miró, Roberto Matta, Wifredo Lam, Francis Picabia, Susana Wald, Maruja Mallo, Anne Ethuin, Cruceiro Seixas, Toyen, Penelope Rosemont, Karl-Otto Gotz, Joana Domanska, Pnina Granirer o Yo Yoshitomé, entre otros.

Las llaves del deseo – The Keys of Desire

Red Landscape
Red Landscape


I had the honour of being invited to participate in the International exhibition of Surrealist Art, titled Las llaves del deseo (The Keys of Desire), that opened on March 11, 2916 at the Museo Municipal de Cartago in Costa Rica. Artists, musicians and writers from 19 countries are included in this major exhibition.

The seven works in the show will become part of the permanent collection of the Fondacion CameleonArt.

Although I do not consider myself a surrealist artist, my work contains many elements related to this style. Surrealism has pervaded our culture and our everyday language to the extent that it is difficult to consider it separate from other art forms. It is the way of expressing imagination that shapes dreams. For visual artists it becomes the poetry of form and colour, the projection of the inner vision made real.

Following my participation in a four Vancouver artists show, West Coast Surreal: a Canadian Perspective, at the Fundacion Museo Eugenio Granell, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, I continued to receive invitations to other exhibitions of Surrealist art, in Coinmbra, Portugal and Santiago de Chile. My works are now in the collections of the Fundacion Museo Eugenio Granell and the Museo Nacional de Chile. I discovered that the world of Surrealist artists was a warm and friendly one, where both artists and curators supported and helped one another and showed interest and appreciation for the art, unlike the usual cold, unfriendly art world of most museums and curators of contemporary art.

Pnina Granirer: The Love Making of Art

Human in t he Landscape #1, 2012, mixed media on wood and plexi, 19x27 in.
Human in t he Landscape #1, 2012, mixed media on wood and plexi, 19×27 in.


Humans in the Landscape, wood plexi, acrylic

Please visit my Premium page at Artists in Canada

Pnina Granirer is a prolific mixed media artist who has worked with the relationships of the figure through the primal beginnings of dance and understanding male and female relationships. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Glenbow Art Gallery, Calgary Alberta, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario and the Richmond Art Gallery, BC.

I have always wondered why the most powerful drawings come from smaller, slighter built, even timid people. Granirer has an ability to connect herself with her subject matter and become a conduit of that energy for her own personal interpretation. What is unique is, she doesn’t lose sight of what information is important to put down. This is openly shared with those who wish to experience, learn and remember.

Since 2003 Granirer has showed extensively in International Group exhibitions in Europe, South America and Israel.

Paul Constable

Please feel free to contact Artists in Canada about Pnina Granirer’s work.

View more work by Pnina Granirer WEBSITE:




Just do it!

Jewish Independent, Friday 31st, October 2014
Written by Pnina Granirer

“Do it! Just do it!” Cherie waves her hands impatiently, puzzled by my hesitation. We are sitting on the white sofa in her bright living room on Point Grey Road. Behind us, through the large picture windows, I see the waters of Burrard Inlet shimmer in the morning sun, framed by the blue mountains of the North Shore.

Cherie Smith (founder of the Jewish Book Festival)

It is mid-morning and light is streaming into the comfortable open space, where each corner bears Cherie’s personal stamp: the beautiful flower arrangement on the glass-top coffee table, the white sculpture on a stand, the painting above the fireplace and the colorful blanket thrown casually over the back of a cozy armchair. Further in, two low steps up, is the large dining room table with the eight high-back, white leather chairs. Behind it, a cupboard with glass doors displays Cherie’s collections of china, glasses of all sorts and other small trinkets. More artifacts are displayed on the heavy, black wood buffet against the wall. The kitchen is small, but efficient, just off the dining room. From where we are sitting, we can see the entrance door and, on the right, a small corridor leading to the second floor where a large triptych, my own painting, hangs over the stairs. One entire wall of the hallway is covered with books.

Books are Cherie’s world.

I met Cherie at a party, a casual encounter in a room full of people. Despite her friendly manner, I was intimidated by her, knowing that she and her husband were not only affluent, but also people who could be defined as pillars of the community. Little did I know that, in time, we would become close friends; much more, that she would become my mentor, giving me all her support and encouragement in my attempt to publish my first book.

Sylvia Barbara, nicknamed “Cherie” by her father, was born in in the middle of the Great Depression, in the small town of Kamsack, Sask. Her father, a general practitioner, delivered her himself, since the local obstetrician was too drunk to perform. Both parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia, now living in this tiny town of 2,000, including many Doukhobors and First Nations. As a child, Cherie became keenly aware of the racism against minorities, and saw her father trying to offer assistance to those in need at every opportunity. Growing up in Kamsack was a very long way from Cherie’s later life in Vancouver. But, as I was to find out when I got to know her better, her modest childhood was the foundation for her generosity of spirit, her lack of prejudice, her warmth and her humanity.

Slim, well-groomed, her brown-reddish hair cut short, her dress casual but of good quality, Cherie was unaffected and friendly, a mover and a shaker. Once she made up her mind about a certain activity, there was nothing that could stop her. Speaking in quick, concise words, waving her hands about, she passionately advocated her ideas.

As I said before, books were Cherie’s world. She and her husband Buddy owned a bookstore for some time and later promoted writers whenever they could. Cherie would invite writers to speak and even subsidized them by paying their expenses. She was the founder of the Jewish Book Festival, which she tirelessly supported and organized, and now bears her name.

But I digress. Let’s return to that particular sunny morning in Cherie’s living room, where she listens to me worrying about the crazy idea of publishing a book.

“How can I do this? I have never done it before, what if it fails?” I am quite anxious. Perhaps the work is not good enough, perhaps I shall lose all the money lent to me so generously by friends, and perhaps I won’t find a publisher, perhaps, perhaps. But Cherie will have none of that. Doubt and fear of failure are not in her vocabulary.

“Do it! Just do it!” she urges me.

We revisit all the risks and all the benefits of this adventure. She tells me again and again that The Trials of Eve, the largest, most daring and risky work I have ever done, has to be published; it has to be launched into the world. She cajoles, encourages and prods me into taking the plunge. She is willing to help edit my poems; she will help with information and with whatever is needed for the publication process. “Just do it!” she says again and again.

And I did do it. The book came out in due time, first as a limited edition that won the Alcuin Citation Award and, later, as an expanded soft-cover version; both a victory of Cherie’s indomitable spirit.

image Mendel’s Children cover
Cherie Smith published her memoir as a legacy to her grandchildren in 2001.
When Cherie became ill with the cancer that would eventually take her life, she took it in her usual commonsensical style, bravely fighting her way through without complaining. While visiting her, she told me about her swimming routine at Kitsilano Pool and about her efforts to publish her own book as a special gift to her grandchildren. We would take long walks on the beach, soaking in the beauty of English Bay. She, as usual, continued asking about my activities rather than talking about herself, her warmth and interest flooding over me like sunshine. Later, when she lost her hair due to the harsh chemotherapy she endured, she bought an elegant wig, always putting on a brave front, always concerned about her appearance, but almost never talking about her illness. Only when it became apparent that she was losing the battle did she begin making remarks about luck and fate. She became obsessed with the urgency of finishing the book that she was working on, and kept writing as much as she was capable of in her condition. The book was published before her death.

My last visit with Cherie in her white, sunny living room, took place shortly before her death. Her illness had taken a huge toll. Her body, devastated by the disease, was like a shadow of itself, transparently thin, her face lined, her voice a whisper. She still wanted to know what was happening in my life, but this time she also talked about her own death. I could barely answer her, my voice choking in my throat, tears welling in my eyes. We said goodbye and I left. It was the last time I saw my friend, Cherie.

After this, she refused all visits other than family. She wanted us to remember her as the vibrant, energetic and lively person she had been. And this is how I remember her. But each time I walk past her house, which has now been sold, a dull ache in my chest reminds me that I have lost a very rare, true and irreplaceable friend.

Pnina Granirer is a visual artist who has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally and whose work is found in numerous private and public collections. Over the years, she has written short essays and poetry, some of which were published in Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist by Ted Lindberg (Ronsdale Press). The Trials of Eve, a work of 12 mixed-media drawings and 12 poems, received an Alcuin Citation Award. This work is in the special collection of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. The soft-cover edition features a lengthy essay written by the author. Granirer is currently in the process of working on a memoir. This article was originally written in 2009.