They are more pigeon-eye views than bird’s-eye views of the city.
“She is an old girl, Halifax, and it’s neat living on the edge of a continent, in a seaport,” said Shelley Mitchell. “You get a mix of people, you get a mix of buildings, and you get recycled buildings.”
A painter, Mitchell is currently exhibiting a selection of Halifax streetscapes and buildings in an Argyle Fine Art show called Looking Downtown. It features familiar scenes of the Nova Scotia capital, including the Economy Shoe Sop, Halifax Club and Pizza Corner.
“There is always change, always flux. I like being around where the old buildings are,” said Mitchell, who has been painting the city for a number of years.
“I will often go up into a lawyer’s office, a government office, a bank,” she said. “Normally they will let you go up with your camera and let you borrow their views.
“Part of it is the angles, but you can also see the way people are weaving in and out on the sidewalks. I also like the lights and lows, you get shadows happening. It is just a twist on a streetscape.”
There is an image of the NSCAD University’s library, a vertical slice of light, from the sun rising between buildings further down the road, runs the height of bricked façade.
“I liked the contrast; it is cold and dark except for this sliver of light,” said Mitchell, adding that she does distort buildings, changes angles and cheats heights to create more interesting perspectives.
While she started by focusing on the city’s architecture — a mix and mash of styles and times — she soon found people walking into her views.
“The last one I did was Pizza Corner, and it is full of people,” she said. “Next year I’ll have a show full of people — Haligonians instead of Halifax.”