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  • Ed Schmieder

Mireille Belajonas: The Art of Happiness

Updated: May 27, 2021

During the final episode of Long Island Stage’s Season 1, you will see a unique pair of Bowers and Wilkins bookshelf speakers up for auction: unique because they are now works of hand-painted art by Long Island artist Mireille Belajonas. One of her prime sources of inspiration is the beach, the shoreline specifically. In her artwork on the speakers, Belajonas captures the tripartite nature of the water’s edge: sand, wrack line*, and sea. She captures the sand’s colors and textures; she captures the bounty of the wrack line: scallop shells, clamshells, sea snail shells, sand dollars, beach glass, and driftwood; she captures the white seafoam trimming the blue rippling water. What is missing is the tide water’s gentle lapping sounds emanating from the speakers. However, the evening’s highest bidder will have the pleasure of selecting the sound waves these Long Island Bowers and Wilkins will play.

Artist Mireille Belajonas, Belgian-born and educated, studied jewelry design at St. Lucas School of Arts Antwerp a college located in Belgium’s “art and creativity city” Antwerp. The college's motto/mission reads: “Being creative every day throughout student life and beyond.” A conversation with Belajonas, a visit to her studio school, and her website all attest to her practicing what St. Lucas preaches.

After finishing school and learning the craft of goldsmithing, she rediscovered her love of drawing and painting shifting the medium of her art. One discovers in her work (watercolor botanicals, drawn pet portraits, shore-line paintings, and whimsical fairytale figures and places) that she has an eye for precise detail. Belajonas also has a joyful spirit that finds embodiment in all her creations.

She first visited Long Island in 1999 as a guest of a friend and found that she liked it. Over the course of three years, she returned to the Island several times before deciding to settle here. If her photo looks familiar to some locals, it is because her first job was at the Bayport Flower House (where there were plenty of orchids on hand). They are her favorite subjects for botanical watercolors.

In our conversation, she said that in college she almost fell for the false narrative that out of pain comes art; an artist must suffer to create. She, herself, is proof that art also comes from happiness, joy, and most importantly love. A love of sharing art, and a hope that the feeling of love that moves her to create is transmitted to her works’ viewers along with her vision. She wants one of the effects of her art to be the communication of that emotion.

Her practice as an artist extends to teaching as well; she and her musician husband Michael Belajonas established the Mirabela Studio of Music and Arts in Port Jefferson. He teaches music and she teaches art to children and adults. Lessons are typically one-on-one and designed for each individual student. The studio also has a shop where her works and greeting cards and are available for sale. One can visit the studio through Facebook, and see Belajonas’ artwork on her website.

Another point of pride is her work with the local organization Women Sharing Art. This association serves as a platform for numerous local female artists’ works, as an incubator for group art shows, and as a support for emerging female artists, and students pursuing further art education and careers.

*wrack line: the line of debris left on the beach by high tide.

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