This was actually a private residence on Campbell street and I got the job while I was painting the zoo mural at the Route 90 underpass. She wanted the window painted onto the stucco wall, extending the space and matching her decor. It also had to resemble their travels to Italy. The view in the window is of Tuscany.
Sustainability Mural (Take Pride Winnipeg mural) F …
Hydraulic Resources, latex on wood, 2014, 95 Ravenhill, Winnipeg, MB There are two fence murals which face each other. TheRead more →
Deer Environment, Moray Medical Clinic
Deer Environment, Moray Medical Clinic, 9.5’ x 47’, 3536 Roblin Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB, 2013, artist acrylic (Nova Colour) on cinderRead more →
Midland Park Community Association, A Vision Reali …
A Vision Realized, Midland Park Community Association Mural, 2010, 8’ x 22’, 1197-1217 Ellesmere Rd., (and Oakley Blvd) Scarborough, Ontario,Read more →
This was a fun, playful utility vehicle painted to take Beaujana’s French Table on the road. By making Beaujana’s mobile, it would allow the couple to travel to outdoor events such as the Winnipeg Folk Festival, selling food from the van. When Randy drove the van to me, I thought it was a white handy-van with tinted windows. After I painted it, it looked like a circus van able to attract children from all over. The owners, Randy and Beaujana wanted to make a big impression by painting it with bright, brilliant colours. I think they attained their goal. I had the commission for the mural but since Take Pride Winnipeg cannot fund the painting of a van, I did this gratis.
The idea was to make the van reflect the restaurant and the new look they would be creating with the wall. The only problem was, I had to paint the van first because they needed it for an event. This proved difficult to do especially since I only did a rough sketch of the main forms and did not do a coloured rendering. When Beaujana came to see how I was doing, she was unhappy with the way it looked but when she showed me a photo of a sylistic image she had in mind, I immediately changed it. She wanted a very simple graphic image and I was doing the trees in detail and painting it to look realistic, not the way she wanted it. Anyhow, I finally understood and made the appropriate changes. Due to the short timeline and my promise, I tried to paint as fast as I could. Unfortunately, as we all know, when we rush, we make mistakes. Well, I ended up falling off my step ladder and landing on my tush. Initially I was fine, but later I discovered difficulty sitting and apparently had a bruised tailbone. Another time, I spilled paint all over the road which was a little obvious and embarrassing. I usually pride myself on my ability to be neat.
For imagery, they wanted it to be an extension of Beaujana’s French Table; featuring their bright colours, signature table and chairs, sign, blue and white awning, and Beaujana’s friendly dog. They had me paint over most of the windows and duplicating their logo, hedges, and address on more than one side. I wanted to put a reflection of them in the window but it ended up looking like a painting on the wall. The perspective is a bit off making it look awkward, but we decided it was passable for their purpose. The flower pots and shrubs worked out exactly how she wanted them and I think they were happy with the results. When it was all finished I had it clear coated with an automotive finish to protect it from dirt and the elements. I was glad when it was finished because that meant I could get started on the wall, which was my ‘baby’!
This mural was painted on Cloutier Drive, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, otherwise known as the Perimeter Underpass. The following are photos in process and final photographs: the month of September, completed October 3, 2014. Funded by Take Pride Winnipeg, Rivers West, St. Norbert BIZ and organized by Janice Lukes, the trail lady! Entitled “The River Moves Through Us”, it represents a transportation theme which resembles a Trans Canada trail weaving through the area. Janice Lukes led a group who spearheaded a campaign to build a walking and bike path along Cloutier Drive and through this underpass. Since it is located on two intersecting roads, a transportation theme seemed apt. It was a substantial feat to collaborate with the entire community and get input from every source. All influences are featured in this wall and it truly represents who St. Norbert is both historically and currently.
This is a detail of the Metis Sash, voyageur and red river cart. I tried to collage different kinds of renderings in one painting. For example, the red river cart is a simple, child-like painting referencing cubism or modern painting styles. The voyageur is rendered in a more realistic manner providing a contrast or juxtaposition of styles. Contrast is something I use a lot in my gallery work. I do it for fun and to add interest. When people see two opposing ideas in a composition, it makes them think. It makes me think.
See themuralsofwinnipeg.com for more information.
Hydraulic Garden (fence mural #1)
Paint the vision, make it plain! When climate change is needed, it is imperative that the urban plan be communicated consistently and effectively in order for it to be identified in the hearts of all people. It is my desire to be a part of the solution, integrating the interests and desires of others into a city plan which serves, protects and strengthens. It is my belief that great art exists not only in galleries where we can appreciate a Mark Rothko or Michelangelo, but it exists in our urban streets, where we can enjoy a Charlie Johnson or Diego Rivera. A huge hydraulic windmill sits on many prairie farms, extending its arms like a flower, hovering over the fields as a reminder of renewable goals. The slender arms of a windmill form the basis of this elongated design. It is shown initially close up, then meandering into the background, like a pathway. Outlines of the windmill divide the space into sub-sections, creating three smaller areas. Renewable energy is generated by planting trees, parks and gardens. The constant motion of the hydraulic windmill suggests interconnectivity. We are constantly dependant on our environment yet it relies on us for continual growth as we rely on each other. Our actions, movement and cycles are repeated and interwoven. It is a constant flow, winding us into a healthy, growing, sustainable future.
How are these natural resources used to create sustainable living? How are residents taking responsibility for their own environmental footprint? Manitoba has made several strides in considering environmental factors. Farmers and residents are using natural methods for irrigation, pest control and organic gardening. Wheat farmers are dedicated to producing high quality crops with favourable yields. Rivers, lakes and streams are lined with natural rock in an effort to decrease erosion caused by flooding.
A green roof and solar panels are also ventures which some have taken on. They are depicted at the end of this mural, to the right. Assiniboine Park has built a new architectural building near the duck pond which has a green roof. It is covered with grass and is naturally watered by the rain. The mural depicts a small house or cottage with a flower or herb garden planted on top of its roof. Three solar panels scatter the horizon.
Please see themuralsofwinnipeg.com for further details.
Hydraulic Resources, latex on wood, 2014, 95 Ravenhill, Winnipeg, MB
There are two fence murals which face each other. The common theme is the windmill which is found in both designs. The only difference is the imagery which is painted in the three divided areas. The three resources which are native to the Praries are wind, rock and water. The hydraulic windmill moves them all in a cycle, related yet interdependent. The wind is represented in the prairie sky with windmills scattered throughout the fields. Water is in the bottom portion and rock is to the right.
Please see themuralsofwinnipeg.com for further details.
424 Graham Street, Winnipeg, MB, 2007, Graham Outdoor Cafe, Musical themed mural located in an alley way.
This mural was my first mural painted in Winnipeg. I was still teaching at George McDowell school at the time and I took my art students on a mural tour and we stopped at this wall.
Please see themuralsofwinnipeg.com for further details.
Field of Honour Section, Lot 150A
Stevenson attended Kelvin High School and later Wesley College. In 1917 at age 19, he flew for the Royal Flying Corps in England where he began pilot training. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and was decorated with the Belgian and French Croix de Guerre. After the war, Stevenson was on of many Royal Air Force pilots who ferried diplomats and other officials between London and Paris. After this, he began a short stint as a sea pilot in northern Russia. After returning to Canada in 1920, he went back to Winnipeg where he joined the Canadian Aircraft Company. With the company, he flew as part of flying exhibitions at small-town fairs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 1926 he moved on to Western Canada Airways and became one of Canada’s first bush pilots, transporting air freight to the North. By the following year, Stevenson was regularly transporting material and equipment from Cache Lake to Fort Churchill on Hudson Bay. On January 5, 1928 during a test flight in the Pas, Manitoba, the engine of his Fokker aircraft failed and his plane went into a spin at a low altitude and fell onto a quiet residential street and he was killed. Captain Frederick Stevenson is buried at Brookside Cemetery, facing southwest toward the airfield that would later be named after him (Stevenson’s Airfield). On May 27, 1928 the City of Winnipeg and the Municipality of St. James opened the new airdrome. Five hundred people attended the opening where Stevenson’s mother unveiled a marble plaque that read: “This airdrome is named Stevenson Airdrome in dedication to the late Captain F. J. Stevenson of Winnipeg, Canada’s Premier Commercial Pilot.” The field eventually became known as Stevenson Field and was later renamed Winnipeg International Airport.
Above Photo – an early photo of Stevenson Field in 1928
Photo – F.J Stevenson flies newspapers to Red Lake in 1927. (Churchill is written on side of plane)
Brookside Cemetery – modern photo
Brookside Cemetery Motor Bus – taken in 1915 with owners standing beside.
Native Aboriginal Woman – Hudson Bay Archives
Please see themuralsofwinnipeg.com for further details.
The Red Barn. This was located just North of Logan Avenue on Keewatin Street. Before it was named and painted red. The Red Barn was known throughout the city for its lively times. Several well known country and western performers were seen there including Del Genthon and his popular CJRC Grainbelters, Wilf Carter and Hank Snow, who reputedly rode his horse around the inside stage. The Red Barn in its final years became a three floor Bingo Hall until its demise in 1980s. A license was issued on June 13th 1938 to Mr. B. A. Patterson of Patterson’s Stables to conduct dances on his property at Keewatin and Logan Avenues. At the time a letter to the Manitoba Tax Commission from the Village Administrator stated “ We understand that a charge of 35 cents is made for admission. A good-sized crowd in attendance every Saturday night. Certain conditions had to be made to the building due to its popularity and crowded conditions. In 1947 charges were made of discrimination against a coloured person. There were inevitable fights and brawls that accompany any busy dance serving liquor.
The Brooklands Speedway – scenery 1950s, Brooklands racer on motorcycle
(located to the northwest of Brooklnads off Oak Point Highway,near Selkirk Avenue, was well known in Western Canada. In 1963 one Stock car race meet saw 4,640 spectators.)
Train – in museum, of an early train 1890.
Stevenson Airfield – plane flying above to symbolize Captain Frederick Joseph Stevenson who became one of Canada’s first bush pilots in 1926.
Brooklands Voluntary Fire Department – 1965 faces put onto a photo taken in 1952.
The Red School, (Krawchyk School Today)
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Brooklands
Privy – outhouse is a current photograph, mimicking one in photograph.
In 1957 sanitary sewers and watermains were installed on the remaining streets in Brooklands. Resident water meters were installed for $28.00
Burton Cummings -1960’s – the Early Years
Ferlin Husky – 1964
Beauty Queen on a Ford Thunderbird convertible – carnival in 1970
(Brooklands used to have an annual carnival organised by the Community Club and other groups in the area. At one time it was one of the largest in the Winnipeg area. Carnival Queen Debbie Kohler is shown in 1970)
Residential Houses -Ada Street water pails in 1942 (in the picture, Mr Wowchuck and Mr. Krontiuk are fetching water from a nearby manual water pump staton. There is a wooden bridge on the left side. I will use only the architecture in this photo but not the people.
Mrs. Tataryn and Bill Jr. on Elgin Street (Mom and baby crossing the street)
Canadian Bank of Commerce on Logan – 1906
dancing from 1950’s
Please see themuralsofwinnipeg.com for further details.
Deer Environment, Moray Medical Clinic, 9.5’ x 47’, 3536 Roblin Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB, 2013, artist acrylic (Nova Colour) on cinder block
Sponsors: Councillor Havixbeck, Take Pride Winnipeg and Dr. Paul Walton.
One of the most remarkable topics for conversation about the Charleswood area in Winnipeg are the deer. Anybody who lives there comments on their prolific presence. Deer are everywhere. They very commonly feed from planters, grass, trees and just about any green leafy vegetation in the area. However, they do not understand property lines, so they roam freely from one house to the next, picking and choosing their meal. Recently I stayed with a nice lady, Anne Ruhr in the East St. Paul area and I noticed her evergreens were eaten bare 5 ft up the trunk. She said they were fearless and would come right up to the house, any time of year but were particularly more common now that new houses were built close by, clearing out the abundant bush leaving the deer with no food supply. Charleswood is a residential area in Winnipeg, west of Tuxedo and Assiniboine Park. The infamous park hosts the Assiniboine Park Zoo, The Pavilion holding the permanent collection of Ivan Eyre paintings, the English Gardens, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden and it is set in a natural treed area with many paths for walking. Just south of the Zoo between Roblin Boulevard and Wilkes Avenue, there stands Assiniboine Forest, a 1,100 acre natural forest marking the beginning of Charleswood and home for numerous aspen-oak trees and white tail deer.
For this Mural, I wanted to depict the deer in their natural environment, remaining sensitive to the locale. That is why I placed the deer in the forest, close to a pathway and water. The body of water is actually the pond found in the Assiniboine Gardens, surrounded by bull rushes and an actual Leo Mol sculpture of a deer. A couple mallard ducks are found in the foreground with peonies, fox gloves, status, lupins and hollyhocks found to the left, suggesting the nearby English Gardens. The tall prairie grasses line the background sky. An angel appeared in the clouds when I was painting it, completely unconsciously. The white tail deer will often live in fields and meadows favouring broad-leaved trees and they will sleep in forests for shade. While mating, or in a rut, the bucks will fight over territory using their antlers in sparring matches. Killing deer during hunting season can be a favoured Manitoba sport. Men rally for the largest racks and mount them in their living rooms as pride trophies. During the creation of this Mural, a friend of mine from the city came by to check on me. After he had returned home and my day was almost up, I noticed a buck slowly peer its head around the corner. It caught me off guard. After an uproarious laugh, I realized it was my friend playing a joke on me. He had gone home, took the rack off his wall and propped it up to trick me. It worked. Recently CBC reported a decapitated deer found in the Charleswood area, one month after I painted this mural (November 25, 2013). They suspect someone wanted it as a trophy, but reminded the public of hefty fines for poaching. Deer are so prevalent in Manitoba that it is considered common place to see them at the edge of a highway, run across the road or unfortunately be found as road kill. Manitoba Public Insurance spends $31 million each year on wildlife collision claims. That is almost the same figure as their drunk driving claims. So if you are in the Charleswood area, be on the look out for deer, but be sure to go see my mural on the side of Moray Medical Clinic at 3536 Roblin Blvd, the corner of Princeton Blvd.
A baby deer or fawn is located in the grass to the right of the composition. They have a reddish-brown coat with white spots that helps them blend in with the forest. White-tailed deer are vegetarians (herbivores), leisurely grazing on most available plant foods such as leaves, twigs, fruits and nuts, grass, corn, alfalfa, and lichens and other fungi. Occasionally venturing out in the daylight hours, white-tailed deer are primarily nocturnal, browsing mainly at dawn and dusk. The other species I wanted to highlight was the mallard ducks, widely known in North America preferring the low lying areas that are calm, undisturbed. Mallards prefer shallow sanctuaries, but can be found in almost any body of freshwater and are commonly found in wetlands. The drake, or male, is the more colourful mate. Its green head sits on a white neckband that sets off a chestnut-coloured chest and grey body. Females are drab brown in colour, but sport iridescent purple- blue wing feathers that are visible as a patch on their sides. There is a buck in the foreground, a doe behind with two fawns. This family of deer are the feature presentation in this Mural and important to this area. They are joined by a buck far off in the distance, above the peonies.
Walk Through the Seasons, (Kit-Kat) Bestway Foods, Great Licks Ice Cream, 21’ x 45’, 967 Wolseley and Ruby Street, Winnipeg, MB, 2012, latex on brick
Sponsors: Take Pride Winnipeg, Hertz Equipment Rentals, Paterson Foundation
Walk Through the Seasons is often a difficult but necessary task when dealing with the loss of a loved one, divorce, separation, relocation, or any number of life changing experiences. This Mural is meant to brighten the neighborhood with its pure colours and also reflect the environment in which so many Wolseley residents live. Often one will see people walking their dogs or going for a walk down the lovely treed area, lined with quaint, older homes. The suggestion is to take the dogs lead, grab the leash and increase this healthy habit by walking your dog, through the seasons, through the spring, summer, fall even winter. The colours range from springtime cool colours such as blue and green to autumn orange, yellow and red. There are a variety of individuals featured in the Mural, from children, students to middle aged. All are found on the streets or sidewalks, cycling or just hanging out.
When I was working on this design last summer, I took photographs of infamous Garfield Street and the streets beside it including Sherburn Street. The original idea was to have recycling boxes lining the streets, promoting the city’s goal of increasing the amount of recycled goods per capita. Soon, the city introduced the tall recycling boxes and distributed them to all households. One of my friends visiting from Florida (Ben) modeled for me, lifting recycled boxes, stacking them and dropping milk jugs into the bins. This may have messed up people’s back lanes but it was great to have a model who looked both aboriginal and white loading and unloading these full recycling boxes. I never did use him in the mural but when it came time to paint the central female figure I tried to make her look like him (but it did not work). The reflections made me think of Terry Farrell, a senior artist who lived in Swan River at one time and whose work I admired. His paintings were always bright and brilliant, using yellow as a base and majoring on reflections, much like the Group of Seven. Dale Wiebach in Swan River would understand because she introduced his work to me. The family on the right is my cousin Rebecca Collard-Paulin and her husband Allan Paulin and their two young children. They just had their photographs taken by Hula Hoop Photography so I borrowed this great shot of them interacting. The house on the left is located at 49 Sherburn St. South, Winnipeg but I changed the colours to reflect our very first home in Swan River, Manitoba. It looked like a Christmas house with a red brick base, a green roof and golden trim which brings the colours of the festive season into the Mural. I included a few cats to balance out the animal kingdom, added the owner’s dog.
What We Build, Hertz Equipment Rental, 12’ x 88’, 1600 Gamble Place, Winnipeg, MB, 2012, latex on raised brick
Sponsor: Take Pride Winnipeg, Hertz Equipment Rental
Dave Mintenko, the manager of Hertz Equipment Rental approached me about a Mural for the side of their building where their staff takes lunch breaks. Initially he wanted all of his staff painted in the Mural, working on machines, or in the buildings but as we progressed we decided a group photo would be better.
The main goal was to feature all of the buildings that their equipment helped build. We began with the Richardson International Airport expansion, the MTS Centre, the Museum of Human Rights, the new Bomber Stadium and Provencher Bridge. I used the road ramp up to the arrivals as the entry point and collaged much of the people and equipment on this section. It proved to be very busy, so I simplified it by omitting the airport, and putting the other four buildings in chronological order from past to present, left to right. The airport underwent its expansion in 2011, the building of the Museum of Human Rights was did not have the glass on in 2011 and the Bomber stadium had the beams up when I began taking photographs. When I took photographs of the Museum of Human Rights, the Esplanade Riel was in the background so I decided to include both in the Mural. The addition of the Salisbury House logo was a last minute detail to honour Earl Barish who owns the property and also owns Salisbury House.
All of their current 2012 staff are in the photograph. Dave Mintenko (the manager) gathered everyone together, got them to wear the new shirt uniform and took a group photo. This worked well as it focused the detail in one area. This was the first time I did a painting limiting the colour palette to cool colours (blues and purples) and contrasting warm colours (orange and yellow) for emphasis. The idea here was to make the equipment stand out against the buildings. All the machines were supposed to be orange and yellow while the buildings were to be blue, receding in the background. Once I was on-site painting, some of the staff felt strongly about the boom lift remaining blue, so I made this change. It did alter the overall effect slightly, but it made everyone happy.
The best part was being able to paint with my son, Manny whom I ‘hired’ as my apprentice. He was only 12 at the time and took a real interest in painting, climbing the scaffolding and saving money. Together, we painted an extra section at the front where we put a Hertz logo. When this was finished, he was able to apply this knowledge of the Hertz Rental sign to the Mural. He is responsible for painting the sign which is located between the MTS Centre and the Museum of Human Rights. I think he did a great job!
A Look at the Nook, The Nook, 13’ x 46’, 43 Sherbrooke Street, Winnipeg, MB, 2011, latex on stucco
Sponsors: West Broadway BIZ, Take Pride Winnipeg, Winnipeg Foundation, Richardson Foundation
This popular breakfast stop is a long standing Winnipeg tradition. It has been a great place to get breakfast, lunch or supper and it has been the resting place for many tired nurses, students, patients, or just about anyone seeking a good meal. Mr. and Mrs Parasidis purchased the restaurant over 25 years ago from the Alba twins (Italian brothers) and have made a go of it ever since. Formerly it used to be a Salisbury house and hosted the typical red bar seats which were recently taken out but the booths remained. Athina had collected several old photographs from patrons which showed the history of the exterior of the building and the many patrons that visited the establishment over the years. Together with a few other photographs from Misericordia Hospital, I came up with a design they loved. I went across the street to an attic in the hospital to find a photo of the original hospital taken in 1937 and the Single Mother’s Birthing Hospital that used to stand beside the Nook in a residential house (where the parking garage now stands). Athina requested that the image of their uniquely designed T-shirts be somewhere in the design. As well, I asked them if they wanted their portraits in the Mural and I took their photos; Bill and Athina arm in arm.
My goal was to recreate the past based on the historical photos. Most were taken around 1940-50 and were excellent depictions of the black and white era. I took one photo and extended its sides and imagined where it would be, dropped the neighborhood beside it, Misericordia Hospital to the right and voila. I filled it with people standing, leaning, laughing in groups or alone to make it look like the patrons of the past. I included Bill and Athina’s father who is standing in front of the door, looking like the Italian-Stallion (Sylvester Stallone). Behind them two figures emerge from the door with an old fashioned Coca-Cola advertisement below. Putting ads on the buildings was a way to pay for the building and was a common practice. In the old snapshots, the outside of their building was covered with Sweet Caporal ads which were elaborately painted. Former owners names such as Bill and Athina, the Alba brothers, Queens Tea Room and Salisbury House were painted on the side of the wall, along with the actual words that used to be painted on the top of the building: ‘refreshments’, ‘soft drinks’, ‘hot meals served’. My favourite part of the wall is the left side where the old birthing hospital stands in colourful detail and two old cars are parked. My Dad used to own a baby blue and red Ford Falcon so I thought of him when choosing the colours. The Alba brothers are posing side by side with the one cheekily stepping on the other’s toes. The Nook was often open late at night and it was a great spot to go after hours when everything else closed. Often private school girls found themselves playing hooky in their seats. It was near several high schools such as Grant Park, St Mary’s, Balmoral Hall, Kelvin and Westgate. On the right a ‘Car Stop’ stands with several boys waiting for the bus. In the window the Parasidis family is sitting down to play cards, with the Uncle (with a broken arm) on the left and Mr and Mrs Parasidis on the right. This scene reminds me of my Scottish Grandmother who often plays cards and my (deceased) Italian Grandfather who would count money on the old table downstairs after a good day at the market.
Run into Learning, Ecole Marie Anne Gabouray, 31’ x 100’, 50 Hastings Boulevard (corner of Dakota and St Mary’s Rd), Winnipeg, MB, 2011, latex on cinder block
Sponsor: Take Pride Winnipeg
This colourful, vivacious wall is part of the Louis Riel School Divison and is a French immersion school with children learning from grades K-8. It is located in the playground on the upper part of the gym wall below the basketball courts, beside the soccer field and parking lot. Hastings school shares the grounds with Ecole Gabouray and if you are standing in the back of Hastings school, you can get a great view of the mural. Some of the former students of Ecole Marie-Anne Gabouray had painted the wall with a rainbow, the school mascot, parliament building, a bus and teepees but the paint was pealing so it needed to be repainted.
With a change in mascot, the Principal Marc Poirier wanted students to come up with the idea for the mural and include a reference to Louis Riel’s grandmother, Marie-Anne Gabouray. Near the end of the year, some grade 7 and 8 students made a list of words that represented the school; “the power of MAG, respect, safe, fun, sports, educational, leadership, helpful.” A sketch was made of a large book with figures coming out of it. These figures represented the various subjects in the school such as computers, science, math, physical education and some of the activities played on the school yard. The students and principal asked for a mural that would reflect their school beliefs, mainly who they are and what they do. Since the school was a part of the Louis Riel School Division and I previously taught art at George McDowell School, I knew the art curriculum and some of the lessons that Karen Geist, the visual arts consultant had made available to all teachers in the division. A very popular inservice inspired by Norval Morrisseau, an Aboriginal, Woodlands, Canadian artist who paints legends of his people and stories of his Christian beliefs was presented to early years teachers. Students used his characteristic thick, black outlines to create the skeleton of animals and people which were later filled with bright pure colours. The black line was meant to suggest a continuous contour line dividing good from evil or one idea from the next. Even though this school has never had an art specialist, I knew I had to come up with something that was fitting for the school, the students and the division.
“Run into Learning” is an energetic look at some of the activities played on the school grounds and the learning that happens inside the school. Stylistically it suggests Aboriginal paintings or children’s artwork, the imagination of readers and the real life energy of young learners. The soccer field and cloudy sky provides a common background to the composition bringing together the events on the left with the learning on the right. An orange flying book comes to life with every subject from math, language arts, computers, physical education, music to art. A scientific specimen is examined as colours flow from its base, suggesting optics; the basis for colour theory, mixing everything from three primary colours. As the mural progresses so does ones imagination with a fairytale land hiding beneath her chin providing an entrance to another world. The school words are written in the book as a handbook of beliefs. The little girl playing blocks is a reference to the daycare located in the school basement. A portrait of Marie-Anne Gabouray is placed to the right of the new school logo. Two Asian girls were added to give diversity to the kind of activities played on the playground. The children running toward the soccer ball suggest the frequent games played on the field and the energy that many students put into their studies. They have things in common yet are different. The solid black line that shows up so often in Norval Morrisseau’s work and the Woodland Artist’s style indicates an interdependence of relationships. It also breaks up different ideas for example active learning verses traditional learning. The simplicity of colour and line suggests student work which is often bright and brilliant.
Beaujana’s French Table, St. Boniface, 16’ x 40’, 302 Hamel Street, Winnipeg, MB, 2011, latex on rough stucco
Sponsor: Hertz Equipment Rental, Take Pride Winnipeg
This is a bright, bold depiction of an outdoor cafe located in the French district. It serves a Parisian or Riviera bouquet of flavours to match the surprise suppers that chef Randy cooks up. The owners, Randy and Beaujena took over the premises in 2006 and have been cooking up feasts ever since. Open only on Friday or Saturday night (reservation only), the couple prepares and serves authentic French cuisine with at least 5 courses, catered directly for their guests. The wine tasting option creates a relaxing, romantic evening for couples, business associates or families. Tucked away in St. Boniface, on the corner of Hamel and St Jean Baptiste the commercial building will give you a wonderful, luxurious experience in this quiet, bilingual, residential area.
Many know of this building as the Red Barron, as it was formerly known, creating a historical reference to the area. Since the restaurant is Beaujena’s ‘baby,’ she held the vision. She wanted something that echoed what they already had on the front and interior of the building but they wanted to spruce it up a bit and make it brighter. Beaujena suggested an outdoor cafe with a quaint French promenade in the background and agreed to having their portraits somewhere in the mural. It had to have her characteristic table and chairs. From a small fauvist illustration that Beaujena liked and a painting of Van Gogh’s outdoor cafe, I concocted a design that I thought was fitting for the location. She loved it, so it was a go.
The bike was my idea knowing that they are so popular in France. The window where the menu is placed was painted blue to match the blue door. I designed it so the door and window would merge and this worked perfectly as Beaujena came up with the idea to paint its interior. I recall spending much care on the French village ‘wrap around’ because it reminded me of my favourite part of Europe; the enclosed streets with towers of windows and tiny cobblestone footpaths (which cars frequently drove on). I had the thrill of traveling across Europe in 1991 (for 3 months) so I used part of that memory in the mural. It is surprising how those great adventures stay with you. My kids liked climbing the scaffolding, especially my son who was 12 at the time. Often I painted around the clock which was quite enjoyable since it was much quieter and cooler at night. I was determined to finish since I had three murals to paint that summer. As a whole I think it was quite a collaborative effort between myself and the owner. She had a clear idea of what she wanted and I tried to pull her desires and my expertise together. I think it was a good fit because we were all pleased with the results.
Secret Garden, Assiniboine Park, pillars 16 ft tall, mural 12’ x 35’, Route 90 Underpass and Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, 2010, latex on cement
Sponsors: Richardson Foundation Incorporated, Take Pride Winnipeg, The City of Winnipeg, Hertz Equipment Rentals.
On the other side of this underpass is another mural, Secret Garden which demonstrates the recent developments the city has made to the English Gardens, the sports played in the park and the Leo Mol Sculptures which adorn its pathways. As part of the city’s plans for zoo expansion, they would like to add red panda’s to their animals so I depicted them high in the trees on the pillars. The various pathways meander through the mural, surrounding a manicured pond with a Leo Mol sculpture of wrestling bears. A couple teens grapple to catch a frisbee in the game Ultimate. Cricket is also featured in the bottom right side under the bridge. A close up of a young man striking a cricket ball is on the right pillar with a lovely view of the Assiniboine River flowing behind the edifice.
Polar Bear Splash, Assiniboine Park Zoo, pillars 14 ft tall, mural 12’ x 40’, Route 90 Underpass and Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, 2010, latex on cement
Sponsors: Richardson Foundation Incorporated, Take Pride Winnipeg, The City of Winnipeg, Hertz Equipment Rentals.
Tom Ethans, is the executive director of Take Pride Winnipeg; a non profit organization focused on graffiti removal and beautifying the city. I first met Tom at a mural luncheon in 2006. Since then, Tom helped me to get the Millers Meats mural which won mural of the year in 2009 and he has commissioned two underpasses, Polar Bear Splash and Secret Garden. I have learned that Tom takes great pride in what he does and is a great support to artists and community members. He arranged for donated paint, scaffolding and most of all the Green Team who tirelessly pressure washed the wall, preparing the surface for priming. Every day Tom was available on his cell and many days he would drop by for a visit. With this wall in particular, he set me up for success. I was able to improve on the existing mural and the conditions were ideal; I could paint when it rained. Most of all, Tom has taught me to trust him; I learned that he really is a good guy and he will do whatever he can to help me. He has a heart of gold and I am very thankful to him for commissioning these murals, for his tireless support and professionalism. He finds money in the most lucrative places and where none else can!
Bob Buchanan, is the web administrator for the murals of winnipeg website, founder of Feed my Lambs Mission and husband to Louise Buchanan (who is a great support to him). The murals of Winnipeg is an active site, with over 300,000 visitors since its inception in 2003. That means that half of all Winnipeg-ers have visited this site. It hosts all the current murals, most of the old ones (in the RIP section), a mapping interface to plan your mural-seeing adventure, artist profiles, links and more. This kind of a site is run from Bob’s home where he tirelessly volunteers, interviewing artists, documenting murals, (taking unwanted photographs), visiting mural sites and planning this annual event. Bob and I share a passion for murals. Painting murals is something that gets in your blood (it’s better than insulin). One of my best memories is on a cold, 30 below morning when he picked me up at my house, stopped at Tim Hortons to fill up our refillable coffee mugs (you save money that way), and painstakingly charted out to find murals that were lost on the radar. Sure enough he found them, one covered over, two alive and well. He took great delight in checking these off until all 500 were accounted for. For me, Bob is my personal steam coach; fueling me in times of need and infuriating me at others. He likes to remind me that I am senile, overprotective and in need of a real job (NOT). Although he can be antagonistic, Bob is my biggest fan. He attended all my art gallery openings, bought “Rockwell’s Dream Continued” (a mural submission I did), helped me cart my paintings across town, gave me his shoulder to cry on, shared contacts with me, sent me calls for submissions, went to conferences with me and became my friend. I love Bob because I can swear with him on Saturday and go to church with him on Sunday. Despite all he does for me and other artists, Bob volunteers for the Transcona Food Bank and Feed My Lambs Mission, handing out food to the hungry and providing breakfast and a movie. A man of his calibre is not easily found and I think Winnipeg is rich because of him. He too suffered a divorce and could relate to much of my emotional trauma.
Some highlights for me on this wall, Polar Bear Splash are the juxtaposition between large and small (innocent toddler in front of the large bear), the caring relationship between the bears, the sense of playfulness and the interactive educational component. The colours and composition of Polar Bear Splash worked well together from the very beginning and it is nice to see it come together, providing a refreshing pause. My kids and I took numerous trips to the park where I accumulated hundreds of photographs for the mural. It took about a year from the time I did the first drawing to the actual painting of the wall. Even though it took awhile, it was worth the wait.
Murals in Winnipeg
Nowhere else in this land can you find
A city with 500, one of a kind
Hand painted, diverse murals.
Whether they are urban scenes or rural
They give Artist’s a voice
Opportunities to create – a choice
Progressively they get better
Anticipated – for what seems to be forever
But once the mural is realized
And the plan unfolds
The mural comes to life
For all to behold.
A Vision Realized, Midland Park Community Association Mural, 2010, 8’ x 22’, 1197-1217 Ellesmere Rd., (and Oakley Blvd) Scarborough, Ontario, Latex on Alupanel, Coated.
ARTIST STATEMENT – “The Vision Realized”
One of the greatest thrills for an architect is to see their original goals realized through the words of residents living in the space. The original architect of Midland Park; Ted Ross, was influenced by Bauhaus and inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Part of this modernist philosophy was to mix the natural environment with industrial materials in a harmonious, pleasing manner. Under the direction of Paul T Hellyer, owner of Curran Hall, Midland Park Community was designed; incorporating the natural hills, contours, trees and ravine into the designs. A strong, bold look using diagonals and simplified shapes created a modern, architectural paradise. Many residents have commented on the spacious, trendy ambiance, natural beauty of hills, gardens and Birkdale ravine.
What made this housing development unique was that it came furnished with designer made accessories and paintings. It created an entire modern experience. Although these houses were humbly priced ($12,000) in 1960, the buyers received the most value for their money. Winnipeg architect and furniture designer; A.J. Donahue designed sleek, contoured tables, chairs and dressors. Toronto’s Abstract artist R. York Wilson was a colorist, blending abstract and realism into his paintings. Some examples of his paintings are below. They can be found on the walls throughout these unique homes.
The colors I chose in the proposal, reflect Wilson’s paintings and the natural surroundings of the Birkdale Ravine. I went back to the basic premise of what the architect Mr. Ross must have been thinking; converge natural beauty with modern abstract. Thus, “The Vision Realized” shows award winning homes surrounded by rocks, water and trees. This harmonious combination is done in a loose manner where images are superimposed onto one another, yet reveal a realistic sense of the scene. The colour palette uses blue, brown and purple with orange accents to tie in Pizza Pizza. The words “the vision realized” completes the circle, fulfilling modernist intent.
Just as Ross and Donahue spent many years in Winnipeg, I have too. Just as Wilson was a muralist, I am too. Just as Ross loved Falling Water, I do too. After many attempts at illustrating your committee’s wonderful ideas of a postcard montage, I went back to the drawing board and came up with something very different. I wanted something that reflected the great success of the neighborhood and made it attractive to all. This colourful landscape is what Midland Park Community represents; a modern place to live with natural beauty in its backyard. By showing its success, we celebrate the achievements of Ross and Hellyer. It would be a privilege and great delight to paint this mural for you.