Chemainus Art Group is excited to display its new heart flag mural mosaic Joyful Spring in the Chemainus Library’s street-side window across from the waterwheel for the entire month of June and until July 5.
Artists put their hearts into developing a cheerful collaborative work of art during the dark months of winter. Thirty-two participants created individual masterpieces on one-foot squares which is now a four-foot by eight-foot mural mosaic. The artists were given some guidelines, but the overall design their squares would create was kept a secret until they completed their work.
At completion of the artists’ work, they watched by Zoom as their single pieces were joined in the middle to become a vibrant mural mosaic.
The artists were invited Sunday to view their original mural mosaic artwork on display at the Waterwheel Park Bandshell. It was the first time the artists could experience everyone’s work live – assembled into the mural mosaic.
“Feels wonderful to have a good news story,” noted Chemainus Art Group member Gaileen Irwin. “The library staff sure had a great reaction and were excited about the display in their library.
“So many people could be thanked for their contribution to making this project come to fruition. We hope it brings a cheerful tone to our wonderful town of Chemainus.”
Following are the artists’ descriptions of their paintings. They are arranged by square numbers across each line.
1. Artist: Natasha Baronas
Title: Embracing Spring
Explanation: Knowing red was a major colour, I painted a tulip since they are so appealing to me.
2. Artist: Lynda Sangster
Explanation: There are a few different reds in the hearts, and copper paint in the big one has a thick covering of orange interference paint on top. I layered four different blues, and also added cadmium yellow medium.
3. Artist: Brenda Grice (Flowers) and Douglas Anderson (Sky and paintbrush)
Title: Bright Day – Bright Flowers
Explanation: Spring in Chemainus, which we think of as an artsy place, and home of the famous murals. Miraculously, we both independently thought of the paintbrush and a bright colour palette against a lighter sky. Brenda’s paintbox includes some of our region’s native flowers emerging with the sunshine.
Purple – Common Camas (Camassia quamash)
Pinky red – Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)
Yellow – Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)
Red, Orange and Yellow at the tip of the paintbrush – Common Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
4. Artist: Heather J. Kent
Title: Birds and Bees, Winds and Seas
5. Artist: Leslie Baronas
Title: Pieces of a Petal Puzzle
Medium: Mixed media. Markers, pens, collage, and acrylics with layers of Min wax.
6. Artist: Lauren Spilsbury
Title: The Importance of Bugs
Explanation: We cannot survive without bugs. Whether they are pollinators or food for higher species, they are absolutely necessary for life to continue on Earth.
7. Artist: Kay Hogberg
Title: A Flaunting of Flowers
Medium: Acrylics and acrylic ink
Explanation: I wanted to try to express the energy of flowers emerging in the spring.
8. Artist: Josslyn Meyers
Title: Camellia japonica
Explanation: The subject of the Camillia japonica flowers came to me since they are one of the first flowering trees that appear in the spring, a welcoming sight for sure. The composition is taken from a photograph of mine taken a couple of years ago. Their waxy-looking depth of colour seemed right for the bold colour scheme required for the mural.
9. Artist: Richard Bocking
Title: Happy Narcissus
Explanation: Striving to stay positive amidst this darker time of COVID, I was inspired by the similarity of George Harrison’s 1970 song Beware of Darkness to today’s world. I chose to be happy and was uplifted by flowers like this narcissus.
10. Artist: Colleen Graham
Title: Welcome Arrivals
Medium: Collage – Tissue paper overlays for background. Acrylics on paper.
Explanation: After several attempts with the tissue paper and lots of painting over the attempts, I arrived at a combination of colours I liked, glued the tissue paper on the background, then cut out flower pieces, glued them together, then collaged them on top.
11. Artist: Laura Rasmussen
Title: And the Birds Bring in Spring…
Explanation: For me, birds represent the first sign of spring. I love their colour, their morning music, their late night serenades. The grey and quiet of winter is transformed with the spring sunshine.
12. Jo-Anne Hamel
Title: Crimson Obsession
13. Artist: Gayle McPherson
Title: Simply Red
Inspiration began like a whisper,
Turned swiftly, proceeded with zing,
A riot of color and pleasure,
Our lovely Chemainus in Spring
14 Artist: Susan Beaubier
Title: Here I Come!
Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb. watercolour paper
Explanation: This represents the pent-up excitement for the arrival of spring colour, particularly in pandemic conditions. I knew I wanted to include spring flowers given the theme of this project. When I received the tile with the distinctive curved line, I immediately saw a curve of a tulip flower. I chose to use a stylized approach that was reasonable for my skill level. I learned a great deal and enjoyed the process. This has been an excellent project to bring people together during COVID-19.
15. Artist: Gaileen Irwin
Title: First Butterfly of Spring
Explanation: I always watch for the Mourning Cloak butterflies in spring – they overwinter here as adults – awakening as the first harbinger of spring.
16. Artist: Alison Millward
Title: Spring Fireworks
Medium: Mixed media collage
Explanation: My collage was inspired by the intense colours of spring and early summer.
17. Artist: Mark Hird-Rutter
Title: The Arrival of the Doe
Explanation: In Chemainus, we get a lot of deer. In the fall, the bucks hang out, but in the spring, we see more does on our property. I created the deer first then the circle represented the end of winter and the blooms, the colours of spring.
18. Artist: Wanda Truesdell
Title: Always – In it Together
19. Artist: Ragna Watt
Title: The Smell of Spring
Explanation: Memories of springtime in the north. I love the look of puffins, hence one sniffing an early blooming weed.
20. Artist: Grace Lewis
Title: Morning Sunrise Cosmos
21. Artist: Mary Ann Gerwing
Title: A Morning Garden in Chemainus
Medium: Printed with tempura paints and ink on paper.
Explanation: First I used tempura paint to paint the sun and the flowers. I covered the whole sheet with ink and then washed it off under the sink tap. That’s what makes it look like a print. It’s a print like we used to do in school.
22. Artist: Kathryn Huse
Title: Tide’s Out, Kin Beach, Chemainus
Explanation: I find the sand dollar to be an amazing work of nature’s art.
23. Artist: Lizzie Pocock
Title: Tumbling Cherries
Medium: Coloured pencil on paper
Explanation: Cherries are a joy to behold with their blossoms and as one of the first fruits of the year; cherries are such a treat in late May and June. You have to be quick to pick them before the birds do.
24. Artist: Pat Smith
Medium: Acrylics, Tissues, Sheet music, Gel pen.
Explanation: A flutter of robins arrived on my lawn shortly after the mural project was announced. Who am I to ignore such a sign? As the robins announce a new season, the lyrics of Morning has Broken herald a new day, so I wrote a few lines into the collage. The 18’ is from a lumber stamp from an old mill – my hat-tip to Chemainus.
25. Artist: Elaine Grodaes
Title: Poppy Lush
Medium: Collograph print and coloured pencils. Varied edition.
Explanation: What says Joyful Spring in Chemainus more than a flower in bloom? This piece is inspired by the poppy right beside my front door, that brings me joy every spring.
Printing Explanation: Collagraph printing is the process of adhering material (in this case, paper) to a matt board or substrate and applying different textures to the surface to resist or hold ink. You then ink up the plate and run it through a press. Coloured pencils can be used to enhance the print and it is then considered a varied edition.
26. Artist: Jane Hird-Rutter
Title: The Joy of Spring Flowers
Explanation: Using reds as the main bold colours, and creating the curves of the spring plants with flowers, I created my work to look like a variety of spring flowers in bloom.
27. Artist: Helen Stephen
Title: Hope Springs Eternal
Explanation: I was inspired by the theme Joyful Spring in Chemainus to paint dogwoods. In our yard, we have one of the largest dogwoods in B.C., and it a beauty when in bloom. I was married in the spring and we had dogwoods in the vases on the altar in the little church by the Chemainus River Bridge. I added the wrens as I have a friend who is going through some medical challenges at present. Both she and I had English mothers who referred to these little birds as Jenny Wrens. Spring is a time of hope and so my title of Hope Springs Eternal is for my friend to not give up hope through her challenges.
28. Artist: Jetta van Westen
Explanation: My square was inspired by some of my container garden flowers and foliage. My backyard was a colourful haven for me during the COVID spring of 2020.
29. Artist: Joanie Winnitoy
Title: Fly Close
Explanation: I dreamed of a hawk flying near me and was inspired by the idea of Flying Close to see the beauty that is out there in my yard.
30. Artist: Maria Chau
Title: Life is Good
Explanation: My favourite part about living in Chemainus is that it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and water.
31. Artist: Jayne Noftall
Title: Spring Jewels
Explanation: Primroses are often the first burst of spring colours emerging after the drab colours of winter. Whether in a mixed basket, a single pot or poking up from the earth, they always make me feel happy and rejuvenated.
32. Artist: Astrid Notte
Title: Roses and Song
Medium: Collage and acrylic
“Joyful spring in town
Lovely blossoms open up
I am so grateful!”