This year is the 50th anniversary of the Port Moody Art Association (PMAA). To mark the occasion, they wanted to create a special art piece. PMAA member Lindsay Watson suggested a mural mosaic project, which would involve several artists working cooperatively to produce one work.
The mural mosaic process was invented by Canadian artist Lewis Lavoie; small paintings by individuals are placed together to create one large image. To start, a master image is chosen and divided on a numbered grid. Each artist receives a section to inspire their own artwork. The PMAA master image was of a Port Moody blue heron, a photo taken by Christine Yurchuk. Lindsay, Christine and Marian Hazelwood formed a committee to lead the project.
Thirty-five artists signed up to work on the mural. After the image was divided and the grids assigned, the artists used the lines and colours in their photo reference to create individual paintings.
Each had to be a complete work in itself, with a specific focus: Port Moody in order to honour their long-time connection with the area.
It was a difficult concept, new to most of them. The artists had to find an image in their photo reference – and it had to be about Port Moody. They delved into history, local landmarks, and flora and fauna. For many, the right inspiration took time.
In the next 3 slides you will see examples of what each artist had to work with, and their final creation. Ginger Lovell’s panel honours the ancient history of Port Moody.
Myda Schmidt saw wonderful hidden images of wildlife in her panel.
And Randy Green’s panel includes a tiny yellow snail as the eye of the heron.
Now the artists emerged from their solitary studios to paint together; the challenge was to blend all the works into one.
They worked side by side to bring the heron to life as a whole. At the same time, they did not want to lose the integrity of their own panels. It took cooperation and trust.
After 2 years – one of planning, and one of painting, the image was complete. The project had become a way to connect the group together as artists.
This is the beginning and end of the project – the inspirational photo, and the completed mural – a mosaic of individual paintings. From a distance, the work appears to be a heron roosting in a tree; up close, you discover hidden images showing the unique styles and original ideas of each painter.
The opening gala of the Mural Mosaic and Retrospective show is this Thursday, May 25, right here in the Galleria – 2 days from now. The mural will be “unveiled” to the public for the first time. The show opens at 7pm; hope to see you there!
You can watch Art at Council in the window below. Art at Council begins at the 10 second mark.