Beverlee Bedford (nee Swanson) was born and raised in Winnipeg. She has an older
sister and two younger brothers. She remembers a very positive upbringing, and her parents are still together. Bev's
creative side is one visible in her family tree. "My mom likes to write poetry and is
creative, but I think that with my brother's handicap (autism), her potential never had a
chance to fully develop. When I was young there wasn't a lot of money for art classes or
a car. But my mother was an AMAZING homemaker- talk about creativity!- I think
many people thought we had more money than we did. Our home was always well put
together and really looked nice. She's that way still! Whenever you go over there she'll
have the place decorated up for Halloween or Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day Easter or
Christmas even though there are no kids living there now. My grandmother was also a
With the exception of her older sister all the family still live in the Winnipeg area. She
was born on Stella Avenue in the North End, and then her family moved to Windsor Park
until she was about 9 when they moved to Weston in the West End. She moved out when
she was 18 and lived on her own.
She went through the public school system and took art wherever possible and did well in
it. When she was just a youngster she'd enter the Shrine
Circus Poster contest and the odd time she'd win. "Art was always my thing; I always
loved doing it," she says. She took the commercial art program at Tech Voc. She's also taken classes at Red
River college on interior decorating. Despite her credentials she says today that she
decorates intuitively. But certainly her intuitions are based on years of experience in
designs, putting colours together, space and spatial relationships. She's equally adept at
all facets of interior design: she even does her own custom framing. It's always creative
and always different.
From her first summer job in grade 10, she's been in the design world ever since. Her
first job was with Daly Display, a silkscreen Company. She worked two summers there
and then they hired her full-time after high school. Ten months later she left that job to
work at another silkscreen Company, Litho Colour, where she worked for 18 months.
Then she worked for Tom Powell Design Studios for 8 years.
Next came Motherhood. For the next 10 years, Bedford was a stay-at-home mom. She
loves parenthood, and had a difficult time going back to work when it became financially
necessary. She went back to the studio briefly but didn't like it; it had changed too much.
The graphic arts industry had became computerized; and Bev quickly became
disenfranchised with it. "It was stressful, and everything was a higher speed than what I
was used to; illustration and airbrush were gone! I wanted to be working hands on- I
missed the brush. So I decided to go big and start doing Murals and interior work. I've
been decorating my whole life, really, anyway; even as a kid: doing artwork on walls,
decorating for family and friends, and it has slowly evolved itself into a career."
Beverlee took a course through the YMCA about starting one's own business and
drawing up a business plan. Six months later, she met her life partner Don who strongly
supported her efforts. "Starting a business is tough, and being an artist and interior
decorator it's all word of mouth. At times I felt like throwing all in, but Don pushed me
to keep going with it, and I'm glad I did."
Bedford chose the name Dove Design after an incident at a campground where she saw a
white dove in a tree overhead. About an hour after seeing it the dove flew down and
landed on her head. Realizing the bird was likely lost as someone's pet she took the dove
to the campgrounds manager where a short time later the dove was reunited with its
owner, a young girl. A few weeks later, the girl's mother contacted Bev with profuse
thanks and the gift of another pet dove. From that time on, white doves assumed a
special meaning for Bedford and her daughters. And like the dove, Beverlee is a quiet
Dove Design is an interior decorating service. She does colour consultations, furniture
placement, accessories, custom framing, stencilling and artwork. All the years of design
in her background being a graphic and airbrush artist really helps her present the whole
design package to clients. The other, and a core part of her service is creating the Mural
artwork. Her work adorns many interior walls throughout Winnipeg and surrounding area: churches,
offices, living rooms, recreation rooms, bedrooms, reception areas and waiting rooms.
She creates special spaces for special people. And to her, the personal touch of her
business is very important. "I haven't done a lot of marketing, and what I have hasn't
always worked that well. The best advertising for me has always been word-of-mouth."
Sometimes she'll encounter clients with newer homes that have quite large walls: to buy
artwork to hang on the walls would be quite expensive. Bedford's custom artwork can
not only be less expensive, but can also tie in more completely with the rest of the décor.
Colours can be matched 'dead on' to their existing furniture, for instance. Or, she'll create
a faux finish for an existing piece of artwork. "I think I have something to offer as an
interior decorator that perhaps others cannot," she says. In the past she is also done
ceramic tiling and complete sewing and curtain work although she's getting away from
that now so that she's not torn in many different directions. She wants to concentrate on
the creativity side of her business.
If you've lived in Winnipeg for any length of time, you've probably seen some of her
work without knowing it. She's painted team mascots or school logos on gymnasium
walls. She painted the large logo of Aboriginal Peoples Televison Network that adorns
their lobby. She rendered the Winnipeg City Police coat of arms behind the media desk
that Bob Johnston or Shelley Glover sits when they do the media releases aired virtually
every day on all the local TV stations. And long ago, Beverlee designed the logo and lettering for Polo Park
(arguably the best known shopping centre in the city) that is still in
use by them today some 30 years later. "I can't believe they're still using it. If I had known
it would be in use for so long, I would have tried to design something better. I was just a
kid when I did this, just out of high school!"
Almost all of her artwork is airbrush; a method that allows for more subtle gradation and
shading of colour. She uses Liquitex indoor acrylic: "It's a fairly expensive paint but
you're not worried about it bleaching out. And it's washable which is handy in high
Since virtually all of Bev's work goes right on the wall, she doesn't have a lot of pieces
that she can show. Obviously she cannot exhibit. Fortunately, she keeps a photographic
portfolio of her past work and it's quite impressive. Her outdoor Mural work was a
natural extension of her business: her indoor work was just too good not to be noticed by
those looking at having outside work done. She loves working outdoors. She's well
aware of the challenges that outdoor Murals pose: the varying weather and lack of
smooth surfaces. Its Murals are one of the reasons she likes Winnipeg. "Winnipeg is
very cultured, and all the Murals are wonderful. And it's a great place to raise your kids,
and it's not too big," she says.
She describes herself as a quiet, spiritual (but not necessarily religious) person. Some of
the church work that she's done she's felt was 'meant to be' and she gets very peaceful
working in that type of environment. Her family is very important to her. She's always
busy with something and admits she probably takes on too much with the home and
projects. She'd like to relax more. She travels a bit but not as much to she'd like; but she
feels that as her kids get older and the opportunities present itself there will be time for
more traveling. There are other creative outlets she wants to take on, such as stained
glass. Any time she's taken a university or continuing education course, she's always
signed up for something creative. "Once I was planning to take a course in psychology,
but I ended up signing up for photography," she chuckles.
She likes her life and is pretty happy with it. "I have wonderful people that surround me
and I like what I do. I'm as busy in life as I want to be; I also want to focus on my family
and getting a balance in life."
Beverlee Bedford lives in East St. Paul with her partner Don, and her two daughters.
Contact Beverlee at
here to view
Beverlee Bedford's outdoor Winnipeg Murals.