The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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385 Henderson Highway    Location Map

Location: NE corner Henderson & Larsen; South Face

Occupant: Roxy Lanes

District: East Kildonan

Neighbourhood: Chalmers

Artist(s): Mike Valcourt

Year: 1998

Sponsors: Take Pride Winnipeg!, Glidden Paint


Mike Valcourt: "This one is 65 to 70 feet long and 25 feet high. The wall was in pretty rough shape. It was like sandstone in that when you rub your finger on it would turn to powder. That was a big problem that we had to tackle so I used a galvanized primer that coagulated with everything."

"This was my first Mural. I had all this artistic energy bubbling up inside me. I tackled this wall in an amazing 12 to 15 days. Two weeks to do something like this is fantastic. I had all these ideas and they all seemed to come out through my hands and the brush. I didn't really use anything for a reference like pictures per se. I drew the animals out of my head. The only thing I had a picture of was this Kingfisher sitting on a rock. If you look closely at the wall, you'll see I've labelled everything to say what it is: the Kingfisher, Canada Geese, wolf, seagulls, and so on. There is a bear a hiding in the trees to the right of the tracks in the foreground."

"The scene, although not reminiscent of Winnipeg, is what the owner wanted. He wanted an outdoor scene with the rocks and trees and mountains. Painting around that staircase was fun! On the left side there was a birdhouse that I knocked down by accident! This wall was pretty crazy. Not only did I get it done really fast and I got a lot of my creative energy out, but it also taught me a lot about painting Murals: scope, the grand size of it, perspective, how to be free and loose with the painting. When you're dealing with something that big, even the smallest brush stroke can blend in with the rest and really doesn't take much to create say a reflection in the water or highlight on a tree. So I really wasn't too concerned about how it looked up close; but that's hard to do at first when you're working up close! At first, I had to climb down off the scaffolding quite a bit to stand back and look at what I was doing; but after a while I got really confident in what I was doing and knowing what would look good from normal viewing distance."

"That was one of the hottest Murals I've ever done. It was a scorcher. That wall gets the sun all day long, and anybody who's painted a wall knows that it's 20 hotter with the rays of the sun bouncing off the wall. It's not a profession to be in if you're prone to sunstroke: just wear a hat and keep drinking water!"

"There's also a little girl there; she was a neighbourhood girl, Alana. She was six years old at the time, so I painted her and wrote her name on the wall. She was drawn exactly to scale and wearing what she had on that day. In exchange, I bought her a slurpee which he shared with her sister. The next day her mom came down and she bought ME a slurpee! About three years later, I was driving by and I saw her walking down the road! She recognized me and then she stood up against the wall showed me how much she'd grown. That was neat to see her pride in community, the Mural, and that she still lived in the neighbourhood."