302 Hamel Avenue
Location: SW corner Hamel & St. Jean Baptiste; East Face
Occupant: Beaujena's French Table
District: St. Boniface
Neighbourhood: Central St. Boniface
Artist(s): Sarah Collard (Collard Creations)
Sponsors: Herc Rentals, Take Pride Winnipeg!
Artist Sarah Collard has provided commentary for both aspects of this project, the
Mobile van (photos 4-6), and the wall itself (photos 1-3 and 7-9).
Beaujena's Mobile French Table (Photos 4-6)
Sarah Collard: "This was a fun, playful utility vehicle painted to take Beaujena's French
Table on the road. By making Beaujena'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 Beaujena 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
"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 Beaujena came to
see how I was doing, she was unhappy with the way it looked but when she showed me
a photo of a stylistic 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 Beaujena's French Table; featuring
their bright colours, signature table and chairs, sign, blue and white awning, and
Beaujena'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
Beaujena's French Table (Photos 1-3;7-9)
Sarah Collard: "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 may know of this building as the Red Barron, as it was formerly known, creating
a historical reference to the area. One of the first things I did was take the sign down
while Randy removed the shrubs that were strategically planted in front of the wall.
Since the restaurant is Beaujena's 'baby,' she held the vision. She wanted something
that echoed what they already had on the front of the building but they wanted to spruce
it up a bit and make it brighter. She took me indoors to see how she decorated the
dining areas and the bathroom and I found that the walls in the bathroom were orange
and cobalt blue, so I knew she was daring and liked colour. Beaujena suggested an
outdoor cafe with a quaint French promenade in the background and reluctantly agreed
to having their portraits somewhere in the Mural. It had to have her characteristic table
and chairs that are located to the left of the front door, the three trees that were
removed, the logo, a blue and white striped awning, sunflowers that are in the window
and cobblestones. 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."
"When painting time came around, I discovered the difficulty of painting on stucco. It
used quite a bit of primer, much energy and more time. The last occasion that I painted
on a surface like this was in Swan River in 1996, on the Centennial Mural, the first Mural
I ever painted. One of the things I wanted to do was wrap the patio or cobblestone
around the corner into a French street and disguise the windows by making them part of
the side of the restaurant and use the existing architectural elements of the eaves
trough as part of an awning. This was all worked out in the drawing ahead of time.
Beaujena wanted a blue awning so I came up with the idea of creating a small shop in
front of the building, which would also cut the space up into a smaller section, to add
interest. It made the composition cozy and more pleasing to the eye. After taking
several photos of the owners I decided to have them seated in an intimate manner,
preparing for their meal, relaxing with her dog at their feet. It depicted the owners, their
taste and fine dining to the community. At the very end I insisted on adding the waiter
because I needed something to cut up the space a bit. Randy posed for me and
Beaujena arranged the tray and glasses. They are supposed to be blue but the white
showed up better in the Mural."
"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 favorite 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. I was
determined to finish since another Mural project had fallen through and I was trying to
make up for lost time. 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."