The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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3536 Roblin Boulevard    Location Map
  

'Deer Natural Environment'
16' x 40'; Nova Colour on cinderblock.


Location: SE corner Roblin & Princeton; West Face

Occupant: Moray Medical Clinic

District: Charleswood

Neighbourhood: Varsity View

Artist(s): Sarah Collard (Collard Creations)

Year: 2013

Sponsors: Paula Havixbeck (City Councillor), Paul Walton M.D., Take Pride Winnipeg!

 

Sarah Collard: "One of the most remarkable topics for conversation about the Charleswood area in Winnipeg are the deer. Anybody who lives there comments on their prolific presence. Deer are everywhere. They very commonly feed from planters, grass, trees and just about any green leafy vegetation in the area. However, they do not understand property lines, so they roam freely from one house to the next, picking and choosing their meal. Recently I stayed with a nice lady, Anne Ruhr in the East St. Paul area and I noticed her evergreens were eaten bare 5 ft up the trunk. She said they were fearless and would come right up to the house, any time of year but were particularly more common now that new houses were built close by, clearing out the abundant bush leaving the deer with no food supply. Charleswood is a residential area in Winnipeg, west of Tuxedo and Assiniboine Park. The infamous park hosts the Assiniboine Park Zoo, The Pavilion holding the permanent collection of Ivan Eyre paintings, the English Gardens, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden and it is set in a natural treed area with many paths for walking. Just south of the Zoo between Roblin Boulevard and Wilkes Avenue, there stands Assiniboine Forest, a 1,100 acre natural forest marking the beginning of Charleswood and home for numerous aspen-oak trees and white tail deer."

"For this Mural, I wanted to depict the deer in their natural environment, remaining sensitive to the locale. That is why I placed the deer in the forest, close to a pathway and water. The body of water is actually the pond found in the Assiniboine Gardens, surrounded by bull rushes and an actual Leo Mol sculpture of a deer. A couple mallard ducks are found in the foreground with peonies, fox gloves, status, lupins and hollyhocks found to the left, suggesting the nearby English Gardens. The tall prairie grasses line the background sky. An angel appeared in the clouds when I was painting it, completely unconsciously. The white tail deer will often live in fields and meadows favouring broad-leaved trees and they will sleep in forests for shade. While mating, or in a rut, the bucks will fight over territory using their antlers in sparring matches. Killing deer during hunting season can be a favoured Manitoba sport. Men rally for the largest racks and mount them in their living rooms as pride trophies. During the creation of this Mural, a friend of mine from the city came by to check on me. After he had returned home and my day was almost up, I noticed a buck slowly peer its head around the corner. It caught me off guard. After an uproarious laugh, I realized it was my friend playing a joke on me. He had gone home, took the rack off his wall and propped it up to trick me. It worked. Recently CBC reported a decapitated deer found in the Charleswood area, one month after I painted this mural (November 25, 2013). They suspect someone wanted it as a trophy, but reminded the public of hefty fines for poaching. Deer are so prevalent in Manitoba that it is considered common place to see them at the edge of a highway, run across the road or unfortunately be found as road kill. Manitoba Public Insurance spends $31 million each year on wildlife collision claims. That is almost the same figure as their drunk driving claims. So if you are in the Charleswood area, be on the look out for deer, but be sure to go see my mural on the side of Moray Medical Clinic at 3536 Roblin Blvd, the corner of Princeton Blvd."

"A baby deer or fawn is located in the grass to the right of the composition. They have a reddish-brown coat with white spots that helps them blend in with the forest. White-tailed deer are vegetarians (herbivores), leisurely grazing on most available plant foods such as leaves, twigs, fruits and nuts, grass, corn, alfalfa, and lichens and other fungi. Occasionally venturing out in the daylight hours, white-tailed deer are primarily nocturnal, browsing mainly at dawn and dusk. The other species I wanted to highlight was the mallard ducks, widely known in North America preferring the low lying areas that are calm, undisturbed. Mallards prefer shallow sanctuaries, but can be found in almost any body of freshwater and are commonly found in wetlands. The drake, or male, is the more colourful mate. Its green head sits on a white neckband that sets off a chestnut-coloured chest and grey body. Females are drab brown in colour, but sport iridescent purple- blue wing feathers that are visible as a patch on their sides. There is a buck in the foreground, a doe behind with two fawns. This family of deer are the feature presentation in this Mural and important to this area. They are joined by a buck far off in the distance, above the peonies."

"This Mural was a little gift to me from Tom of Take Pride Winnipeg. I had prepared to paint another Mural in Winnipeg but that was postponed so Tom scrambled around to find me another wall. Simultaneously the councillor for the Charleswood area, Paula Havixbeck emailed him to tell him of their desire to have a Mural in their area. It turned out a grant became available and together with the owner of the building, Dr. Paul R. Walton and Take Pride Winnipeg, the mural came to life. I really enjoyed painting this mural despite the nippy temperatures, with snow warnings at the end. I painted it in October, over Thanksgiving weekend and it took me a total of two weeks. A great flower shop, Charleswood Florists located two doors in on the strip mall, allowed me use of their facilities and the White Tower Greek restaurant, which faces the Mural was an awesome place for great food, baklava and a feast for the eyes. They have a wonderful faux Mural painted on the inside by an Italian artist, Sergio Betto. The framed paintings on the wall are not real, they are Murals which are painted to look real; faux finishing. People were very friendly and encouraging, often coming by for a visit or dropping off a painting or cookies. I got several offers for Thanksgiving dinner which was nice. "

"One time over the weekend when I wanted to work in a particular area, I was concerned that someone would park in my spot, so I called the Public Works Department and picked up a barricade to block traffic. It was great that they were willing to do that for me. Another great happening was when I tried to colour match the forest green around the Mural. Benjamin Moore on Portage Avenue matched it perfectly without a swatch! I had help in the beginning of the Mural from Welland Jennings, a stage hand who works for I.A.T.S.E, the union of painters and construction workers located in Winnipeg, beside the Public Works building. Thanks very much to those who billeted me; Welland Jennings and Nick Kowalchuk's family (executive director of Gas Station Art Centre). It was a great wall and very easy to paint."