The owner of Sea Thrift Artisan Boutique in Qualicum Beach had a sudden idea to beautify the space outside her shop window one day, and ran with it.
Karalena Walsh approached four shop artists to add their talents to a West Coast themed mural as a way to enhance the small courtyard behind her shop.
The mural itself took approximately four months to complete, with all four artists working on it separately.
The first to lay down his mark was Qualicum Beach artist Jessy Watson, who jumped at the opportunity to create something big.
“I’ve never painted anything big before, and mentioned to (Walsh) that I thought it’d be cool,” he said.
It took Watson approximately two months to create two side-by-side scenery pieces; one of a Qualicum sunset and the other of the Englishman River.
Following Watson’s work was the lettering by Parksville artist Elena Del Vicario, which bordered Watson’s scenery. Del Vicario said her contribution took only a few days to add and was done in her own custom hand-lettering font, pulling from the ‘general vibe’ of the community.
“I just loved the idea of having the opportunity to contribute to beautifying this public space,” she said.
The main mural was finally complete when Qualicum Beach artist Deidre Michael added her broken china mosaics of west coast animals.
Michael said it took her approximately two months to finish the five mosaics of a seagull, oystercatcher, rabbit, raccoon and owl. She said she had never worked in a big format either and was curious to see if she could challenge herself on a larger scale.
In addition to the main mural, Walsh spontaneously challenged another shop artisan to create something on the gate beside it. In 24 hours, Bowser artist Chanel Halladay painted a red fox looking inward to the mural, as if watching the broken china mosaic creatures.
“I stepped out of my comfort zone with this. My style is more linear and abstract,” she said.
The mural can be seen through the shop windows of the Sea Thrift Artisan Boutique at 676 Memorial Ave. in Qualicum Beach.