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Mural brightens up the day for long-term care residents

Artist Natalie Way has been completing work on a mural at Augustine House

Instead of looking out at a dreary concrete wall, residents of Haven House North, in Augustine House seniors’ residence, can now gaze at a painting of a calm seaside vista with Mount Baker in the background.

South Delta artist Natalie Way was just putting the finishing touches to her four-metre-wide mural on Wednesday (June 5), after some rainy weather delayed production.

The painting is the third she’s done in a retirement home while she’s also painted two large outdoor murals in Tsawwassen, along with several other murals.

However, painting in large formats requires constantly stepping back from the work to ensure everything’s still in proportion, so Way limits her efforts to about four hours at a time to maintain attention to detail.

“With muralling, you’re up close to a large thing, so you have to go back and forth a lot. You have to stand back from it to get the right perspective and see how things are actually looking,” she said. “For some reason, it’s one of the things I can do fairly well with large paintings, is understand the size and scope and how it looks. I like painting large.”

Way also takes lots of photos as the work progresses.

She tries to mix in muralling with fine arts in which she paints conventionally sized works, including larger works on commission, saying it’s nice to get out and meet people.

In order to paint a mural, the surface has to be clean and dry. The concrete wall was power washed before she started.

Then after the surface has been sealed, she’ll use ordinary Benjamin Moore house paint to make the picture.

Depending on the exposure to the sun, murals can last several years.

“They can last quite long. Definitely up to 10 years,” Way said.

Painting the Boundary Bay scene with the water in the foreground and Mt. Baker in the background is a popular topic.

Way lives in Ladner and would be interested in mural projects in Ladner Village.

She said murals provide lots of interest for visitors.

“It would be really nice to have a little bit more public art,” she said, adding that people are realizing they can add to a community. “Every where I go, I see walls that I want to paint.”