February 22, 2019

Issue #48: Winter Works and Wanderings

Winter is My Time to Reflect and Prepare

After reviewing 2018, my work summed up to 11 murals and 6 design projects. This was enough to keep me very busy and resulted in the most amount of time I've held a paintbrush in 1 year!

Now in the middle of hibernation, I'm back to graphic designing and sending in submissions and quotes in hopes of receiving more amazing murals and clients to work with this year. Among snow falls and design events, I've also been venturing into some mysterious, monochromatic winter-scapes and have been inspired by other artists, designers and ecologists.

Explore below to find snow-covered trees, collections of sepia-toned plant silhouettes, and projects in the works. And I'll leave you with a few links to people doing great things in both art and nature: By Nature's living walls, the new MOCA Toronto and the Eco Design Symposium.

Enjoy the snow, Spring will soon be here!

Continue reading the Art Letter here...

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Thank you for hearting art,
Pam ❤

July 13, 2018

Issue #45: Morocco in May

May flowers brings June mural

The last 2 months have been filled with painting and adventuring—my 2 favourite things! I spent May at an art residency in Morocco painting a mural in exchange for living on their organic farm. From peaceful views among pomegranate trees and donkeys on mountain tops, I arrived back home to start a mural in downtown TO at the Chelsea Hotel. Over the month of June, Gerrard Street came to life with a 145-foot "film strip" depicting the history of theatre on Yonge Street.

Below, I'll show you a slightly different process I used to create the mural in Morocco. And since there are too many photos to share all at once, Chelsea will appear in the next letter. For now, you can peak at the result here on Instagram or Facebook.

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Thank you for hearting art,
Pam ❤

April 06, 2018

Issue #44: I Can See Clearly Now

Thank you to Ollie Quinn Toronto for this beautiful testimonial: 

“From our very first meeting with Pam, we were infinitely impressed with both her passion and professionalism. Pam thoughtfully created a concept for a mural that aligned succinctly with our brand’s identity, and fit seamlessly with the neighbourhood our main store is located in. Balancing the visual accuracy of her subject matter (the bilberry plant) with the existing aesthetic of our store’s interior, Pam created a stunning mural that countless OQ customers have fallen in love with since its completion. Working quickly to accommodate a deadline for our International Women’s Day 2018 campaign, Pam’s presence in our boutique was a joy. While she finished painting the mural in a matter of days, we’ll be admiring her beautiful bilberries in our store for years to come.” ~Ollie Quinn

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Thank you for hearting art,
Pam ❤

March 16, 2018

Issue #43: City Selfie

Greetings from Toronto

The hotel's goal for the mural was to welcome guests and inspire them to take a selfie with it. So I designed a colourful view of iconic buildings that guests may visit during their stay in Toronto. An interactive swing allows them to sit against the wall and hold onto the ropes. An aerial perspective of the city looks Southward, from the Holiday Inn's location at Yorkdale to the waterfront. Voila—their selfie looks as though they're swinging high above the city!

"Each time I caught sight of geese swooping in formation across the sky, I wondered how our life below might look from their perspective, and imagined that, were they ever to indulge in such speculation, the high-rises might seem to them like firs massed in a grove." ~Teju Cole

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Thank you for hearting art,
Pam ❤ 

January 27, 2018

Issue #42: I Must Break Away

As John Muir says (on all the mugs in town):

"I must break away and get out into the mountains". And that I did! For most of December, 8000-feet up in the Sierra Mountains, I painted and explored with John and Annie Pugh.

From working on a 3-storey scaffold to walking with 2 fabulous Irish Wolfhounds, art and nature blended into one. I learned how to prepare a 16 x 22-foot canvas and walked along pathways of ice crystals. I helped with photo research, a photo shoot and shared some Photoshop tricks. We went to an out-of-town meeting and site visit, followed by a woodland walk where fairies must live. In Santa Cruz, I saw John's incredible Bay in a Bottle mural and connected with his mother, twin brother and their old family albums.

The breakaway revealed a couple perspectives. Trompe L'oeil literally tricked my sense of vision with optical illusions that look real. As well, the incredible scale of everything—the studio, the landscape, (the dogs), combined with an artist who has no limits—expanded my beliefs and aspirations about who I can be and where I can go.

Thank you, John, for bending my mind.

“I'm in love with the sun and with the reflections in the water, and to paint them I would go around the world.” ~Auguste Renoir 

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Thank you for hearting art!
❤ Pam

January 02, 2018

Issue #41: It's a Wrap!

Up in the Mountains

Writing from Truckee, California, I'm surrounded by tall pines and a blanket of snow. Ice crystals form around every plant, leaf and stem. Sun rays beam through trees while falling snowflakes shimmer in their light.

Until this moment, I spent the last few weeks preparing for an internship. Projects were completed or scheduled for January, submissions were written and quotes sent in, a mural was unveiled and a film premiered. Now I'm here where I get to learn the art of Trompe L'oeil from the master himself, John Pugh!

Wishing you all the best while you wrap up your year and enjoy a sparkly holiday!

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.” ~Michel Legrand

November 07, 2017

Issue #40: Medicinal Plant Paint

The Evergreen Brick Works

Trees were starting to turn into Autumn colours as spiritual leader Philip Cote from First Story led us along a waterlily-filled pond. We paused at a cedar tree as he explained the process of making tea from the leaves to prevent pneumonia. I tasted cedar for the very first time—then sumac seeds which also makes a medicinal tea. Funny—I had drawn and made paint from sumac leaves only a few days before!

At the top of the hill, we gathered in a circle while Philip drummed. We passed along burning sweetgrass, smudging ourselves to open up to learn. While I continue to draw and learn about plants, I'm discovering a deeper respect for nature. Nature is all around, offering materials to create art and remedies to keep us healthy. More than ever before, it's important to love nature as much as she loves us.

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Thank you for hearting art!
❤ Pam

October 11, 2017

Issue #39: Reflections | snoitcelfeR

Thin Blue Line

With Lake Ontario by my side, I ride along a 2-lane pathway with other commuters. The flat morning water mirrors birds lined up on the breakwater. Over the Humber Bridge, I hear the river below and see the CN Tower in the misty distance. Past the Butterfly Habitat, lake-view condos rise into the sky and families go for a stroll. Onto a boardwalk, a lighthouse in a marina brings me back to small towns in Nova Scotia. The shoreline twists along protected bays where swans sail by in silence and loons dive for their breakfast. A shining glare washes out the horizon line, blending water into the sky. Ripples start to form as the water turns bluer and the sun gets warmer. Then I arrive...

The Martin Goodman Trail extends 36 km from Ashbridges Bay all the way to Humber Bay Park. I rode along the Western stretch to Lakeshore Village and relished in all the views of open sky and water. I'd never seen this part of the trail before—yet funny enough, it was a perfect reflection of the mural I was painting!

"Art is not a reflection of reality, it is the reality of a reflection." ~Jean-Luc Godard

Read the full Art Letter here. It features:
❤ The Lakeshore Village Mural
❤ Sky/Sea Scapes

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Thank you for hearting art!
❤ Pam

September 22, 2017

Issue #38: Pam-oramas

Wider Perspectives

This summer, I found myself riding my bike down familiar routes. In February, I painted a mural of Ryerson students, then returned to add more students onto the next wall. In July, I painted a nature mural at The Rock Store, then went back a month later to extend the crystal mountains.

A trip to Canada's East Coast, opened our eyes to jaw dropping landscapes. From Halifax, we drove to the famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove and to the colourful town of Lunenburg. In Cape Breton, we saw whales spout water in the distant horizon and admired expansive views along the Cabot trail. A ferry to Prince Edward Island, a bike ride along red sand dunes, a walk on the ocean floor when the tide was out... plenty of reasons to make use of the PANO option.

It seemed that as my murals got longer, I saw the world expand into panoramas.

“View life through a wide angle lens attitude and see your horizons broaden.” 
~Stephen Richards

Read the rest of September's Art Letter here. Featuring:
❤ Ryerson University
❤ The Rock Store
❤ Photo Stories: Nova Scotia & PEI

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Thank you for hearting art!
❤ Pam

August 18, 2017

Issue #37: Rock, Paper, Tails!


As I painted along, the owner of The Rock Store came out to see the progress. Delighted with the mural so far, she told me about the store's original opening party at it's other location 8 years ago. A woman purchased a very unique rock which resulted in a very rewarding sale. A sale that hasn't been matched since—until I started painting this mural!

It could have been luck or coincidence. Or, as she believes, an alignment of positive energies merged between us and the creation of the mural. It's portrayal of crystals, nature and love manifested a special omen for the new Harbord Street store.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ~Albert Einstein

Read the rest of August's Art Letter here. Featuring:
❤ The Rock Store
❤ Tails My Pet Store
❤ Photo Stories: An Urban Walk

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Thank you for hearting art.
❤ Pam

July 19, 2017

Issue #36: The Great Canadian Outdoors

Photo by Red Tent Media

Artists in the woods

We walk together, along a path lined with lush ferns and Cow Parsnip on either side. We gather under a canopy of branches for a short meditation, listening, feeling, connecting, to the chirps, wind and forest all around. Silently, each of us wanders, searching for an ideal spot—the river, a new path, a tree. I find a group of purple Dame's Rockets, the only colour sprinkled on top of all the greens. Their tall stems sway in the breeze as I piece together my drawing. The river trickles softly, a wasp hovers too closely. Starting with a small pebble, I switch to a broken stick to transfer the flower petal's pigment onto paper.

Even while we work separately, there's comfort in being together, connected through our art and being among the trees.

"Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and... stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?" –Wassily Kandinsky

Read the rest of July's Art Letter here. Featuring:
❤ Outdoor Studio
❤ BCAA Magazine
❤ Photo Stories: Montreal

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Thank you for hearting art.
❤ Pam

June 09, 2017

Issue #35: Stories Without Words

Georgia O'Keeffe

Best known for her flowers, the AGO exhibit showcased an enriching career that also explored landscapes, cityscapes, abstract and minimalism. While I looked at each painting, they seemed to capture a segment of her life story, told in pictures instead of words.

Georgia's surroundings in New Mexico influenced vast landscapes of cliffs towering above tiny desert trees below. Her collection of bones led to experiments with sculls, using the eye hole as a lens to frame a bright blue circle of sky. Her love for music inspired sound waves translated into a soft palette of spirals and undulations.

The next time you admire a painting—listen. What story is it telling you?

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way—things I had no words for." –Georgia O'Keeffe

Read the rest of June's Art Letter here. Featuring:
 Mysteries in the Mist
 The Traveling Trike
 Photo Stories

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 Thank you for hearting art.

May 21, 2017

Art Letter #34: Nature's Ingredients

Seeds of Hope... 

I've been entranced in this book by Jane Goodall. She begins describing her childhood home, where she lived with her mother and aunts while her dad was away at war. She spent a lot of time in the backyard, paying special attention to the plants she found there by painting and studying them. I cannot help but feel connected to this younger version of Jane. I can imagine us both sitting on the grass, examining each flower's details and labeling their parts in our sketchbooks. My addiction to drawing plants continues and is evolving into a search for paint colours that grow all around us.

"But there is so much more to marvel at in the kingdom of plants. I often use the zoom setting of my camera to photograph the exquisite flowering of tiny plants that most people walk past or trample on, not noticing." –Jane Goodall

Read the full Art Letter here. May's articles feature:
Plant Pigments
Into the Mist
Cheery Cherry Blossoms!

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 Thank you for hearting art.

April 20, 2017

Art Letter #33: Spring Has Sprung

 Click here to see the time-lapse!

Awakening again... Spring springs alive with a sense of new beginnings. Students at TRSM anticipate year-end exams and some of them look forward to life after university. Energy flows along full hallways and melting streams, seeping through the earth, into seedlings curling up into plants, feeding animals and their young.

I emerge from my own hibernation into a landscape that looks new again. The air smells fresh, the rain feels warm, and colours blossom out of winter's remains. Eagerly, I prepare for an upcoming adventure, immersed in both art and nature, with artists who live for the same passions. In the inspiring outdoors, we'll flourish with the environment and grow a little bit more.

"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also." –Harriet Ann Jacobs

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Fareen's experience in her words... "Standing alongside @pamlostracco and Steven Murphy, Dean of TRSM, I can't think of any other opportunity that has come across me that was as amazing as this! Thank you Pam for painting such a beautiful mural at TRSM! I'm so honoured to be a part of it (heart emoji)."

The mural pizza party... After the Student Hallway Mural was complete, TRSM hosted a party to celebrate! The Dean made an eloquent speech (view here) about the mural and how it represents the university. I spoke about the concept behind the mural's design. Then each of the students received a print of themselves and had a photo taken with myself and the Dean. The party extended into the hall where we took more photos against the wall and I signed the prints! Special thanks to Ralston Kwan and Rita Linger for their multiple efforts in making this project a huge success—and to all the students for their compassion and enthusiasm! Read article: "New TRSM Mural Celebrates Energy of our Students"...

A Weekend in an Outdoor Studio

Camping on Toronto Island! On May 5th, I'll head out to camp and create with artists at Artscape's Gibraltar Point. With support by MEC Outdoor Nation, Outdoor Studio creates trips for artists to be creative while being outdoors. Nature has always been my prime source for inspiration—as it has been for artists since the beginning of time/art! I'm excited to explore the island from a different perspective and to share the experience with nature-minded artists. I'll be posting the art we make and the adventures we have, so be sure to: Follow along with me on Instagram...

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March 14, 2017

Art Letter #32: Back to School

"The best is yet to come." –Ted Rogers... My favourite quote of the month is mounted on a wall in the front entrance of the Ted Rogers School of Management. I read it over and over again, every morning while waiting for the elevator to head up to the mural. It reminded me that every moment contains hope for opportunities and surprises you could never anticipate.

As I painted amidst students rushing to class and studying for exams, I was engulfed in hope. Their positive energy filled the hallways with conversations about courses and by encouraging each other. They'd stop to watch me paint, ask questions, give compliments and even offer food! It was an exciting experience for me and for them which translated perfectly into a vibrant class portrait—a reflection of themselves optimistically working towards a bright future.

Ryerson's New Wall in a Hall

Ryerson's Ted Rogers School of Management... Excitement has been brewing since the idea first emerged to paint TRSM students on a wall. 22 students now adorn their own hallway, reflecting the busy and studious spirit of the school. It was so much fun to hear their comments, most of them wishing they were on the wall too! The most common, "That's sick", and "It looks so real", and my favourite, "It's like the Mount Rushmore of TRSM". It's a hit—and there's even more to come! More custom designed murals at pamlostracco.com...

Stadt Cafe is Now Open!

Stadt Cafe Toronto... For the past several months I've designed the branding for a friend's new restaurant in the Junction. The logo, business cards, sign, t-shirts and even a mural have come into fruition and can be enjoyed with the beautiful decor and nutritious food at Stadt Cafe, 3011 Dundas Street West. Check out more branding projects...

Magical Winter Skies

"Baby, it's cold outside"... Sometimes the best remedy for those winter blues is to get out there and look straight into the bright vastness above. Over the past month, the skies have been filled with: Michael Snow's Canada geese (Eaton's Centre); Branches from 2 trees reaching towards each other (Dufferin Groves); The Toronto Light Festival (Distillery District); The most beautiful snowfall of the year (High Park). Follow along with me on Instagram... or Facebook...

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read the full issue here or become a member to get it sent directly to your inbox—it's free!

February 14, 2017

Art Letter #31: Playing Around

"I believed then—in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult—that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or a raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical." –Jennifer McMahon

The Enchanted Playroom

A little girl and her mom... are so excited to spend time in this room! Two trees fill the walls, wrapping around every corner and angled ceiling. A slight breeze sweeps willow branches to the right, towards an oak tree in the opposite corner. A squirrel playfully peeks from behind a trunk while another nibbles at acorns. The girl's favourite, a cardinal, sits upon a light switch while she sings and dances in a beautiful princess dress. Custom designed murals at pamlostracco.com...

The Future of Colour

Colour Trends seminar at the Interior Design Show... a talk about colours for 2017 and how they're predicted. Science, politics, architecture, economy—pretty much anything that happens in the world, affects our lives and our relationship with colour. Trending topics about artificial life will inspire reflective and smooth materials. Adapting to constant and faster change will invite more transparency, like buildings made of glass walls. I expected to hear about only colour, then left feeling the need to experiment with new materials! Follow along with me on Instagram...

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day and a month full of love and friendship!

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read the full issue here or become a member to get it sent directly to your inbox—it's free!

January 22, 2017

The iheart Art Letter: 2017... Here We Come!

The 30th issue and the 2017th year...

December 2016, The Finale: Quotes on walls in the Graduate Studies offices at Ryerson University.
The geometric pattern in the letters reflects the mural painted in the hallway.

While snow wisped about outside my windows, I snuggled into a wrap twirled several times around me. I sipped hot tea and felt warmed by the fiery orange glow from the heat dish. With the Year Compass in hand, I imagined up a list of new hopes and reoccurring dreams. Goals to reach my desired life that's well-balanced between work and play, health and wealth, learning and experiences.

January 2017, Up Next: Design for a playroom mural of a willow and oak tree with squirrels and a cardinal!

It's quite the list but I do believe the process of writing makes ideas more likely to happen. Even if only a few come true, there's still good reason to look forward to 2017! 

I'd love to hear, how do you turn your wishes into accomplishments?

The Year Ahead: I've been working on creating the perfect calendar planner. 

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." –Tony Robbins

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read the full issue or subscribe for free to get it sent directly to your inbox. 

December 14, 2016

December: 19 More Sleeps!

A new mural for a new restaurant—opening in January!

I searched... looking up and down for the perfect Oak Tree. Along the way, I learned there's many species other than my desired rounded lobed leaf. Red Oak, Swamp Oak, Turkey Oak, Northern Pin Oak, Bur Oak... until finally, I came across my live model with leaf samples galore—a little White Oak!

Found oak leaves

While you search for the perfect gifts this season, I hope it's a magical journey of sparkling discoveries. The stressful hustle and bustle can be relieved by noticing the little things. Enjoy a moment or more by: looking up into the sky when the snow starts to fall; going for a night time stroll to admire the neighbour's festive lights; singing carols while making holiday treats; or my favourite, sipping a warm drink with somebody dear. 

What do you love to do leading up to the holidays? 

Mini Pinecones $39 on Etsy

May you have a wonderful December that's happy and *BRIGHT*.

See you in the New Year!
Read December's full issue...

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December 11, 2016

Published in Format Magazine

As a creative professional, an online portfolio has been essential to show my work around the world and connect with new customers. 5 years ago, I built my website on Format and now, 5 years later, it was featured in their magazine article: 5 Designers Reveal How to Get Clients with Your Portfolio.

Read the full article here.

November 20, 2016

Painting Mountains on Grouse Mountain

With thanks to Devin Manky who made 3 days of painting come together in this exciting time-lapse! This was an incredible project—my favourite so far! Read about the full journey in my previous post A Mountain Mural at Grouse Mountain.

November 08, 2016

Being Botanical

Flowers in my DNA. As the season transforms it's colours, several projects have finished up while others are getting started. Between these different phases, the pace changed from painting on-site over the past several months to planning here at home. An opportunity opened up to reorganize and clear-up my space—until something unexpected happened...

Everything botanical blossomed into view. Autumn leaves started to fall, as I started an old habit of collecting them. I found a few cherished floral illustrations by my grandfather, which triggered me to draw more of my own. I pulled out old sketchbooks with drawings and pressed flowers, that revealed more ideas I'd like to pursue. A book called out to me at a bookstore, which happened to be filled with captivating botanical illustrations. I went to a Benjamin Moore event at Casa Loma, to find myself feeling quite at home in the conservatory!

I've had a little transformation myself, from being obsessively organized to allowing flowers to litter my floor. You'll find "art stations" set up around the room with several experiments being worked on at the same time. Unleashing my own rules has revealed a new creative method and a spectacular view through rose-coloured glasses.

The iheart is a monthly Art Letter. Read November's issue or subscribe for free to get it sent directly to your inbox.

September 21, 2016

Ryerson Grad Studies Mural Time-lapse

Artist Pam Lostracco paints a mural at the YSGS office featuring the winning entries of the GRAD 6-Word Contest, which asked "What are the best things about being a grad student at Ryerson?"

July 29, 2016

Outside the Box

Discovering Eastern + Carlaw inside-out. Far from my West-end hood, my first impression of this single corner of Toronto transformed as drastically as my traffic light box. I arrived with the intension of adding life to a lonely, gray intersection—only to discover how much life was already there! I began to realize there is a soul to every spot of the city—although some aren't as obvious until you get to spend a bit of time with it. 

Over 4 days of painting, the loud sounds of traffic were softened by dozens of friendly interactions. Pedestrians paused to ask questions, friends visited to say hi, joggers waved on their way to the Lakeshore, cyclists chatted while they waited for the lights to turn, and truck drivers gave thumbs up from their windows! The guys at Downtown Auto kindly gave me water and space to store supplies. CBC came by for an interview, followed by CTV a few hours later! Click here to see the clip

THANK YOU to all of you—and extra-special thank you's to: StreetARToronto for making our city so much brighter, Urban Barn for sponsoring me to do a second painting, and Benjamin Moore for supplying the beautiful paint. 

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June 07, 2016

A Boat, a Box, and BC

June’s Art Letter is here!

This months topics include:
*Muraling in the Mountains
*Views from a Boat
*Outside the Box Program

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The iheart is a monthly, light-hearted, photographic Art Letter. 
Thank you for reading! 

May 31, 2016

A Mountain Mural at Grouse Mountain

Best job yet! Painting + traveling is my dream combination and it actually came true at Grouse Mountain Resort.

Here's the day-by-day progress of my latest mural adventure:

Day 1: Had a beautiful, sunny flight. Warmly picked up at the ferry and up the tram to my amazing cabin. Shown the chalet's wall and introduced to staff. Sorted out a few logistics then visited my grizzly mountain mates:
Flying to Vancouver, I saw the mountains from a higher perspective. 

Airport to train, to ferry, to car, to tram, to... my very own cabin!
Meeting some of the mountain wildlife.
Day 2: Thanks to jet lag, I was up before the café even opened! Started taping up the wall at 7:30am and had all the paint mixed by noon. Layer 1 complete:
Measuring and taping up the wall. 
Mixing the paints to create an even gradient in tones.
Day 3: A steady stream of visitors were coming through after hiking up The Grind. Some commented while others named out the mountains they recognized. Met one of the staff members who had life stories to tell. Layer 2 complete:
Admiring all the people coming through the chalet.
Met Willie, one of the staff standing in front of The Lions,
also known as The Sisters. 
Lots of progress today, only 1 more layer for tomorrow!
Day 4: Finished up the last layer of pine trees and Grouse Mountain's identifier. Patched a couple holes, painted the baseboard and final touch ups. It's finished!
This added detail is called The Cut, indicating Grouse Mountain.

Captured at work from above. (Photo by Ainslie Fincham)

Day 5: Since the mural was painted on time as planned, I spent a day in Vancouver. Sushi in Kitsilano, walk on the beach, saki tasting on Granville Island, boat taxi and the best gluten free pizza I've ever had at Bella Gelateria! Arrived "home" late to catch the last (empty) tram up the mountain:
Enjoyed a perfect day off in Vancouver with my friend Jacqueline.
Without any visitors on board, the tram ride back up the mountain
was eerily dark and silent, while the wind whistled through. 
Day 6: A slow morning to watch my surroundings deeply in a sketch. One last look at the real mountains and then the mountain mural, before I headed off back to the airport:
Savouring one last look at this spectacular view. 

Taking final photos of the completed mural. 

It was so much fun, I want to go back! If you're in BC and would like a mural for your home or business, email me here. Let's make it happen!

Let's make more murals!