Story Behind the Painting - Fort McMurray International Airport

The other day my husband and I were talking to a friend about the custom metal mural I completed for the Fort McMurray International Airport in 2014, (installed 2015) and we were laughing about the process of getting that project through to the finish line. Most of you probably don't realize it, but the custom metal mural at the observation deck at the airport is the first grinded metal project I've ever done! My husband suffered a little bit for that one lol. Up until this time I had painted on metal but had never actually grinded and sculpted it before. When we submitted a proposal to the airport for the project, I had told my husband that I was confident I could grind the mural as opposed to simply airbrushing it. So he wrote the proposal accordingly, with two options for the airport to choose from. They ended up choosing the metal grinding option. So my husband came to me and told me that he had done his job, and now it was my turn to do mine.

I had seen other artists use the grinder to "sculpt" on metal sheets, so I was confident I could do it... but I had actually never tried it before. I set up a table in the backyard, laid a small sheet of metal on it, grabbed the grinder along with some other power tools, and started notching and scratching the metal to get a feel for each tool. I played with it for half an hour or so, then my husband came out to see how things were going. He stopped in front of the table, and I could see the blood draining from his face. LOL.

He exclaimed: is that the best you can do?! We're so screwed!! LOL. I told him to stop worrying, that I was testing the tools, that I got this. He wasn't convinced, haha.

Another interesting fact about this story is that by the time the airport gave us approval for the project, I was actually 7 months pregnant! I completed this project at my friend's autobody shop in Edmonton, and some of the customers would come in and ask the owner of the shop why there was a pregnant woman grinding metal on a ladder in his shop?? I must have been quite the sight! It did take me 5 weeks to complete the artwork, as my energy levels were low each day. In the end, the "Sky Dance - Landing on the Snye" and "Sky Dance - Spirit of Wood Buffalo"
turned out beautifully! I am so happy with the finished pieces, as are the many people who have visited the Observation Deck and seen them! When I stop by to see them I feel as though I am visiting with an old friend!

I encourage you to go check them out at the Observation Deck on the third floor at the Fort McMurray Airport. This was my first kick at the can using a grinder and completing a full size custom metal art mural. Take the opportunity to check out The Longest Hunt at Doug Barnes Cabin, or the "Earls" mural inside Earls above
their bar, it will allow you to see the progression in my skills and my understanding of the medium and tools. The current piece I'm working on for the outside of Earls will be another one to check out, once finished! I have to say, each and every custom mural I get to create become a part of me. I learn and grow with every new one I create. I am truly grateful to our Creator for these blessings!