Courtenay artist Kelly Everill is well known for her community murals.
They can be found on the sides of buildings, on fences, inside schools, grocery stores and other structures throughout Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley.
Her latest creation is, in a word, stunning.
Everill has recently completed a two-storey, 40-foot-wide tribute to veterans, on the outer wall of the Courtenay Legion (Branch 17).
“I worked many hours every day for about five days to get the background done, and then I added the lettering on the (last day), so it took me about six days in total… but it’s taken me 25 years to learn how to do it in that amount of time,” Everill said.
“The Legion approached me about the job and I came up with a sketch and we carried on from there. They did some fundraising through their members, and I gave them a good deal, because it is the Legion. My dad was a member until he passed away a couple of years ago, so it was an important (project) for me, too.”
While the actual creation only took a week, Mother Nature played a big role in its delay.
“We had to put it off about four times because of the weather,” said Everill. “We had this planned last fall, but we ran out of time then, so we have just been waiting for a good stretch of weather and it finally happened.”
Everill said people’s reactions to her work is what inspires her.
“This one especially,” she said of the Legion mural. “This one actually brought people to tears - they were crying when they came and saw the mural, which made me cry. It’s very moving. Also people have said it has opened up a conversation with their younger kids - a very important conversation that may not have happened.”
Everill said the message she is trying to convey is written on the mural.
“The words ‘Lest We Forget’ says it all… and this visual piece makes it a daily statement (as opposed to one surrounding Remembrance Day),” she said. “Many people have told me that they drove there just to see it, and they have a moment.”
The public is invited to attend an official unveiling ceremony on July 30 at 11 a.m.
Everill’s next project is something at 19 Wing.
“I am working on a big one for the base, so we are working on the logistics of that… but I always have 10 or 12 projects on my plate.”
Everill’s work expands beyond Vancouver Island. She has murals in the Interior as well.
“I’ve also got some in Kelowna and Vernon, that are even bigger.”
For more information on Everill’s business, visit kellysart.ca