Montreal Area Decorative Painters 
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This story begins with Sonia Djevalikian, a mother with a sick child, who was at the Montreal Children's Hospital and who fell in love with the interactive wall mural titled "Once Upon A Time..." "Il était une fois..."

The mural is located in the outpatients' wing of the Montreal Children's Hospital and was painted in 1994 by members of our Guild (MADP).

(Please click here to see pics of the Interactive Wall project at the Montreal Children's Hospital.)

Sonia Djevalikian also happens to be the Kirkland Library director. She decided that this was just the kind of thing that the youth section of the library needed, especially since it was being refurbished for 2009. She and Lise Labrosse, director of public affairs and town clerk, approached Suzanne Bélair, a member of our Guild, with the idea of us painting a mural for them.

In February 2008, thirty-five of the thirty-eight members present at our monthly meeting signed up to take part. Suzanne relayed the good news to Sonia, who agreed to come and meet with us during our March meeting.

She brought numerous books and examples that conveyed her vision of what the mural could look like. She also distributed a list of themes and styles. They were looking for something timeless and joyful to appeal to the children and their parents, while brightening the place. They thanked us numerous times and assured us of their and the city's support. Their enthusiasm was contagious and everybody left the meeting optimistic and cheerful. Seven more volunteers had signed up that Tuesday morning. We were now forty-two members involved in this exciting project.

Suzanne, who volunteered to co-ordinate the project, met with Sonia and Lise a few days later to start discussing the nuts and bolts. The wall being painted was aproximately 8 feet tall by 26 feet long. The actual mural would be painted on panels, so that the painting could be done in another adjacent room and moved into place when the renovations were completed.

Back home, Suzanne began gathering information concerning materials and costs, as the project needed to be approved by city council so that it could move forward. She also began getting in touch with the volunteers to see what each of us would like to do and what times we would be available. The first design team was formed, composed of Ayn Pidwell, Val Cole, Gale Numme, Cindy Fournier, Debbie Gagnon, Claudie Cardin, Johann Law, Suzanne Bélair and Donna McGee.

Lina Gordaneer, the person responsible for the Youth section at the Kirkland Library, came and presented her ideas and expectations to this first design team on May 20th. The presentation included some pictures of what was done elsewhere and a list of storybook characters the library wished to see included in the mural. This was followed by a meeting at the Kirkland Library on May 27th, to gather all the ideas we had come up with. A smaller circle of people was then formed to draw and design the mural. Debbie was put in charge of coordinating the design. She, Claudie, Johann, Donna and Suzanne went to work researching different artists' renditions of the storybook characters chosen by our members and/or suggested by the library.

This smaller design group met again at Debbie's house on June 12th to start the process, brainstorm the design some more and separate the panels to draw amongst themselves. This was followed by another meeting on June 17th to start unifying their vision (some elements started on one panel and were to finish on another). Many, many e-mails went back and forth with copies of books, backgrounds, fairies, animals, etc. - a lot of hours and a lot of fun.

Finally, all the panels were brought to Debbie's house. She then went to work to integrate the different panels, putting in many more hours, changing scales to harmonize, moving some things around and adjusting the design to arrive at a first draft. She did an impressive and fantastic job with it.

On July 17th, 2008 Suzanne and Debbie went to the library to present our first draft to Sonia, the library team, Lise, the mayor and two councillors. All were extremely impressed, grateful and enthusiastic.

At that point, Sonia started working on the copyrights for some of the characters. By October, most of the copyright permissions had come in but a few did not and so some of the elements of the mural had to be redesigned. The library requested a free-standing wall which required some additional planning. The subject of color was also an issue because we had to reflect the artists' renditions of certain characters depicted in the mural, while keeping an overall harmony.

Elizabeth Clarke organized the painting schedule, Anne Rivet took care of the purchasing of supplies, and Cindy Fournier did the accounting. In November a team was formed to handle color - Claudie Cardin, Donna McGee and Val Cole. Design modifications and adjustments were handled by Suzanne Bélair with the help of Johann Law.

While working out colors, we saw that the design was far from being completed and had to undergo many additional changes. New characters were added and scenes were modified. A lot of brainstorming sessions ensued to finally arrive at a design we were satisfied with, while meeting the library's requirements.

In November and December, we worked on a small scale reproduction of the mural in order to get an overall visual of the finished product. The color team went to work with the delicate task of reproducing colors for copyrighted characters and working out the other colors in order to harmonize and balance the mural. More people joined in this process.

The above is the small-scale mock-up of the design. It underwent minor changes throughout the project.


By the end of January, the design was ready to be transferred and painted.

To see pics of painting the mural, please click here. Don't miss it - all your favorite storybook characters come to life!

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Link to the Bibliothèque municipale de Kirkland

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