A mural of the North Saskatchewan river valley, a jewel in the heart of Edmonton. The river valley ecosystem and human development are shown coexisting sustainably.
Wildlife who make the North Saskatchewan River valley their home are shown in the foreground of the mural: in the trees are a flying squirrel, porcupine, hoary bat and a great horned owl. In front of a river valley park trail are a long tailed weasel, plains garter snake and a rose breasted gosbeak.
Painted in a background of wolf willow a rose breasted gosbeak is perched on a dogwood branch full of berries, overlooking the rest of this river valley mural.
I love painting split scenes that show wildlife above and below a water line. From left to right in this river mural are: a coyote, tiger salamander, Canadian toad, mallard ducks, silver redhorse, river shiner and beaver.
Sitting on a foreground rock, a Canadian toad is familiar with life in and out of rivers. While blue highlights underscore the toad's proximity to water, much of it's life will be spent inland.
A white pelican flies by the Great Divide Waterfall on the High Level Bridge, while colourful volkswagens drive across another bridge as an homage to Westside Automotive, whose wall the mural is painted on. On the river, paddlers float their canoe past the Edmonton Queen Riverboat and mallard ducks.
Canadian geese fly over Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum complete with historical buildings and a steam train. It was important for this mural to intertwine all river valley inhabitants, human and animal.
I felt like a kid with his favourite natural history books when painting this mural. Looking underwater from the left we can see: a diving beetle, burbot, spoonhead sculpin and northern redbelly dace.
A walleye thrashes it's tail while hunting small fish, splashing water at viewers in the mural foreground. The largest member of the perch family, the name sake of walleye is a pearlescent layer of pigment over their eyes that helps them see in dark water.
The North Saskatchewan river recedes to show the curvature of the earth, revealing Lake Winnipeg and Hudson's Bay. This suggests that what we put into our river ultimately finds it's way to the ocean. On the right, hands cup river water while holding a small boreal chorus frog, suggesting that it's up to each person to keep our river clean.
An osprey dives into the mural's river and receives it's fish reward. One of the world's most widely distributed birds, osprey are at the top of the aquatic food chain, and are indicators of the environmental health of their local ecosystems.