A Comox Valley artist is receiving praise for her latest piece outside a local Legion that’s sparking conversation all in tribute to veterans.
Encompassing red poppies, bright blue skies and a silhouette of a soldier standing next to a cross, Kelly Everill’s expansive two-storey mural painted on the Courtenay Legion (Branch 17) has been unveiled.
It was a multi-day feat, according to Everill, who notes the background took five days to complete while the “Lest We Forget” lettering took four hours.
“I just finished it last week,” Everill told CHEK News.
“It’s one of my favourites, for sure,” she said. “This one has evoked more emotion than any project I’ve done before.”
Initially intended to begin last year, rainy weather through the fall and winter months ultimately delayed painting until summer.
“Because of the weather, we were waiting and waiting and we had to postpone it a few times,” she said. “Finally, the nice weather came.”
Thinking back, Everill recalls the Legion approaching her with the idea.
“They all loved it and asked for donations through members, and I gave them a good deal because my dad was a member of the Legion,” she said.
Everill’s father passed away a few years ago and she wanted to do something special to honour him.
“He was in the service, my grandfather was in the service,” she said. “It all definitely has a deeper meaning for me and it was an amazing project.”
Everill has been a full-time artist for 25 years now and has a lot to show for it, with murals painted across Vancouver Island and throughout B.C.
“I’ve done probably 95 per cent of the school murals in the valley, and I’ve done murals in Kelowna, Vernon and Vancouver,” she said.
“I’ve done one at Royston Hall and murals in many homes and businesses. I’ve done everything at the King Fisher Resort to make their doors look like carved wood.”
But Everill’s latest piece struck a chord not just for her but for those passing by.
“On the days I was there, so many people stopped by and had moments of their own remembering their own family members,” she said.
“It’s enticing conversations, even more so for the younger generations that normally wouldn’t have that conversation. It’s opening a lot more eyes as to why we have what we have and why we’re able to live the life we’re able to live right now.”
One message praising the piece, in particular, made Everill’s day.
“She said that her young children were super interested and she opened the conversation about what happened and why we’re here and freedom,” she added.
“It’s been a great conversation starter.”
The Courtenay Legion on Cliffe Avenue plans to host a special ribbon cutting for the mural this Saturday, July 30 at 11 a.m. and all are invited to attend.