Coal Harbour artist Jeanne Alley hams it up below a portion of her aquatic mural unveiled recently at the Port Hardy Visitors' Centre.

Coal Harbour artist Jeanne Alley hams it up below a portion of her aquatic mural unveiled recently at the Port Hardy Visitors' Centre.

Artist gets in touch with her aquatic side

PORT HARDY-Coal Harbour's Jeanne Alley prowls marina, signs up for diving class to ensure authentic detail in Visitor Centre mural

PORT HARDY—North Vancouver Island artist Jeanne Alley did not have much experience painting fish when she agreed to take on an ambitious, 33-foot mural for the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre.

Her research took her directly to the source.

“I had to go hunt up the fishermen,” said Alley, who spent several days at the local marina waiting for lucky anglers to return with salmon, then coaxing them to hold the fish in a variety of positions while she snapped pictures. “Normally, I paint forest scenes. This was a learning curve.”

Alley, a resident of nearby Coal Harbour, proved a quick study. More than two dozen people invited to an unveiling of the mural at the Port Hardy Visitors’ Information Centre Friday night were wowed by her bright, active mural, which spans the length of the interior front wall.

“We had a lady in earlier who just stared and stared,” said Yana Hrdy, VIC manager. “She told me, ‘If I stand here for a few more minutes, the fish are going to start swimming.’

“What a nice compliment for the artist.”

One corner of the mural, which reaches upward in a broad “A” shape to a height of more than eight feet at the peak of the ceiling, is devoted to the life cycle of the salmon. But the full painting shows much more, including orcas, starfish and sea urchins, and a wide variety of highly detailed aquatic plants. It even includes a shipwrecked fishing boat and a small, distant view of the Hardy Bay shoreline.

“Jeanne just went above and beyond,” said Steve Lacasse, president of the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre board. “It’s beautiful.”

Lacasse, a veteran diver and diving instructor who has seen his share of Vancouver Island’s underwater seascape, said Alley got it just right. And she will have plenty of additional research under her belt the next time she tackles an aquatic theme.

“She’s signed up for our next diving class,” Lacasse said with a laugh.

The mural was supported by a wide range of North Island donors, beginning with Dona Koch, a resident of Eagle Ridge Manor who kick-started the project with a suggestion and a donation. The Port Hardy Lions Club, Port Hardy Rotarty and North Island Kinsmen all contributed, and Hardy Builders Supply and Spike-top Cedar contributed materials.

Alley was chosen based on previous work she had done for the Salmon Centre, including bird paintings and illustrations for the centre’s “Critter” book.

“I knew she had this capability,” said Annemarie Koch, who helped coordinate the project. “I knew she could do it if she put her mind to it. She saw it as a challenge.”

Additional support came from Kari Watkins, who is affiliated with both Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce and the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre board, and from Alley’s husband, Andrew Hory. Hory measured, cut and prepared the birch panels and helped install them high on the visitors’ centre wall.

“It was hard getting it to fit,” said Hory. “This building isn’t square. I understand they moved it here from Holberg years ago; that may have something to do with it.”

But the end result was a hit with all the visitors at Friday’s reception. And Alley herself was pleased at the response after months of agonizing and second-guessing herself over the painting’s details.

“I guess I look at it and I’m amazed I did something that big,” she said. “I’m glad for the reaction people are having.”

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Blueprints for the seniors housing project in Port Hardy. (North Island Seniors Housing Foundation photo)
BC Housing declines North Island Seniors Housing Foundation’s proposal to build units

BC Housing will be explaining why exactly the project was declined at a June 18 meeting

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Most Read