Robert Murray says his retirement is a “dream come true.”
In the last few weeks, the visual artist has created an illusion in Ponoka, camouflaged the Lacombe Seniors Centre, beautified backyards in Barrhead and Ft. Saskatchewan and gave a house in Lacombe a textured facelift.
The house on Highway 12 in Lacombe has been dubbed the “cobble-stone house” by Murray. He began converting the outside of the house at the request of the homeowners on May 4. So far he is 18 hours into the project and said completing that mural will require a lift for higher parts of the home but it should be done in the next few weeks.
Previously Murry worked in the oil and gas sector and didn’t have plans to start down the mural path when he retired. It started years ago when his mother was in a senior’s home and the foyer on her floor was blank and bleak.
With permission, he set to work on painting a landscape mural with a pond and bridge to help liven up the foyer and as a present to his mother.
When he was finished, management of the facility approached him and soon he was given the opportunity to paint the other foyers on 16 other floors. Now he has over 500 works of art in his provincial-wide portfolio and almost every day he has another community to visit.
Using standard, exterior paint he turns fences, sheds, sides of swimming pools, garage doors and entire walls into works of vibrant colour. Some of the murals are specific commissions and range from landscapes to unicorns, while others are a bit more open with creative freedom.
He said that he completes most in a day or two but larger ones like the one in Lacombe arena took two summers to complete.
Murray is modest about his work but the comments on the photos on his personal Facebook page and on local community boards are always positive and he said his clients are the same.
“I haven’t had a complaint yet.”