To create the “Time Flies” mural for the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives in Gibsons, BC, artist Jan Poynter spent months researching, photographing, and sketching architectural and natural elements to combine into an overview of the coastal environment comprising the Sunshine Coast.
Telling the story of the history and environment of the whole coast, the mural is not literal but presents an imaginary coastal overview with representative buildings, activities, and wildlife rather than actual locations.
The six panels of the mural, designed to represent a folded map and mounted on the southeast side of the museum building, must resist water, weather, and possible “enhancement” by graffiti.
The detail of the design was created on 14” by 36” panels using an old-fashioned scratch board illustration technique that resulted in a bold, hand-drawn look. For scratch board images, the working surface is a thin Masonite board coated with a fine white clay compound and then India ink. Lines are painstakingly scratched or cut into the black surface of the board revealing fine or curved lines or to remove larger areas of black.
When the panels were completed, they were scanned and enlarged by PacBlue Printing. PacBlue worked closely with Jan to get the right special primer for the substrate, conducting numerous experiments before printing.
PacBlue then printed the mural using inkjet technology on 5-foot by 10-foot DiBond panels, an aluminum-based substrate that has a white print-ready surface.
Jan added the color detail by hand and the panels were coated with a UV and anti-graffiti coating to protect the illustrations. The final anti-graffiti coating is called a “sacrificial” coat because it can be removed without damaging the illustration underneath.
“Watching the image appear on the white panels as the print heads moved back and forth,” said Jan, “was like seeing a ghost appear.”
Because she worked in a public space in a local mall to add the color detail, local residents watched Jan paint and talked or asked questions during an “open time” held daily. “It was really fun hearing all the stories,” notes Jan, as she recalls comments from older residents who had grown up in the area.
Begun in November 2007, the entire project took more than six months to complete. The illustration took more than two months to develop and printing took 8 minutes for each large panel. The final hand coloring of the mural took two more months and the finished mural was installed in May 2008.
Because of its orientation on the building and the UV-resistant coating, the mural is expected to last 20 to 25 years. See more than 50 photos of the entire development, production, and installation here.