Pelican mural transforms downtown Fox Lake wall

  • McHenry artist Elaine Poulos Sinclair is dwarfed by the American White Pelican she was hired to paint on a downtown Fox Lake wall this summer as part of a public arts project. Photo provided

    McHenry artist Elaine Poulos Sinclair is dwarfed by the American White Pelican she was hired to paint on a downtown Fox Lake wall this summer as part of a public arts project. Photo provided

 
Cynthia Wolf
Updated 8/21/2019 11:30 AM

FOX LAKE -- What was just another unremarkable brick business sidewall has metamorphosed into a larger-than-life American White Pelican against a lakefront backdrop dappled with blue, gray and green hues.

It's the eye-catching work of veteran muralist Elaine Poulos Sinclair of McHenry. Motorists can see the great Audubon-inspired bird boldly gazing at oncoming traffic as they head west on Grand Avenue just east of the Route 12 intersection. The 13-foot-4-inch-high, 26-foot-wide artwork is painted on the eastern wall of the Lakes Realty building, just across from the Whistle Stop Café in Fox Lake, Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is color-matched to a John James Audubon painting," said Sinclair, a 1980s fine arts graduate of Northern Illinois University. "The village was looking for a vintage postcard vibe."

Sinclair started working on the mural July 8 after her concept was approved by the Village of Fox Lake, which has procured grants and hired several artists to create public works downtown. Working carefully to avoid high-humidity hours as well as direct sunlight as she dipped her brushes into Benjamin Moore exterior paints, she completed the mural July 26.

"Paint does not adhere well in high humidity," she explained, adding that the business owner, Pat Smarto, invested in prepping the wall to create a longer-lasting "canvas" for the work.

"This is very cool what Fox Lake and local business owners are doing, investing in the arts for all to enjoy," Sinclair said. "I would love to do more of this."

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Sinclair has been creating murals for residential and business clients since the early 1990s. Her work adorns doctor's and dentist's offices as well as corporate professional spaces, including a large-scale work for Paylocity's Arlington Heights offices. Another outdoor work -- a fierce American Eagle -- graces an outdoor storage building at McHenry VFW Post 4600.

"The nicest part is the reactions of people," Sinclair said. "What I love hearing is 'It's better than what I thought it would be,' or 'It's just what I wanted.'"

Sinclair has a portfolio on her website, muralsbyelaine.com, and is available to help any interested entity to enhance an interior or outdoor space. To reach Sinclair, call 815-344-8965 or email her at muralsbyelaine@yahoo.com. Follow Sinclair on Instagram @muralsbyelaine.

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