New mural shows modern medicines still rooted in nature


The history of the current-day pharmacy lies in the older apothecary, where compounds derived primarily from plants were extracted by various means to make the forerunners of today’s medicines. When local artist Camille Glodeck connected with Daniel Chénier, pharmacist at the independently owned Life Care Pharmacy in Sturgeon Falls, the plan was to honour that older tradition with a mural. On Friday, September 3, a three-panel triptych was mounted on the east wall of Chénier’s pharmacy, and the artist is very pleased with the result as the dark gray walls provide the perfect framing for her offering. Camille Glodeck is now part of the ongoing murals project in Sturgeon Falls.

“Vera [Charles], my step-mom was starting her mural and I expressed excitement about it, saying ‘That’s fun, I wish I could do something like that,” recounts the artist. Her stepmother connected Camille with Gayle Primeau, the person who cultivates both sponsors and artists for the continuing project. “Gayle wanted to talk to Daniel (at the pharmacy) because she wasn’t really clear as to what he wanted, but we had a general idea of plants and medicine. Not long after hanging up the phone, I had the image in my head and sketched it out very quickly. We couldn’t meet in person. He was clear that it wasn’t about herbal medicine but about the fact that most medicines come from compounds derived from a plant, and most people don’t know that. That’s when I decided on the white background. I wanted it to be almost like a prescription pad; clean and clinical – so you get that medicine and pharmacy part. That’s why the middle panel is like old time pharmacy.”

The inner panel features tools of the trade like a mortar and pestle for grinding compounds, weighing scales, a teapot, and old-fashioned medicine bottles for tinctures and salves. The two outer panels feature medicinal plants. “I wanted the plants to really pop, the yellows and pinks and purples. [Daniel Chénier] was really excited after we talked, he thought I had a good understanding, and it went from there.” Glodeck also explains that medicinal plants are one of her major interests.

The painting took about 26 hours. “It actually flowed quite naturally, quite well. It was a fun, intuitive process,” the artist muses. Glodeck works in a variety of mediums. She does woodworking, wood carving, block printing from linoleum cuts, paints in both watercolour and acrylic, and is a photographer. Additionally, “I personally feel my garden is the slowest form of artwork I have. I try to approach everything in my life as an art project because that’s how I remain passionate about what I’m doing. I love embroidery, painting with thread. I do wet felting and needle felting. You name the art form! I’m a compulsive creator and love to play with texture and colour. I do a lot of collage.”

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