A HUSBAND-WIFE team have completed a new mural in central Bendigo.
Geoffrey Carran and Rowena Martinich, from Jan Juc, applied for the commission when it was put out to tender last year.
"As far as reg cities go, Bendigo does have that feel of people who have good consideration for the arts," Rowena said. "We actually put in for a mural a few years ago but didn't win the tender but have always wanted to do one in Bendigo. When we saw this one come up, it was the last thing we did before Christmas."
Their combination of bright colours and Australian birds - a kingfisher, egret and swift parrot - highlights the laneway between King and Queen streets.
"For the last 15 years I have been painting using bright pallettes. Public art is about engaging people and activating spaces through vibrant colours," Rowena said. "The way I have painted the laneway engages how people flow through the space.
"The way Geoffrey's birds are posed (with the swift parrot and kingfisher looking into the lane) almost guides people into the laneway. They are almost like gatekeepers to the lane."
The commission for the 52-metre long artwork was made possible thanks for the City of Greater Bendigo and Villawood Properties.
"It was a collaboration in the truest sense from the concept to way it was executed," Geoffrey said. "It is a unique space. We came down and looked at site and went out with Villawood and looked at wetlands where their properties are. They reinvigorate wetlands, which is why I used water species.
"We both come from a background of painting influenced by colour and to me that's what this mural is about, merging two different styles with the same palettes. That influenced the subject matter for my choice of birds. I wanted them to merge with Rowena's abstract palette."
The couple said they were glad to be able to complete the mural during the coronavirus pandemic but missed chatting with passers-by.
"It was shame there were COVID-19 restrictions because we missed the opportunity to interact with Bendigo," Geoffrey said. "But we'll definitely be back."