Aurora’s Massive Two Block Mural

Running jogging across aurora mural
Photo Credit:

As you know I have always been fascinated with art and drawing. You could say it was in my genes since both my mother and father were live long artists.  As an artist, I have always looked for inspiration in nature, people, human creations, and even technology. I can find inspiration from the molecular structure of a veterinary treatment. There is art in everything. Some of it is harder to appreciate and some of it is undeniably powerful.

I recently visited the awesomely large two block mural in Aurora. I know, I know- I should have made my way over there a lot sooner! The mural was created in September 2016 but I don’t always find myself in that area. When I arrived, I was dumbstruck for a few minutes owing to the sheer size.

The mural begins at Montview Boulevard and ends at 23rd Street. The mural takes inspiration from technology, nature and the history of Auora in a supreme blend of colors. To be honest, I was lost for words. As a muralist, I have heard of Yulia Avgustinovich and her work. She is a Russian by birth and had created her first mural in St. Petersburg. Being a new American, her insight has to be fascinating to create an American mural in Aurora and that of this shape and size.

There is an aviation theme to this peice based on its location to the nearby Stanley Aviation complex that used to manufacture ejection seats for airplanes. The present Buckley Air Force Base may also have lent some influence. This wonderful mural in Aurora was created for the Stanley Marketplace that opened in October 2016. The bright colors used (red, blue and yellow), depiction of nature and the Rocky Mountain ram (state animal of Colorado) are all perfectly used and appear natural. The mural also included the Columbine (state flower of Colorado) entwining the aircraft in flight- beautifully showing nature and technology co-existing.

This mural not only stands for the sheer size of it but also showcases the development activity in the region. With Aurora’s population nearing the 400,000 mark, its demographics are varied with little industry to speak of. This, I feel is the first step towards showcasing the development of Aurora. We muralists are considered the nomads of the art world. That is because art traditionally was always the interior job where an artist expressed on paper or canvas for his or her own satisfaction. That I feel is more of a selfish expression. Moreover, that interior art sees the light of the day only through exhibitions where a select few (probably buyers) are invited. Art is something that should be enjoyed by everyone. A muralist takes art to the people and until such time that a common man appreciates art and has a blank wall to showcase it, a muralist’s work in not over. Traveling continents, cities and states, expression and conversing in art is a muralist’s life. The mural is not only a piece of art, but a piece of Colorado.

Simply beautiful.

Veterinary Relief Work: Trip Report!

cat neuter joke for veterinarians

As you all know, relief veterinary work is my primary source of income.

This can be stressful.

You’re always the new person and you’re always walking into scenarios in which you aren’t really sure what to expect. Every veterinarian is an expert and as a result, medical protocols can very greatly between animal clinics. This makes it very hard to just blend in! While blending in isn’t really my style to begin with,  it is needed when it comes to staying professional. Not only that, but sometimes hospitals have gone through a variety of relief vets so they are also quick to blow you off expecting that you won’t last long.

Well, none of that happened at Parkside Animal Health Center this last week. Parkside is a vet clinic located in right down the street from me in Aurora. They ran a special deal this week on feline spay surgeries. And it was a serious deal indeed! As a result of a grant from the awesome Petsmart Charities (check it out here) they were able to offer spay surgeries for less than $10 and feline neuters were completely free! That being said, the process to neuter a cat takes only about a minute of veterinarian time but still, most clinics won’t let you walk out the door for less than $250.

With the help of Petsmart, awesome veterinarians like Parkside Animal Health Center (check them out here) are able to not only make a profit but also help the community. And the fact is, by bringing in a bunch of people for a low-cost surgery, the clinic is able to get their name out there and get new clients too!

Okay, but I lost track of what I was gushing about! Parkside is awesome for more than just their charitable work! The people there were great! They needed me to come in and do relief so they could keep up with the unusually high volume of spay and neuter surgery. Since that’s kind of what I do I was happy to help!

But rather than throw me in and make figure it out as the new kid on the block, Dr. Barrows took the time to sit down with me and discuss surgical technique so I knew exactly what was expected of me, what they were comfortable with and most importantly what they weren’t comfortable with. They also took the time to introduce me to every staff member there. It can be pretty hard to introduce yourself to someone while they have a full surgical gown, mask and cap on! But luckily, I didn’t have to deal with that there. While Parkside is very busy (one of the busiest and most booked animal hospitals I have worked at) they still made sure they found time to eat lunch together. The head veterinarian and practice owner, Dr. E, asks her team to block out a late lunch break of 2:15 to 3:05 to allow everyone on staff to eat together. While she knows it cuts into profit, she also knows that it makes a more cohesive veterinary team. And she’s right, of all the local clinics I’ve worked at, I have never seen such a tight-knit group of people. I had a great time eating lunch with them all week and it encouraged me to bring a lunch rather than eat out!

At the end of the week, I had spayed 79 cats and neutered 54. It was a good week. I later found out that some of the veterinarians work with local shelters where they’re able to produce numbers like that in a day! I can’t imagine but I would love to be a part of something like that!

I’m really happy I got the opportunity to work with the Parkside team. Some of the best veterinarians and technicians I have had the honor or working with in Colorado and I hope they invite me back! For those of you who are looking for a clinic, I can’t recommend them enough.


Murals I Love: Orange Cat

mural of an orange cat

I absolutely love this mural! It combines the realism of a beautiful orange cat but adds a perfect amount of fantastical color in the eyes. The eyes appear almost galactic. The whole image is ethereal and space like- which perfectly represents the unique nature of the cat. A love of the independent but affectionate cat is what got into veterinary medicine in the first place. This image captures it perfectly! It’s as if the cat is in this world, but not of it. A creature of the earth but also a creature of the cosmos at the same time.

I don’t know where this is located- I found it on Flickr. But I absolutely love it!

It also highlights a skill that I really want to get better at: blending paints. As you can see from the photo, they used exclusively spray paint even though someone with an untrained eye would likely suspect that they were using a brush or other tool. While you can use a special tool for this, most artists manipulate the way the paint comes from the can. Or even more likely, they use a set of complicated stencils.

Stencils are a muralists or graffiti artist’s best friend. In fact, some of the more famous artists are able to simply sell their stencils for thousands of dollars!

The last thing I love about this piece is the way the cat’s ear is extended into the lip of the building. That’s what’s great about working on an unusual canvas- the piece has to adopt and form to the medium. In this case, I have to say it was done perfectly and the cat’s ear merges with the side of the structure in a great way.

Overall a great piece and something I hope to soon be capable of.

Let me know what you think!



Setting Goals As A Veterinarian and Muralist (Not A Veterinary Muralist Though!)

Welcome! I’m Dr. Ely Nevada but most people just call me Dr. Ely. I’m a small animal veterinarian in Aurora Colorado and an aspiring muralist. As you can imagine, most of my art is about animals. The majority of what I create focuses on cats! I absolutely love cats! I always have. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love dogs too! In fact, here’s a picture of me doing relief work at a local clinic with the cutest little Chihuahua.

veterinarian dr. ely working with a small dog
Just hanging with my new little buddy!

So why is this site here? I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I also always wanted to a veterinarian. Who says I can’t be both?

This blog is intended to keep me honest through my journey as an artist. I kept a journal through vet school and I really think it helped. It was actually part of an “accountability club” at Colorado State (Go Rams!) where each student would share with others what they did that week as far as studying and making progress. Peer pressure works!

So this website is my accountability club! This is where I will share whatever I want to pursue, but mostly art. I will also be talking about being a newly graduated veterinarian! I was in the class of 2014 and I still have a lot to learn. Especially when it comes to surgery. I really want to improve the dog spay time! But I also want to paint a mural on a veterinary clinic!

So here it is…at the start of the club at CSU we had to start by writing down our goals. So I’ll start the same way here.

  1. I want to paint three murals this year. It doesn’t matter where they are or if I get paid but they need to be visible to the public.
  2. I want to improve my large dog spay time to 18 minutes. I currently spay a dog within 45 minutes. Which is not fast at all!
  3. I want to do relief or volunteer for veterinary work at a total of 10 different clinics or animal shelters this year! That’s a lot and will keep me very busy but it would be well worth it for the experience!

Sticking with an even three!

Next, we go over how will get these done! So back to the 1,2, 3!

  1. I will practice a basic layout that I can do quickly and easily. It will likely be focused on cats! I will present this sample to clinics around Denver and Aurora and let them know that I would be willing to do it for free. I can offer this to animal hospitals and shelters that volunteer with or do relief work for too. Synergies among goals are always the best!
  2. I will volunteer at shelters where I will have the greatest opportunity complete as many spay surgeries as possible. Practice makes perfect. If I find a paid opportunity o train with experience spay/neuter veterinarians I will take that opportunity if time permits.
  3. I will simply get my name out there. Making calls and sending emails! The shelter side of this will be easy. It may be a little harder to find paid relief opportunities with clinics.

Like what you see? Then join the club! I would love to hear from you about what you want to achieve and how you will get there! Contact me to let me know or comment below!