My life as a Muralist

When I was in high school I began painting murals around my parent’s house.

I kept them small until I painted a 3/4 scale horse on my sister’s bedroom wall. I found I liked working large and could draw and paint freehand.

doolittle_2webOne summer during college I convinced my boyfriend to hire me to paint a mural of the Garden of Eden as a Vermont pastoral landscape on his brand new barn door. I promised to drive the tractor and help with the haying when I wasn’t painting.

It was huge!

I needed to use his bucket loader, normally used to scrape manure off the barn floor, as a lift to get to the top 1/2 of the door.

But that mural only took a few weeks, so I began painting the other barn doors too. He was raising  Charolais cattle, so one door showed a crowd of cows appearing to leave the barn. I was trying to create a simple trompe l’oeil effect by adding a bright window to the back “wall” of the mural. To add complexity I sat our two dogs outside the barn door, and later photographed them, posing  as themselves.

doolittle_4webRay, the hired man, fed a pen full of imaginary pigs,

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and I leaned provocatively out of another doorway.

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Eventually I painted every door, on every barn and outbuilding.

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And was finally able to paint a fully life-size horse.

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All these photos  were taken by Tim Clemens and appeared in an article and  Calendar produced by Vermont Life in 1978. The barns on Doolittle Road are still there but the original murals are long gone. Back then I didn’t know much about using oil paints  and I didn’t prep the older doors properly. The murals deteriorated over time. Since then I have painted many more murals with better success. I’ll talk about some of them in future posts.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

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The Joy of Beaches in Winter

Christmas at the beach-a California tradition.

Big storms sweep in from the west and huge tides bring in piles of tangled kelp and other beach debris.

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The impossibly tangled piles buzz with Kelp Flies.

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The Kelp’s gas bladders keep the long stem or stipes, floating upright in the water.

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Northern California beaches are not known for shells but there are dense mussel beds and those shells are easy to find.  This sketch includes a scrap of Abalone shell, fish spine bones and crab claws.

I love collecting this sort of beach debris for my Beach Portraits.

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And then there are the Harbor Seals, who haul themselves up to nap on the sunny rocks.

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And sometimes there are the husbands, who nap anywhere they like.

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If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar.