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,

doolittle_5web

and I leaned provocatively out of another doorway.

doolittle_7web

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

doolittle_6web

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

doolittle_3web

Doolittle_8web

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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13 thoughts on “My life as a Muralist

    • Not in a while, Joanna. But your questions made me start thinking about this part of my life, and out of the blue, an old client from 1989 finally tracked me down for updates to her cat murals!

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