The mural at the bookstore was the first installation for RioVision. I attended the first meeting at the school and from the time I moved to Rio Vista envisioned the town with mural on its bare walls. I was asked what I was interested in doing for the group and of course murals came up and that was that. I became a member of RioVision with that in mind. Hale Conklin, owner of the bookstore, was in the process of having the wall that had partially collapsed repaired. When that was done the work began. Hale provided the scaffold and some materials and I provided the art work. I hadn’t done much drawing for several years so I had to hone my skills and after many tries and meetings with Hale and Amy Schmidt we came up with the final design. Amy organized the volunteers from the Trilogy art guild and I started the work. We painted almost every morning with two to four people until the sun caused reflections and heat. In total there were about 20 artists involved at different times for three months. You know the story about the dog because you provided the photo of Sly and a lot of our funding. The rest was supposed to be funded from the residual of the funds from the firehouse mural. But that money wasn’t needed. Hale was in charge of that project also. The total cost was Approx $700 for supplies and with your donation and money collected from passersby the project paid for itself. We put a bucket on the street and people kept putting money in it. One memorable event the shows the spirit of our town. A mother and her child approx 4 or 5 asked her mom for some money and she came back a put a quarter in the bucket. She did this several times during the process. The whole project was uplifting for all the artists involved. Art by nature is a solitary process but this time we were encouraged by honking cars and happy walkers giving us positive comments. I think all of us would like to leave some kind of mark on this earth to say we were here. this is mine.
Hale wanted to maintain the history of the building, there was a saloon there in the late 1800’s , early 1900’s with a barber shop in front. Because of the nature of the subject we tried to make it a little more family friendly so the story is that the building was is blasted out with a view into the past. The couple dancing was just married and passed by hearing the music stopped to have their first dance. Sly is waiting for his master standing at the bar having a nap in the sun. A game of cards is going on at the table and the piano player is pounding out a tune for the dancers. The pot belly stove in the corner is keeping the room and a napper warm. Of course we have a stuffed bass above the bar. Most people miss the joke if you look closely you will see a woman’s reflection in the mirror behind the bar with a modern day camera. “ A picture into the past “ is the name I gave the mural. Some of the items included came from suggestions of people who remembered the saloon and what was there.
The second part of the wall is the barber shop. Most of that was done by Amy Schmidt including the original drawing. She can tell you more about that.
As far as my background I have been a life long artist, sometimes successfully and others not so much. I owned a store in Twain Harte CA where I designed and manufactured appliquéd and hand painted garments. Before that I was a professional Schrimshander working with my father who was a gun engraver. He needed someone to do the etching on ivory inlays and knife had gun grips. Mostly wildlife scenes.
I now live in Meridian Idaho and am still very active. Kayaking. Training a horse and rider. Working part time in a gift shop and of course painting. I belong to an artists co-op in Boise and work in the gallery a few days a month. I have sold several pieces there and just completed a commission for a local couples home. They have commissioned me for a second painting that I am working on now.