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August 2013 – Lawrence Library Mural

The Finished Product


The reception for the "Historic Pepperell" mural went well, a big thank you to everyone who attended and for all the kind comments I have received.

Here is a link to an article about the mural on the front page of the Pepperell Times Free Press: Pepperell Times Free Press

A second article about the mural, also on the front page of the Pepperell Times Free Press: Pepperell Times Free Press

The completed mural.

July 2013

Lawrence Library Mural


July 12, 2013. The “Historic Pepperell” mural at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell has been completed!

You are cordially invited to the Reception on Wed., July 31, 6:00 - 8:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided by The Friends of the Lawrence Library. Hope to see you there! (15 Main Street, Pepperell, MA 978-433-0330)

Scroll down to read about the mural's conception and development beginning in May 2013, and to see previous pictures that were posted here as I went along.

I am on local cable TV talking about the "Historic Pepperell" mural. To watch, check the schedule here if you get the Pepperell Channel (15). The Pepperell Channel

This hydro-electric generating plant was built in 1918 and supplied electricity to the Pepperell Paper Mill. The penstock was the longest wooden water conduit in the US, until it was replaced recently by a steel conduit. The dam in the center of town is used to store water and regulate flow. Green, non-polluting electricity is now produced and sold to power companies.

Fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers were sold to New England cities. The lumber wagon represents the many sawmills that thrived in Pepperell.

July 2nd. On the home stretch! I have blocked in the colors for the lower part of the mural.

July 3rd. The river and the riverbanks are taking shape.

Mural at end of day, July 3rd.

Someone “geeks” the mural!

July 9. The Nashaway Indians, who lived along the Nashua River, were a subgroup of the Nipmucs. They were semi-sedentary as they cultivated crops such as corn, beans and squash, and moved seasonally to areas known to have resources available at those times of year. Families lived in circular houses known as wigwams. Their canoes were made of birch or elm bark.

July 10. The Annual Pepperell Fall Classic Soccer Tournament has been held in Pepperell over the Columbus Day Weekend for almost 30 years. Over 80 teams from around New England play nearly 150 games.

A stuffed animal never had it so good! “Lucky Dawg”, almost 2½ feet tall, was found abandoned in the parking lot and was adopted by the library. He is adored daily by many children.

Lucky Dawg posing.

July 11. Swans visit the Nashua River.

July 11. Final touches have been added to the Hydro-Electric plant and the old wooden penstock.

The Nashua River’s name comes from the Native American word Nash-a-way, meaning "River with the Pebbled Bottom."

July 12, 2013. The “Historic Pepperell” mural at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell has been completed!

July 26. Just one more thing...a little girl looking at the mural thought Lucky looked lonely, so now he has a friend!

June 2013

Lawrence Library Mural


Mural in Progress - Scroll down to see pictures that were posted in June.

The mural at the end of the day on June 4th.

This is District #3 Schoolhouse. It is on Shattuck Street and has been restored by the Pepperell Historical Society.

I have started painting the Howard Post Clock at the head of Railroad Square. It was installed in 2004 by the Pepperell Business Association.

On June 5th I painted the face on the clock, and did some lettering and touchup.

I have started painting the Rail Trail Ice Cream Stop/Charlotte's. This building represents the many businesses that formed the Railroad Square area when numerous trains passed through Pepperell every day. It's also across from the Rail Trail and is a destination for trail users.

Right side of mural at end of day, June 6th.

This monument commemorates Pepperell residents who fought and died at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. It was donated by 1899 by Edith Prescott Wolcott.

I have added details to the library and the Town Hall. This is the mural at end of day, June 7th.

June 8th - added more details to the library and painted the background of the banner.

On June 12th I painted the landscape in front of the library, and started putting in some background colors.

On June 13th I painted some of the background on the upper left side.

On June 14th I worked on the background on the right side.

The mural at the end of the day, June 14th.

June 18th - continued painting the background.

The mural at the end of the day, June 18th.

June 19th. Skydivers are a common sight in Pepperell; skydiving at the Pepperell Airport began in the late 1950's. July 4th is a big event in Pepperell, and is celebrated on the Saturday closest to the holiday. The day begins with a great parade and ends at dusk with a spectacular fireworks display over the Town Field.

June 20th - I added a hand tub (and its hose reel), “Pepperell 1”, which was used to fight fires in Pepperell until the 1920’s. It's been beautifully restored; I took some photos of it recently that I used for reference.

Pepperell 1 - "We Go Where Duty Calls".

June 21st - The scenic Nashua River Rail Trail was originally part of the Worcester & Nashua Railroad. The right of way was purchased by the DCR in 1987, and the trail opened for mixed recreational use in 2002. This popular, well maintained trail is 11 miles long and passes through Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable.

June 22nd – The History Room was dedicated to Jeanne Palmer, who worked at the library for many years, and after retirement continued to work there as a volunteer. She has been instrumental in the creation, evolution and organization of the Pepperell historical files at the library.

June 22, 2013 was designated as "Jeanne Palmer Day" by the Pepperell Selectmen.

Many people came to show their appreciation.

The mural was decked out for the occasion!

June 26th. Before trucks, the railroads were the primary means of transporting goods and services. Trucks had a much wider range as they were not restricted to city centers. Good roads evolved along with the trucking industry.

June 28th - Typical summer day - people enjoying the Rail Trail.

May 2013

Lawrence Library Mural


In Progress:

I am painting a mural at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell, Massachusetts. The theme is “Historic Pepperell”. It will be on a wall in the stairway that leads to the History Room in the upper mezzanine, which was recently painted and reorganized. The wall is approximately nine feet square, with a window in the middle of it. This is a huge project for me, as my paintings are small, and some of my miniature paintings are as small as postage stamps.

There are three distinct steps in painting a mural. The first is to research the subject, the second is to design and plan the scene, and the third is to paint the mural on the wall.

After choosing places and things that would be representative of Pepperell’s history, I looked for clear, detailed images of each one. I searched through my own books on Pepperell’s history, and went into the History Room at the library and looked through their files. I also looked online, and I drove around town and took additional photos.

I made several sketches using colored pencils, and then took the best one to the Library Director, Debra Spratt. After the sketch was approved by the Board of Directors, I created a much larger and more detailed sketch on a sheet of paper that is approximately half the size of the wall. This allowed for more accurate placement of the different elements, and the balance of design and colors. I then made a pencil grid on this sheet, which I later enlarged onto the wall, to assist in transferring my drawings to the mural.

This is a “before” picture – the wall has been painted and is ready for me. There is a drop-cloth on the floor. I set up scaffolding by purchasing a stepladder identical to the one the library owns, and placing a plank between the two of them.

This is the approved sketch for the mural.

To make this project manageable, I place each sketch into a computer graphics program (Adobe Illustrator), after either scanning it or taking a digital photo of it. I then use drawing tools to trace around my sketch, or in some cases, around a scanned historic photograph. I simplify the shapes. One advantage to this method is the ability to print out the final drawings at any size.

In this example, I photographed my sketch and redrew it on the computer, simplifying and refining it as I proceeded.

I am doing a preliminary color study at home on a piece of Masonite.

To transfer my drawings to the wall, I use artists’ transfer paper (Saral), which is similar to carbon paper but it has no wax and can be erased or painted over.

The first paintings on the wall.

The Pepperell Town Hall was painted next.

Here I have started painting the Leighton Shoe Factory, and a paper factory has been transferred above it.

I have taped a photo of the Champion Card and Paper Company to the wall to refer to while I am painting.

My scaffolding. Good thing I don’t mind heights!

This is the mural at the end of the day on May 24th.

I have been working on the right side of the mural. On May 28th I transferred some drawings:

Drawing of “A-2”, one of Pepperell’s ambulances.

Drawing of a tractor and the Park Street Fire Station.

This building is currently the Public Safety Complex; it used to be the Clara M. Shattuck School.

On May 29th I painted the Fire Station and the Safety Complex. On May 30th I painted the ambulance and a tractor in front of the bandstand, and started on the Grange Hall, which was once a private school, the Pepperell Academy.

Paintings on the right side.

This is the mural at the end of the day on May 30th.

I worked on the left side on May 31st.

Shown here are Doc Davis Ice Cream Stand and the Grange Hall; and I have started painting Schoolhouse #3.

This is the mural at the end of the day on May 31st.