The Making of a Mural – Part 4 – Scrub Jay Wings

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My fourth Wings of the West instalment has officially been unveiled! You can find the massive scrub jay wings at the Lyonia Preserve in Deltona (2150 Eustace Ave.) They are on the North side of the amphitheater in front of the pollinator garden. Imagine, standing on the path in the pollinator garden taking a picture of someone in front of the wings and butterflies are fluttering around you.

Let’s back up…a couple months ago, Georgia Turner and I met with Sandra Falcon (Manager Lyonia Environmental Center) and Ann Collins (Deltona Library) to look at the proposed location for the wings. We all agreed this wall adjacent to the pollinator garden was the perfect spot. It seems to be a common thread that the walls I select for these murals are challenging for painting. This wall was no exception. The top half of the wall is stucco with deep ridges dividing it into thirds. The bottom half of the wall is a very textured concrete brick. We all agreed the best way to create this would be to mimic the process I used for the fairy wings in Cassadaga.

I sketched a design, researched color and began “construction”. I drew the outline of the wings on two large sheets of marine-grade plywood and my husband cut out the pattern with a jigsaw. Filling, sanding and priming were necessary to prep the wings for color. I grabbed a brush and my grey paint and began creating the outlines for the added detail. The first bit of color on the plain white surface is always a bit nerve-wracking. Once that first stroke has been made though, it’s full steam ahead! I referenced my sketch and the images of scrub jays provided by Lyonia and dove right in. Two hours later, I was starting to see the results I was hoping for. I took a break to rest my hands and mind and returned with a fresh set of eyes. I added the shading and highlights and a few small details a called it a day. The next step wouldn’t be as fun…I cautiously painted the edges and gave both wings a solid clear coat to protect them from the elements.
Yesterday was installation day! Rusty and Chad of the Volusia County Library team generously offered to pick up the wings from my parent’s shop where I constructed and painted them. We met at the preserve and discussed our plan for installation. They were incredibly patient, diligent and hard working. They took such care in transporting and handling the wings. They cautiously hung the wings and took all necessary measures to hide signs of the hardware used in mounting. They truly went above and beyond to make sure everything was just how I wanted it. I can’t compliment their efforts enough!!!

We had a great turn out at the unveiling this morning and the big reveal when we released the tarp was as “dramatic” as I was hoping! Thank you to EVERYONE who has supported this project and all the hands that were involved in making this such a success. If you haven’t visited the Lyonia Environmental Center, please do! You won’t be disappointed. It’s both educational and beautiful. We are heading into some beautiful weather, so get out there and enjoy the trails and experience the beauty of the scrub jays!

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