Tag Archives: Murals

Riparian Ecosystem Painting for Aztec Ruins National Monument

Click this and it should enlarge. Too big for small screens.

I’m painting some other installations for Aztec Ruins National Monument, a World Heritage Site in New Mexico, but this additional image just received funding to proceed – and I like how it’s looking and wanted to share. Aztec Ruins is in the town of Aztec, NM and straddles the Animas River, life blood of this green little valley. People 1000 years ago also thought this was a good place to live, so they build a massive pueblo with upwards of 500 room! The rooms are still here, the Indians not so much.

Here’s the Animas with cottonwoods and willows I used for reference in the sketch.  Amazingly, almost the entire original ecosystem is still in place, more than I can say for most places. Several additions such as saltcedar are here now, but they’re not goofing things up like so many other western desert rivers.

Here is a small section of the park with trails through the ruins. The river is just a few hundred yards south. I could really see how the river directed what went on here. The pueblo is close to it, but not close enough for flooding. When I asked the Chief of Interpretation how much land would have been dedicated to farming, he said “all of it, every inch”.  The people lived here on top of each other so as to not ruin their the very land feeding them. That’s NOT the way it is today!

They have a giant kiva that was restored many years ago, over 50 feet in diameter. I thought these big kivas were used mainly for religious events, but it was more, a communal place to hang out in winter or blisteringly hot summer days. My site visit highlight was a guided tour into a closed section of pueblo off-limits to visitors and not restored at all. Absolutely fascinating to see how these places looked before they were ‘cleaned up.’

Give me a project in a new park and I’m a happy painter! And if you, too, think our heritage is important, resist, I SAID RESIST ANY ATTEMPT to reduce or revoke national park designations. This is not who we are!

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center progress

I’ve come up for air just long enough to post this – sorry for the big blank spot in my blog. Click the images and they should expand.


When I was growing up, my babysitters at the Illinois State Museum were staff artists and curators, professionals that were the best in the business. They came to work in pristine studios and took months and months to paint stuff just like this. Me, decades later? I do this in a low-ceiling studio and only have 6 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just happy that I get to do this – a giant four walls with six paintings in one of my favorite places on Earth. And it’s pretty much a completely fictitious scene. There are 3-d branches and models of birds, moles and others that all have to be connected somehow to my paintings. It’s been interesting!

Nancy joined me early on with this and is now pushing paint as fast as I am. How wonderful to have someone to talk to in the studio. And she sounds like she’s maybe going to make this a habit, at which I’m thrilled.

The facts: this is going in a room at the visitor center with a big opening, so there are four sides. I’m painting it in acrylic on Yupo poly paper at 70% size – the reason is I can’t get it bigger and it speeds things up. It’ll be scanned and printed so when the place burns down, another copy can be put up. The bottom two sections, the dirt and forest floor, are being painted at 85% because eyeballs will be closer. The bottom dirt section will be printed on aluminum to withstand the three million people with six million hands that come here each year. I’ll have more soon!

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Picnic table painting

Nice fire in the campground, our ancient folding chairs awaiting. The famous ant tablecloth, a real red-cedar old-growth table. Notice the details: painting, brush can, funky Richeson paint tray, artichoke can for water, tablet with reference photos, little pencil sharpener for those wonderful Dixon black wood pencils that feel like the carbon has oil in it – brae and crackers, glass of red. I only stopped because it was getting too dark to paint in this old forest. 

And then the painting that’s appearing. This one is part of the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center project and is 12″ high and 330″ wide when it’s installed. It’s being painted on a roll of polypropylene Yupo tree-free paper that I can roll out to where I’m working on it. I don’t know, why go home until October?

And what are we doing the rest of the time? Section hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail is part of it. Avalanche lilies and bear grass in bloom and still some snow drifts to navigate. We just have to make sure they’re all okay.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Progress on Cache River National Wildlife Refuge Mural

Click the image to enlarge it in your browser.

Just a progress report – a snapshot of how this current effort is going. Okay, I think. It needs to get much messier, more foliage, downed stuff, details in the critters, but it takes time to throw paint on 12 feet of mud, trees and leaves.

I’m finding this a very unusual ecosystem to paint, different than anything I’ve worked on before – and that’s saying something. Seasonal flooding in the Mississippi floodplain of Arkansas means a very difficult situation for plants to exist. Critters can just move with the water’s ups-and-downs, but plants are a different deal – they can’t leave. So, lots of water-tolerant trees and vines that can get above it all. One grape, for instance, can’t climb, so it’s starts life by grabbing onto a small shrubby tree and just waiting, going up with the tree as it grows towards the canopy. Crazy, because this is a closed-canopy forest so  how long might that plant wait to get there? Other vines climb like crazy and in the old days of old-growth, they must have been ancient thick things the size of my arm.

Here’s one of my references taken by Eric, my go-to guy for photos and the refuge dendrologist. Am I getting the colors close to right?

And finally, here’s my progress as it’ll look in this section of the visitor center. There is also some text on both sides and bottom, but this shows it’s overall placement so I can tell what’s going on. Stay tuned for more, more mud, brown water, muddy trees and all.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Cache River National Wildlife Refuge mural progress

Click it and it’ll enlarge in your browser.

This project is charging ahead in my studio and I realized I hadn’t posted anything about it. It’s a 151″-wide painting for the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Yes, I’ve been here. No, not for a long time. My mom did a project here many years ago about the ivory-billed woodpecker for Audubon magazine, the last place the birds was seen back in the 1950’s and the last place it was recently seen – I’d like to think maybe extinction isn’t as easy. This painting will show a seasonal stream partially flooding, low-land swampy forests of bald-cypress and tupelo, poison ivy and muscatel vines, snakes and spring warblers – and a bunch of critters that live here. It’ll also have some critters that DON’T live here, like woods bison, red wolves and maybe a bear. Two epochs in one painting, hummm!

Commissioned by Rosene Creative from Georgia who is doing the rest of the exhibits, I’m loving the chance to paint a forest amazingly different from the one I live in. Thanks to Eric at the refuge who’s been sending me a trove of photos I think I’m getting it.

And here’s the sketch. If you click on it, it’ll open in your browser.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

My Reelfoot Painting Is Almost Wrapped Up

Reelfoot-final-review-2

These all enlarge with a click. This image represents 7 shots pieced together of my Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge painting – the image I just sent out for review. I’m still tightening up the critters, shadows and getting goof-ups off the paper, but we’re close. It’s been a fun process creating something from nothing – well, not ‘nothing’, but a white sheet of tree-free Yupo is almost nothing. I greatly appreciate both the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Tennessee and Malone Design in Georgia for allowing me pretty much free reign on this project. It’s been a great experience, as always, to create an entire place almost life-size. It’s not an exact place, of course, but a mix of all the best things about this wildlife refuge.

Final-review-2-rightFinal-review-right-2Being just east of the Mississippi, there is a lot of moisture in the air, so I tried to make it feel that way – heavily laden with humidity. This is a fall scene, cypress going brown, maples and oaks in full color and lots of leaves on the ground as winter is coming on. Did I get it?
Final-review-left-2Final-review-leftJust so you know, those gray squares are where exterior objects will land, a big interpretive panel for the large rectangle, two railings along the bottom. The final installation will measure 36 feet x 8 feet, or almost 300 square feet.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Reelfoot Refuge – Section Test

 

Reelfoot-test-92x54

Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, Tennessee

Still moving along with this 36-foot mural installation, painting during the holidays – and finally delivered a digitized section of the painting for a test. This section is almost 8 feet high x 5 feet wide and is fairly finished – I think. A couple more critters to add, some cypress upgrades, fix some of the cutgrass, but it’s basically there.

Below, you can see just where this section is on the full painting, right in the middle so I can make sure colors are proper going both ways. It’s a process I used to fret about, send out for costly 8″x 10″ transparencies and scanning, but now days we do it all here. It’s nice living with a photographer with some very good equipment, and, I’ve done this big stuff for so long, I sleep soundly.

Progress-exhibit-layers-5-sample-placement

Years ago, Nancy and I painted a 90 x 14-foot outside wall for Twentynine Palms California, then painted another one the same size. When we arrived for the second wall, they told us this complex and highly-detailed mural, scaffholding and scorching afternoon sun had its big unveiling scheduled just 17 days from then! Nancy whispered something to the effect that we were in very deep do-do. I didn’t sleep during most of it, but we finished in time for a nice hike in nearby Joshua Tree National Park – and now I don’t worry about it.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge – progress #6

Reelfoot-progress-6-fullweb

I’ve put fairly large images on the server, so please click these to see larger versions. Somehow cramming 36 feet into a couple of screen-inches just doesn’t cut it.

I pieced seven shots together to make these, and left the perspective in place so it’s just like what you’d see if you stood in front of it – just like I see this each day when I come to the studio, turn on the heat and lights and mix paint! I’m getting there, critters are now appearing, the foreground is settling in properly, birds flying in migrating flocks. Someone asked me what the empty space is on the left – it’s 24 sq feet of interpretive panel, something I just have to put up with sometimes. Someone also asked me if I enjoyed the challenge of figuring all this out. Yes, very much!

Reelfoot-progress-6-left Reelfoot-progress-6-right

Hope you like the way it’s coming along. I do (I think!).

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Stage Three on My Reelfoot Mural for Tennessee

Reelfoot-progress-3

 

Stage Three out of how many I’m not sure – maybe 10 or 20!

A little farther along the trail this week with my Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge painting. This thing is so long I’ve chopped it into two parts shown below – and all three enlarge in your browser for a better view. I’m still sort of working of all over the place, trying to figure out what their fall foliage would be like, yet trying not to overwhelm it with too much color.  It’s one thing to see it here, quite another to imagine it 38 feet long!

This week I learned about flooded corn stubble, how cypress browns in the fall, how the cypress ‘knees’ look when they grow – these are the cypress’ way to breath air when their trunks are underwater.Reelfoot-progress-3-left

 

It looks so different here on the screen than when compared with the giant thing taking shape from one end of my studio to the other. A couple of critters  have now appeared, but not in detail. Got to get those trees figured out first.Reelfoot-progress-3-right

More cowbell – we need more cowbell!

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Progress Report on Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge mural

Reelfoot-progress-2
All images click to open in your browser, and I hope you do. I put fairly large files up so you can see details.

Here is some progress on my 18 foot painting for Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge. The painting will be printed and installed at 38 feet x 8 feet. I’m getting there – still focused on setting the tone of the fall colors. The fall foliage-thing is something of a mystery, since it changes. In one way, it’s all correct at some point since leaves change a little at a time. But, too yellow, too brown, too red – who really knows?


entire-progress-2-left

Here’s the left side, cypress in the lake and swampy stuff in the foreground.


entire-progress-2-right

And there’s the right side going into seasonally-flooded hardwood forest, red oak, some cypress, some red maple – and then out into flooded corn fields that will be all stubble in fall with lots of ducks flying around.


Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.