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.
The Doolittle Farm Murals
One summer during college I was hired by my boyfriend to paint a mural on his brand new barn door. 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.
That mural only took a few weeks, so I began painting the other barn doors too. He was raising white, 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 then photographed them, posing as themselves.
I used oil paints for these 1st murals, then later switched to acrylics.
This was a working farm, and, when I wasn’t painting, the cattle had the run of the paddock.
The real Ray Gibeault stands next to the painted Ray, who is feeding a group of painted pigs.
I included a self portrait in one of the doorways.
This horse, about to escape, fooled quite a few people driving by.
By the standards of the late 70’s, these murals got a lot of media attention.
The farm owner, Tim Clemens, wrote an article for Vermont Life. This photo shows five of the murals.
Barn Door Murals
Once I’d painted the Shoreham barns, I got a few more commissions to do barn doors in the area. Here is one from Smith Street in Shoreham, Vermont.
And here is another from Cornwall, Vermont. Notice how I matched up the real and the painted windows in this shot of the finished piece with one of the models.
On the door of a blacksmith shop in Middlebury, VT I was asked to paint the farrier posing with Ishkabibble the ram and Butterball the black labrador.
One of the most detailed and populous murals I painted was the door of a working sugar house in Lincoln, VT.
I painted inn keepers Bob and Linda Burdett on the side wall of her motel in New Haven, VT. Painting on clapboard siding makes it hard to achieve realism.
I occasionally got to paint farm signs. I loved creating these calf portraits. Lettering wasn’t such a fun thing for me.