Every good path

 7x6" oil on canvas and as before, mounted on masonite pane.  As I walked down the road with the dog, I found the most beautiful treasures! Hope you enjoy this mountain wildflower painting! The good book says..."Incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thy heart to understanding. We are to seek her as silver and search for her as for Hidden Treasures." And down a little further it says to keep the paths of justice and preserve the way of his Saints. Then shall thou understand righteousness and justice and equity , yes,  every good path. The advice is that those who leave the paths of unrighteousness, who walk in the ways of darkness who love to do evil and delight in the perverseness of the wicked, who's ways are crooked and perverse in their paths, that they will not take hold of the path of life. So I'm thinking about paths today as I take my morning walk with PG.       Growing along the roadside this morning,  a variety of exquisite little blessings peak out from among the weeds. How amazing to think that each one was designed individually, as not one is exactly alike any other! What am I doing really, but looking for that blessed hope and the Glorious appearing of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ! Here among the lilies of the field, for the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men!


From Huge to Teeny Weeny

      For tiny details I use tiny brushes and a magnifying light to paint these 2 X 3 inch racehorse commissions! - quite a different sort of challenge than mural painting on a big outdoor wall!
 I am told these two little paintings will eventually find themselves in the possession of the famous jockey Mike Smith, who rode champion filly 'Unique Bella' to victory in the Santa Maria Stakes in February and the huge thoroughbred 'Justify' to win the Kentucky Derby this month! That amazing horse is actually favored to win the Triple Crown!

Oil on"linen mounted on 2 X 3 inch Masonite panel

'Justify' in the lead!

Here's my rendering of 'Unique Bella' ridden by Mike Smith . Oil on linen mounted on 2 X 3 inch Masonite panel

Unique Bella wins the Preakness 2/11/18 at Santa Anita .  World class jockey Mike Smith giving thanks!


Leaving the wall behind

     For a while at least, I think we'll just pack up these old painting clothes, toss out some of the really worn out paint brushes and rags, return the reference books to our local library, wash out or toss all our aluminum cans, (one nice thing about this amazing theme paint is that it peals right out of the plastic containers!), put away the ladders, chair, stool, radio, tarps, and remaining gallon cans of paint. Except for applying an ultraviolet protective coating and having the 28 names redone, these 2 murals are finished!

      Palatka was very kind to us, and we will miss seeing many of the people working at the courthouse who said hello and commented on our work from day to day. We appreciate the use of the parking lot and the extremely clean facilities there!!! Thank you to those who noticed our mistake in the year for Pearl Harbor! It's corrected now! Thank you to the Palatka Daily News, the Conlee Snyder Mural Committee, with special thanks to John and Gwen Alexander, Evelyn Snyder, Frank Walker (for securing our scaffold!) and Linda Crabell, who came by periodically to see how we were doing, Sam Deputy and also Don from the bicycle shop! Also, I want to thank Pat and Gary Greene from our church in Flagler Beach, for keeping us company one afternoon as we painted!  Our pastor Don Schultze drove out from Palm Coast one day to see our work and took some really great pictures!  We also enjoyed a nice extended visit from our good friends Louise and Jerry Cunningham all the way from Flat Creek Baptist in Gilboa, NY! What a treat! And thanks to all the FB friends and relatives who left comments and likes! There were also visitors from places like Canada, Russia, upstate NY, Ohio, Georgia and local Floridians who came by to take pictures and talk. I want to specifically thank the Veterans from different wars, who came by to study and comment on the war scenes and share. The purpose of this war memorial is for them, to Honor Those Who Have Served and to Remember Those Who Have Fallen.  
  A posthumus thank you is in order for the late Clint Snyder, one of the founders of the Conlee Snyder Mural Committee, who envisioned this memorial years ago, and put together a very detailed composite of reference photos and instructions to work from. He also worked tirelessly right before he died at the age of 92, to raise funds for these mural projects.

Funds are still needed and donations for these and future mural projects can be brought to the Bicycle Shop on St. John's Ave. in Palatka or sent to the address below. 

 The Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee, Inc.,  is a 501(c)(3) Corporation, which makes your contribution fully tax deductible.  Should you care to partner with them, your tax-free contribution may be sent to:                                    The Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee, Inc.
                                                             P. O. Box 1901
                                                    Palatka, Florida  32178


Robert H Jenkins Tribute Portrait

 Portrait of Robert H. Jenkinson painted on cement column to the right of Viet Nam War scene..

  Into our 8th week, our mural painting was now coming to a close with just a few last minute details to complete. We spent so much time on the Iraq deployment scene and were both looking forward to finalizing our project! I had one remaining thing left to do, and that was to paint the portrait of a marine by the name of Robert H. Jenkins on the column above the Viet Nam scroll for MIA's and KIA's. I knew nothing about this young man at first, but in researching his name learned that while serving as a machine gunner with Company C, Third Reconnaissance Battalion,on March 5,1969, he was killed in action, when, along with a dozen recon team fighters, he was attacked by Viet Cong enemy fire.  Jenkins and another marine by the name of Fred Ostrom, had taken up position together in a trench to man the machine guns during the attack.  A hand grenade was thrown into their emplacement and Jenkins threw himself on top of his fellow marine absorbing the full impact of the grenade. He was mortally wounded and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic act and sacrifice of life. How fitting for a portrait of this brave man to be painted beside the Viet Nam War panel along with 28 other names of men from Putnam County who were killed or missing in action.
Among the dead and missing

                                 you will find the name
                      PFC Robert Henry Jenkins Jr. USMC.  
        Palatka has a middle school named after this brave man.The Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee, Inc.,  is a 501(c)(3) Corporation, which makes your contribution fully tax deductible.  Should you care to partner with them, your tax-free contribution may be sent to:                                    The Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee, Inc.
                                                             P. O. Box 1901
                                                    Palatka, Florida  32178



Iraq war mural - into the 4th week!

     Yesterday our troubles didn't seem so far away! and hopefully they wouldn't be here to stay!! It was another chilly and very breezy subtropical morning... Bundled up in layers we rigged up the tarp on the side of our scaffold to cut down on the wind chill factor! We then optimistically painted for 3 hours before giving up...It's just plain silly to try to hold your paintbrush steady in high winds!! I think with proper steering and the tarp trimmed just right to catch the wind, we could have sailed right back home to Palm Coast!       
     But today was a welcome relief from yesterday's comedy..a beautiful day!  it warmed up a bit from this morning's 49 degrees,the winds had died down and there was less risk of sailing away on our scaffold!!    I remember looking up into the blue sky and wondered about those tornado warnings posted for central Florida!!! 
    So today Ed finished adding 28 KIA and MIA on the Viet Nam War scroll,

and I was able to make good progress on the marines waiting deployment in the Iraqi desert, and waiting for me to paint their many boots on the ground!!! and machine guns, camouflage uniforms and grim expressions.. This project has been a lesson in history, a sad journey down a very sobering memory lane and a realization that when history repeats itself, there is so much unexpected and sometimes unnecessary loss of life.
 Several sections pieced together   
In the bridge crossing scene down below a landing boat carrying 2 soldiers waits as a couple of tanks cross overhead.

        What remains to be done still, is a single memorial portrait of a soldier from the Viet Nam War, to be painted above the scroll. This is the reference photo to be used - one young life represented on this wall.
      There is a log of pictures out there taken by passersby, some visiting from other states touring the mural trails, admiring the murals and offering their thanks in honor of the men that served. We had the fun of meeting a nice couple from Maine today, who were happily following the mural map from Palatka's Welcome Center. They came over just as were packing up and spent a good half hour chatting with us.   The woman's husband mentioned that he had lived thru all 4 wars! He must have been very young when WWII broke out!
 So, thank you for visiting this blog and I hope you come in person to see all the history painted on Palatka's buildings!  Funding for these and all other murals is being raised by the Conlee Snyder Mural Committee, and donations may be brought to the bicycle shop directly across from Palatka's Welcome Center on St. John's Ave.  


WWII memorial....Blood, Guts and Nerves of Steel

During the second world war, much blood of brave young Americans was spilled in the Hawaian waters of Pearl Harbor,  the beaches of Normandy, France, and the island of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific.  On the Veteran's Memorial wall in Palatka, Florida, this fourth panel to the left of  the Korean War scenes painted in 2016, is finished.   From top to bottom they are....the bombing attack on Pearl Harbor, the Normandy Beach D-Day ( actual scene depicting D+1 Day) , and the iconic flag raising at Iwo Jima. These were the three scenes the late Clint Snyder envisioned for the WWII panel of this memorial. I  remember way back in 2012 or was it '13...Clint had invited Ed and I to have a bite with him at Dunkin Donuts, to discuss the possibility of us painting a veteran's memorial . We already felt quite overwhelmed with the huge Annie Oakley mural we were painting and the thought of painting another one like what he was describing....consisting of 21 scenes, each triple scene being 16' high by 12' wide on a 91 ft wall seemed like a job for Superman! or woman!  History was never my best subject, and didn't think we could do justice to a project of this magnitude! Clint however, explained to us how this was all going to happen. He had put together a rough sketch for each entry, numerous reference photos and a placement map with measurements, arrows, circles and labels, and after spreading all this out on the restaurant table, explaining each war scene in detail, we got into his car, and drove over to the courthouse parking lot to view the wall he had in mind. He then asked us to think about it and put together a proposal for the mural committee to approve. He would then begin to raise funds from various local and other veteran's groups and advertise for funding from the private sector as well. I wondered whose job would be harder .. ours or his! 



Vet's Memorial Mural 2018 WWII and Iraq

Once again, we are in the charming town of Palatka, Florida, to paint 2 more panels for the Veteran's Memorial Mural on the western wall of the Courthouse. World War II and the Iraq War comprise 6 paintings in all, 3 for each war. As we begin the upper scene for WWII. The horrendous suprise attack in the early morning hours on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese Imperial Navy comes to life as we prepare the backdrop sea and sky for this awful visual record of treachery perpetrated on our peaceful naval base. Although devastating, the attack did not cripple the United States forces as the Japanese had hoped. The oil storage facilities, shipyards, submarine docks and repair stations remained intact, while all of the Navy's
Pacific Fleet of the aircraft carriers were elsewhere.
our worksite still there ...still waiting!
Frank Walker's very necessary scaffold modifications-wooden handrail and crisis-cross cable assembly!

Iwo Jima flag raising
      We are hopefully going to finish this half of our project in 2 weeks and although there is rain in the forecast for several days next week, we feel we have a good head start in what we have been able to accomplish so far. As I paint the huge ships anchored unaware in Oahu's beautiful harbor, it's difficult to imagine what was experienced there on that morning of December 7, 1941. What sudden terror, fear and confusion, in a war that had not even been declared yet! I try to do justice to the terrible scene with firey explosions and plumes of black choking smoke filling the air. Sadly, 20 Naval vessels and 200 airlplanes were destroyed, and the American loss of life included 1,500 soldiers and personnel, with another
1,000 personnel wounded. In light of the sacrifices made to protect our country, I feel grateful and safe where I am with paintbrush in hand looking back on that fateful day.
             Actually, this was for us, our absolute best painting day so far, and we would like to thank a very special volunteer from the amazing Conlee Snyder Mural Committee! A wonderfully dedicated Frank Walker concerned himself with making sure our questionable new scaffolding was safe and secure, and took it upon himself to correct some of the problems we were having with it!  He spent quite a lot of time anchoring it together with cables, adding supporting outriggers and even built a nice guard rail for the top level! We are so thankful for this mural committee, who are comprised of caring individuals,
volunteering their time, energy and skills to bring the history the city and our nation to the town of Palatka. The mission of the Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee is to 'accurately depict the historical, cultural and natural riches of Palatka and Putnam County through larger than life murals. In sharing these pictorial renderings with citizens and visitors appreciation of the heritage of our community will be developed and enhanced.' The Committee was named in honor of the organization founders Elizabeth and Clinton Snyder and the City Commissioner and philanthropist Leon Conlee. We are also personally grateful for the Committee Chairman John Alexander and his wife and all they do to make it all happen!


Chris' name added to the mural wall

Thank you Lord, for this beautiful son... Children are a gift you said...
I was so blessed to have him as mine
Everything he did, was done with enthusiasm and care
As was this mural scene
Chris, your name has been added to the Chosin scene on the Korean war memorial.
Thanks for the time you gave us..R.I.P. Love always, Mom


Miniature thoroughbred portraits: Arrogate/Songbird

Commission portraiture:
Acrylic on 2.5" x 3.5" masonite

Acrylic on 2.5" x 3.5" masonite


Finally a nice cool day for painting!

These kids were more than happy to pose for us!
Readers become leaders ! Better Grab a Book !

And they asked lots of great questions too!


William D. Moseley Mural / April, 2016

Our mural adventures have taken us to an east facing wall over at the William Moseley Elementary School in Palatka..Our 3 other murals faced west with the sun coming up over those walls at around 12 noon, and our window to paint was early mornings, my favorite time! Best thing to do now is to arrive at lunch time just as that hot sun is about to move on! Getting started then  motivates to us to really budget our time and energy!
 A little Moseley history:
The first elected Governor of Florida was William Moseley (1845-1849). After serving his term in office, he settled  in Palatka and operated a citrus grove there.  For this mural project, he will be depicted in that setting along with his grave site which is located in the West View Cemetery . The book in his hands will encourage young readers with the appropriate title 'Readers Become Leaders'.   So far we  have been visited by enthusiastic second and third grade classes who all asked great questions about the mural, and about Florida's history!


Three down and four to go!

    Well, it's been a great honor to paint the first three of seven wars for this memorial! And we would just like to thank the Conlee Snyder Mural Committee, the City of Palatka for this commission and to the War Veterans, their families and the many civilians for supporting this endeavor with their donations and encouragement during the painting process! We take home with us many wonderful memories of time spent at this wall and we look forward to continuing and eventually completing the painting of WWI, WWII, The Persian Gulf War and The Iraq War.
My wonderful husband applies the final ultraviolet protective coating to Korea.
A lonely stretch of ice before them, and impassable mountains beyond!

Our Brooklyn assistant lent a capable hand!
And finally in memory of all those who gave their youth and their lives!


Finis! well almost...

I appreciate my son Chris' lettering style ~ Just beautiful! Come Saturday l think I will ask him to redo mine for the scene below.

We are so thankful for this project but happy to be nearing the finish line! What remains is the KIA names that we have at present to be added to the scrolls.  
So many people came by today... Some of them veterans ...some from out of town.. to take pictures..ask questions...tell their stories... but mostly to just say thank you!


Saturday's Chosin Reservoir Scene/and Monday's Rain

Our painting adventure continues with my son exercising his creative potential! He has talent! The lower panel of our Korean War panel now has an icy mountain backdrop!  
   I worked on the painting above Chris's masterpiece as Ed touched up some other areas in the Vietnam scenes. In a few hours we called it quits as the sun came around to our side of the building, but not until Chris completed his frozen Korean mountain range!

Nice work Chris!
Come Monday morning I plan to sketch in the march across the ice, refine our B29 bomber and possibly add a scroll and lettering for each scene. We'll see. 

Monday: Ed laid down a nice clean snow covered lake just under the mountains, where we'll portray a long convoy of soldiers and jeeps crossing the pass, depicting the withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir. Temps reached 30-40 below 0 at times, and I read that medics had to keep the ampules of morphine in their mouths to prevent the fluid inside from freezing. Blood froze in tubes, guns jammed and truck engines had to be kept running at all times. All this while dodging enemy machine gun fire. In an interview with U.S. Marine Lee Bergee, a survivor of this battle,  he states '...I do believe that Chosin was a classic example of a small but well-disciplined force prevailing over a tenacious enemy, severe weather and overwhelming odds. Other battles have had high battle casualties and fierce fighting, but it was the severe weather and the fact that we were fighting off six Chinese divisions that made the Chosin Reservoir campaign so different from the rest.'
   And here is the progress on my group painting...
I wonder how many out of this group came home.

Trying to do justice to the brave men who served, young faces, many in their 20's off to fight a war not understood.

 The 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) was organized on October 9, 1950, assuming the lineage of A Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion. (an initial strength of 135 enlisted men)

.. Tuesday was a complete washout and we drove home soaking wet with nothing more done than a couple scrolls sketched in on the pillars! No pictures of this or the rainstorm that swept paint, rags, water, brushes etc, onto the ground below!     


Painting Against the Wind

Monday's gale force winds nearly swept us and our supplies off the platform but we held onto the wall and finished Putnam County's Seal for the upper left side of the Memorial! Phew!

Flag 'unpainted' and replaced with the county seal!
Our tarp tied to the scaffold protects Ed from the sun and wind as he adds some highlights to our Afghanistan cliffs


While touching up the FSB Ripcord scene

Our adventure in Palatka continues.....
 An Interlachen, FL survivor from RIPCORD (middle scene) with that name on his license plate came by with his wife to say hello and share his story. I asked him for names of missing or killed from Palatka.. He said we can find the names on the RIPCORD Association website - ( just under 300 dead!!) 'What about POWs?'  I asked.  Yes, possibly..because they went back to that spot years later and actually found a pair of boots!  This is not just a painting project for us / but a solemn history lesson, given by those who fought there! These memorials are for them..
 A full moon in a predawn sky hangs over Afghanistan cliffs...Flowers and 'boots on the ground' patrolling along crumbling Qalats on the third painting down...very technologically advanced gear for these soldiers... and..upgraded quite some from compared to the Vietnam era....  and now the enemy possess the same....
Unfinished Afghanistan War Scenes. Showing 'Dark Horse'(top), Battle of Keating (middle), and our soldiers patrolling 'Qalats'(Bottom).



    Our progress continues in Palatka as Ed and I make headway painting the last war for this Veteran's Memorial..not our last, but the last war to be depicted. After completing Vietnam and this one of Afghanistan, painting the Korean War would follow. These were chosen because many of the veterans of these wars are still alive today, and would be able to watch the actual painting in progress! Lots of history on the internet for anyone interested in what has been going on over there. Google 'Dark Horse/Afghanistan War in 2011 to read about K Company's rescue mission there (Many died and dozens of Marine's returned home with missing limbs), and The Battle of Kamdesh where a force of 300 Taliban assaulted the American Combat Outpost Keating in 2009. and this war hasn't ended...and we continue to salute the brave men and women who served. and thank the many who stop by to watch and occasionally share a memory or two.
Small scale rendering showing all three sections of how the wall will look on the larger 16'x 12' area.
Scaffolding and shadows partially obscuring our work. The endless Afghanistan War!

Detail for top painting of Afghanistan mural: a Marines rescue operation referred to as 'Dark Horse' This part of Afghanistan was considered to be one of the most dangerous regions to be fighting in.

 further detail of Marine rescue
Weather permitting Ed and I are planning to go tomorrow and paint all week, hopefully to get a good bit of this one done!


A Year Ago Yesterday

       Happy New Year!! We all wonder where 2015 went! 

     It was a year ago yesterday, and the engine light came on just as we made our left into Cracker Swamp Road toward Palatka. We did change the oil in NY..  Should really check it.. maybe later.   Driving past farm after farm we guessed at what they might be growing there in those perfectly straight rows...corn? cabbage? potatoes? We passed the same 2 horses grazing in the woods, the dilapidated trucks parked under a metal half collapsed roof, the shirtless man seated on his deck..Same as before... Drizzle on the windshield and overcast skies contradicted early weather reports as we crossed over the river and turned down St. John's Ave. After our 5 week absence, our mural looked fine, but maybe little faded from the sun?  but the scaffolding was still there, and plenty of parking available.

And so, 4 hours later, here is the start of 'Operation Giant Slingshot', a US Navy effort in 1968 to halt enemy river traffic moving across the border from Cambodia. In this scene, water cannons mounted on patrol boats were used to flush out enemy infiltration on the Vam Co Dong river. Next time I'll paint the Palm trees along the river banks, and detail, but you get the idea.   So much to learn about this war! Every so often a Vietnam Vet will come by to comment and share a personal story or two from their own firsthand experience, memories, heartaches. We're gaining new respect for those unsung soldiers of that much disputed conflict.