I grew up riding at a north GA summer camp called Valley View Ranch, and I ended up working there for several years. I’ve long considered the ranch my home, as I had my best friends, favorite horses, and most significant learning experiences there.
There were a few murals painted on the outside walls of the Chuck Wagon, where the campers eat, that were 50 years old and had started deteriorating, and the camp directors stripped them off of the walls a few years ago which was a little upsetting to me- the had been there as long as I had, and were part of the old ranch ambiance of the camp. But of course, being an artist, I jumped on the chance to paint new murals in their place so I could leave a part of myself at the ranch that will hopefully become iconic to the current and future campers, much as the old murals were to me.
Here I am painting one of the murals! The panels were each 12″ x 8.5″, and though the mural didn’t quite cover the entire area, it was a big project. I used outdoor latex paint which is really meant for painting houses, not murals, but I used to do a lot of set painting for my highschool theatre using latex paints so it wasn’t too hard for me to get the paint to do what I wanted it to. It was a lot like using acrylics, except the paint colors change more drastically upon drying.
Here is the finished English mural! the VVR is the old cattle branch that the ranch used in the 1950s.
And the western mural! Barrel racing is my favorite horseback riding activity… besides trail riding.
Here is what the murals looked like on the actual building. The cattle brands are J8 for Jones and their 8 children (the family who owns the ranch), Rocking L, and Chelsea Gap Farm.
And the other side! The brands are Wandering W, the Valley View Logo, and Camp Cloudmont.
It took me about a week to finish both of them, but I didn’t work all day every day. I spent a lot of time petting ponies, napping and hanging out with some old friends. It was definitely the most fun I’ve had working on a large scale project. One of the best things about being a freelance artist is that you can nap whenever you want… as long as you get your work done.
Here is a small project I did for the ranch last summer- the mailbox. This photo was taken in February when everything is much browner (but still beautiful), but it gives you a good idea of what the ranch looks like. Amazing.