Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project

Welcome Home Warriors, Vietnam War Mural Project. Photos of artists Linda Shader and Echo Westover by Hime Romero, Manteca Bulletin.

Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project

Yucca Valley Artists Awarded International Commission to Honor Vietnam Veterans

On true Larger Than Life Murals scale, Welcome Home Warriors is a huge public art mural honoring veterans and the fallen of the Vietnam War. Yucca Valley artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover of Larger Than Life Murals were awarded the mural commission after an international call-for-artists by the Manteca Mural Society (MMS), Manteca, CA.

The mother-daughter team recently painted the 16 x 20 foot mural in their Yucca Valley studio, working for the first time on panels of a special fabric-like material called non-woven polyester.


The Painting of Welcome Home Warriors Mural


The Mural Design Phase

Westover took the reins on the original design concept. After months of research and design work, preliminary designs were submitted and reviewed by the mural committee. Public meetings were held to gather community feedback and veteran’s comments. Muralists were narrowed down to 3 finalists, whom then each hand painted a 16″ x 20″ scaled model of their design.

The MMS had a long list of specific content requested by the veterans. The mural includes, an M113 APC (armored personnel carrier), a Chinook and Medevac helicopter, an F-4 Phantom fighter jet, a representation of women in service, although they were not in the field, and a “War Dog” and handler, a bunker, and much more.

What they didn’t want, was something that looked like a collage, or a bunch of individual pictures in boxes. The artists were asked to make the mural look as much as possible like an actual scene from the war.

 

“They didn’t just want us to paint their mural, they wanted us to paint their story.” Linda Shrader

Progress of panels 2 and 3 of the Welcome Home Warriors Mural in the studio. Photo by LTLM.
Progress of panels 2 and 3 of the Welcome Home Warriors Mural in the artist’s studio. Photo by LTLM.

“It was a challenge finding great reference photos for all the content in the necessary angles to work in the composition,” notes Shrader. “We did have to improvise a lot in the design and painting phases to adjust light and shadows to reflect a consistent time of day, and to make everything full color, because so many war photos were shot in black and white or sepia tone.”

While many military photos are available free of charge in the Public Domain, some of the historical photos the artists chose required licensing, which can be quite costly. One image licensed for the mural through Getty Images, the large soldier stepping into the mural, was listed at almost $600.

A Chance Meeting With Tim Page, Iconic Vietnam War Photographer

While researching another photo the artists wanted to use, they thought they had tracked down the original photographer to request a license. The photograph turned out not to be his, but the inquiry had lead them to photojournalist Tim Page, an iconic Vietnam War Photographer, now living in Australia. The photojournalist in ‘Apocalypse Now’, played by Dennis Hopper was based on Page.

Page was happy to help the artists, taking the time to delve into his colossal archive of Vietnam War photos to search for their requests.

“He sent us dozens of images to choose from,” recounts Westover, “Amazing work, all of them. Five of which were perfect to license for the mural. We were very grateful.”

“We also learned through Tim,” adds Shrader, “That so many photographers also died or went missing in Vietnam, and those who returned were never really recognized or welcomed home, just like our military service veterans. I thought it was so apropos that several of Tim’s photos were used for this particular mural.”

For more about Tim Page, visit his website at http://www.timpage.com.au


The Mural Installation

A Seasoned Crew Installs The Mural In One Day

Installer and master muralist, Dave Gordon (pictured below), along with a seasoned all-volunteer crew lead by Ron Cruz, Project Supervisor and Vietnam Combat Veteran, met Shrader for the first time as she delivered the mural to be installed. Beginning at 6:30 AM and finishing just before sunset, the veteran’s mural was installed in one, long day.

Westover arrived a day later, and the artists had a couple of days to perform touch-ups on the mural before Gordon finished the installation phase with protective spray coatings.

The mural transfer, artist Linda Shrader hands over the mural to the installation crew.
L to R, Dave Gordon, Bill Barnhart, Gene Bedard, Linda Shrader, Fred Gallegos, Ron Cruz, Bill Buffington, Jack Dauler, and Roger LaPresle.

The Mural Was Viewed Whole For The First Time

As the lift and protective covering came down, stopping and starting to a loud beep, beep, beep… the mural was viewed whole for the first time. As Shrader stepped back to take it all in, she noticed several of the men from the crew taking photos with their cell phones.

“I got a big kick out of seeing the crew taking photos immediately after they finished,” mused Shrader. “I took it as a sign that they were proud of what we had accomplished.”

Crew Taking Photos After Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation. Photo by LTLM
Crew Taking Photos After Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation. Photo by LTLM

Video Slideshow of Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation

The Vietnam War mural is the fourth mural to be installed as part of a larger mural project which will total $125,000 and 5 murals when completed next year. The veterans and the fallen from World War l, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror will all be represented in the monumental project.


High-Speed Time-Lapse Video of Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation

Wall before Welcome Home Warriors mural installation.
Wall before Welcome Home Warriors mural installation.

Installed on the oldest and largest historical building in town, the murals grace the East-facing wall of Manteca Bedquarters located at the corner of W. Yosemite Ave and S. Main St, Manteca, CA.


The Mural Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony

Distinguished guests and over 500 people, including many veterans and families of the fallen, were in attendance for the May 20th, mural unveiling and dedication. Speakers delivered moving speeches, including some very emotional ones from Vietnam War veterans.

Over 500 gathered for the Welcome Home Warriors mural unveiling and dedication ceremony. Photo by LTLM.
Over 500 gathered for the Welcome Home Warriors mural unveiling and dedication ceremony.
Photo by LTLM

“We deeply respect you and thank you for your service. As an artist, this is the best way to show that.” Echo Westover


Video Slideshow of  Welcome Home Warriors Mural Unveiling and Dedication

The video features about 5 minutes of some highlights from the 1.5 hour ceremony. Charleen Carroll, MMS Board President, was a wonderful Master of Ceremonies.


A Special Tribute To The Fallen

 

Linda Shrader painting names and ages on tribute in Welcome Home Warriors Mural. Photo by LTLM
Linda Shrader painting names and ages on tribute in Welcome Home Warriors Mural. Photo by LTLM

A portrayal of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with tribute to the 17 fallen men from Manteca and the surrounding communities, is one of the main elements in, and inspiration for the mural. Each man’s name and age is listed, even though ages are not included on the official memorial wall. MMS made this request so that the general public might be more aware of just how young most of these men were when they served their country and paid the ultimate price.

“This is extremely important to me personally. My husband and my brother were together in Vietnam,” recalls Charleen Carroll, MMS Board President. “There were so many young men from here that served, and 17 that passed away. This is a chance to honor them and their service to their country.” Carroll’s brother, 18 year-old Brock Elliot, was the first serviceman from Manteca to give his life.


Help Is Available to Veterans Still Battling…

The Vietnam Veterans went to Washington D.C. and asked for help, and they got it. There are Vet Centers all over the United States.

“Please go. Go right away,” encourages Cruz. “They will welcome you with open arms and I guarantee they will help you. They will help your spouse and immediate family understand why you are the way you are.”

For more information or to locate your nearest Vet Center visit https://www.vetcenter.va.gov


An Original Work

Welcome Home Warriors Mural is an original work commissioned and owned by the Manteca Mural Society, Manteca CA.

Marking the community’s 30th mural adding to the diverse visual narrative of their rich history, more about Manteca murals, visit www.mantecamurals.com.

 

Artists Team-Up Painting Venus De Fido Dome

Artists Team Up Painting Venus De Fido Dome In Palm Desert, CA

As construction on a new 5-star spa for pets and their people nears completion, a team of artists are busy at work on the Venus De Fido dome in the interior of the beautiful Spa. The dome murals are the first of many works of art that will grace it’s ceilings, walls, and niches.

Progress on Venus De Fido Dome
Artists L to R- Linda Shrader, Bruce Hamilton, Cory Hamilton, Echo Westover
Venus De Fido Rendering
Venus De Fido Rendering

The dome is 20′ in diameter, with 8 sections separated by faux-painted marble columns created by Cory Hamilton, of Hamilton Builders. Hamilton had the concept of bringing together a team of local artists/muralists, coordinating with each other, yet each individually painting a section of the dome.

The first two panels were designed and painted by Cory Hamilton and Bruce Hamilton respectively. Larger Than Life Murals artists Echo Westover and Linda Shrader are the two most recent artists to complete their sections of the dome.


Goddess Artemis and Her Hunting Dog By Echo Westover
Finished Goddess Artemis, Painted by Echo Westover
Finished Goddess Artemis, designed and painted by Echo Westover, Larger Than Life Murals

Echo drew her inspiration from Artemis, the Goddess of Hunt and the Moon. “She is usually pictured with a hunting dog, so I thought it was rather fitting for the Venus De Fido dome mural,” explains Echo. “My dog Clever, which is a German Short Haired Pointer, serves nicely as her loyal hunting dog.”


All Dogs Go To Heaven by Linda Shrader
L-VDF-Dome-Panel-Finished-w
All Dogs Go To Heaven designed and painted by Linda Shrader, Larger Than Life Murals

The reference for the angel in Shrader’s All Dogs Go To Heaven, was the painting An Angel and a Devil Fighting for the Soul of a Child by Giacinto Gimignani. Cassie, a three-legged rescue dog owned by Lindi Biggi, President of Loving All Animals, is represented in this mural as the angel dog.

“I really do believe all dogs go to heaven,” comments Shrader, “I was thrilled when my design was accepted and I was able to visually illustrate this belief in my contribution to the Venus De Fido dome.”

To see more visit our Larger Than Life Murals Gallery.

Butterfly Mural Exhibition- IWAF 2015

"The Butterly Has Landed" Exhibition Mural, Indian Wells Arts Festival 2015

Butterfly Mural, Featured Exhibition At 13th Annual Indian Wells Arts Festival 2015

 

Screenshot 2015-03-17 20.53.26In keeping with the Indian Wells Arts Festival’s mantra, “Where Art Is Happening,” we were honored to be invited for our fifth year, to be one of many ‘artists in action,’ creating an exhibition mural from start to finish during the 3-day festival.

The butterfly mural titled, “The Butterfly Has Landed,” was designed by Echo, and painted by both of us, April 3-5, 2015. It’s 12′ x 5′ acrylic (on 3 individual- 4′ x 5′ canvases), and we’re looking for a permanent home for it. If you’re interested in owning this mural at a great price, contact us here.

We have to keep the mural fairly simple to complete it in 3 days, because we spend a lot of time, answering questions and sharing information about mural painting. But good design and color are effective in catching the attention of festival goers.

When interested children approach, we often hand them the paint brush to add a few strokes and “help” with the mural, with parents permission of course.

Echo was also honored with a 3rd place ribbon in the acrylic painting category, with the beginnings of her newest series, featuring a stylized look at some iconic Southern California landscapes.

Visit www.indianwellsartsfestival.com For more Festival Experience!

To view more photos, visit our Larger Than Life Mural Gallery

“Humming Bird Mural” 2014

Hummingbird Mural

 The Hummingbird Mural is approx. 6′ x 4.5′, Acrylic on interior wall.  Commissioned by Yucca Family Medical Care, Yucca Valley, CA.

Here’s the story of this mural… The Office Manager, Jenifer,  who commissioned us to paint several murals, had already adorned many of their halls and patient rooms with beautiful art and large framed desert photography. She wanted something more… she really wanted their office to aesthetically have the “wow” factor. Echo and I jumped at the chance to aim high and “wow” her! The staff loves desert landscapes, plants, and animals, so subject matter is plentiful, we just needed some great designs and photo references.

I set out on a mission in the Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) to take some fresh photos with Starlin and Blaze. But it was mid-May, and the wildflowers were scarce. Remembering the garden at the Hi Desert Water District office, we headed across town and got there just before the sun  went down, and indeed, there was a variety of plants still blooming. Just as I was about to snap a shot of this purple flower, a hummingbird buzzed right into the frame! It darted around a bit, pausing as if posing, letting me get several shots, and then was gone again. How cool was that!?

So here is the design we presented with my original photograph:

Humming bird design

 

The room was painted this beautiful green after our presentation, we we adjusted the colors of the mural to work with the room.

Here is the finished painted mural:

Larger Than Life Murals- Hummingbird Mural.

 

“Larger Than Life Murals exceeded our expectations from beginning to completion. Professional and dependable, Linda and Echo went above and beyond to complete 4 murals within a very tight schedule. We love our murals, and confidently recommend Larger Than Life Murals.”

Jenifer Batin, Office Manager, Yucca Family Medical Care 2014

 

Close-up of the Hummingbird Mural
Close-up of the Hummingbird Mural

 

Echo painting the flowers on the Hummingbird Mural.
Echo painting the flowers on the Hummingbird Mural.

 

I also shot a time-lapse video of this mural painting, so I’ll get that up asap!

We welcome your comments or questions 🙂