“Welcome Home Warriors,” a public art mural honoring the veterans and fallen of the Vietnam War, was recently featured on ABC10 KXTV News. The 16′ x 20′ mural, painted by Larger Than Life Murals artists Echo Westover and Linda Shrader, nears completion and will soon be installed in Manteca, CA, as reported by Kurt Rivera.
Designed and painted by Echo Westover and Linda Shrader, “Welcome Home Warriors” is an original work commissioned and owned by the Manteca Mural Society, Manteca, California.
The LION PRIDE Mural project between Larger Than Life Murals and La Contenta Middle School students is sure to make a lasting imprint for years to come. With it’s sheer size, bright colors, and striking design, it’s visible from almost anywhere on the campus, and even from eastbound Yucca Trail.
Beyond the visual impact, the overall success and positive experience of the LION PRIDE mural project was made possible because of a community effort. LCMS students and staff, parents, volunteer artist assistants, family, and friends all contributed in one way or another.
The Lion Pride Mural was twice featured in The Hi-Desert Star newspaper which was greatly appreciated. And of course, without the support and approval by the MUSD Board, none of this would have happened.
It all began when Jake Possehl, PBIS Director, reached out to Larger Than Life Murals (LTLM). Possehl had the idea of a LION PRIDE mural to help raise school pride to a whole new level, while encouraging student involvement as part of La Contenta’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Support program (PBIS).
LTLM artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover knew this would be a great partnership project. “How many middle school students are greeted by a 15-foot-tall mountain lion stepping out of a wall in the middle of their campus everyday?” Shrader smiles, adding, “They love it, and the more we can strengthen the love + school equation, the better!”
Shrader speaks from experience. The mother daughter team of Shrader and Westover, Artist/Owners of Larger Than Life Murals, has painted over 60 murals in Southern California, and many of them on school campuses.
“The coolest part about public art murals is, they’re one of the most powerful and effective vehicles for delivering a message to students.” L. Shrader
“You can’t help but notice a larger than life mural, so of course it engages everyone on campus.” Shrader explains. “And most of us love wild animals, so that’s a WIN-WIN to start.”
Now factor in the power of hands on experience, and students reached over time… that all sums up to a REALLY powerful tool. Music also adds to the experience, hence, a classical piece was chosen for the soundtrack to the LION PRIDE Mural Time Lapse Video.
Students from LCMS Art Club, Leadership, and PBIS Student Leaders Participated
After much planning and preparation, about 20 students from three campus clubs, including LCMS Art Club, Leadership, and PBIS Student Leaders joined forces for the task.
Beginning Saturday morning, Jan. 28th, the design was laid on the wall using various techniques. Students helped with placing patterns, snap lines, locating coordinates, and making and using a plumb line. Some freehand drawing was added by Westover.
Students Began Painting Sunday
Sunday, Jan. 29th was the big student paint day. About 30 students came and went throughout the weekend. Many participated both days, and some only Saturday or Sunday, as a result of sports and other commitments.
Shrader and Westover, assisted by volunteer artists, Aaron Hansen and Jose Fierros, continued working on and detailing the mural until finished Tuesday evening.
On Friday, Feb. 3rd, reporter Leah Sanson came out to get some more information about the PBIS program and to take some photos for the Hi-Desert Star newspaper. Participating students gathered to sign their finished mural and pose for a group shot.
Larger Than Life Murals High Speed Time Lapse Video
Larger Than Life Murals video taped the LION PRIDE Mural painting process with their high speed time lapse camera. Beginning with student paint on Sunday, the short video below is 3 days of mural painting and credits in under six minutes.
Click on any photo to open the LION PRIDE Mural Gallery view to see all the photos larger…
Linda Shrader reviews before beginning with students1. Photo by Lori Thomas
Linda Shrader reviews before beginning with students. Photo by Lori Thomas.
Artist Shrader and students discuss the plan for getting the LION PRIDE mural design on the wall
Photo by Lori Thomas
Photo by Lori Thomas
Photo by Lori Thomas
Dr. Gruwell helps out painting. Photo by Lori Thomas
Artist Assistant Jose works with students on the lift. Photo by Lori Thomas
Placing patterns for some important mural elements. Larger Than Life Murals. Photo by Lori Thomas
Echo Westover keeps a watchful eye
Students painting on the mural
LION PRIDE Mural in progress. Busy student painting day at La Contenta Middle School, with Larger Than Life Murals. Photo by Lori Thomas.
Going up in the lifts was a first-time experience for many students and staff! Photo by Lori Thomas
Montana cutting in edges. Photo by L Shrader
Students working. Cole on the right.
Evening work continues on LION PRIDE Mural
Jose Fierros shares some of his artwork with captivated students. Photo by L Shrader
Student paints from the scaffold
Meagan working on edge details
Echo Westover working on shading the scroll
Echo Westover detailing
Students sign LION PRIDE Mural
Student and assistant signatures on the mural scroll
Lion Pride Mural going up viewed from the field next door. Photo by Lori Thomas
LION PRIDE Mural finished Tuesday evening
Students signing Lion PRIDE Mural
Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot.
For more information about bringing a Larger Than Life Murals project to your school or organization, please contact us using our contact form or call Larger Than Life Murals at 760-413-2116.
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.
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
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.”
Echo on the lift
All Dogs Go To Heaven by Linda Shrader
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.”
Even though Echo and I love painting together, the truth is some murals are just more fun to paint than others.
This mural was one of those fun ones. Located in LA, CA, the setting for this mural was a pop-up section of wall, 13.5 feet x 7.5 feet, in the rear garden of a lovely home, in one of the oldest neighborhoods between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. It was relaxing, quiet, and beautiful.
We are always grateful when any client, whether a private individual, business, or government entity, commissions us to paint a mural. But it was the attitude and flexibility of the gracious homeowner that really made painting this mural fun and memorable.
She is not only a patron of the arts, but a promising student artist as well. While we were painting she frequently watched quietly and studied what we were doing. While we were on break, she expressed her fascination with the process, asked great questions, and was generous with encouragement and compliments.
We had a specific budget to work with when we created this design and our client wanted something with the look and feel of an old, colorful Mexican town. She did not want it too detailed or realistic, rather more painterly looking.
She was all smiles when her Old Mexican Town Mural was finished. We hope our client will enjoy her mural and garden for many years to come. Yep, this was one of the fun ones. Thank you!
It’s such a joy to see the pride and sense of accomplishment the kids that painted the mural have with it. You can see by the way they touch it, that the connection runs deep, and the memories of the experience will last a lifetime.
We’ve built some relationships that will continue beyond this project, and are looking forward to following some of the student’s artistic endeavors in the years to come.
We were also surprised and honored by G.A.T.E. Site Liaison, Heather Possehl, when she invited us to a Morongo Unified School District Board meeting, and presented us with a beautiful plaque of appreciation! Thank you Heather!
“Discover Our Desert” Mural-In-A-Day Time-Lapse Video
What happens when you give 20+ elementary school students paint, brushes, and ask them to paint a 37 foot mural in one day? We were excited to get out our cameras and record a Mural-In-A-Day time-lapse video. Watch and see!
This 37′ X 8′ mural was designed and painted by the Onaga Elementary School G.A.T.E. Students and Larger Than Life Murals (Linda Shrader and Echo Westover).
“The truth, and I believe the key to our success, is that we had faith in the students. We knew with some guidance, they could do this!”
So we invested a little of our time, shared some information, and encouraged the students to give their very best in all aspects of the project.
Respect all persons and property (including NO paint spills).
Take pride in your work and give your very best painting effort.
And of course, enjoy!
And they did.
And even though we didn’t completely finish in one day, we considered this a huge success. We are very pleased with what we did accomplish and the kids were safe, and very neat about their work.
As the day progressed, some parents, teachers, even the principal couldn’t resist the urge to grab a brush and join in.
Here are some wonderful photos taken by the Office Tech, more fondly known as the ‘Heartbeat Of The School’, Barb Parsons.
Echo Westover (middle) advises G.A.T.E. Students painting “Discover Our Desert” Mural-In-A-Day, Onaga Elementary School, Yucca Valley, CA Photo by BJ Parsons
Tommie touching up the blue sky. Mrs. Possehl works on the legend KEY. Photo by BJ Parsons.
Chelsea West (left) discusses the desert tortoise with Cole. Photo by BJ Parsons
Linda Shrader (center) uses a straight-edge to correct the box around the coyote for the student artist. Onaga G.A.T.E. Class painting “Discover Our Desert” Mural-In-A-Day. Photo by BJ Parsons.
A parent volunteer demonstrates a technique to shade the center of the flower. Photo by BJ Parsons.
Mary, (top center) works on the blue sky. Photo by BJ Parsons.
Tommie concentrates on neatly painting the lettering. Photo by BJ Parsons.
From design to completion, this mural project is a true collaboration. The students choose the plants and animals to be included in the mural through class voting. We then selected the images using either our own photographs, paying for licenses to use a stock photos, or obtained written permission from the copyright owner. Then the students voted again on which plants and animals to feature. The we brought a design concept for them to approve before proceeding to the final, hand-painted 6-foot scaled mural on wood.
There Are 16 Native Plants and Animals In The Mural Identified On The Legend KEY.
Conceived by Onaga teacher and G.A.T.E. ONES Site Liaison, Mrs. Heather Possehl, the fun and educational mural depicts native plants and animals from the Morongo Basin, and is the first part of a project to create an inviting multi-purpose outdoor learning area for all Onaga students, complete with landscaping and benches.
If You Would Like To Contribute
Your skills, talents, labor, or financial support to the Onaga Outdoor Learning Area, please contact:
G.A.T.E. STUDENTS TO PAINT “DISCOVER OUR DESERT” MURAL-IN-A-DAY AT ONAGA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Under the direction of Larger Than Life Murals, the G.A.T.E. ONES 4th-6th graders at Onaga Elementary School, along with their teacher GATE ONES Site Liaison Heather Possehl, and community volunteers will be painting a “Mural-In-A-Day” on Sat. Apr. 11th, 2015, from 9AM until 5PM on the school campus.
The 37′ x 8′ “Discover Our Desert” Mural Project was conceived by Possehl as part of an effort to create an outdoor learning and meeting area on campus, and is a collaboration between Larger Than Life Murals public artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover and the G.A.T.E. class.
The painting will begin with a black and white shaded drawing, and the students and volunteers will be adding all the color on Saturday. The public is encouraged to stop by, watch the mural come to life, and be a part of the hi-speed time-lapse video that will be filmed through the day.
“When I first started this journey at the end of the 2013-2014 school year, I never imagined it would culminate by working with such dedicated and talented community members. They are guiding the students down a path of true understanding and helping students learn that they are part of something much bigger than themselves,” says Possehl. “They eagerly look forward to each session with Larger Than Life Murals artists and cannot wait to see their concept become a reality on April 11th.”
Click on any image to open the slide show
Artist Echo Westover, Teacher Heather Possehl, and Onaga G.A.T.E. ONES Class
G.A.T.E. Class Inspecting Mural Design Concept
Onaga G.A.T.E. Students Discussing the Design Progress
Linda Shrader Discusses Painting Techniques With The Class
Linda Shrader Discusses Painting Techniques with Onaga Elementary G.A.T.E. ONES Class
Onaga GATE Class Students Get A Feel For Painting and practice control
Echo Westover Mapping Out Discover Our Desert Mural Color KeyEcho Westover Mapping Out Mural Color Key
Discover Our Desert, Hand Painted Design by Larger Than Life Murals
Through A Series Of After-School Meetings
The students have worked with Shrader and Westover co-creating the mural design, and learning about a wide range of good public art practices, including project planning, art design, respecting copyrights, licensing, the importance of using quality paints and protective coatings, and more. In addition, there was discussion about how fundamental academics like language art skills, mathematics, and sciences are applied to real life situations, even as an artist.
“I like to tell the students that I didn’t think academics were very important because I always knew I wanted to be an artist,” notes Shrader, “And then I became a professional artist, and guess what? I discovered that my so much of my daily operation requires academic skills! We take opportunities like this to not only teach and encourage students in their artistic endeavors, but in their academic studies as well.”
Calculating wall area and paint needed, scaling designs, cost analysis, bookkeeping, are just a few of the areas that require and incorporate math skills. Good language arts skills are a must for proposals, contracts, internet marketing, press releases, and communication between the artist and the client or public. Chemical interactions between primers, paints, and coatings, chemical emissions, as well as environmental and other factors are more easily understood with a firm grasp of chemical properties studied in science curriculums.
“I honestly can’t believe that these two amazing artists are willing to help us create something that will change our school forever,” says 6th grade G.A.T.E student Kahlena Alcantar. “It was very enjoyable meeting them and discussing the rules of painting and planning our artwork together.”
We Need About 15-20 Artist-Assistant Volunteers
As members of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, I invite other member artists to “assist” student-artists on paint day, and hope to inspire others to get involved mentoring, teaching, and sharing their areas of interest and expertise with our children in the community.
For members of the MBCAC or other artists in the community who are interested in assisting our student artists on Saturday, April 11th, for all or part of the day, please contact Linda Shrader 760-413-2116 or by email email@example.com. There is a required informational meeting Thursday, April 9th, 6:30 PM, at Onaga Elementary School, Yucca Valley.
Larger Than Life Murals has created many public art murals in the Morongo Basin and beyond, teach paint classes, and are advocates of public art and art in school programs.
This high-speed time-lapse video shows Linda Shrader and Echo Westover stretching and priming the canvas (two days) and painting in 8 days. We did not film projection because it was just too dark, but yes, we used a projector to aid in getting the rough image on the canvas.
The canvas can be shipped and applied to a wall, interior or exterior, just like wall paper.
The Red-tail Hawk Mural was painted at Yucca Family Medical Care as part of a series of wildlife murals we’ve painted in hallways and patient rooms. Painted directly on the wall, this mural is approximately 18′ x 6′.
Other murals we’ve painted there include a wrap-around mural in a children’s patient room, complete with Road-Runner, Coyote, and a Cottontail Rabbit, a Tortoise Mural, Big Horn Sheep Mural, Hummingbird Mural, and more.
Larger Than Life Murals launched the first of their art classes this past week, starting with a Ladies Paint Night, to a group of over 30 women, and it seems a good time was had by all.
“Such a great night,” says attendee Jessica Gibbs, “They (the whole Larger Than Life Murals team) were amazing… Lots of laughs, smiles, and learning. Can’t wait for the next one!”
“I’m really happy the night went so well,” admits artist Linda Shrader, “This was our first class, and I wasn’t quite sure how well our approach would be received, especially by the ladies who had attended paint nights with other artists.” Shrader had hoped she and Westover could deliver a good balance of having fun, with learning some real painting techniques the ladies could use in the future.
In addition to oral instructions and a live demonstration, Shrader and Westover also walked around the room offering tips, assistance, and encouragement.
“I’ve been to two other paint nights with another gal. Linda and Echo’s class was 100 times better,” comments Colleen Wortham. “All of them were so very, very wonderful. I can not wait for the next class!!”
In addition to the mother-daughter artist team, Linda’s 3 other daughters were also present; Photographer, Piper Robison, shot stills and a video of the class, while Shrader’s youngest daughters, Starlin and Blaze, also shot some photos and assisted with refilling paint plates.
Raquel Villegas drove to Yucca Valley for the Ladies Paint Night, all the way from Orange County, and was glad she did. “I couldn’t believe how easy and fun it was to paint my own masterpiece!”
Larger Than Life Murals will be adding more paint classes and workshops to their website, as well as some fun requested craft projects.
If Graffiti Happens… call Larger Than Life Murals to restore your mural 760-413-2116
It’s one of the biggest fears of public art councils, city officials, school boards, business owners… to spend hard earned money on a beautiful mural, only to have it destroyed with graffiti. Truthfully, very few murals actually get graffitied, compared to the number that are out there. So take breath and relax a bit.
For example, in the 12 years we’ve been painting murals, only one we’re aware of has been graffitied. Maybe we’ve been fortunate, but our experience shows us that most communities, including schools, take great pride in their murals. Even most “street artists” show respect and don’t touch the murals.
A disgruntled 8th grader graffitied this middle school mural:
To make matters worse, he used heat-resistant engine paint, leaving the empty cans behind. This mural is 30’ x 15’ and he sprayed as much as he could reach from the ground. We’re only showing a portion here, to avoid displaying profanities that were also sprayed on the wall. The school principal was horrified… school was starting in a week, AND the district school board was coming for a tour of the newly remodeled school, complete with the new mural they were excited to see in person.
Like all Larger Than Life Murals, this mural was painted with Nova Color artist grade mural paint, and this mural was NOT coated with anything afterwards. At that time, we were not 100% confident with any particular mural coating, and trusted the highest UV rated Nova Color paints we used, to hold up. Which they do, and most of our murals are in the high and low deserts of So. Cal., with intense sun and often blowing sand.
After extensive research, we found what we believe is the very best graffiti remover. In fact, it’s the World’s Best Graffiti Remover, by Urban Restoration Group. The testimonials on their website at http://www.graffitiremovalinc.com are quite impressive. Quite a claim. We believe it.
We called Urban Restoration Group and followed up with a visit to their LA office. Adam Kopcho, Director US Operations, was very helpful and informative. We purchased their Sensitive Surface remover, which is designed to use on painted surfaces. Applying the remover as directed, wiping it off with a damp cloth, repeating as necessary, the spray paint came off very easily and removed very little mural paint in only the toughest areas.
From a distance, the mural would have looked fine without touch-ups to the artwork, but we did touch it up, knowing it would be scrutinized up close by the touring school board, we wanted it to look it’s best!
This is how the mural looked when we were done.
In addition, Adam gave us a sample pack of various World’s Best Graffiti remover products, which we really appreciated. As a gesture of gratitude to the school district for their repeated business, we gave them some of the Bare Brick remover, designed to use on unpainted surfaces like block or concrete walls, because we noticed some “tagging” graffiti on some sidewalks in front of the school. The school maintenance staff was thrilled, and later said they couldn’t believe how wonderfully it worked, and stressed the time and money they saved using the Bare Brick Graffiti Remover.
Disclaimer- Larger Than Life Murals is not associated in anyway with Urban Restoration Group, nor is Larger Than Life Murals compensated by them any way. We are simply sharing our experience for the greater good of public art everywhere. Claims are based on our experience. Results may vary. Please use all products as directed by the manufacturer.
Larger Than Life Murals painting a public art mural, and the ribbon cutting. The mural was sponsored by local businesses of the Village of Joshua Tree, CA., and is located on the east facing wall of Natural Sisters Cafe, 61695 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
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:
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 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
I also shot a time-lapse video of this mural painting, so I’ll get that up asap!
Since 2007, Larger Than Life Murals has created over 60 murals in Southern CA. We're a full service company specializing in the design and painting of custom public art and private murals. Services include protective coatings, graffiti removal, and restoration. We are also advocates of arts in education.