Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hello from Ottawa, Illinois! I decided to post some work in progress photos of the mural my son Jared and I are painting here.

Ottawa is a pretty little town of about 18,000, located southwest of Chicago at the junction of the Fox and Illinois Rivers. It was here, in August of 1858, that the first of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen O. Douglas was held. Douglas at this time was a widely popular Senator, while Lincoln was a relative unknown. Though Lincoln lost the Senate race, the debates made him famous and launched his political career.

Our mural is right across the street from Washington Square Park, where the debate took place. It was a raucous affair with a carnival atmosphere, an estimated 12,000 people crowded into the small park.
Here we are up on the scaffold for the first day of painting. That’s Jared in the foreground (in case you couldn’t tell which one was older :) You can click on the images to enlarge.
The right side of the mural after four days. I know what you’re thinking, “Where’s Lincoln’s beard?” Well he didn’t have one in 1858…read your history!
The wall is 92 feet long. Here’s the left side after Jared rough-blocked in the tree shapes. Lots to do…sigh.
Jared in front of the high wall gives a sense of scale. I’ll post some more shots in a few days.


Todd Bonita said...

Wow! very cool. A man of skill and versatility. I like your style Don.
be good,

Anonymous said...


This is so much fun to be able to see your work in process and get some of the background.

It's been great to learn of this firsthand, as your next-door neighbor, and now the rest of the world gets to find out, too.

All you have to do now is go back and recreate this same format for the other 4 gazillion murals you've done. I suppose you can do it in your spare time - evenings in Ottawa.


A Reason to Paint said...

Wow Don, I haven't visited for a while, so glad I didn't miss this. What an impressive task, congratulations to you and Jared.

Amanda said...

Hey... Is that a big paint by number?! Ha Ha just kidding. It was awesome having lasagne with you guys last week!

Don Gray said...

Thanks, Todd, Mark, Triecia and Amanda for your comments. Sorry for the collective response, but this mural leaves me little time to blog.