C.S. Poppenga
Artist in Residence
LaPine Elementary, LaPine Oregon
In spring 2009, I was an Artist-in-Residence for one week at La Pine Elementary in La Pine, Oregon (USA.)

All First Grade students participated in the mural project. The mural theme, "Tropical Rainforest" was selected by the teachers in advance of my arrival. The theme was directly related to current studies. The final mural size was 8 ft high by 21 ft. That included the extension segment on the mural's far right, which consisted of student-invented mola-style designs  (based on the concepts of molas sewn by Cuna women in Panama. The Cuna are an indigenous people of Central America's rainforests; the molas are sewn onto the midsections of shirts and dress-like garments and are a post-European-contact adaptation of body tattooing that once adorned Cuna torsos.

As with all my residencies, I place as few marks as possible so that the final result is the students' work.
CLICK on the small IMAGES BELOW for larger view of some of the details from the mural.
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ABOVE:  The initial layout and block-in of general shapes/colors over the brownish-red or brick color that had been added as a base color over the existing white wall paint to help unify the appearance of the work in-progress. Blue painter's tape masked off the areas that will remain the wall color in the final work.
ABOVE:  About mid-way through the painting process, all the major subjects/areas are scrubbed in and some defining brush marks are beginning to be added. On the far right are the masked-off blocks where the mola-inspired designs will go.
ABOVE:  Students build layers and general color shapes first, then refine those shapes over the couirse of painting to bring the work to completion.
ABOVE:  Students begin to refine shapes/color, deciding what and how much detail to bring out in the final work.
ABOVE:  The completed mural. Located in a narrow hallway, the mural was difficult to photograph without distortion at the perimeter (the far right does not appear square to the rest of the mural in the photo, when in reality, it is.
LEFT: Snake attacking Bird Of Paradise. The snake was an "accidental" as it was intended to be draped over the branch. But this is more exciting.
LEFT: Small lizard/gecko. Complementary colors, red and green.
LEFT: Toucan. Note the other details present in the background.
LEFT: A turtle pulling itself onto the river bank. A very sensitive and subtle brush drawing that was left in it's initial stage. Quite beautiful.
LEFT: A frog. More complementary reds and greens. Vibrant loose brush strokes for scumble effect on the textured wall surface.
LEFT: Crocodile floats with just his eyes above the water surface. Again, more great effects with loose brush work.
LEFT: Piranna fish -- these fish were "accidental" initial thoughts with the brush that were then examined and the decision made to leave as is.
LEFT: A jaguar sneaks through the jungle greenery.
LEFT: Two tapirs (mother and young) make their way to the river. Markings on the tapirs were sensitively handled.
LEFT: My contribution to this mural: A black panther (school mascot) drinks at the river's edge.