C.S. Poppenga
Artist in Residence
Mitchell, Oregon
In spring 2009, I was an Artist-in-Residence for one week at Mitchell, Oregon. Mitchell is a small community located near the John Day Painted Hills Fossil Beds.

Initially, the students were to create 4 x 8 ft panels that would later be installed as a billboard-style kiosk at the western edge of town. After the mural panels were completed, however, the plan was modified and the panels were instead installed on the sides of three weathered wood-sided commercial buildings.
LEFT and BELOW: Blocking in and getting some linear patterns into the "Logging" and "Mining" panels. Students researched and used reference materials they discovered.
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LEFT:   Students primed the MDO sign board panels prior to beginning their mural work.
BELOW:   Students have the panels well underway by the second day of work. At this stage, they are blocking in the basic shapes of objects.
LEFT and BELOW: More blocking in. At left is the "Ranching" panel. What appears to be a large letter "K" in this photo is actually a "JK" combination. It is the brand of a historically significant ranch in the area. Below is the prehistoric panel, depicting an assortment of "recreations" of animals that once lived in the region.
"Prehistoric" panel almost completed.

Lots of nicely accomplished transparant washes of subtle colors, especially within the water areas.
"Stone Age Man" panel almost completed.

Students had viewed some of my works and used one of my panel paintings as a source for the foreground figure. The quirky nature of the drawings in this panel lends itself well to the action depicted.
The large object at the panel's left side is a prehistoric projectile point (arrow or spear head.)
"Mining" panel almost completed.

I like the appearance of "attitude" in the foreground figure. This was an "accidental" effect that came from the foreshortening and foreward pitch of the man's upper torso---something that was not present in the source material but which works wonderfully in the panel.
The images below show the panels in a close to finished stage. Because the panels were intended to be installed as a kiosk, I had planned to photograph them the following spring as a single unit. Instead, the panels were installed individually on buildings and I photographed them when I passed through Mitchell in 2010 (see very bottom of this page.)
"Sheep Ranching" panel almost completed.

Sheep were raised in significant numbers in the area at one time.
"Logging" panel almost completed.

Again, the quirky perspective works to advantage in this panel
Quite a bit more was added to this panel by the time it was considered finished.
"Ranching" panel almost completed.

As with the previous panel, more was added before this was considered finished.
In this and the next two photos, the panels are seen as completed and installed in downtown Mitchell.

Each panel has affixed to it a "plaque" that gives some information about the time period represented by the panel.