Admiring a picture hanging on a wall can bring a real sense of pleasure;
when the whole wall is the picture, it can stop you in your tracks and
draw you right in. Larger-than-life murals allow us to participate in
the artwork by experiencing pictures on a grand scale.
Artist Tim Scheirer, a mural artist and exhibits technician at the
Calvert Marine Museum, transports visitors to different time periods
with his murals by creating scenery and creatures from present day to
millions of years ago.
Scheirer has painted murals for the stingray, whale skull, shark
skeleton and discovery room exhibits at the museum. His underwater mural
at the shark skeleton exhibit takes you back in time and let's you
experience the underwater world of prehistoric sea creatures. The
scenery is stunning and so life-like it is almost scary.
Scheirer's murals are not only beautiful works of art-they are
educational. "A whole lot of research goes into creating the murals,"
Scheirer shares. To re-create "long-dead creatures" Scheirer works
closely with paleontologists and often does research at the Smithsonian
to come up with what creatures might look like according to what bones
he has and what research has already been done. He also works closely
with paleontologists to recreate scenery from a specific time period.
Scheirer is continuing to combine science and art at the museum while
working on a new exhibit for the Paleontology Room. He will be creating
a three-dimensional timeline history of the Earth going back to the
Giant pictures of prehistoric creatures and scenery are not the only
murals you will see while visiting the Calvert Marine Museum. The museum
displays two murals outside painted completely by children, with a
little guidance from adults. These murals however, are not permanent
works of art. Each year during two of the museum's annual events, Shark
Fest in July and Patuxent River Appreciation Days in October, children
are invited to paint a mural with a theme tied to the particular event.
The mural theme is traced onto canvas, painted by children of all ages
and then displayed at the museum for one year.
Another Calvert County artist, Stacy Allen, takes us back to simpler
times in her vision of North Beach. Allen's 7 1/2-foot by 23-foot mural
is located on the south side of the North Beach Visitor's Center
building. Allen's mural, commissioned by the Town of North Beach,
beckons us to take our shoes off and feel the sand beneath our toes.
Allen, also a special education teacher at Sunderland Elementary School,
spent her evenings working on the mural. Inspired by the history and
people of North Beach, Allen painted the mural in little pieces, taking
about one month to complete the giant picture; often bringing her
children Brady and Catherine to the beach with her while she painted.
Children are an inspiration for this local artist. "I think kid's art is
more exciting," she confesses. Although Allen completed the North Beach
mural herself, she hopes one day to work on a collaborative public art
project with kids.
Allen exposed her children to art at an early age. When her daughter was
four she traveled to an out-of-town parent and child art class. She
found herself wondering, "Why isn't there somewhere in our area for
creative people to hang out?" It was not long before Allen got together
with some friends and created a board of directors for a local community
art center-the Bay Arts Center in North Beach. In addition to painting
murals, Allen's favorite art medium is clay and you will find her work
at the Bay Arts Center.
The town of North Beach also boasts the work of mural artist Tammy
Vitale. Vitale's work is not a painting, but a huge piece of art known
as architectural tile work. The piece titled "Chesapeake" is found on
the north side of the North Beach Visitor Center Building.
Vitale's "Chesapeake" is made out of clay and is 7 1/2-feet by 11-feet.
The creation is called "architectural tile work because the clay becomes
a permanent part of the architecture," said Vitale. The artist began her
mural in her garage where she rolled out the clay, sketched the design,
sculpted the clay by hand and then transported her work to the wall. The
whole process took about three months to complete.
The artist, also commissioned by the Town of North Beach, was inspired
by the Chesapeake Bay. The mural includes some well-known creatures of
the bay such as crabs, oysters and osprey among others. Vitale even used
a real rockfish to cast the fish for the piece.
Vitale also serves as executive director for the Port Tobacco River
Conservancy. Her artwork can be found locally and in galleries in
Washington, D.C., Maryland's Eastern Shore, Virginia and as far away as
Hatteras and Ocracoke Island in North Carolina.
For those who might be intimidated by creating a mural or any kind of
art, Stacy Allen offers these words of advice: "Creating is sort of like
exercise. You know you need it, but it's hard to get started. Then, it's
hard to stop!"
To learn more about Allen's, Scheirer's or Vitale's work, visit or call:
Calvert Marine Museum, 410-326-2042,
Bay Arts Center, 410-257-3270,
www.bayartscenter.org; or Tammy Vitale