If you haven't been to downtown Cranfills Gap, Texas yet, I highly suggest taking the beautiful drive through the Bosque County hill country to the quaint little town. Stop by to grab a burger and beer at the Horny Toad Bar & Grill. And be sure to admire the buildings downtown. One in particular has a beautiful bright historic mural painted above the awning. It features the Old Rock Church, and 6 historic buildings from the late 19th, early 20th century Cranfills Gap. The building now hosts the post office.
I worked directly with the Cranfills Gap Chamber of Commerce and the Gathered Things building owners to create this historic mural. The goal was to encourage tourism to the small town, and highlight the unique history of the area. I really enjoyed the process of planning this mural. I met with many folks who grew up in the area and shared their memories with me. Also, I read the book "Cranfills Gap, Texas, Looking Back and Moving Forward." I saw old photos of the town and surrounding areas through the past century. It was wonderful...even though I grew up in Bosque County, I had no idea of the rich history of the area out toward Cranfills Gap.
A large colored sketch was created for the Chamber to use in their meetings to approve the mural. It takes time to organize a large public project, but the Chamber was excited to get started. Things were able to happen quickly to get the ball rolling, including the building owner constructing a scaffold above the awning for me to walk on. It made the job so much easier. With large murals like this, my biggest concern is the surface type that will be painted, and my ability to reach the mural. Climbing up and down a ladder will exhaust anyone in a matter of hours.
The mural took about 6 weeks to complete, working on and off in the spring of 2016. Total size of the mural is 6' tall by 75' wide. The mural is also sealed with a clear coat to protect it from fading and peeling over time. Applying a sealer can drastically prolong the life of a mural.
During the course of painting the mural, I had a major life event take place. My grandmother (who I was very, very close to) passed away suddenly. It was difficult, and painting helped take my mind off of the struggles happening. She did not get to see the mural, but she was proud of my work and encouraged me to go big.
I also adopted a sweet dog off of the streets of Cranfills Gap. I named her Nana. She was in sad shape when I got her. Between adopting and rehabbing her, (and working on the mural) I was able to work through my grandma's death. I had Nana for one year after adopting her. She had congestive heart failure and passed away. It was tough, but her last year of life was so good.