Only his office these days is atop a 50-foot scaffold where he directs the ArtWorks Mamie Smith Mural located between 12th and 13th. The mural
was designed by Julia Bottoms, Buffalo, NY. This current mural is dedicated to Mamie Smith, born in Cincinnati, and the first person to record a blues jazz record. It is 47 feet high and 34 feet wide.
“My Photoshop image was scaled so one-inch equaled one-foot on the wall. The wall was gridded off using plumb lines and snapping chalk lines, then we drew outlines with charcoal. We mix the colors and show the 12 apprentices how to fill in the shapes.”
“I like working with ArtWorks because I get to teach young
artists, (14 to 21) and pass on what I know. It is an opportunity for these
young artists, and makes Cincinnati look better. There
is a project manager for each mural. On our team we have a teaching assistant
and a junior teaching assistant. They are talented artists, good at working
with teenagers, and crucial to getting the job done.”
“I started working with ArtWorks in 2015 when I designed the
“Grain to Glass” mural on the side of the Moerlein Brewery. In 2016 I designed
the Canal mural on Central Parkway at Marshall and a smaller mural in the
Brewery District on Vine Street that was painted on actual wooden barrels, I
helped on Jonathon Queen’s Toy Mural. In 2017 I was co-project manager on the
Ralph Steadman murals at 12th and Walnut.”
His friend, Ray Hassard, had a personal way of complimenting Jim: “I did one big mural-size piece once in Buffalo for the subway system and swore never again. For someone who almost never paints larger than 18 x24, it was nerve wracking! Cannot imagine how Jim does it!”
Jeff Morrow joined up with Doug Eisele and Dawn Strait Wallace to preserve two historic wall murals at McClain High School in Greenfield OH this summer. It was a week-long project for the trio, high up on scaffolding, using specially prepared paints to match the 100-year-old originals.
Jeff recounts, “Between them, Doug and Dawn have almost 80 years of painting restoration experience. I was brought along to help expedite the process by helping Dawn and Doug with the inpainting and overpainting. There were whole patches where water damage had taken it’s toll and someone’s attempted restoration work was no longer stable and was flaking off. We first had to reverse the previous repairs and overpaint. Then stabilize the loose plaster, infill the losses and prepare the surface for inpainting. In those areas we had to match the look and style of the original artist’s work.”
“We had no historical references to work from. Colors were matched just like when I need to match color on one of my own paintings. Mix and mix again until an exact match is achieved. We used acrylic so we were able to test a color and let it dry to be sure of the match.”
“It took me a bit to get used to the scaffolding—being careful and holding. I did a lot of leaning back to look at my work since I am used to doing this from my easel to take in my progress. There’s no stepping back when on a scaffold!”
Doug started Old World Restorations 40 years ago and Dawn has been with him most of that time as the primary painting restorer.
<photo of jeff morrow on scaffolding> Karol, did Jeff make his last payment on his life insurance policy?
<Photo of Jeff morrow painting mural> Jeff joined Doug Eisele and Dawn Wallace to restore McClain murals.
Ray Hassard’s students showed their view of the world through pastel at the Women’s Art Club in which the versatility of pastel was shown off in spectacular fashion, from airy strokes to bold marks and soft hues to vibrant shades. Included here are a few of the pastels from the PastelPoint show.