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If These Walls Could Talk

Full of Life

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02/01/2010 - When I spoke with Laura recently, she mentioned that she had just painted her first canvas. I was tempted to ask her how big the canvas was. I remember my college art teacher always urging my class to go larger and bolder with our work. Most artists start small and build up to creating larger pieces. Laura is unique in that from the very beginning most all of her professional work has been large scale. Her "canvases" have been walls. Laura's murals abound throughout homes and businesses in the Casper area.

A few years ago, I photographed some of Laura's paintings for her portfolio. As I drove around town from place to place, I was increasingly impressed with this vast and spectacular body of work. In some homes, there was just a splash here or there. Perhaps a sunflower grew up a wall, or a butterfly landed on a windowsill. At others, the works were immense.

At Greiner Ford, enormous showroom floors, walls and cabinets are all painted. Yet even in these large areas, one finds delightful whimsical touches. You bend to pick a set of keys up off the floor, only to find that they're a painted illusion. You see motor oil dripping down a pole and realize that it too is an illusion.

At the McMurry home, a mural covers not just a single wall, but an entire room. This is one of my favorites--- a garden glowing with life and color. One of its' most charming aspects is the winding path that appears to be constructed of the same tile as the room's floor.

Each of Laura's mural paintings are a world--- a universe of vibrant life. Jungles, underwater ecologies teeming with sea life, stone castles with suits of armor--- each creates an environment. A tromp loiel window scene has the curtains blowing back in a breeze. Feel the air currents. Smell the roses. The playful touches give a sense of a frozen moment of reality. These are never sterile landscapes or still-lifes.

Laura is best known in Casper as Laura Tegenue, however her name has changed. She married Chris Harmon. Laura Harmon can now be found at incolorgallery.com Laura is living in Oregon and has a gallery/studio there. She still has a home in Casper and returns to do projects.

The fact that Laura is starting to concentrate on creating pieces small enough to be portable is exciting to me as a designer. It's time to go on-line and check out those floor cloths. I'm looking forward to seeing how she packs all that vivid life into a smaller-scale canvas.

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