The mural, created by award-winning muralist Art Mortimer in 1998, depicts turn-of-the-century - the 20th Century, that is - Santa Paula through a variety of local scenes. The mural was in need of a facelift and Mortimer (above) returned to Santa Paula for the touchup. Photo by Brian D. Wilson

Mill Street mural gets a facelift

February 21, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe first of the Murals of Santa Paula has gotten a facelift after the effect of the elements - and perhaps even some thoughtless bumping - on the older building hosting the artwork did some mischief.The mural, created by award-winning muralist Art Mortimer in 1998, depicts turn-of-the-century - the 20th Century, that is - Santa Paula through a variety of local scenes.Main Street Santa Paula Circa 1910 shows the original Blanchard Community Library building, students from the nearby elementary school and El Brillante Market as was as the bustling Main Street as viewed from the area of South Mill and Main streets where the mural was created on the brick of a vintage building.The damage, mostly caused by water leakage behind the brick that was repaired before the restoration effort, had been gradual and late last year the Murals of Santa Paula Committee started arranging for the restoration.According to Dr. Ernie Carlson, whose wife Joyce founded the murals project, since the artwork stretches down to sidewalk level there had been some cases of bumping that also damaged the paint.Painter Kevin Rainwater, known for his historical restoration work, did the prep work on the mural before the Santa Monica-based Mortimer - who initially had been selected after a nationwide search by a special Murals of Santa Paula sub-committee - returned to the city last week.Mortimer said Thursday that he began working on the mural Monday and expected the restoration to be completed by Friday.The muralist had a vintage photograph of bicyclists taped by the section he was working on, reflecting the source material of the mural design.“The only photograph I don’t have is the horse and buggy,” he noted.
Mortimer said that the restoration involves “pretty extensive work. The entire right section background came off, most of the bottom came’s a lot of work.”Murals are often painted on challenging surfaces and much can depend on surface condition and preparation.But sometimes old age cannot be avoided.“This is a really old wall,” but Mortimer noted that about 15 years ago he had done another mural repair on a building so aged that the mortar between the bricks had crumbled and fallen out.Before Mortimer began the restoration a mason provided new mortar and “I haven’t heard from them since...”Mortimer has visited the other Santa Paula murals and likes them: “Somebody is good at picking artists,” he noted.And, Mortimer added, “it’s really nice to be here of the nicest things,” about being a muralist is “travel, meeting people. It’s nice to be back in Santa Paula.”The Murals of Santa Paula - there are now eight so far - offer a walk through local history and culture at various locations throughout the city.

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