Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Portsmouth Murals

Our first group ride of the season was cancelled due to cold crappy weather. That was a month ago and the weather had not improved much since then with only four days of partial sunshine. By any Ohio standards, that’s a crappy spring. So when the call came saying the ride was on, I was glad.

Our destination was Portsmouth, Ohio, home of Shawnee State University and the famed Portsmouth flood wall murals. It’s a 3 hour journey from Newark by the most direct route, but we’re riding motorcycles – we never take the most direct route! We meandered th

rough Lancaster, Tarlton, Kingston, and Chillicothe. We passed through Summithill, Rarden, and Otway, skimming the edge of the Shawnee State Forest and approaching Portsmouth from the west.

This guy in Lancaster had something to say. The human said nothing.

A bicycle ralley with over 10,000 riders had the same destination - Portsmouth.

The flood wall murals, also referred to as The Mural Project are painted on the street side of a 20 foot high flood wall that runs along Front Street for over 2,000 feet and is designed to protect the city from the Ohio River. The wall was built after the famous 1937 flood that crested at over 70 feet and left many river front buildings with first floors full of water and mud and second floor watermarks half way up the walls.

The murals depict the 200 plus year history of Portsmouth and are the work of one artist, Robert Dafford of Lafayette, Louisiana. While the wall has been around for decades, the painting started in 1993. Painting continues even today with at least two blank walls being prepared for a scene while we were there. The work is impressive.

My friend, John.

The guys of the group. The girls were taking the pictures.

See all the ride photos here.


irondad said...

I like those big murals. I always wonder how the artists manage to keep the perspective. Painting such a large picture but having to be up close makes it seem hard to do.

Doug C said...

Dan - I agree. Sometimes the realistic perspective gave me a sense of vertigo.

bobskoot said...

Doug & Irondad:

they use very large pieces of tracing paper.

Riding the Wet Coast