PEPPERELL — A reception was held July 31 to celebrate the completion of a mural painted by Nan Quintin at Lawrence Library.
The theme is “Historic Pepperell.”
It was painted on a wall in the stairway that leads to the History Room in the upper mezzanine, which was recently painted and reorganized. The wall is approximately 9 feet square, with a window in the middle.
Debra Spratt, library director, had asked Quintin if she would like to paint something on the wall that would attract people to the History Room. For Quintin, the timing was good, as she was looking for something new to do in her art career. She said, “It really put me out of my comfort zone, as I normally paint miniature or small format paintings. But I like a challenge and the subject interested me.”
According to Quintin, there were three distinct steps to painting the mural. The first was to research the subject, the second was to design and plan the scene, and the third was to paint the mural on the wall.
Quintin has lived in Pepperell for over 30 years and already had some knowledge of the town’s history. Her initial research efforts confirmed what she already suspected — Pepperell has a lot of interesting history, and it would be challenging to pick and choose because there is just too much to put onto one wall.
After choosing places and items that she could depict as being representative of Pepperell’s history, she searched for detailed reference pictures among her own files, books and photos as well as those in the library’s History Room. She also searched online and took additional photos.
She created several designs and the best one was presented to the Board of Trustees for approval. In preparation, the wall was stripped of its paper and primed.
Quintin worked on a large drawing approximately half the size of the wall to create a more detailed sketch. This allowed for more accurate placement of the different elements, and the ability to balance design and colors. She made a pencil grid on this sheet, which was later enlarged onto the wall to assist in transferring her drawings.
Her prep work included finding and printing out reference photos, organizing reference material, drawing freehand, scanning, drawing with the computer, making color studies and setting up scaffolding.
Quintin used durable acrylic paint specially formulated for use on murals (Lukas brand, made in Germany).
To make this project as simple and efficient as possible, Quintin placed each sketch into a computer graphics program after either scanning it or taking a digital picture of it. Using the program’s drawing tools, she simplified the shapes as she drew. This method allowed her to print the drawings at any size.
She drew a grid on the library wall approximately twice the size of the one on her large sketch. When satisfied with the final drawings, she printed each one full size and transferred it onto the wall, using artist’s transfer paper. Quintin painted the individual elements first, and then painted the background. She worked from the top of the mural to the bottom.
The mural was designed with more current items on the right as one goes up the first flight of stairs (including the Pepperell town clock and the bandstand) and more historic elements on the left, closer to the History Room (including a shoe factory and a paper factory that no longer exist).
Quintin painted at the library during the hours it was open. The mural generated quite a bit of interest. She received a few suggestions, some of which she incorporated, such as the addition of a monument that commemorates eight Pepperell soldiers who died at the battle of Bunker Hill.
The mural was originally conceived to coincide with the dedication of the History Room to Jeanne Palmer on June 22. Palmer is a long-time library employee and volunteer who has had and continues to have a lot to do with maintaining and organizing the library’s historical records and artifacts.
During the creation of the mural, Quintin posted pictures of her progress on her website (www.nanquintin.com ) with information about the various elements and their relevance.
Quintin worked on the mural from mid-April to mid-July. “I am pleased to be able to give something back to the library as I am a frequent borrower,” she said. “I often listen to audiotapes when I am painting in my studio. In addition, I enjoy the ongoing exhibits held in the Art Gallery. I have had an art exhibit there.”
All the time and materials needed to complete the work were donated by the artist.