Lake County artists and organizations collaborate on the “Mural Trail”


The Lake County Rural Arts Initiative (LCRAI) partnered with the Lake County Arts Council and the Lakeport Main Street Association in 2018 to help improve the county’s economic viability by making it an arts and cultural destination.

To this end, the “Mural Trail” was created, with all the work done exclusively by local artists.

Colorful murals depicting the natural resources, culture and history of Lake County appear on buildings all around Clear Lake.

Violet Divine is a member of the LCRAI board of directors and muralist. She and her husband, Michael, are co-owners of TenThousandVisions, where they sell their artwork. Both are responsible for most of the completed murals, as well as some that are still being designed.

The divine paint the city

The Lakeport Community Center, 500 N. Main St., is one of those showcasing outdoor artwork from the Divines. This one, called “Interwoven,” has a Native American theme and features many aspects of local Pomo life.

Surprisingly, the two Divines are pretty much self-taught artists. She went to school of computer graphics and graphic design for a few years before pursuing her doctorate in philosophy and becoming a professor at the university.

He, for his part, said: “I never went to formal art school, but took a few classes at a community college to hone some things that I didn’t learn by myself- same. Most of the time, it’s all trial and error.

Together, the two painted several Lake County murals, as well as others across California, Mexico, Thailand, and New Zealand.

They have also created many large-scale pieces for concerts and festivals all over the world, in highly populated places like Melbourne, Australia and in remote places like the Giza Plateau in Egypt.

“Only the Brave,” which pays tribute to the brave men and women who have fought the fires that have ravaged large parts of Lake County since 2015, has been painted on the sides of the Kelseyville Fire Protection District building at 4020 Main Street and the Lakeport Fire Department, 445 N. Main St.

The murals, a collaboration of designer Ben vanSteenbaugh and muralist Jeanne Jesse, depict firefighters with pipes in a dead end with a fire-breathing dragon.

Another mural, designed by vanSteenbaugh and painted by the Divines, is located at 60 3rd St. near Library Park in Lakeport and depicts a Pan Am Clipper landing on Clear Lake in 1945. The mural is so realistic that the the plane is almost expected to land any minute.

On 5th and Main streets in Lakeport is a Native American themed mural. Designed and painted by the Divines, it showcases many aspects of local Pomo life.

Murals are a different animal

Gloria De La Cruz was commissioned by the Lake County Redevelopment Agency in 2008 for her beautification efforts along the Highway 20 corridor.

Since then she has painted numerous murals locally, including “Clear Lake Sunset” at 290 N. Main St. in Lakeport, which was commissioned by the Lakeport Main Street Association. She also added her art to a wine cellar inside the Cache Creek Vineyards tasting room.

Ten years ago, she opened Catfish Coffeehouse at 14624 Lakeshore Dr. in Clearlake and said one of her all-time favorite murals is the one she made for the interior of the business.

The six panels of his “Wildlife” mural at the corner of 3e and Main streets in Lakeport feature several eye-catching interpretations of the area’s beautiful feathered creatures.

Painting a mural is a major endeavor that usually starts with a few preliminary sketches to solidify the idea and decide how the image will flow.

“Mural painting is an entirely different animal from painting on canvas,” said Violet Divine. “The scale of it requires an entirely different skill set because you, as an artist, are eclipsed by the image you create. “

In order to maintain the correct proportions, the design is first sketched on the building. Depending on the size of the wall, a spotlight is sometimes used to preview the main shapes. If the wall is too large for the projector to do in more than two or three sections, the artist will grid the wall.

Local creatives stay busy

Robert Minuzzo began his artistic career selling works of art at the first Sausalito Art Festival and was later hired by the Hearst family to restore an exterior themed painting on the walls of a lodge in their private retreat near from Mount Shasta.

While living in Napa, he helped run a teenage high school mural project designed to discourage smoking. A few years later, he was hired to create a 10 x 40 foot mural for a residential wall in Saint Helena.

Minuzzo said his greatest artistic achievement has been “my ability to make a living doing what I love and selling over 350 works of art in 40 years”.


About Author

Comments are closed.