|I had a helper, Dave, the Chef of Mosaic Cafe. Thanks, Dave!|
|Some artsy photography of artsy art|
|I was able to snag another passer by to take pictures of me. I’m painting!|
|Night painting. I can’t tell color but I can fill in areas of color. That’s what I did.|
|The space ship parked in our neighborhood|
|Seriously, what is this? And for the life of me I couldn’t get it in focus. Spooky.|
|I went for a long walk today and ended up in front of the St. Joseph Cathedral. It’s a lot bigger in person.|
More pictures of Oil City. It’s a pretty place. I was on a walk with a young guy who wanted to show me Oil City before I left. It turned out to be a 3 hour hike around the city. As we walked he kept picking up trash. It was a little difficult as he darted back and forth. As we got back into town he yet again ran after a paper blowing in the road but it was a $20 bill! How sweet! He bought be an ice cream sandwich. I love ice cream sandwiches, it reminds me of Dad and life at the trailer house when I was 5.
Also, I was in the paper today. Here’s the article if you haven’t seen it. It was very strange to read about myself but the reported was a fellow traveler. We talked about all our adventures and everything. It was such a fun interview.
Artist wants to capture history, spirit of Oil City with mural
By NICHOLAS A. HESS Newsroom.TheDerrick@gmail.com (mailto:Newsroom.TheDerrick@gmail.com) Staff Writer Rachael Shores can whip up a quick pie crust, give you stitches at home, and will surely learn to play the fiddle.
She may be “a freak,” but all she has ever wanted to wear is flowy floral skirts — she hates pants.
Shores, a 32-year-old Asheville, N.C., resident and artist, has descended upon Oil City and is leaving a piece of herself behind.
Painting a mural on the wall of the Mosaic Cafe along Elm Street, she’s giving this small town something she believes it’s always deserved: a story.
“It’s a common, small-town history to me,” said Shores, originally from Minnesota. “People had it really good, then the bottom fell out and now, things need to be rebuilt.”
Coming to the area after meeting Mosaic Cafe owner Mary Morgan on the Appalachian Trail in 2004, Shores said there was a need for some artwork on the otherwise barren wall.
An opportunity to stretch her legs as an artist, Shores allotted 30 days for the project, which started June 14. Rapidly ahead of schedule, and with an abundance of energy she believes is derived from the good vibes of this city, Shores plans to put the finishing touches on her work by late this week.
“I have a visual message for the people of Oil City,” said Shores, commonly labeled an “outcast” until she found her niche with an art centered high school. “Here is where you were, this is where you are and this is what you will be.” Traversing all seven continents and most of America, her inspirations as an artist come mostly from the places she’s been.
Sharing stories of her life — including summers fishing in Alaska, bumpy bus rides through Nepal and many a night sleeping under the stars with nothing but a sketchbook and camera — Shores’ passion is evident in her work. Originally influenced by old National Geographic magazines as well as her dad’s determination to build a sailboat, Shores said much of the art she creates comes from a very personal place. Taking in her surroundings and letting them affect her, a place like Oil City, she said, has proven to be the perfect place for painting.
“I like that Oil City is changing its direction to art, that is something that immediately related to me,” said Shores, noting the curiosity her work has garnered from bystanders, all of whom have been encouraging and upbeat. “To someone like me, the art is always going to be pretty, but there is a deeper message there and that’s the type of painting I want to do for people.”
Often trading her work for meals and accommodation while traveling on and off for nine years, Shores said she will be partly compensated for the project and is also receiving free room and board from Morgan. The idea, what she calls her first ever “vision painting,” is a pictorial timeline of Oil City’s rise to fame in the oil industry and
subsequent economic downturn. Despite past and present events though, Shores’ mural also represents the regrowth of a small town being reconstructed with a new focus — the arts.
“People have overcome so many obstacles to build and maintain this town, so I want this mural to say, ‘Here’s your town, and here it is in art.’” said Shores.
She said she looked at old photographs and read stories to get a better feel for what Oil City truly represented to its people.
“The purpose of art is to inspire thought and keep developing long after the artist has left,” said Shores. Shores, married and somewhat “settled” within an artist community in North Carolina, works as a certified nursing assistant and massage therapist, in addition to her painting. Composing primarily in watercolors, she said she hopes to someday create a free trade platform where art is bartered for other goods and services.
Working from sun up to sun down, Shores can often be found, weather permitting, as early as 6 a.m. outside the cafe, wielding paintbrushes, a straw sun hat and infectious smile.
Keeping a blog about her current and past experiences, she hopes the mural serves as a lasting reminder to area residents about the challenges everyone has to overcome in the past, present and future. “It’s a miracle, I am doing what I love in life,” said Shores.
She said she plans to return to North Carolina in the coming weeks, but said her time spent in Oil City has been very rewarding.
“It just keeps blowing my mind that these experiences are working out, I really have been very lucky,” said Shores.
People can visit www.roadsparrow.blogspot.com (http://www.roadsparrow.blogspot.com) to view her blog, read more about the mural or purchase prints of her work.