Local artist unveils McPolin Barn mural at Club Wyndham
Fans of the McPolin Barn have a new place to see an oil rendition of Park City’s iconic landmark — the lobby of Club Wyndham at the Canyons side of Park City Mountain Resort.
The painting, which measures just under seven feet by seven feet and is located by the hotel elevators, was painted by local artist Richard Pohl and officially unveiled Sunday night in a small ceremony.
Pohl was commissioned last winter to paint the piece.
“They had contacted the Park City Professional Artists Association to see if anyone was interested in doing a painting,” he said. “My wife (Sally Jablon) encouraged me to apply, even though I have never done a mural.”
Pohl sent a link to his website, and Club Wyndham liked what they saw, and gave the artist a lot of discretion in what he would paint.
As he thought about the project, Pohl wanted to represent three ideas.– to show something iconic and unique to Park City; to pay respect to skiing and to capture the changing of the seasons.
“The barn, to me, has always been an interesting structure,” he said. “So I knew I wanted to include that in the mural.”
The artist took some liberties to include the nod to skiing, so he could include scenes of some of the resort’s ski runs.
“I examined different photographs and other representations of the barn and the local scenery and found a way to move things around,” he said.
The third element shows melting snow on some of Park City Mountain Resort’s lower ski runs.
Pohl, a psychiatrist by trade who works at Sundance Behavioral Resources in Murray, said painting a large work was a challenge.
“I’m not comparing myself, but I have new respect for Michelangelo who painted an upside down ceiling while standing on a scaffolding,” Pohl said with a smile. “I was on a six-foot ladder hanging on for dear life with the paints, mineral spirits and drop cloth.”
To make things a little easy, Pohl turned to his go-to medium — oils.
“Acrylics and watercolors aren’t very forgiving,” he said. “I respect them, but you can cover your mistakes easier with oils.”
Pohl, who also studied architecture, used some of his training to accurately depict the barn’s dimensions.
“I used a grid on the wall and placed a grid on several photographs and paintings that I have seen of the barn to transpose the elements from a small setting onto a large setting,” he said. “Once I was able to do that, I was able to start painting.”
Pohl tallied up nearly 30 hours of work over two months on the piece. He started just before Christmas and finished it on Feb. 1.
“I fit in the painting between skiing and living,” he said with another smile. “I would come in the afternoons and evenings and spend up to three hours at a time.”
While he panted, Pohl would converse with the hotel’s guests.
“It was an amazing experience to see the life of the hotel,” he said. “People would offer comments and converse with me about their lives and experiences. And that is so different than being in a studio.”
Pohl loved to paint as a teen.
“I painted obsessively until my mother began to tell me what to paint.,” he said. “When that happened, I quit for 40 years.”
Pohl picked up the brush again 15 years ago and took some classes at Acorn Studios, owned by Debra and Jack Highberger in Marblehead.
“They hold a couple of adult painting classes a week,” Pohl said. “We just bring the canvas and they supply the paints, brushes and instruction. After a couple of weeks, they finally gave me a key to the studio.”
When Pohl moved to Park City, he was referred to artist Bonnie Posselli, who is represented in Park City by Montgomery-Lee Fine Art.
“I meet with Bonnie every two weeks and she has helped me grow as a painter, and taught me a few new techniques,” he said.
One of those techniques included include making a wash, which he used at the top of the painting.
A wash is composed of a small amount of paint that is mixed with a large amount of mineral spirits, Pohl explained.
“When I found myself painting one of the mountain peaks, there was too much contrast,” he said. “I didn’t want to repaint the whole thing, so I created a white wash to give the illusion of distance.”
Pohl said he is grateful to Club Wyndham, especially Desiree Elzey and Ciera Rickett, who worked with him from day one.
“I’m also thankful to all my friends for supporting me with my art,” he said. “I hope to have more opportunities to work on other projects of this scale.”
For information, visit richardpohlart.com.
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