Marlinton Mural Unveiled In Lobelia
Lobelia, WV – Drivers crossing the bridge into the town of Marlinton next year will get a visual treat in the form of a new mural depicting some of Pocahontas Counties’ best loved history. Muralist Molly Must gave a preview of the mural at a get together in Lobelia this past Sunday. Friends and fans of Must’s work got a chance to see the expansive and colorful mural that draws on the logging and poetic history of the county. Must says she drew some of her inspiration for the mural design from reading the Last Forest by GD McNeill.
“I was really moved by a lot of the images in those first few chapters” says Must. “There’s a story of GD McNeill going fishing with his uncle in the virgin forest. I really wanted to depict the virgin forest before it was ever cut, because I feel like not so many people think about how momentous it was.”
“We can never really imagine or envision what it was like. I wanted to try and give some sort of feel of the grand old forest.”
Must says the virgin forest of Pocahontas was not her only influence in the mural.
“I ended up including a lot of Louise McNeills’ poetry, her text” she says “and it became kind of a timeline, a story and then it actually ends with Louise McNeill and a piece that comes from “The Milkweed Ladies” her memoir.”
The text from the Milkweed Ladies surrounds an image of McNeill so life-like, it looks like she could step out from the canvas at any moment. In previous murals Must has done in Asheville, NC, her love of color is evident. Like other aspects of this project, her choice of color has evolved over time.
“This mural in particular I’ve kind of gone about it in somewhat of a backwards way” she says. “I guess in the beginning I tried to work with subdued colors because it’s so big and I didn’t want it to be a big rainbow mess. So once I have more things in place, I start adding more color here and there just to bring out more subtle feelings; it vibrant because it’s relative to the subtle colors around it.”
The finished mural will be approximately 19 feet tall by 35 feet wide and will cover the wall on what’s commonly known as the House of Style building across the road from the Greenbrier Grill. Must says putting the mural up is kind of like putting up wallpaper.
“This is a laminate mural, and it’s a technique I learned from some artists up in Philadelphia” says Must. “The mural is one big piece right now, but I’ll be cutting it into five by five sections to be more manageable. Basically I’ll be using an acrylic gel medium glue – painting the glue on the wall, painting the glue on the back of the paper, then squishing the two together with a big squeegee.”
Must has been working on the mural since June. Her studio is in the old Jacox school near Lobelia. She’ll soon pack up the studio and return to Asheville, as the old school is not well suited for winter habitation. She plans to return next spring to place the mural in its final home.