By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cold and rainy weather on Saturday morning didn't keep approximately 20 from gathering on the porch of Preferred Plaza, located at 2210 E. Business 190 to see the latest mural project completed by the Five Hills Art Guild.
The Business 190 storefront building is owned by George and Jackie Duncan who commissioned the project and hosted.
Jackie Duncan timed the mural unveiling to coincide with Shop Small Saturday, a nationwide initiative focusing on shopping local, small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, along with the anniversary of The Outpost Texas, Duncan's home decor and gift shop.
Saturday morning was the first time Duncan laid eyes on the three 6 by 6-foot panels mounted to the front of the building beneath the porch. Early on in the porject, she told guild members she didn't want to see the final work until the unveiling.
On Saturday, Jackie did just that and found herself overwhelmed with tears that wanted to come as she surveyed the work.
Two of the panels depict themes related to her and George's businesses, with the first panel having a “barley and hops” landscape depicting a vineyard and a blue building resmebling the Duncan's own storefront. In the foreground is a wagon with wine casks, and in the background the rolling hills of Central Texas with a brilliant sunset.
Panel two is of a full-size wooden bench with three flags, that of the United States, and of Scotland—Jackie's homeland, along with the Texas flag. The background, painted the same color as the Duncans' building, makes the panel almost blend into the wall. Other elements of the panel include cowboy boots and a Highland terrier wearing a neckerchief with the Duncan tartan. A small faucet in the wall protrudes through a cut-out in the panel, under which a Bulldawg blue and gold dog bowl has been painted.
The third panel depicts the other side of the building, with a large locomotive in the foregound, and highland cattle and bluebonnets in the center of the piece.
Duncan said shoppers shared with her what they thought about the murals as they saw them on Saturday, with many saying how well the paintings blend with the building, some asking about where the ideas came from and commenting on the attention to detail.
“It's so funny that most have mentioned the water spout and bowl. They thought it was 3D but then realized it was a real spout that they worked around,” Duncan said. “I had a few great conversation on the arts in Copperas Cove and 'that we need something like Viva Les Arts here.' The old H-E-B building being turned into a center for the performing arts with a gallery for the art guild and a visitors center, and they had the same thoughts. I am just over the moon with the results and hope more business owners will be inspired to commission murals, that the Art Guild will grow in members and Copperas Cove will become a destination for the arts.”
At the unveilaing, Five Hills Art Guild president Robert Weidinger presented a plaque to the Duncans in appreciation of their dedication to promoting the arts and beautifying Copperas Cove. He also presented engraved paint brush plaques to art guild members who participated in the painting of the mural panels, with artists spending more than 200 hours on the pieces.
The guild previously completed a mural in downtown Copperas Cove during the month of June. The guild has more mural projects in its sights, but at the moment members are currently planning an art festival in March, to be held at Cove Terrace shopping center.
The Five Hills Art Guild is open to all artists, although one need not be a artist to join. The purpose of the guild is to build an association of artists and art enthusiasts to share knowledge, experience, and to promote visual arts within the community. The guild meets the second Thursday every month at 5 p.m. at Frames & Things, located at 216 Cove Terrace Shopping Center.