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Artistic Murals By: Tamara Gerkin

 William Bissi & Associates, Advocates For The Disabled

1920s Exterior Mural

"The Circle Of Life"

Dearest Mr. & Mrs. Bissi and Doug, 

Working for you is an absolute pleasure and great honor! Thank you for hiring me to paint your mural.  I hope you are enjoying the journey as much as I am.




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Day 1: The wall was resurfaced a few months ago. It now has two coats of primer.

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Day 15: Here I started defining the bricks in the left side building.


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Day 16: Mr. Bissi checking out the wall. He always looks so pleased with my work. What a pleasure it is to paint for him.

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Day 16: Today I started detailing these two buildings in preparation for people and things that will be on the walkways.

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Day 17: Mr. & Mrs. Bissi, taken from two photographs. Mrs. Bissi's Dad was a car dealer back in the 20's.

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Day 17: I've started detailing the background landscape around Orange Lake.

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Day 18: More houses etc. Orange Lake had an 18 hole golf course around it that was geared towards teaching children how to play golf. 

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Day 19: More work on the lake and buildings.

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Day 19: Background is complete.

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Day 20: Close-up of Mr. & Mrs. Bissi's faces after refinement.

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Day 20: Detailed more bricks and their outfits.

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Day 21: Today I added the molding at the top of the building and worked on the bricks.

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Day 22: More bricks. I've also continued the sandy road up to the buildings.

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Day 23: And yet more bricks that incidentally, my Mother helped me paint until the temp. became too hot to bear.

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Day 23: Gene Sarazen invented the sand wedge and lived with his wife Babe in New Port Richey during the 1920s.

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Day 24: Completed bricks.

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Day 25: Blocking in the other golfers.

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Day 26: Saturday I only worked on half day. The golfers and Scrub Palm are blocked in.

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Day 26: Close-up of Scrub Palms.

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Day 27: On the right side of the mural, I have created an interior room with windows that will show the side of one of the buildings. These are the Bissi's twin daughter's.

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Day 28: Mrs. Bissi made these nurses dresses and hats. It's one of my favorite photographs of their children.

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Day 28: Though this twin doesn't look like the other one, it does look like the photograph.

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Day 29: Arlene is standing on a box looking out of the window that depicts her reflection.

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Day 30: Here I've defined her dress, shoes and a few items on the counter shelves.

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Day 30: I defined the shelves and wall paper that serves as a back drop to the shelves. The children's names are: Arlene, Roberta and Rebecca.

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Day 31: Full view of wall with reflection in puddle of water.

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Day 31: Developing the buildings viewed through the window. 

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Day 31: Once I have everything on this wall painted, I'll return to refine the foreground objects.  

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Day 32: The finale coat of paint has been applied to the interior room wall. 

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Day 33: The lamp is finished, floor is nearly complete and a few more items are on the shelves. I also refined the children's dresses, Becky's face and hair.

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Day 34: Doug with his sister riding bikes. As soon as I have a photograph of her face that I can use, she will have a face.

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Day 34: The tricycles in the 1920s had solid tires that often were not perfect circles.

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Day 34: For Doug's portrait I am using an image of Einstein riding a bike with Doug's head and face. I like this combination as it fits Doug's personality perfectly.

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Day 35: Today I spent detailing Doug's portrait and painting in the dirt road.

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Day 35: A nice view of the children with the car and background...

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Day 35: The sun was going down before I was able to finish the bike's cast shadow.

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Day 35: Close up of Doug's face. I'll finish it tomorrow.

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Day 35: In a few days I'll have a photo of Debbie's face, which will allow me to finish her portrait. The body, tricycle, dress and bonnet is Mrs. Bissi when she was a little girl. I love this photo of her!

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Day 36: New Years Eve Day, I started painting late today and left early... The bikes are detailed and two golfers refined, I also worked a little on Doug's face and body.


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Day 36: 

"Happy New Year" Mr. & Mrs. Bissi, your great family and wonderful employees! I wish you a prosperous year filled with great happiness, health and special moments to treasure forever.

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Day 36.5:

It rained today before I was able to accomplish much more than painting in the door. This means that I can enjoy 1.5 days off this week.

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Day 37:

Today I painted in the wall border, ceiling, wall, hanging lamp and pictures/posters/sign on the wall. 

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Day 38:

Here I began refining images that I painted yesterday.

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Day 38:

In the 1920s, Pharmacies were also places that people could enjoy a cold soda fountain drink. The flavors came in containers that looked like the image in the upper left poster. The truck Coca-Cola poster was an actual truck that I turned into a poster. 

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Day 40: It rained part of the day. Nevertheless an early start enabled me to refine some of the containers, paint in the phone and block in Debbie.

Day 39, was a very hectic day. However it ended very nicely at Mike and ToniAnn's Key West patio.  The next time I won't show up in my painting clothes. Everything I painted yesterday, I removed today.

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Day 40: Debbie is the first born of the Bissi children. I've used black and white gray to block in her basic shapes.


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Day 41: I started painting at day break this morning with the hope of finishing this portrait of Debbie.  As you can see, I still have more work to do on her.

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Day 41: View of entire room.

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Day 41: 1920s telephone that was almost washed away in yesterday's rain storm.

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Day 43:  Most of this day and yesterday was spent developing Debbie's portrait to a state of completion. By the afternoon, the sun is too hot on the wall to work on anything as precise as skin tones in the body. This time allows me to refine and continue to develop other areas.

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Day 43: Though I've worked on Debbie for 3 days, she still is not finished. 

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Day 43: Debbie's face 

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Day 43: Debbie's body

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Day 43: Debbie legs

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Day 43: At the end of the day I laid in basic shapes and color of 1920s soda flavor containers. 

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Day 44: The Old Masters used a mirror to view their paintings so that they could see what adjustments needed to be made. 

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 I use my camera and computer instead of a mirror. Doing so allows me to see things that my eyes do not see. 

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Day 44: When I was studying drawing & composition with Ms. Goto at G.C.C., I loved going outside the classroom to find things to draw. Now, twenty nine years later, my canvas has become huge walls and I'm still venturing outside the studio to paint and draw. It just doesn't get any better than this!  

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Day 44: As a traditional artist that draws everything freehand, I work from life, photographs, memory and imagination.  What you see here is a combination of all of the above. The composition I invented, the rest came from research.

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Day 45:  To stay historically accurate for this wall, I've spent nearly 200 hours researching the wonderful www.fivay.org website, as well as hundreds of Internet websites & local bookstores.  Hence the reason my day starts at 4:30 AM and ends after 7:00 PM. 

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Day 45: In the old days a bar of soap was referred to as a "cake" of soap. This particular brand was said to "Wash away fat and age." I'll take two dozen cakes...

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Day 45:   I've decided to not take a day off until I finish this side of the wall. Today marks 7 straight days of painting...

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Day 45: Tomorrow I'll finish this side of the wall... 

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Day 46: After working over 700 hours, I can now safely say that at least one section of this wall is finished.  Tomorrow I'll begin the finale stretch for the rest of the wall. 

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Day 46: At this stage it will require careful studying to see the differences. I will finish this mural by the end of the day on Friday.  

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Day 47:The two distant buildings are starting to come life, tomorrow I'll finish this section. 

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Day 47: You'll notice that I changed the awning color to green, which is more congruent with materials used during 1920s.

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Day 47: I like the green awning, it adds a lot to the distant building. Don't you agree?

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Day 48: These people are W. C. Fields, Mae West and Mrs. Bissi's brother who is swinging on an a tire.

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Day 48: Sometimes trying to figure out what to do with existing architectural structures can be a real challenge.  The mail box seemingly works just fine to hide the air vent.

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Day 48: This is Harley who is an adorable little dog that lives in the neighborhood. 

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Day 48: Though it's probably difficult to see, today I worked on the gray shadow wall and window reflections.

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Day 49: Today I worked on the little girl, the golf course and dirt road.

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Day 49: The photograph I have of Dorothy as a little girl barely shows her face. Therefore I am using another picture and filling in what cannot be seen.

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Day 50: Today I worked on the grass, dirt, car, little girl, Mr. & Mrs. Bissi and the planter as well as the plants. 

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Day 50: Do you remember the gray planter? The planter now harmonizes with the wall. Once the new ground cover is put on it should blend nicely.

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Day 50:  Tomorrow I'll finish the top of the building and the sign that will read, Bissi, Advocates For The Disabled.

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Day 50: Though the grill of the car is now finished, the headlight needs to be adjusted because it is no longer round. Details, details, details...

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Day 50: I didn't care for the blue grass on the golf course, so I changed it to reflect more accurately the colors in nature. 

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Day 50:  Tomorrow is my last day. 

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Day 52: My last day...Maybe after surgery I won't have to use a ladder to climb a scaffold, and I'll be able to hold a pallet with my left hand.  


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Day 52: Thanks Tom & Vicki McDonald's for allowing me to photograph your 1920s model airplane.  I think that the plane works perfectly in this mural. 


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Day 52: Mrs. Bissi's only living relative is her sister, which is the lady with the long blue dress on.  

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Day 52: What a great journey this has been, one I will never forget! Thank you Doug and Mr. Bissi for hiring me to paint for you. I hope this mural brings you many years of enjoyment.  

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Day 53: The first topcoat was applied to seal the mural in preparation for the finale varnish.

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Day 53: Jeff Miller, the webmaster for the www.fivay.org came by today to take photographs of the finished mural. Jeff, these 5 photos are for you. Without your hard work and all the others at the New Port Richey Historical Society, I could have never put this mural together with such historical accuracy. Thank you!

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Day 53: Well, I can't go to one of murals without adjusting something. Today I adjusted several something's and added few other things.

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Day 53: More additions...

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Day 53:  The "CY-CRE-NA" was manufactured in Port Richey, which in the early 1920s became New Port Richey.  Am I done yet?  No. The finale varnish will go on tomorrow if it doesn't rain. If it rains, Monday will be my last day on this mural. 

Am I having fun yet?  You bet! Picture 064 small.jpg (26723 bytes)

As luck would have it, I broke  both bones in my wrist 3 days before I was to begin painting the Bissi mural.  Hanging off the scaffold will be on hold until surgery can be done on my hand and wrist.  t's broken wrist sm.jpg (18098 bytes)


This past month has been full of surprises!  My hard drive crashed, and though the computer guru was able to retrieve all my data, I still have not been able to upload it to my new hard drive.  Hence the reason you do not see the beginning stages of this mural.

My cast was removed last month, only much to my shock and dismay, my left hand is now deformed and virtually useless!  I am unable to climb scaffolding like a normal muralist, hold a pallet or do many things I once was able to do. When I asked my doctor how I was supposed to climb a scaffold, she replied with, "Climb it with one hand!"  Hummm, I wonder if she could perform surgery with one hand?  

Despite this months unfortunate incidents, painting this mural has been an absolute pleasure as well as a challenging adventure!  What I love most about creating this mural, besides the wonderful people that work at Bissi's and the Bissi's themselves, is that I have total freedom to compose this piece in any manner I wish.  This freedom has awakened me in the middle of the night more times than I care to admit with ideas of ways to make the space work.  

My original study contained a church where the far right side window is located.  Due to the large size and position of the window, I had to change compositional gears.  Doug Bissi wanted the original buildings that were once on Grand Blvd. next to where his building is located and continued to the corner of Main Street and Grand.  Adding these buildings worked out well until I got to the "window", which again was too large, a straight on view and impossible to make work with the buildings perspective.  At 2:30 in the morning, I had a vision of what I am creating now: an interior of a store with the ability to look out of the two windows and see the building across the street through the glass, all in a mural that is primarily an exterior location.  I'm not sure if a mural like this one has been created before or not, but if it has, I am learning a whole new respect for murals with complicated perspectives that include exterior and interior views.   It's been great fun working out the composition and researching 1920s pharmacy and store items to paint on the wall.  




All paintings and images are Tamara Gerkin's original artwork. Copying or reproducing paintings, photographs, prints or poetry at www.ArtisticMurals.com website without written consent of the owner, is strictly prohibited.  If you have any questions, please send an  E-Mail or call at: 727-809-0606,  Hudson, FL  

Original artworks by: Tamara GerkinCopyright 1999-2012 by Artistic Murals/ Tamara Gerkin. All rights reserved.