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Mural of History

Posted October 17, 2012 in Community Featured, Windsor Heights

Don Geier created this mural of a coal mine from an old photo.

Don Geier says he got in trouble a lot as a kid for drawing on the walls. Though he only ever utilized his artistic ability as a hobby, restoring an old carousel horse and antique signs, he eventually gave in to his childhood dream and began painting murals on the walls of his home.

“Something was always in my head that I wanted to paint on walls,” he says.

He started in the laundry room, “Something simple” he says, but the scene of a woman hanging laundry next to his washing machine is anything but simple.

“I do it just like a child does a coloring book,” Geier says. “I draw it out, the whole thing, and then I paint. But then I come back and put in shading.”

Every room in his house has murals; every room has a theme. The theme in the garage is cars.

The first painting he did in his garage is a picnic scene. He says half of the mural was inspired by a Coca-Cola ad while the other was inspired by a jigsaw puzzle. He put the images together to create one big scene.

Once the drawing was done, he had to paint it, which he says was intimidating. He’d never done a painting that large and didn’t know where to start.

“This was the first day we were bombing Iraq, so I said, ‘You know what, I think I’ll start right here with this flag,’ ” he says.

Across the garage is a replica of a photo of the coalmine that was just a few blocks from Geier’s house.

The mine in the photo was run down, so Geier used a little imagination to bring it back to life, adding a line of people waiting to apply for jobs and kids rolling a ball of coal. He has even incorporated codes into almost all of his paintings.

“It’s like ‘The DaVinci Code,’ ” he laughs. The coal mine has his old phone number when he was a child, Fairfax-4786.  The car in the picnic mural has his house number and the year and state where he was born on the license plate.

“I’m not a real artist,” Geier says. “I suppose if some art instructor came they’d say that’s all wrong, but I don’t know that, so I just go ahead and do it.”

Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of What’s In Your Garage?

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