There is a mural in the old school house (Lions Club) on Lakeview Road painted by Lonnie Sisson.
Lion Harry Pinkham said the building was purchased from the local school system in 1960, and he guessed that the mural was painted not too long after that. It’s a dandy!
I'd estimate the painting to be in the neighborhood of 40 feet long and possibly four feet high, top to bottom. It lives on the back wall of the building and stretches from one corner of the room to the other.
The scene is clearly a panoramic of Boothbay Harbor with everything imaginable, from seaweed to lobster boats, dories to sailing vessels, Catholic church to wharves and weirs.
A Sisson tour-de-force reflecting an ambitious period in his career. A career that included a variety of creative artistic transactions. Lonnie, after all, aimed to support his family with his work.
Senior Lion Alan Tilton told the group with whom Sally Smith, a local artist, and I visited, that he asked Lonnie if he would do the painting.
Lonnie, according to Allan, said, “You get me two 6-packs of beer and I'll do the painting.” Done.
And so it goes. Lonnie's art was not tool dependent. It's part of his genius.
The painting was created right there — right on top of the plaster and lathe wall that kept children from breaking out of their sixth grade teacher's clutches.
Only trouble is, it was painted on plaster and lathe, a surface that has begun to show its age.
But the Lions would like to preserve Lonnie's work. They are planning renovations for their meeting place and hope to find a way to save the mural — but this time it will take more than a couple of 6-packs.
I made the photograph shared this week at Lonnie and Judy's home studio in Albuquerque. Some parts of the mural at the Lions clubhouse have a similar feel, but it’s impossible to fully appreciate the Sisson painting without being in the room with it.