Heron mural lands at Henry Hagg Lake
As a muralist applying his trade in Oregon, Liam McLaughlin knows how to paint through the rain.
Even still, some of the June downpours made his latest work — a blue heron mural at Henry Hagg Lake — a bit of a challenge.
"I was kind of expecting to do this one in two kind of long days, but this took about five and a half days. It was raining, so I had to go out there and put a piece of plastic over the top and drape it down over the sides," McLaughlin said. "Usually when I paint something bigger like this, I'm able to step back and make sure it looks good from a distance. The rain made it hard to do that, but this wasn't the first time I had to work through that."
McLaughlin, a Forest Grove-based artist who also paints signs and indoor murals for schools and businesses, said he also submitted a design of deer drinking from the lake before deciding on the heron.
For the mural, he used an exterior house paint made to withstand the elements.
"I drove out to the lake and took some pictures and kind of acclimated myself to the scene there," McLaughlin said. "I had this image in my head of being there early in the day and seeing a blue heron flying low across the water."
Washington County park management analyst Karine Kadyan said the county sent out a call for artists and received 11 bids before a panel reviewed the submissions and settled on the heron. The mural is on the side of a storage container for kayaks and paddle boards for a new rental program at the lake.
"We just thought we should bring public arts to beautify the park," Kadyan said. "You see a ton of herons at the park. If you're there for an hour, you're bound to see a heron."
Hagg Lake is northwest of Gaston, at the heart of Scoggins Valley Park, a more than 2,500-acre area managed by Washington County Parks.
The park will host an informal unveiling of the mural at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23, before Hit Machine, a seven-piece band covering hits from all eras, takes the stage for the first show of the "Live at Hagg Lake" summer concert series. Kadyan said the park is recruiting food trucks as well as breweries and wineries.
The series continues Saturday, Aug. 27, with Jennifer Batten, a guitarist who has toured with both Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck.
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