The North Bend Eagle

Linda Minarick and daughter Teri Ott spent six days painting a 20x15 ft. mural
in midtown Morse Bluff.

Mural to watch over Q125 with eagle eye

by Nathan Arneal
Published 7/18/12

It all started with a picture of an eagle and a patch of cinder block wall on an otherwise brick building.

The eagle was an image Linda Minarick found and clipped out more than a year ago. The patch of cinder block was located on the northwest corner of the old Walla Brothers building, now owned by the Minaricks, in Morse Bluff.

The cinder blocks, as far as Minarick can guess, probably patched a damaged spot in the red brick created when an adjacent building was torn down.
In Minarick’s eyes, the bare spot of cement held potential.

“I always told (husband) Ted that that was the best place for a nice mural,” she said.

With the idea growing in her mind, Minarick enlisted the help of her daughter, Teri Ott, an accomplished artist in high school.

Nearly a year later, the work had not yet begun, and Morse Bluff’s Q125 celebration, slated for Aug. 11-12, was growing closer.

“I just woke up one morning,” Minarick said, “and thought if I don’t do this, I will regret it for the rest of my life because I’ve been looking at this (eagle) picture for over a year.”

On June 23, Minarick bought the paint, thereby committing herself to transforming her eagle picture into a 20x15 foot mural.

It ended up being a family effort. Ted Minarick rigged a platform, complete with a sun shade and fan, onto a forklift. The 20-foot wide platform enabled the artists to reach the entire width of the mural without moving the forklift. Linda and Ted’s son Dan Minarick was always nearby in his Steel Creation shop, able to lend the girls a hand when they needed it.

The original picture was on a regular 8.5x11 piece of paper. They drew out a proportional grid on the wall with chalk to help expand the image correctly.

“I’d tell (Ott) that you start three inches down from between (grid lines) 12 and 13 and you go to four inches above 7 and 8,” Minarick said, demonstrating the enlarging process.

The task required an element of trust because the image on the wall looked skewed when viewed from just a few inches away.

“You’d stand at one end of the scaffold and it looked like a parakeet that shoved its nose in the wall because it’s so distorted,” Ott said. “You can’t step back and look at it because there’s only three foot of scaffold (to stand on).”

Getting a proper big-picture view of the mural required the artists to stand by the post office nearly a block away. Just the eyeball of the bird is the size of a large beach ball.

With Teri commuting from her home in Lincoln when she could, work lasted six days over a 12-day span. A hard day’s work required a little bit of recovery, with Minarick feeling the effects of elbow surgery she underwent a year ago and Ott dealing with her own wrist problems.

“We’d go home and Mom would ice her elbows and I’d ice my wrist,” Ott said with a laugh.

The final push came on July 4. Both Teri and Linda had the day off, so they spent nine hours finishing the mural.

Working in the summer heat during 90-plus degree days created its own difficulties. The paint would dry so fast that blending colors became a challenge.

By 6:30 p.m. July 4, it was time to step back and see what they had accomplished, a noble bald eagle in front of an American flag. The words “Morse Bluff Welcomes You” and “Est. 1887” surround the eagle image. Minarick said she thought it was appropriate that such an iconic American image be completed on July 4.

“I was very happy with how it turned out,” Minarick said. “It was a bucket list thing that I wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to do a mural, and to do it for (Morse Bluff’s Q125) was really special.”

While the 125 birthday of Minarick’s hometown certainly prompted the timing of the mural, Minarick said she wanted the painting to be a timeless monument to Morse Bluff, so they did not include mention of the Q125 in their design.

“We’re proud of the Q125,” she said, “but we want (the mural) to be here forever. That’s why we put the ‘established 1887’ on it.”

While the Eagle and flag design isn’t specific to Morse Bluff, the patriotic element in the image was important to Minarick.

“My dad was a Legion member and very, very proud of the flag and the soldiers, and it just kind of fell back on me, too,” Minarick said. “I think he’d be happy with this. He’s been gone since ‘98 and I think he’d be very proud of his daughter and his granddaughter.”

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