Local artists paint Bay mural
CHESTERTOWN — Visitors to Dr. Michael Pelczar’s dentist office can now get their teeth checked and a geography lesson in one go.
Local artists Tilly Pelczar and Ken Castelli recently painted a mural depicting the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay in the hallway leading up to the office.
“I had been trying to paint more murals and I asked my dad if I could paint one in his office,” Tilly Pelczar said in a phone interview Feb. 9. For about two weeks af
ter Christmas, Pelczar and Castelli created a large, and accurate, mural of the Bay with all its tributaries. The painting includes images of wildlife familiar to those from the Eastern Shore. The office is located at the corner of Greenwood and Washington Avenue.
“It was really fun to do. I didn’t know where all the rivers were before or about all the creeks,” Pelczar said. “It was fun trying to make it as accurate as possible.”
Pelczar and Castelli are Kent County natives. Pelczar grew up in Chestertown and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She then lived in Portland, Ore. before returning to Kent County.
Previously, Pelczar’s art had been on a smaller scale including botanical drawings, which are for sale at the Bookplate in Chestertown, but lately she has switched to murals.
Castelli is from Kent
County, but had been working in Tangier Island, Va. Pelczar asked Castelli for his help with the mural because he has previous experience painting maps on the island.
The task of creating an accurate depiction of the Bay is not an easy one considering the many winding and twisting creek and rivers that flow into it.
Pelczar and Castelli began by projecting an image of the Bay onto a piece of ply
wood, then they sketched it out and painted it.
To get the image from a relatively small piece of ply
wood onto a 30-foot long and 7-foot tall wall is where it gets tricky. The artists used the grid system to accurately transfer their sketch.
It involves creating a grid on the wall where the mural is to be painted. Pelczar and Castelli placed a grid over their plywood drawing and would then transfer each section of a grid from the plywood to the wall.
For the smaller creeks, Castelli referred to his phone and often sketched based on Google Maps by painting as he glanced from his phone in his hand.
Pelczar and Castelli began work on the mural after Christmas and painted for a week straight around eight hours a day. The two did the bulk of the work in the first week and touched up the mural the following week.
They labeled each river, creek and branch that make up the Bay. Town, cities and a few landmarks are also marked on the mural.
There are two compasses centered around a Canada goose and a rockfish along with other creatures and plants seen around the Bay including a red fox, a blue heron, canvasback ducks, a bald eagle and loblolly pines. Castelli painted the compasses and the wildlife scenes.
Though the mural was painted for Pelczar’s father, it is available for anyone to see. The mural is located outside of the office, so visitors to Chestertown can stop in and see it.
“My dad has lived on the Eastern Shore for 40 years. I wanted to paint something with an outdoor aspect for him. He likes fishing and hunting, so I thought a map of the Chester River would show that,” Pelczar said. “He already had nautical charts and fishing-themed decorations in his office, so I thought this was a natural fit.”
Pelczar and Castelli are planning on creating more murals together and eventually getting a studio space. When they are not creating murals Pelczar works for a construction company and Castelli makes furniture.
For more information on Pelczar’s work, visit her website at tillyart.com. The mural can be viewed any
time the office is open. It is located at 415 Washington Ave., Chestertown.
This finished mural, created by Tilly Pelczar and Ken Castelli, includes a few wildlife scenes while depicting the Chesapeake Bay along with all its rivers, creeks and branches. It can be found on the wall of the office of Pelczar’s father, dentist...
Artist Ken Castelli labels a creek on a mural of the Chesapeake Bay and Chester River in the hallway outside of Dr. Michael Pelczar’s dentistry office in Chestertown. Tilly Pelczar and Castelli created the mural over two weeks after Christmas.
The finished mural can be seen at Dr. Michael Pelczar’s dentist office on the corner of Washington and Greenwood avenues in Chestertown.
Tilly Pelczar creates a grid on the wall where a mural of the Chesapeake Bay will go. Pelczar’s original painting on the small plywood was transferred to the 30-foot by 7-foot using the grid system.