The amazing artistic talent of Sarah (Glover) Pederson of Coon Valley will be revealed to the public once again, this time in the city of Westby, at the Westby-Christiana Fire Department. Pederson spent weeks designing and painting images on the walls inside the fire station after being commissioned by the fire department and first responders to give life to the plain white walls in the meeting room.
Pederson owns and operate her own business, Lucid Painting. She is a self-taught artist with a business degree from UW-Madison. Lucid Painting opened in March 2012. To date she has completed approximately 20 murals and several canvas commissions throughout the Coulee Region including Coon Valley mural designs at Coon Creek Fire & Rescue, Coon Valley Elementary School and Knutson Memorial Library.
After seeing the amazing work Pederson designed on a wall at Coon Creek Fire & Rescue, Westby-Christiana Fire Department Fire Chief Gilbert Turben and Westby First Responder Director Roxie Von Ruden contacted and commissioned Pederson in August to bring that same vibrancy to the walls of the department meeting room in Westby.
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Pederson spent 3-1/2 weeks in September and October, 7-hour days, painting and varnishing plus additional hours preparing the walls before designing the murals.
“I had to find proper reference photos, draw sketches to scale and prepare transparencies and templates so I could paint the vehicles, emblems, and Dalmatians accurately,” Pederson said.
Westby wanted similar element designs like Coon Creek Fire & Rescue, with some added features. Turben wanted the department’s antique fire engine prominent with the Maltese Cross and Star of Life emblems above it. Pederson suggested painting the emblems in stone/marble instead of wood because she felt it fit well visually with their interior design.
On the opposite wall Turben wanted a larger mural to cover most of the area. The finished mural is 13 feet x 6 feet and includes the fire engine, first responder vehicle, MedLink Air, and fire fighters putting out a house fire with a lot of water on the ground. Turben provided a photo of firefighters and some examples of houses they used for training purposes and Von Ruden requested some nice landscaping around the house. They both liked the idea of a fall landscape with a colorful sky and for the large mural she spent time driving around the fire district looking for the perfect scenic views.
“I ended up combining two photos for the background. So if you look closely you can see the ski jump in the distance,” Pederson said, “It was a unique challenge to paint the water that was pooling around the house in the flower beds and flowing down toward the vehicles. The wood trim border is actually all painted, and I was grateful that they provided me with an antique fire extinguisher and lamp so I could capture the details accurately while I was painting them.”
Pederson suggested painting a Dalmatian to greet visitors at the door and ended up painting two of them. She said the dogs add a fun element to the meeting room and they seem to be a big hit with the kids and adults alike.
“I tend to get very detailed with some of my murals, and these were no exception. The fire engine wall took about a week to paint. I took numerous photos of the actual engine and also walked over to the garage while I was painting to capture details that I couldn’t see in the photos. I even painted the zip ties that hold the U.S. flag onto the engine,” Pederson said.
When painting murals for customers, Pederson really enjoy painting trompe l’oeil (pronounced tromp-loy) elements, which is a French phrase meaning “to fool the eye.” She finds it a wonderful compliment when people ask what is actually painted and what isn’t, because it can be hard to tell.
“For my personal artwork, I love creating paintings that have a deeper meaning and really make you ponder what you are looking at. This becomes very apparent in my “Survival” series on canvas which will be on exhibit at the Pump House in the fall of 2016,” Pederson said.
Pederson resides in Coon Valley with her husband, Kurt and her son, Ethan. She hopes everyone appreciates her attention to detail in all the murals she designs for years to come.