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Local artist finishes mural at county fair

Local artist Tessa Clawson’s mural focuses on an agricultural theme. The mural was purposefully abstract and the artist said she experimented with different forms of lighting and root exposure. Photo by David Nickerson

Local artist and University of Nevada Reno student Tessa Clawson participated in this year’s mural competition at the Plumas-Sierra County Fair.

The mural competition lasted from Aug. 8 to Aug. 12, and all participants crafted their murals outside, in full view of the public at the fairgrounds.

The artists were required to fit their murals on an 8-by-8-foot portable panel so that the murals could be moved around and showcased in different locales.

The general theme of the mural project was agriculture, but Clawson said participants approached the topic with styles ranging from the wildly abstract to an approach more akin to print making.

She chose to create a more abstract mural which focused on the roots of crops and which tested different types of lighting.

Clawson is currently working on attaining a bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis on painting and drawing, but she had never created a mural before entering the fair competition.

Clawson first heard about the mural competition when an old high school art teacher sent her a message recommending that she try it out.

Clawson said her attitude going in was, “Heck why not. I could be good at it.”

She also wanted to work under Feather River College professor Rafael Blanco, who headed the competition and is a well-known local muralist.

Blanco has more recently been commissioned to construct a mural on Commercial Street in Portola to help add some flavor to the downtown area.

Clawson said that working under Blanco was a valuable experience and she recommended that anyone interested in becoming a muralist should enter a competition that he hosts.

“He’s great and really supportive,” she said.

Clawson also said that she made a couple of personal connections with other participants and hopes to keep in touch with them as she develops more as an artist.

Clawson said the most valuable lesson she learned throughout the competition was how to handle public scrutiny of her artwork.

Clawson said that she had never shown her work publicly before and found the experience empowering.

“I learned not to be afraid of what other people are saying,” she said.

All the murals created during the competition are currently on display at the Art Barn at the fairgrounds in Quincy.

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