Artist restores mural for Old Home Week

Mary DuBois and her father Tom brought the railroad underpass mural back to life last week.

Artist Mary DuBois met her deadline. The Delaware interior designer, who created the mural on West Baltimore Street in 2004, returned to Greencastle to restore it all before Old Home Week. She started Monday, July 26, and finished Friday night, and both sides of the railroad underpass looked like new again.

DuBois, 45, painted the original mural with funding from Nancy and the late Red Pensinger. That project took five months because of the wet spring. She returned for touch-ups in 2007.

Because the mural was losing its luster, Greencastle's Beautification Committee asked borough council to sponsor its rehabilitation for the 2010 triennial celebration. In June the council agreed to donate $700 plus $150 for powerwashing and Nancy Pensinger offered $500.

DuBois was pleased with what she found after the concrete walls were washed. "There was very little damage. We were able to salvage 90 percent of the picture. Dirt was the main issue, not cracked paint."

She and her father, Tom DuBois, 74, worked side by side. They scraped paint loosened by water runoff, primed those spots, applied base coats of paint, worked on the broad sections of sky first and wrapped up with the more detailed portions of the large artwork. They used a varnish-polyurethane mixture, designed to hold up longer than regular outdoor paint.

"This time it was pretty much like painting by number," DuBois said. "There weren't that many repairs. We were sprucing up the colors."

She found the biggest challenge to be the noise generated by the traffic constantly passing by, the trains running overhead, the beeps of horns and the revving of motorcycle engines.

As night fell, the pair quietly clamped the lids on their paint cans, put their equipment away and slipped out of town. Their job was done.