Have you ever seen a mural larger than life and wondered how the artist was able to paint it? The enormity of mural painting is fascinating and you don’t have to go all the way to some big city to appreciate it because there is a mural artist close by. Meet Wanda Scheevel, age 46, from Harmony, Minn.
Wanda has lived in Harmony most of her life. She moved here in 2nd grade from North Dakota and grew up on a farm until she got married. All her jobs have been in the area too, including working at the nursing home in town and she is now currently working at First Southeast Bank as a teller and customer service representative for the past three years. Whenever she feels inspired, Wanda likes to find an image and recreate it using acrylic paints.
When asked how she started painting, Wanda explained, “I never had any classes, but I’ve always liked art. My dad was an artist, he drew and created stuff too. My mom crafted. I don’t remember there being a starting point, but he wanted a mural out in the garage of Harley Davidson, and I think that was the first mural I did.” Inside Wanda’s garage are two large Harley Davidson signs, both handpainted by her. When people see Wanda’s large murals they are often mistaken for professional stickers. Wanda shared a story where this happened to her. “My brother and some of his buddies were up from Arizona in the beginning of November and one of his friends thought that the painting on the garage door of the eagle was a sticker and I said, ‘No, I painted that,’ and he’s like ‘What?!’ That makes you feel good!”
The garage isn’t the only place in Wanda’s home that showcases her mural talent. Upstairs she has a craft room where she keeps her art supplies and her Elvis collection. In that room Wanda painted a large black and white mural of Elvis to go along with the room theme. As for how she started liking Elvis, she always enjoyed the music because she listened to it with her parents while growing up. Then she learned about the famous rock n’ roller in school. “In high school, in one of my music classes, we had a little pamphlet on Elvis to read about him and it kind of interested me. So I got to reading more about him and collecting and now I’ve got a whole room full of stuff.” The room houses her painting supplies and many Elvis collectibles, including a 1,000 piece Elvis mosaic puzzle framed and hanging on the wall.
Take a walk down the hallway to her son’s bedroom and you’ll see another large mural that takes up an entire wall. About 12 years ago, Wanda’s son Tristan found a picture of a dragon from a calendar he liked and asked his mom to paint it in his room. The mural took Wanda months, not necessarily because of its size but because she would take her time painting it and didn’t rush it. The wall became a dragon castle mural and is a great example of how she can paint large scale projects. So how does she paint pictures that large? “The process involves a projector. I use my projector to project the main image on the wall so I can make a rough draft drawing and then I can paint from there.”
Although she primarily paints for fun at home, Wanda Scheevel is responsible for several mural projects in the community. Over the winter Wanda painted a large mural for Harmony Gardens & Floral, on the backside of their sign. “That was definitely the biggest thing I’ve painted, that thing was huge!” It took her about five months to finish it at a leisurely pace and it was ready for spring 2020. When asked if she ever makes painting mistakes, Wanda laughed and said, “Well, yeah, I’ve done that! For the greenhouse sign there were some flowers on there that I redid like three times.” Whenever things didn’t look right or if she didn’t like the color, Wanda had a pretty simple fix. “I would just start over with a different color and I would paint over it. There were several flowers on there that I had to change and do a little different but it all turned out.” Wanda also had a big hand in a project at the fire hall. When the fire hall stamped a concrete emblem on the sidewalk Wanda was asked to paint it. Anyone can view it by driving up to the building and the painted emblem is in front of the statue.
For those who are questioning if they can even hold a paintbrush, Wanda has some words of wisdom for you. “Even if you don’t think you can paint or craft, do it anyway if you want to do it. The most important thing is enjoying it.” Wanda used to take out her dad’s drawings and be inspired by him. “I’d bring out his artwork, look at it, and I think, wow, my dad did this. I got into painting, I don’t know why or how but I just started and realized, my gosh, this is fun! I can do it!”
There are many forces at work that stop us from trying something new, but in the words of Wanda, “Even if you don’t think you can… do it anyway.” Happy hobbying out there.