ELKINS - An area artist used her painting talents to transform a local business's offices into a landscape that gives the outdoor feel of a camping experience.
Heather Johnson, of Jimtown, was commissioned by Roy's RV Supercenter General Manager Tim Senic to paint murals on the walls in three different buildings on the company's campus.
"My service director, Scott Reed, saw some work she (Johnson) had done and we went to her website and got in contact with her," Senic said.
The Inter-Mountain photos by Tim MacVean
Heather Johnson shows one of the 15 murals she was commissioned to paint between January and March of this year at Roy’s RV Supercenter near Elkins.
Artist Heather Johnson, right, and Roy’s RV Supercenter Tim Senic stand in front of one of the many murals.
Johnson supplied 15 murals that took roughly two months to complete.
"I started the first week of January and finished them all about the second week of March. This is probably the biggest scale mural that I've ever done" Johnson said.
The plan for the murals were to give the trailer dealership an outdoor feel, similar to the atmosphere of a camp setting. Senic said that the murals gave the business just that.
"I think it turned out wonderful. The customers love it and the employees love it," Senic said. "It gives an outside feel even though we are inside. We wanted the outdoor atmosphere, it was what we were going for and we got just that."
The scenes of the murals include forest settings, waterfalls and outdoor landmarks that are specific to West Virginia, including Cass Senic Railroad, Blackwater Falls and Seneca Rocks.
"Everything here is a celebration of West Virginia. Everything is from West Virginia and from all seasons," Senic added. "It's like it tells a story as you go through the building."
Senic said there was no set plan for the artwork, so they gave Johnson the outdoor theme and artistic freedom.
"We just kind of chose as we went," Senic said. "We told her the theme we wanted and left
Johnson used acrylic paints for the murals and said that she completed the job with only eight gallons of paint.
"It wasn't as much paint as you would think," Johnson said. "The paint had a lot of pigment and it went really far. I would say white is the color that I used the most."
Johnson has been painting for the better part of 20 years. She got into painting when she was 16 years old. She said her biggest influence, inspiration and support has been her family.
"It is sort of heredity and family genetics," Johnson said of her talent.
"It helped a lot to basically be surrounded by art teachers in my family. My mother, Mary Johnson, taught in the Arts Bank program in Elkins. My aunt, Terry Lanford, and my cousin, Kathy Madden, both of which I had for art teachers at Coalton School, were all big influences as far as what I chose to do with my artistic ability."
Johnson said Madden really pushed her to go to college, which she did, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pratt
Both Johnson and Senic said they were happy with the finished product and the atmosphere it brings to the sales office.
"People buy campers to enjoy the outside," Senic said. "This gives them a true outdoor atmosphere while they are here, instead of feeling like they are in a sales office."
Johnson added, "I am pretty happy with it overall. Like anything, I could still be here and working on it, but for the time spent it turned out really good."
To explore Johnson's business, The Paint Studio, or to see some of her artwork, visit her website at www.heatherjohnson.net.