Vibrant murals of wildlife mark the eagle

Murals Amy Dawes stands with a huge fish painted on one of the three murals that will be installed along Epibey Creek Road. Dose said that with the project stalled due to COVID, she was able to hone the designs better before starting to paint the murals.
Michelle Miller/image courtesy

The Eagle facelift project that was suspended in 2020 has taken off again. Near the east corner of the intersection of Epi Creek Road. and Chambers Ave. The three murals, by local artist Amy Dose, will likely be on display later this year.

The panels would mark the Alpine Lumber property in frames specifically designed to hold the planks on which the murals were painted. When plans for the murals project first came to light, Alpine Lumber partnered with the city to complete the project. Since then, the company has backed out of the mural project. Despite this, murals will still be erected before the same stretch of road and will welcome locals and visitors to Eagle with a splash of color.

“Artwork [will] Elements that showcase the city’s identity and why Eagle is such a special place include,” the 2019 Artist Call of the Year read describing the project’s initiatives. “The artworks aim to instill pride and happiness in community members of all ages.”

The muralist, who chose Douz, has lived in Aigle for 15 years and raised her now 22-year-old daughter in the city.

“I love that city, and I connect with the community there,” Doss said. “So, it’s really exciting to be able to do something like this.”

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The murals will be Eagle City’s first public art installation. Dawes, though other mural projects have been completed valleywide, said the Epibee Creek mural project is also a first for her.

Amy Dose is working on one of the three murals Eagle hopes to install this year along Eby Creek Rd. Dawes chose to depict the wildlife found in The Eagle in the murals, a nod to the city’s love of the outdoors, wildlife, and recreation.
Carly Fink / Image courtesy

The murals will be her first major and very public project. Previously, Dose had installed a colorful mural on East Wing Connector Entrance PhilHealth. She also helped lighten many other interiors in her murals, decorative finishes, repair and painting work, Flying Shoe Arts.

However, with audiences as wide as cars and pedestrians traveling Epibee Creek Road, Dose said she was unexpectedly glad there was a gap in the project’s momentum. Like many other projects slated for completion in 2020, the Eagle Mural project has begun to slip through the cracks in the face of the pandemic.

“It was kind of a good thing because I changed, enhanced the designs,” Dawes said. “It’s just more intentional than it’s going to be. It’s the same theme and the same kind of idea, but I think the fact that it took a little bit longer was a good thing, so I was able to stray a little bit from (the murals). After that, I think I’ve come up with a stronger design.” It will really look good from the street.”

Dose spent the extra time allotted to the project refining the design, but in the lead up to that, her career as an artist helped her hone her skills to the level she is today.

Starting to design plays, Dose said she was already used to blowing up pictures and creating works of art on a grand scale. Then, with Flying Shoe Arts, she honed that skill further, learning to bring clients’ imagined interiors to life. Diving into the public mural seems to be waiting for a potion around the corner.

“I always knew I could do something like this,” Dawes said. “I think as a mom and small business owner, my priority has always been those two things first, though.”

Without standards, Doss said, her art is primarily focused on nature and wildlife. With the studio ideally located for watching wildlife, Dose said it’s easy to find inspiration from majestic mountain animals like deer and elk.

Dowse’s studio is dotted with paintings of creatures.

“My daughter is 22, and her friends came[into the studio]and they were like, ‘Wow. Your mom really loves deer.”

All three of the murals Dose is creating for the Eby Creek project are true to her usual themes. One of the frescoes depicts a fish, another a deer, and the final end is an elk. Not only are all animals found within Eagle, but they also represent the strong value Eagle community members have for wildlife, the outdoors, and recreation.

The muralist explained that rather than painting the animals realistically, she chose bright colors and bold shapes. Dawes said this would make the art more eye-catching from the road.
Amy Dawes/image courtesy

With projects as public as the Dose murals, she said, there will always be people who don’t like the turnout. She even described a case when she heard negative feedback about her Vail Health mural.

“The other day, my husband had surgery—it wasn’t anything serious, and it wasn’t a big deal at all—but he was walking with a nurse, and they were walking him down the hall that I had drawn, so he said to the woman, ‘So, do you like the hallway?'”

When her husband told her the woman said no, Dawes said she thought it was funny.

“He said, kind of laughing, ‘Oh yeah, my wife drew that,'” Dawes said.

While an artist might want everyone to love his work, Dose said reality doesn’t always turn out that way.

While making sure the artwork’s audience is generally satisfied with the piece is important, Dose made this clear to her, having the opportunity to do what she loves and pour that love back into the community is what makes her work worthwhile.

“That’s what draws you to her, you want to be connected,” Dawes said. But I think all the judgments and other sounds and all that distracts. You have to kind of try to let all of that wash away and just be inside of you.”

Drawing is usually a solitary activity, but for Dose, it is how she connects with the world around her, but also is able to feel herself, more relaxed and more content.

“There’s a lot of restrained emotion in (the drawing),” Dawes said.

Wanting to explore all the emotions that can bring her, Dose said she often experiments with her own expression, never fully sticking to a particular style. When designing the murals she’s currently completing for the project, Dose said deciding the style of the panels involved combining her own style with elements she knew the City of Eagle was looking for.

“True creativity doesn’t happen when you’re trying really hard to make people happy,” Dawes said. “You can’t force it, or it will lose all of its charm.”

Amy Dawes sits among supplies while working on the first of three murals she is slated to paint at Eagle Epibe Creek Trail. mural project.
Michelle Miller/image courtesy

Brightly colored with geometric elements, the murals are meant to appeal to even the quickest impressions of drivers passing through the intersection roundabout.

Dawes said each mural takes about a week and a half to paint, and the first of the three is already complete.

“I know they plan to install it this year,” Dawes said.

Besides the mural installation, the city also plans to “dress up” the roadside area in front of the artwork. Dawes said a landscaping company coordinated with her to determine the best foliage placement for viewing the murals.

“I think in the long run, they want to put in a little seating area and make it feel more inviting,” Dawes said.

And the welcome was exactly what the City of Eagle was going for when the project first began in 2019. The artist who advocated for the mural project described the display as a “welcome gateway” to those entering Eagle.

Atop a mural-in-progress sits artist Amy Dawes’ concept painting for one of three murals likely to appear on Epibey Creek Street. later this year.
Amy Dawes/image courtesy

“The artwork should make community members of all ages feel proud and happy,” read the artist’s plea. “Residents should say, ‘I am home’ when they see the artwork and feel like the Eagle is where they belong. Visitors who view the artwork should say, ‘I am excited to be here’ and ‘I look forward to coming back.’”

Nearing completion of the murals, Dose said she was excited to be involved in the launch of Eagle’s first public art installation and in an effort to make people feel more welcome and happy at Eagle.

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