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Painting mural panel was cathartic for local equine artist

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
October 10, 2008
— Artist Delia Pacheco got involved in a Canadian mural project as a way to immortalize her horses.

The Janesville woman began working on the project—a 16-by-16-inch panel—this summer. Once she started, it took her only three days to complete it.


With emotions so fresh, Pacheco feared if she stopped, she wouldn’t finish.


“I had to get it out. I wanted to get it done. I was afraid if I stopped, I couldn’t go back to it. It was very draining,” she said.


That’s because Pacheco’s horses—Chut-Yanna and Ibn Astraney—died last year. ChutYa died Oct. 10 followed by Ibn six months later to the day.


Pacheco didn’t paint after ChutYa died. And when Ibn died, she still didn’t think she could paint. But she found the strength after mural organizers suggested that the project could be good for her.


“I painted to forget a sad time in my life,’’ she said.


The mural is an international collaborative effort of 238 panels that form a single image. It is titled “Le Cadeau Du Cheval—The Horse Gift,” was designed by Canadian artist Lewis Lavoie and brings together the talents of equine artists from all over the world.


The mural was unveiled Sept. 3 at an international equine tournament in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and will tour the world.


Pacheco has seen the completed mural on the Internet.


“I thought it turned out really nice,’’ she said.


But she is excited to be traveling to Columbus, Ohio, this month to view it in person.


Her panel, No. 182, is at eye level and features Ibn and ChutYa. The two horses were featured in most of Pacheco’s paintings for many years.


“I have them coming together again to romp and run free in the heavenly bounds,’’ she said.


A small cherub—something Pacheco puts into all of her larger paintings—is incorporated into the panel. Ibn has an Ankh around his neck and ChutYa has a tassel from an Arabic halter she wore.


When Pacheco began painting on the purplish/magenta-colored panel, she was afraid of not doing a good job. So she kept doing washes—thin, watery layers of paint applied with sweeping movements of the brush.


“As the image appeared, it was translucent like a ghost. I painted them in a transparent way to make them look like souls coming together,’’ Pacheco said.


When Pacheco was working on the panel, she also noticed a dripping of paint beneath Ibn’s eye that made her cry.


“I took my tears that fell on the panel, mixed it with the paint and painted with it so I felt like I was part of the painting. It was very cathartic,’’ she recalled.


The process, although challenging, was healing for Pacheco.


“I’m really happy to be part of this. To be chosen (to participate) really is an honor.’’


SEE THE MURAL

To view the mural “Le Cadeau Du Cheval—The Horse Gift,” including a panel created by Janesville artist Delia Pacheco, go online to www.muralmosaic.com.



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