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Flora arriving at Napa from Hawaii version one- artwork property of Flora Springs Winery


I'll be creating a 14 x 40 foot mural for the side of Wilfred's Lounge in Napa!

It's been in the planning for 9 months plus....But after talks/concepts/ and City Council Approvals the Wheels have finally started turning and the panels are finally at the studio!


But before we share all that,let's start at the beginning...

with Flora Cabral,later to be Flora Komes....

She was born in 1911 and grew up in Honolulu Hawaii.

At 18 she ventured overseas to San Francisco to attend nursing school.

She met and married Jerry in 1935,but only after graduating and securing a position as a nurse.

The couple had three children and moved around through California and Texas for Jerry's engineering career,eventually landing them back in San Francisco, working for Bechtel Corporation. In 1977,the couple purchased 325 acres of land and 60 acres of vineyards from the Martini estate,which became the Flora Springs winery,established by John and Carrie Komes and Pat Garvey and named in honor of Flora and the natural springs that run thru through the property. John Kome's talent as a contracter allowed him to renovate the old ghost winery building and other original buildings on the property .Here's a link to their site and rich family history.

So now you have some content for the final result we will reach later....

oh! and this is for the outside of  WILFRED'S LOUNGE in Napa. Wilfred was the brother of Flora and a bartender in Honolulu while living on the island.

Here's a great article on the interior,which was built by Bamboo Ben Bassham and Billy Crud

When first approached with the opportunity (Thank you Billy Crud,for the recommendation!),we were thinking of renting out a warehouse and having it all staged out with 4 huge 14 x 10 foot panels and scissor lifts and on location up in Napa for 10 days/2 weeks of solid mural painting.

As Covid and all that disarray was spreading last year,we eventually decided on creating it in the studio in Orange and then shipping,or getting it delivered by vehicle. Once all that was figured out,it was time to work on concepts....

Here are a few of them that were suggested by John and his son,Nat, who is the owner and original brainchild of Wilfred's, and a few i conjured up...

Outrigger in a Bottle- artwork property of Flora Springs Winery

This first piece was a twist on the "ship in the bottle" theme

picturing instead, a Hawaiian Outrigger, passing an island that resembles the mountains of St. Helena,where the future site of Flora Springs winery resides.

She is standing proudly at the prow,bringing a bounty of grapes to her future home.


Downtown Napa Skyline Colorway One-artwork property of Flora Springs winery

Downtown Napa Skyline Colorway Two-artwork property of Flora Springs winery
This second concept was an offbeat Tropical transformation of the DownTown Napa Skyline and Napa River Shoreline. While a fun idea to realise, it didn't have the impact of some of the other options....

Here's a picture of Downtown Napa at the riverfront...


Meanwhile,under the depths of the Napa River...

Deep Sea Diver/Shipwreck Wine Cellar-artwork property of Flora Springs winery


This suggestion from the Komes was very fun to create. A Deep Sea Diver and Shipwreck Wine Cellar!

i liked the idea of a moody underwater scene, to play off the parts of Wilfred's Lounge that are nautical and made to resemble a ship's interior AND because it is a scene that could be happening in the depths of the Napa River nearby. A Diver and Crab enjoy the vintage spoils of a sunken wine barrel shipment. Another really cool concept,but no references to Flora or Hawaii...

Here's some of the elements i drew up  to be able to move props and undersea characters around as the design formed...


Time to reflect back on the Hawaiian aspect of this family's story...

Tiki Vineyard-artwork property of Flora Springs winery

The next idea was to picture a Tiki Vineyard.  A Tiki Vineyard would be taking the Hawaiian and St Helena aspects of the Komes' story,and combining them in a way that welcomed the viewer to participate in the celebration of these two cultures. Wilfred's lounge,it's owner Nat Komes,and manager Michael Cobb (of Hi-Roller Tiki Lounge fame) all have experience and will be offering wine-based cocktails in addition to traditional Tiki Bar spirits and concoctions.


Here's some other colorways that explored the mood and time of day of this scene.....

Tiki Vineyard-artwork property of Flora Springs winery
Tiki Vineyard-artwork property of Flora Springs winery

Flora Springs in a Bottle-Tiki Vineyard-artwork property of Flora Springs winery

And here's another exploration into the initial "Outrigger in a bottle" concept. the essence of Flora Springs winery pours gracefully from a giant wine bottle and begins a journey over the hills and vineyards of St. Helena. She carries a fruitful bounty and shares tropical plants,fabric prints and Hawaiian Ku and Lono Tikis with this Land of Vineyards.


Here's a Brighter and more "Sears Catalog" retro colorway

Flora Springs in a Bottle-Tiki Vineyard-artwork property of Flora Springs winery


and here is the one that spoke to us all the most.

John,the founder,suggested something to do with the First Street Bridge in Napa.

First Street Bridge with outrigger-artwork property of Flora Springs winery

The First Street Bridge has gone through many changes since Flora and Jerry arrived,but the original stone bridge seemed the most friendly for a tropical flavored environment. Here's some pictures of that bridge.....

First Street Bridge with outrigger-artwork property of Flora Springs winery
So here is the picture that everyone liked. it captured the symbol of Flora and Flora Springs at the front of an outrigger and about to enter into the land of napa.... There is a Lono style tiki on the left....inviting the viewer into the painting,and also offering a bowl of fruit for the newcomers. Above him is a rich bounty amidst a scene of lush vegetation and calm cool waters. John,the owner,requested a tiki Winepress,so we added that at the other end for offset.

here's the original study i did for John....

So, after a long laborious process, the artwork and planned installation was approved by the city.

Then i found out that there was suddenly a door where there wasn't one previously...

and it cut off the best part of the mural....the outrigger!

That isn't good,and interrupts the viewer's experience when the doors were opened......
Half the crew is missing !

First Street Bridge with outrigger-artwork property of Flora Springs winery
It needed a little adjustment... Something that didn't interrupt with the main image...

So we came up with this......

First Street Bridge with outrigger-artwork property of Flora Springs winery
First Street Bridge with outrigger-artwork property of Flora Springs winery
The rowers were allowed to paddle forward a few strokes to avoid being trimmed,and that area was replaced  with more lush jungle vegetation,things not necessary to move the "story" of the piece along.


We had planned on dividing it into 16 5 x 7 foot panels,but switched that to the more common and easier to acquire 4 x8 foot maple panels 1" thick....and changed it to TWENTY 4 x 7 foot panels

So we finally got the wood panels ordered and delivered...

They were/are HEAVY!

Day One July 5th 2021

Day Two july 6th 2021

Time to gesso these beautiful panels.... But how much gesso?

After checking with a few sources/places....everyone had answers,but none of them were the same!

So i bought a gallon of gesso and set out to figure  out how many panels i can gesso with a gallon.. And then i'll apply that to figuring out how many gallons i need for the remaining panels....

here's some photos of today..... So far,half a gallon is gone,but i have covered Three of the 4x7 panels with 2 coats...

First Coats!

Second Coat application! I think i could probably finish 3-4 of these a day....After that my arm would get too sore... Here i am in my painting gear,standing on a metal toolbox to reach the top of this panel...

What a Dork!
Here's a better shot.... looks a bit more professional and determined....


Day 3 and 6 panels are done!

Wait? What is that i SEE?

Is that a MOAI? What's he doing here on the Mural? This mural is Hawaiian-based!


It's Day 4 and so far... Got a total of NINE 4 x7 foot panels GESSOed! YAY!

Taking a break as it dries....
working on these sideways is a lot easier than trying it vertical...No need to stretch my arms to incredible lengths!
Making unintentional art onto the studio's cement floor! A time-consuming process that has taken YEARS!

That's it for Now....

Will keep adding new content to this Blog entry as i progress further into Mural land.

Painting this thing is scheduled for August,after Tiki Oasis.