October 21, 2009

Behind the scenes with Ray Troll

Ever painted a giant T-Rex onto a wall? I have! With expert instruction from celebrated Alaskan artist Ray Troll, a group of volunteers came together this week in a make-shift studio down in Magnuson Park to paint five large wall murals for the upcoming Burke exhibit Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway, featuring Troll’s latest work.

Troll has hunkered down in Seattle for the past two weeks to create these murals showcasing some of his favorite subjects: dinosaurs, killer pigs, hamburgers, and giant ammonites. The fantastical murals will ultimately hang in the gallery alongside dozens of actual fossils from the Burke’s own paleontology collections beginning December 19th --when the exhibit opens.

The Burke Museum is partnering with Ray Troll and Seattle-born paleontologist Kirk Johnson (who together wrote a book called Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway) to present this new exhibit exploring the abundance of fossils in our midst - and specifically in Washington State - and how fossils shed light on Earth’s past.

As you can see, Ray Troll’s recent “art happening” was both fun and productive:

Ray's team of friends and volunteers worked tirelessly to produce large mural reproductions, such as "Sleeping with the Ichthyosaurs"

Ray Troll grabs a paintbrush for some detail work on "Night of the Ammonites"

Once finished, these murals will hang in the Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway gallery alongside real fossils

I'm not the only one who learned to paint with Ray. Burke Museum director Julie Stein also jumped at the chance to pick up a paint brush. When I asked her how it went, she told me, "My friend Edie and I were afraid we would paint outside the lines. Ray showed us how he adds highlights and we discussed how he comes up with these ideas (he dreams about them!). This was very fun!"

P.S. - Mark your calendars for opening day of Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway Saturday, December 19, when Ray will be on hand to give tours of the exhibit.

Posted by: MaryAnn Barron Wagner, Communications