Permanent Art Displays - Fly With Me

Fly With Me mural

Commissioned by the Friends of the Tucson-Pima Library, October 1991. Dedicated June 6, 1992.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the following authors and publishers for their permission to include copyrighted characters in Fly With Me: illustration of Spot by Eric Hill by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons from Spots First Walk, c1981 by Eric Hill; illustration of Babar characters by Laurent de Brunhoff by permission of Random House, Inc. from Babar's Book of Color, c1984 by Laurent de Brunhoff; illustration of Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. from Strega Nona's Magic Lesson, c1982 by Tomie de Paola; and permission to represent Peter Pan granted by the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London.

The two large murals at the entrance to the Children's Room by artist Ellen Fountain are a tribute to her favorite children's author -- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). The Scottish writer's stories and poems such as Treasure Island and A Child's Garden of Verses have long been enjoyed by young readers.

"Fly With Me" is Fountain's first public art project. She was one of the three finalists in a juried competition. The jury decided the Fountain's murals best served to expand the space of the entry and colorfully lead you into the Children's Room.

Ellen Fountain was born in Lewiston. Idaho. She moved to Tucson in 1971 and received her B.F.A. and M.A. degrees from University of Arizona.

Fountain's paintings on canvas and paper explore repeated patterns. "Fly With Me" repeats patterns and design motif within a landscape. These "fabriscapes" fuse geometric shapes into quilt-like patterns suggesting mound quilts on a bed as well as a magical, mythical landscape of mountains, roads, and valleys. The patchwork quilts and Native American rug designs look like blankets and quilts tossed into the air which fall to the ground in heaps and piles.

Fly With Me mural

Ellen Fountain combines the plants, animals, insects, geography and familiar landmarks of Sonoran desert with fantasy characters - Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. You'll also find Spot the Dog and Strega Nona (Grandma Witch) from Tomie de Paola's Italian folk tales.

As a child, Fountain liked to play and read in bed, pretending, she could fly to far-off lands of fun and fantasy. In her "Fly With Me" murals, she uses the open books as magic carpets on which children can fly to wherever their imaginations take them.

Each panel is 8' high by 10' long. Fountain uses her computer to enlarge individual sections of her small drawings. She then carefully applies acrylic paint to masonite panels so that no brush strokes are visible. An acrylic varnish seals the paintings so they can be easily cleaned.

The mural were funded by The Friends of the Pima County Public Library and dedicated on June 6, 1992.

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