If you’ve been to the Cowshed eatery, you will have noticed the beautiful painted mural on the wall and pillars of the terrace. The mural was designed and painted by well-known Knysna artist Lance Khoury who describes the process here:
This project was interesting and unusual. The brief was to create a mural that conveyed some sense of the history and the landscape of Portland Manor.
My initial idea was to have each pillar reflect a particular aspect or industry associated with the estate, but once I was on site it made more sense to create one cohesive scene throughout.
The greatest challenge was finding a way to integrate the tall pillars into the 15 metre-long scene, since the height of the wall space between the pillars was very low by comparison.
The solution I came up with was to incorporate the view beyond the wall into the mural and then introduce interesting elements from around the farm into each of the panels.
In the first panel I have rocks and boulders picking up the colours of the stonework of the massive fireplace on the terrace. The rocks end in a field which gives way to a forest with a path leading the viewer in. The forest is painted on the first pillar which adds a bit of drama on that side of the mural.
The next two panels show the steep hillsides around the area and then leads on to a close-up of a field with a milk pail. In the middle ground is a feeding area with some young cows eating and lazing in the sun.
I used the pillars on these panels to introduce a view of the distant mountains and blue sky. The hills and woods on these panels reflect the actual view one sees from inside the restaurant.
The final panel has a stream ending in a pool in the foreground with close-up views of plants and vegetation. The overall effect is to create a landscape that conveys a sense of depth and scale.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience working out the various perspective challenges and finding ways to create convincing textures on such a large scale.
I hope to do more work like that in the future.