Giant Mural Featured on Airplane Hangar at Belfast Municipal Airport

Aug. 14--BELFAST, Maine -- Local artist David Hurley has painted on his share of walls, but nothing compares to the 300-square-foot mural he and another artist recently completed on the side of a hangar at Belfast Municipal Airport.

The hangar belongs to Mike Sobota, who commissioned the painting and also owns the plane that is featured front and center in it. Hurley said that Sobota had noticed one of the much smaller murals he had done in downtown Belfast and asked him if he would be interested in a different sort of project.

"I felt privileged," Hurley said. "How many people in history have been able to stand on scaffolding and paint something? Five hundred years ago, I would have been painting angels."

Last year, when work began on the massive mural, instead of angels he stuck with aviation.

To work nearly 20 feet off the ground, Hurley and Russell Kahn, both of Belfast, had to use a ladder and scaffolding as they painted the painstakingly detailed airplanes and helicopters in flight on the mural.

After agreeing to painting the mural, Hurley said that he wasn't sure at first how to do it. He ending up breaking the mural painting into four phases, starting with a painting of the little red Cessna 150 teaching plane that flies back and forth over the midcoast city. Then he expanded up and out onto the painted plywood wall. Hurley focused on the figures, the foreground and the landscapes, including a pink-tinged sky. Kahn, an area art teacher, added his expertise to the planes and helicopters.

Although the artwork is inside the hangar and is not accessible to the general public, Hurley said that he's just glad to have had the opportunity.

"There's paintings in homes and apartments on Park Avenue that nobody ever sees," he said. "Mine just happens to be in an airport hangar."

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