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Mural painter brushes Linden Ponds with color

Created date

June 17th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_12151" align="alignright" width="280" caption="James (Jim) McGurl sits in the art studio corner of his bedroom at Linden Ponds. "]Linden Ponds, James (Jim) McGurl has a unique view of the area between Quincy Bay and Hingham Bay. Beyond the colorful potted flowers on the windowsill, he sees waves breaking at the shore, a few boats in the distance, and a bit further, the Boston skyline. That the room is actually windowless is a fact easily forgotten thanks to the power of McGurl s paintbrush. A professional mural painter, McGurl brought his talents and an ocean view with him when he and his wife, Evangeline, moved to Linden Ponds last summer from Weymouth, Mass. The couple had enjoyed an ocean view in all of their previous residences, so McGurl created one in their new abode.

Rich talent

[caption id="attachment_12147" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Jim McGurl s mural of the Quincy Bay and Hingham Bay has brought the waterfront to his kitchen at Linden Ponds."][/caption] McGurl is soft-spoken and humble, but his paintings speak for him. Richly colored and realistic, they come to life not only on the kitchen wall but also from frames around his apartment home and the kitchen floor, where he has adorned a padded canvas with an inviting floral motif. His artistic instinct came early, as he painted his first mural at age 16 in the cellar of his family home. The subject was a horse. In the ninth grade, McGurl won a three-year scholarship to the after-school program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After high school, McGurl took courses at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he gained a foundation in perspective, and at Boston Architectural College. McGurl took a job with a church interior design company, working to restore painted interiors of churches. During this time, he also designed monuments, including the Kennedy family monument in Boston s Holyhood Cemetery. Meanwhile, he maintained a steady flow of outside jobs, painting murals in private residences and restaurants, a career that became full-time from age 25 until he retired at age 73. In sum, McGurl has painted hundreds of murals, from New England to Florida, where he and his wife shared a condominium. There, McGurl painted murals on all eight floors of the building.

Prolific painter

He may be retired, but McGurl picks up his paintbrushes on a regular basis atLinden Ponds. He has set up a makeshift painting studio in the corner of his bedroom and often works for as many as five hours a day. But without deadlines, he says, his craft doesn t feel like work. As much of his work took the form of large-scale murals, McGurl hadn t had many exhibitions, but earlier this year, his paintings were the subject of an art exhibit outside the performing arts center atLinden Ponds. His show received much positive attention and traffic. Shortly after moving toLinden Ponds, McGurl attended a meeting of the Linden Ponds Singers and offered his help, since he had done some amateur staging work in the past. His current efforts will be on display for this month s Show Biz 3: America s Golden Decades of Music and Fashion, a production of the Linden Ponds Repertory Company. McGurl and his wife have also joined theLinden PondsSingers to exercise their vocal chords. Of Linden Ponds, he says: I m looking around and trying to find something I can find fault with and I can t.
Linden Ponds is an Erickson retirement community in Hingham, Massachusetts. Erickson manages a network of 19 communities nationwide that combine a maintenance-free, active lifestyle with social activities, amenities, and medical offerings proven to improve both physical and mental health.