Havre de Grace mural

Shawn Forton is finishing his mural on the old train station foundation off Juniata Street, near the Susquehanna Hose Company No. 1 Firehouse. (Ted Hendricks | Record staff / July 26, 2012)

I've long said the creative side of my brain doesn't work. I honestly believe that.

People have told me I must have to have some creativity to be able to write for a living, but I beg to differ. I can sit down with someone and ask all the right questions to be able to tell their story, or the history behind an event or how something works. But ask me to generate a story of my own, or the story of my life, and I have no idea where to begin. That's sometimes why these columns are so difficult for me.

I wish I could draw. My best attempt is a stick figure, and even then the proportions are off and the shoes look like big army boots. A girl's belly is a triangle, usually, that flares out near the waist (such as it is), while a boy drawing doesn't even get anything that looks like a shirt. Fingers? Forget it. Same with facial features – they get circles for the eyes, a curved line for the mouth and two straight ones for the nose.

The extent of my artwork is drawing a square and dividing it into sections with more straight lines, then cross-hatching the different sections with lines in different directions. I'm also really good at filling in the circles. It's obvious I've been sitting somewhere when the circles of the numbers and letters have all been filled in.


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That's about it.

So when I see something like the mural Shawn Forton is painting on the side of the old train station in Havre de Grace, I can't help but be a little bit jealous. OK, more than a little – a lot. A whole lot.

The mural on the foundation of the former Pennsylvania Railroad station is incredible. The background is the state flag, with tributes to Havre de Grace painted overtop. There's a goose and a couple of ducks to pay homage to the city's decoy carving, the Concord Point Lighthouse and horses with riders on them to hearken to the days of The Graw racetrack in the city. And that's just what I can see from the picture.

It's become a community project, with local residents dropping off money or gift cards to help Forton with supplies. And Vulcan Materials has spruced up the area in front to make it even that much more attractive.

It's a fantastic project and one that was incredibly generous. It brightens up an otherwise bleak, boring brick wall in a high traffic area.

Kudos and thank you to Forton for taking on the project. It's a wonderful gesture and a wonderful picture that truly reflects what Havre de Grace is all about. And in my humble opinion coming from this non-artist, it's a beautiful piece of art that everyone can appreciate.