GARDINER — Jane Burke hops on a mechanical lift that carries her to the top of her two-story mural and touches up the image of a Myotis lucifugus, otherwise known as the little brown bat.

The Augusta artist had completed this mural of Mount Katahdin and Maine fauna in the lobby of Everett J. Prescott Inc., in 2007. There were animals in the mural, but not enough for Peter Prescott, the company’s chief executive. He wanted every Maine mammal on his wall — all 65 of them, Burke said.

“This is Maine,” Prescott said. “You wouldn’t want to have animals from other places on there. We wanted Maine animals.”

Burke, whose work has been featured in Down East, McCall’s and Yankee magazines, relied on the Natural Resources Council of Maine to help identify all the mammals in the state.

Burke came back recently to add to the mural.

A tiny bat hanging upside down in a tree wasn’t quite brown enough, she said, so she dabbed on a darker shade.

“(The NRCM) lists only the little brown bat, but on Web sites I’ve looked at they say we also have the big brown bat,” she said. “I don’t know who’s accurate.”

Among the animals depicted on the mural are wood ducks, loons, an otter, a red fox, a bobcat, mink, moose, deer, a fisher, a mountain lion and a New England cottontail.

Burke also painted tiny insects, including mosquitoes and deer flies — all the ones you’d find in August. No black flies, she said. They only come out in the spring.

In the forefront of her mural is a turkey made out of a modeling medium that she screwed into the wall then covered with brilliantly colored mosaic tile.

Roberta Couture, a Prescott employee, said she enjoyed watching the mural come to life.

“It’s been really interesting,” Couture said. “She’s incredibly talented.”

Burke said Prescott is quite a visionary and has many interests. He collects antiques and art pieces, which are displayed throughout his office building in Gardiner and his Manchester home, she said.

His collection includes antique children’s roadsters restored to pristine condition. Prescott also enjoys antique cars. In the hallway of his office building is a map of Route 66 painted by Paul Plumer of Hallowell. Prescott has traveled the highway’s entire length with friends in their antique vehicles.

“When you get on Prescott Drive, you’ll see this great big moose and bear,” Burke said. “And when you get to the building he has a sculpture of a hydrant peeing on a dog, which has won some contest for the artist. People get a big kick out of that.”

Prescott, whose company manufactures pipes, said customers took an interest in the mural project and have been very helpful. One told him that the campsite in the mural with two men standing next to a fire was in the wrong location.

“He said there’s never been a campsite there, so we moved it,” Prescott said.

Prescott plans to hold a contest. He said a photograph of the mural will be cut up into eight sections like a puzzle. Every quarter he plans to send one of those sections to his clients and ask them to try and find all the animals. When the contest is completed, the person with the most animals found will receive a copy of the mural mounted on hard cardboard, he said.

“When Peter built the building he always envisioned something special on the wall in the lobby,” Burke said. “Then he decided he wanted it to be about Maine with lots and lots of animals.”

Burke’s favorite animal in the mural is the porcupine. He’s resting on a dead tree on the forest floor feasting on bark.

“He’s eating peaceably, he’s not devouring an animal or anything,” she said. “He’s happy.”


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