If art imitates life, residents in the vicinity of Placerville, California, are living large thanks to a pair of landscape murals painted on the exterior of two water tanks owned by the El Dorado Irrigation District.
The murals were painted by Hennig Tank Art of Renton, Washington, which specializes in making multimillion gallon water towers blend into their natural surroundings. “The idea was to camouflage the tanks with the scrub oak trees and brown grass that are native to the site,” according to Donna Hennig, the artist who designed the murals.
The irrigation district had received complaints from homeowners when a new 5.0 MMG capacity tank was erected in winter and spring of 2004/2005 next to an existing 3.0 MMG capacity tank located along California Highway 50 between Folsom and Placerville. Hennig was hired by the district based on their work on more than 60 other water tanks across the county.
The murals were painted using the same high-performance, semi-gloss aliphatic acrylic polyurethane (Endura-Shield II) coating used as an overcoat on both tanks. “We use exactly the same paint as the base coating on the tanks – just different colors,” Hennig noted. “We try to promote Tnemec coatings in all our projects because they wear so well and don’t fade. There are tanks that we’ve done 15 years ago that still look wonderful.”
Work on the murals did not start until a year after the overcoats had been applied, noted Tnemec coatings consultant Glen Amos. “Yet the intercoat adhesion was excellent between the existing system and the Series 1075 used for the murals,” Amos recalled.
Prior to construction, the interior and exterior steel plates of the new 5.0 MMG capacity tank were shop-primed with Series N140 Pota-Pox Plus, a polyamidoamine epoxy, at 3 to 5 mils DFT. The tank interior was finished in the field with two coats of Series N140, and the exterior was finished with one coat of Series N140 plus a topcoat of Series 1075, an aliphatic acrylic polyurethane. The interior was airless sprayed and exterior was roller-applied. The existing 3.0 MMG capacity tank was power-washed on the exterior before it was overcoated.
“They turned out beautiful,” Amos added. “You do a double-take when you see these murals depicting what it would look like if there were no tanks there at all.”