Months after he was originally slated to begin, Melbourne-based artist Heesco is in town and raring to get started on the Gunnedah Maize Mill mural.
Khrelbaataryn Khosnaran, AKA Heesco, arrived in Gunnedah late Tuesday afternoon, and is set to start painting the huge Dorothea Mackellar mural early on Friday morning.
He was supposed to start earlier this week, but Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society member Owen Hasler said windy days and undercoat painting had delayed this.
Cr Hasler said colour from underneath the paints had been seeping through, which meant more coats had to be done.
But painting contractors have been hard at work trying to speed up this process, starting at 4.30am on Tuesday morning and 5.30am on Wednesday morning.
Heesco himself is "itching to get started" after being stuck in lockdown in Melbourne and being unable to work for about three months.
Due to coronavirus delays, Heesco now has to work in the North West blazing heat, but he's not phased by it.
"I don't mind the heat, especially with all my muscle problems. I think warm weather is actually good," he told the NVI.
"We'll just have to work out a routine. I'll start early and then have a break during the day when [the sun] is hitting it hard, because also, it's so pristine white, the glare will probably burn me.
"We'll just work it out and in the afternoon I think it's fine so it'll be a long lunch break, I'll maybe have a nap, and then come back and work till it's dark. I also brought portable lights so if I need to work at night, so be it."
The physical aspect of the job is his biggest worry, after being out of the game for so long.
"This work's quite physical and it's a little bit scary because I know my body is going to hurt for a while," he laughed.
He said he was lucky he didn't have to quarantine after crossing the VIC/NSW border either.
"I applied for an essential worker permit and had that ready to hit the road and then the government announced the border's going to be opening on the 23rd and there was no requirements regarding quarantining and all that," the artist said.
It's a tight schedule, with everything needing to be finished by Christmas, but Heesco believes he'll be right as rain.
A timelapse camera has also been set up in front of the mural, where Cr Hasler says a photo is taken every 10 minutes to capture the progress of the work.
The $70,500 project is funded by the federal government's Drought Communities Program. All projects funded by this program have to be finished by the end of 2020.
The 29m mill is the canvas for the huge mural, which will feature Dorothea Mackellar, the second verse from her famous poem My Country, a horse-drawn wagon, maize, a windmill and farming equipment on the northern side.
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