Museum of Northwest Colorado unveiled world’s largest water color Friday |

Museum of Northwest Colorado unveiled world’s largest water color Friday

The mural measures in at 16 feet by 10 feet

Artist Israel Holloway (center) poses in front of the painting with mural model Clint Chew (left) and the museum's assistant director Paul Knowles.

After months of work, local painter Israel Holloway has finished painting the largest watercolor in the world, measuring in at 16 feet by 10 feet. Holloway did the painting for the Museum of Northwest Colorado, and used local resident Clint Chew as the model for the painting.

The idea for the painting was thought up by assistant director for the museum Paul Knowles, who spoke at the unveiling about how they wanted to do something to brighten the community’s mood. The idea for the painting came before COVID-19 but the pandemic hit shortly after planning began.

“So, everything was on hold for a while. Come, June/July we actually kind of reconvened at the museum and thought maybe we should just push this off for a year, maybe wait a year, wait until everything settles down. Then we quickly realized, no this is the exact right time we need this project,” Knowles said. “This is the exact time a project like this would be influential and actually be something people could hang their hat on while everything else was kind of going crazy in the world.”

The painting succeeded in the goal of bringing a smile to people’s faces in a tough time, with everyone in attendance excited to finally see the mural hung up and finished.

Chew, a lifelong resident of Craig was chosen as the model ahead of his brother, by the sole chance of his stepmother calling him first. The mural meant a lot to him because of the history displayed. Chew raised the horse that he is riding from a foal, his family crest was on his chaps and his personal crest was on his horse. The saddle was designed by his grandfather, the pistol that he is carrying in the mural was given to him by his other grandfather. The reigns were braided with the help of his great grand father.

“This mural is just me captured in a moment, doing me, knowing … that is reaching clear across the world, even into India and things,” Chew said. “That really blows my mind that I’m able to travel that far and Mr. Holloway’s abilities to travel that far, it’s amazing that there’s no limit.”

The mural, which took 60 hours to complete, is something that everybody hopes will bring life to the community and is a significant point of pride in the community.

“I think it represents this community to a T, this is a super resilient community,” Mayor Jarrod Ogden said. “I think that’s one of the things that, the little overlying fear or underlying fear right is with the power plant shutting down and stuff but I think what people need to remember more than anything is, we were a community before coal, before the power plant and we are going to be one after.”

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