Giant clammers come to life outside a Portland bar

Susan Bartlett Rice of Walpole works on her massive mural depicting clamdiggers on the side of a building at the corner of Washington Avenue and Congress Street on Monday morning. Rice said she hopes to finish the14-day project by the end of the week. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Susan Bartlett Rice of Walpole works on her massive mural depicting clamdiggers on the side of a building at the corner of Washington Avenue and Congress Street on Monday morning. Rice said she hopes to finish the14-day project by the end of the week. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

A colorful mural featuring clam diggers, bent over, scratching through the mud in search of their bivalve prey, is taking shape on the corner of Congress Street and Washington Avenue. Artist Susan Bartlett Rice of Walpole started the project — commissioned by the building owner — more than a week ago. This morning, she said, if the weather stays nice, she should finish by the end of the week.

The brick building, at 223 Congress St., where the mural coming to life, sits at the foot of Munjoy Hill. It houses local watering hole The Snug and three floors of apartments. The mural faces Washington Avenue across a vacant lot used for parking.

The clammer scene is a theme Bartlett said she’s painted before. But she usually paints it only eight inches square and on canvass.

“This is was bigger in scale than I usually do,” she said this morning, standing in front of her creation. “It’s been really fun to blow it up to this scale.”

Bartlett also said the resizing was easier to do than she thought it might be. The hardest part turned out to be learning how to operate the scissor lift.

“Don’t watch me go back up in this thing,” she said, smiling.

Walpole artist Susan Bartlett Rice works on a clammer mural in Portland on Monday. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Walpole artist Susan Bartlett Rice works on a clammer mural in Portland on Monday. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

The clammer image is one that painter Susan Bartlett Rice said she's painted before — but usually only eight inches square. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

The clammer image is one that painter Susan Bartlett Rice said she’s painted before — but usually only eight inches square. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.