Technology aids paint-by- numbers project at West Center

       A mural of Pikes Peak and its surrounding mountain range is taking shape on a 40-by-7-foot gymnasium wall at the Westside Community Center.

While a projector (unseen at lower right) displays one of the colors to be painted (as instructed by the computer in foreground), mural organizer Ken Rush (standing) works in the Westside Community Center gym July 9 with two volunteers: Lynita Quintana (left) and Rachel Blake. Only a portion of the 40-foot wide by 7-foot-high Front Range panorama is shown here.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Citizens are welcome to help with the project, which was set up in a “paint-by- numbers” style by its organizer, Ken Rush, a center volunteer.
       Hoping to finish by the end of July, he will be available with paints, brushes and computer-with-projector Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. One of those Saturdays will be during the Westside Neighbors Picnic, which is at the center from noon to 2 p.m. July 23 (see story, Page 1).
       “It's open to anybody,” Rush said. “They can come back years from now and say I helped paint that.”
       Dick Siever, director of the Community Center, said he's looking forward to the result. The wall had been blank before, and he and other center leaders had asked Rush to change that. “It's really going to be gorgeous,” Siever said.
       A volunteer photography instructor at the center and a partially retired engineer, Rush blended both those interests in developing the mural plan. He took six successive panoramic shots of the Front Range from Mesa Road, combined them into a broader panorama with the Photoshop computer program and then used another of its tools to coagulate the colors from the original 16 million to 14.
       After that, seeking paint-by-numbers simplicity, Rush invented a method in which a projector attached to the computer can display any of the 14 colors on the wall at a given time. This allows volunteer painters to see the specific spaces they need to fill in with their assigned colors.
       He'd never tried a project like this before, but “I've been inventing stuff for a long time,” he said. “So I figured out how to do it, then did it.”
       The volunteer turnout so far has been encouraging. Through Saturday, July 9, Rush counted 33 helpers (including a few repeaters) who'd shown up at six painting sessions so far.

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