A retaining wall along Highway 92 in Jefferson County has sat blank for years but has recently gotten a facelift with a mountainous mural.

A local artist, David Freeman, was commissioned to do the nature scene depicting the beauty of the East Tennessee area by a private citizen.

"It started as a little sketch from the very beginning and it just progressed from there," Freeman explained.

Freeman has worked on the painting since May, trying to transform the once gray, splotchy wall, into a work of art.

Jefferson City retaining wall
David Freeman

He has worked through the heat and rain of summer with a smile on his face.

"When it's raining I don't use watercolors," Freeman laughed. "So you have to watch out for the weather."

The massive painting is the biggest he's ever done.

"It's 310 feet long and 12.5 feet tall," Freeman spouted.

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Every dip in paint, every brushstroke, and every line helps to create a football field size mural showing off the beauty of the area.

"So I just love the mountains and the waterfalls and I just love that kind of thing," Freeman explained.

Jefferson City mural with artist David Freeman
WBIR

The donor said it needed to be done because everyone was tired of looking at the dull wall on drives.

Jefferson City's mayor, Mitch Cain, said this mural has been a dream of the city's for quite some time."

"Just through the hard work through some individuals, the generosity of some local folks and the talent of some incredible folks, this has become a reality and a great gift to all of us," Cain expressed.

Cars whooshed past David as he was working alongside the highway.

"It's close to the road you so you've got to kind of watch out for that but with my earplugs, I don't know who's coming by," Freeman joked as he stood by the edge of the road. "As you can hear the traffic is kind of noisy sometimes but it's a good place to work and people are so nice. They come by and toot their horn and even stop and talk to me."

He said everyone in the county is interested in the progress.

"It's a beautiful thing," Freeman said. "People love art. Something pretty to look at, so this is a large painting and they can't miss it and so it's very public, and they just love the painting."

It's the talk of the town.

"As folks have driven by over the past weeks and they've watched this mural unfold, and you hear the buzz of did you see this? Did you see that? Have you been out there this week," Cain spoke of the community.

The finishing touches still need to be done.

"They wanted some eagles in the painting so I'm working on some large eagles in the painting about four feet wide," Freeman estimated. "I just put a bear in the painting and just typical of the Smoky Mountains and I just love that type of thing and they do too."

Freeman said the finished product will be worth every second of his time.

"It's a lot of fun," Freeman explained. "I love large murals because it's like you're stepping into the painting like I'm part of it and I like that feeling."

It's something he hopes others feel, too.

"You can't live without art," Freeman explained. "You've got to have it some way or the other."

The mural will be finished by August and will be presented to the beautification board of Jefferson City as a gift to the area.

The whole thing will be coated with a special seal so the city can enjoy it for years to come.