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story.lead_photo.caption Liz Morales/For the News TribuneMuralist Dennis Holliday prepares to make the final brushes to complete one of the two horses on the mural on the Moniteau County Fair mural July 15 in downtown California.

Just a few final touches are all that's needed to complete a mural in downtown California.

The mural received its first strokes along the south wall of the Moniteau County Historical Society in October with plans for completion June 1. However, muralist Dennis Holliday ran into a few unexpected problems.

"The weather has been unpredictable," Holliday said. "Either it rained, or it was way too hot. When the bricks are too hot, the paint won't stick. So I had to work around that."

Holliday also wanted to touch up some rough spots from the recent demolition of the Latham Hospital near the mural.

"It really wasn't much that hurt the mural," he said. "I can fix it easy."

Despite the elements, Holliday has been able to add elements of the Moniteau County Fair to his budding 60-by-10-foot masterpiece complete with horses, livestock 4-H and FFA exhibits and, of course, the grandstands.

More often than not, Holliday said, a mural is a 2-D piece. However, that isn't how he likes to produce his own.

"You get to see what's going on in this one," he said. "There are three paintings put together here that make it all come together. The two horses in the middle are the center of attention, but everything in it is all related."

The manes of the centerfold horses, a rider on each and additional surprise pieces to the mix are all that is left for the final product.

This particular mural was contracted by the Historical Society and California Progress Inc.

Along the way, Holliday has needed to mix paint colors to match the Historical Society's bricks in order to perfect the 3-D illusion.

Other artistic techniques were needed to complete the project, but one thing stands true in how Holliday works his magic: "You can learn the techniques of art," he said. "But the art is in your heart."

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