A Utah native is leaving her mark on North Platte one brushstroke at a time.
Sienna Pfaff, of Elk Ridge, Utah has spent the past month painting a mural at the Super 8 by Wyndham motel in North Platte. The mural features a locomotive roaring through a Nebraska landscape.
The train is a replica of the one on display in Memorial Park.
For the landscape, Pfaff found inspiration in the places she has traveled to during her time at North Platte Community College.
“Watching it all come together has been exciting,” Pfaff said. “I didn’t want the mural to look cartoony, but the size of it has been a challenge. I had to really concentrate on accurately representing the perspective and mixing exactly the same tone of paint every time. It takes a lot of paint to cover a wall, so I use it up quickly. Because the mural is outside, my light also changes as the sun goes down.”
Art is a creative outlet that’s relatively new to her. Although Pfaff’s parents are both artistic, she just started painting two years ago in high school.
“I paint everything now,” Pfaff said. “I use acrylics and have done owls, trains, canyons, waterfalls – you name it. I’m taking art classes at NPCC, so through those I’ve also done some still life.”
Pfaff is in North Platte because NPCC head softball coach Janelle Higgins recruited her to play ball. Higgins also got her the job painting the mural.
“Coach’s friend manages the motel, and she was looking for someone who could paint a mural on a bare wall,” Pfaff said. “Coach recommended me.”
Pfaff chose to paint a train because North Platte is home to Bailey Yard and the first acrylic painting she ever did was of a train. That piece won an art scholarship in Utah.
“Looking back, that really predicted my future here,” Pfaff said. “Not only did I get my college education in North Platte, but I also met my fiancé here. I think it was meant to be.”
The popularity of Pfaff’s work has skyrocketed the past couple years. Her art hung in the Utah State Capitol. She was selected to receive a scholarship from the Utah State Senate. She has sold her creations on Facebook and also did some commissioned works for NPCC employees.
Despite that, she was hesitant to start on the Super 8 mural.
“I didn’t know what to expect, and I was worried about the dimensions being off,” Pfaff said. “I freehand all my work, but do use photographs for reference on the bigger paintings. In the case of the mural, I snapped a photo of the train in the park and look at it on my phone.”
Pfaff started the project the first week of April and has worked on it two hours a day every three days or so since then – as weather allows.
Her goal is to finish the painting by Friday when school ends and she has to go back to Utah. She has enjoyed the project, but not enough to become an artist full-time.
“After NPCC, I plan to transfer to Southern Utah University to major in dentistry and become and oral surgeon,” Pfaff said. “This mural is my way of saying thanks to North Platte and to NPCC. I’ve had an amazing experience here, and I’ll never forget this place.”