Artist Tom Stovall works on a mural of Henry on the Dunedin Curlew water tower on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Dunedin. The water tower, which was built in the 1960s, is 150 feet tall and holds 1 million gallons of water. Stovall is a large-scale muralist who also painted the Crescent Lake water tower. He started working on Henry in April.

Muralist adds character to Dunedin water tower

Tom Stovall made his studio hundreds of feet high while completing a colorful turtle.
Artist Tom Stovall works on a mural of Henry on the Dunedin Curlew water tower on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Dunedin. The water tower, which was built in the 1960s, is 150 feet tall and holds 1 million gallons of water. Stovall is a large-scale muralist who also painted the Crescent Lake water tower. He started working on Henry in April. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Tom Stovall made his studio hundreds of feet high while completing a colorful turtle.
Published Jul. 12|Updated Aug. 1

Work on Henry the gopher tortoise on the Dunedin Curlew water tower started in April, and phase one was completed in June.

Large-scale muralist Tom Stovall will add a sea turtle named Sylvia during phase two of the project on the west side of the tank. “She is simpler in style, but more colorful,” Stovall said about Sylvia, which will feature 22 colors compared to Henry’s 11.

Henry is named after Henry Scharrer, a Swiss immigrant and nature lover who lived on Caladesi Island from 1892 to 1934. His daughter, Myrtle Scharrer Betz, wrote “Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise, the Story of Caladesi Island.”

The sea turtle is named for Dr. Sylvia Earle, an internationally renowned marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer and lecturer.

Stovall faces challenges from the complexity of the characters to equipment failures and weather. Avoiding rain showers and storms is a challenge, as the paint is sensitive to water and humidity and takes a long time to dry.

Related: Artist rescued after getting stuck while painting Dunedin water tower

Stovall’s other work can be seen on the Seminole water tower, the Crescent Lake water tower and murals inside the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

Stovall prepares his paints and materials before heading up to the water tower to continue painting.
Stovall prepares his paints and materials before heading up to the water tower to continue painting.
Stovall in the lift as he is elevated up to the water tower. "The spring weather was so incredibly windy, conquering that he made the whole thing," Stovall said.
Stovall in the lift as he is elevated up to the water tower. "The spring weather was so incredibly windy, conquering that he made the whole thing," Stovall said.
Stovall on the lift as he works on the details of Henry. "Concentration. That is the hardest part," he said laughing. "There are lots of ropes tied into each other. You can really screw up pretty easily. So you've got to be on top of your Ps and Qs."
Stovall on the lift as he works on the details of Henry. "Concentration. That is the hardest part," he said laughing. "There are lots of ropes tied into each other. You can really screw up pretty easily. So you've got to be on top of your Ps and Qs."
A look at some color swatches along with the rendering of the mural hang on the wall as Stovall prepares to head up to the water tower.
A look at some color swatches along with the rendering of the mural hang on the wall as Stovall prepares to head up to the water tower.
Stovall walks around the water tower as he get in position to continue painting. “I never listen to music up here because I need to hear what’s going on around me. Every little beat," Stovall said.
Stovall walks around the water tower as he get in position to continue painting. “I never listen to music up here because I need to hear what’s going on around me. Every little beat," Stovall said.
Painting material as Stovall prepares to head up to the water tower.
Painting material as Stovall prepares to head up to the water tower.
Planning your weekend?

Planning your weekend?

Subscribe to our free Top 5 things to do newsletter

We’ll deliver ideas every Thursday for going out, staying home or spending time outdoors.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options
Stovall prepares his paints and materials before heading up to the water tower to continue painting.
Stovall prepares his paints and materials before heading up to the water tower to continue painting.
Color swatches along with the rendering of the mural hang on the wall as Stovall prepares to head up to the water tower.
Color swatches along with the rendering of the mural hang on the wall as Stovall prepares to head up to the water tower.
Stovall works on the mural high above the ground.
Stovall works on the mural high above the ground.
Stovall looks up as he prepares to climb into the lift to be elevated up 150 feet to the water tower to continue painting.
Stovall looks up as he prepares to climb into the lift to be elevated up 150 feet to the water tower to continue painting.
Painter’s tape along with a rendering of the mural sit on the table.
Painter’s tape along with a rendering of the mural sit on the table.
"That’s the wonderful thing about it, you really don’t know for sure till you get off the tank and drive down the street and turn around," Stovall said about painting on the water tower. "At that point you can be really excited or you can be really depressed."
"That’s the wonderful thing about it, you really don’t know for sure till you get off the tank and drive down the street and turn around," Stovall said about painting on the water tower. "At that point you can be really excited or you can be really depressed."

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Sylvia Earle was born in New Jersey.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge