Teri Lyn Vander Heiden has been working on what she calls her Senior Smart Home for nearly a year now. Progress on the senior-friendly model home is moving slowly due to funding challenges. But she's already purchased her first art for the site, a sprawling mural of the desert she loves.
"It's my first mural," said artist Lida Kilchenko, who plans to start her freshman year at UNLV in the fall. "Usually I work in oils on canvas. I don't usually paint things larger than 24 inches or so on a side."
The mural adorns a long, low wall on the east side of the property on the foothills of Frenchman Mountain. Above the wall, you can see a few rooftops, and beyond that, a spectacular view of the valley. The mural represents a sort of greatest hits of spectacular local landscape and nature.
"It has Lake Mead, Mount Charleston, Red Rock Canyon, a desert tortoise, a snake and native plants," Kilchenko said. "I blended them all together so it looks like you could see them all at once."
Vander Heiden's intent was to beautify the area near her back patio, where she hopes eventually to host flute circles. She found the artist through one of her fellow Rotary Club members, who taught Kilchenko at Advanced Technologies Academy.
"I was and am very impressed with her work," Vander Heiden said. We were able to come up with a price for it that we were both happy with. In fact, she's about to begin work on a second mural inside the house."
The work took around a month to complete. Kilchenko felt the work could have been done more quickly, but the weather was uncooperative.
"There were a lot of very windy days," she said. "It was too windy to paint because of the sand blowing around."
Kilchenko was born in Russia and has been in the country only seven years, but she speaks fluent English with only a trace of an accent. She credits this to her American education.
"I had to learn the language for school," Kilchenko said. "I still speak Russian when I'm at home and when I visit Russia."
She is a member of the Boulder City Art Guild and has displayed her work at Art in The Park and the Winter Art Fest in Boulder City. Currently, she has a selection of her work for sale in Vander Heiden's garage at 555 Rossmore Drive. Vander Heiden hosts a garage sale from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. most Fridays and Saturdays in hopes of clearing out extra items in her current home across the street from the smart home. She's selling the home, too, to raise the necessary capital to finish the smart home.
"I haven't sold a lot yet, but we get a lot of people out here who are curious about the house," Vander Heiden said. "A lot of people comment about Lida's work. Everyone really seems to love it."
Kilchenko has been painting most of her life and plans to continue showing her work around town and hopes to paint more murals in the valley when she isn't attending classes at UNLV.
"I'm going to major in business," Kilchenko said.
Kilchenko's work can be seen at mediaartwork.com/lida. Follow Vander Heiden's progress on the house at twitter.com/#!/smarthouselady.
Contact Sunrise and Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at email@example.com or 380-4532.