A Cinematic Transformation

By Morgan Bricca April 29, 2015
Henry McNamanra Nature Preserve
I am sure when the street was named, View Street it offered a lovely view of the hills. 109 years after it was built, the home of George Henry and Denise McNamara home’s only view was onto the back of a sixty-foot long commercial building. The previous owners had mitigated they eyesore with a big wall of ivy. This past winter, a storm took down the 30-year-old massive wall of ivy, and it collapsed over onto itself like a tidal wave. When they had me over to assess the scene, I felt like Mary discovering the secret garden. George and Denise had no idea the potential boon this wall could be for their house! I was looking at the mess but I could hear the angel’s choir, a cinematic moment where great beauty will soon rise up from the ashes of the devastation…

Before and After

I have been assesing the merit of blank walls for fifteen years, and in that time I have developed a keen eye for spotting potential. However, sometimes it takes a bit of careful negotiation to get all parties on the same page. When we first met, I could tell the mural idea was George’s; Denise was decidedly wary. She was concerned she would tire of looking at the same scene, or that the colors might be garish. They told me they were considering a mural on one – or maybe two – of the panels. I was aware it might seem like I was simply “upselling” them, but I suggested they consider at least three. I try to build trust with my clients by understanding what their core fears in a project are, and then responding authentically, to give them accurate information from my experience. I hear time and again how past clients become more, not less attached to their murals. I sympathize completely that color preferences are really a personal choice; one persons happy orange is another’s icky orange. Denise shared her concerns but also told me what she did like. We found points of common interest in terms of plants, colors, and subject that might be interesting for the mural.

Sidewalk View

Even though the direction from Denise and Henry was for a bid to paint one or two panels, I took a risk and sent a concept design that covered four panels with my bid. As I said, the angel’s choir had sung to me, and their song was clear: the right way to do this project is to paint the whole stretch!

When they let me know they were going to move forward with all four panels I was thrilled. I honored that I was going to be working with clients who both trusted me and wanted things done right, the first time. That is an ideal combination I look for in clients. I knew this was going to be a blockbuster collaboration.

Panel Three Close Up

As the project developed, Denise became more involved with the developing content and wildlife in the mural. She gave me a Laws pocket guide set to all the plants and animals of the Bay Area, so I picked out a few birds and animals and incorporated them into the scene. People walking by on View Street were enjoying spotting animals in the scene. With Denise’s encouragement we added more wildlife to the mural: a frog and a turtle, river otters, a red-shouldered hawk, grazing deer, and a blue heron all emerged out of the landscape.

Shoreline Closeup

The angel’s choir sang not only at the beginning of the project. My soundtrack of choice during this project was the music of Hans Zimmer. If you have ever been to the movies, you have heard his music. He has composed music for over 150 films; many movies become blockbusters with the help of his music. If the truth be told, it is not particularly glamorous work being up on a scaffold, painting in the wind and direct sun on a Tuesday afternoon. That all changes when I put on the title soundtrack to The Gladiator, Pearl Harbor or the Da Vinci Code: suddenly I am transported. Every brushstroke feels like a masterpiece and I am painting the heavens with driven focus, experiencing an all-encompassing cinematic moment that can last the whole afternoon. Even the bunnies have a bit more gravitas with the Thelma and Louise soundtrack playing. On cue, the choir breaks through and I step back and even the artwork looks better. Go ahead, put on Hans Zimmer’s music and then come back and read this newsletter. Better, right?

Second Panel Henry McNamara Preserve

This is the view from my client’s home office. After just a few days of painting, George asked me, “Is there a word that means the opposite of buyers remorse? That is how I feel.” I miss my new friend already!

George Henry

My friend Cindy Handler pointed out that I say this about every project these days, but this was really a dream job! The size! The subject! It was fun to be around the corner from Castro Street and all the deliciously tempting places to eat or take a cappuccino break. On most days, the lovely garden setting with a rock fountain flowing into a fishpond was all I needed during my lunchbreak. I enjoyed the feedback from people walking by and the fast 10 minute commute. I feel especially grateful for such kind and trusting clients. If they happened to read the comments on my website about how fast I paint, they must have assumed it to be a false rumor. It was more like, “Why is Morgan taking so long to finish?” “Finished” isn’t the right word; it was more that I could no longer justify showing up in their backyard every day without at least paying an entrance fee to the Henry McNamara Nature Preserve.

Thank you for reading and letting me share my joy with you!

Warm Regards,

Morgan signature

P. S. Thursday May 7 is the National Day of Prayer. To me, gratitude, service and just plain old happiness are all worthwhile forms of prayer. Pass it on!


Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.


Our entire staff enthusiastically appreciates the artistic transformation of our clinic. The kids here for medical services LOVE the murals as well. One of our young patients returned from emergency psychiatric services for a self-harm issue and when she came into our office she had a huge smile upon seeing the mural. It is amazing to all of us how immediately a depressed patient responded to the mural art.

It has been a pleasure to work with you. We love both your work and the positive environment and spirit you have instilled in our kids.  Once again Morgan, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart.

Warm regards,

Chia-Chen Lee
Juvenile Hall Medical Clinic Pediatrics

Review for Juvenile Hall Mural Project by Chia-Chen Lee

Morgan blew it out of the water.  As a general contractor, I would say my decision to hire Morgan for this mural is one of the best decisions I have made in terms of impact of my work.  Every kid will remember this mural as long as he or she shall live. Watching a child see the mural for the first time is an experience words can’t describe. It’s mesmerizing to them. Adults too, for that matter. It’s a show stopper.  So much better than I could have ever imagined.

I would go out of my very busy way to recommend Ms. Morgan Bricca on every possible level, with no hesitation. Please feel free to call me if you are considering hiring Morgan but can’t quite take the leap. I will be glad to push you in.

Chris Carver
Aquatic Management Group
Raleigh, North Carolina

Mural artist review by Chris Carver

Morgan offers a unique collaborative approach with her clients. On our project, she struck the perfect balance; she listened to our ideas and feedback but very much maintained her role as the creative expert, making us feel comfortable the entire time.

I would absolutely recommend Morgan with no hesitation. With all that she has done, she is going to find the right approach for just about any client.

Jonathan Meyer
VP, Marketing and Community Relations
San Mateo Credit Union

Mural painter review by Jonathan Meyer

We absolutely love our mural! I anticipated that it would add beauty and a much-needed “nature element” onto our campus, I never could have imagined what a huge impact this would have on our school. I have seen countless children, parents, and teachers walk by in awe, totally captivated. Not only does it make our campus a brighter, more beautiful place to learn and play, it reminds our entire community of the tremendous importance of art. This is a gift beyond measure, especially in tech-obsessed silicon valley. Once again, you have exceeded my (already high) expectations!

You are so fun, inspiring and professional to work with and your projects in our kinder yard and now this mural have been my most satisfying collaborations on PTA.


Christy Flahavan
PTA President
Springer Elementary School

Mural Artist Review for Springer Elementary School by Christy Flahavan

The real value and pleasure of working with Morgan was that we connected with her. She was very personable, very sincere, very collaborative, but not one to sit back and let us lead it in a wrong direction. We trusted her completely from the past work she had done for us, and told her, “here is a wall, do something with it – surprise us.” It’s like dealing with a friend.

The murals she has created for us make our home more intimate, warm, and personal. I was surprised at how quickly she worked, how easily it got done, and how watching the process was enlightening. It just flowed; it was like watching a very large masterpiece being created before our very eyes. It was especially interesting when she got into the tonality and the tints. For us, it turned out better than we could have expected. I absolutely recommend her without a doubt.

Mural Painter Review by Sandy Bland

Morgan, the mural you created for our building has been a major attraction for both locals and visitors in Downtown Napa. The transformation of an eye sore, to a work of art, has been nothing short of amazing. I feel a little guilty receiving so many compliments for your work, however that doesn’t stop me from stealing part of your credit. Your attention to detail and sensitivity, bringing the Wappo tribe into the process, unified Napa’s residents with its history. This public recognition of the Wappo Indians is long overdue, reminding us all of a different time in the Napa Valley when nature and people could live harmoniously.

Every day, as I watch children and adults transported to an earlier time in the Napa Valley, I appreciate your ability to be the vehicle for their journey. I hope soon you will return to sprinkle some more fairy dust on another wall, so I can watch your magic talented creations at work.

Thank You,
Michael L Holcomb

Mural Artist Review by Michael L Holcomb

Hi Morgan,

We had an end of the school year party at our house and everyone raved about your mural. I see your name and date, 2012, on it and can’t believe it was 4 years ago.

Just wanted you to know it brings me joy every day.

Josh Weinstock

Mural Artist Review by Josh Weinstock

I have worked with Morgan on five mural projects at our house over the past six years. I love her work and she is a pleasure to work with. Once you see how transformed your space is by the first mural, it is easy to start seeing other rooms that could benefit from a “Morgan”.

Susan Wojicki
CEO, YouTube

Mural Painter Review by Susan Wojicki

Morgan’s work is exquisite. She loves what she does, works extremely fast, and is a true pleasure to work with.

David DaPonte
Architect, HKS

Mural Painter Review by David DaPonte

Without fail, anytime someone comes to our house who hasn’t seen the painting, they comment on it and how much they like it.

Adam King
Director, Intel Corporation


Mural Painter Review by Adam King