One Candlelight Park family combined their creative skills to add a blast of Texas history to Corpus Christi’s beloved “Blue Ghost.”
Vicki Loper hand painted large murals of a naval battle scene for the new exhibit about the Texas Navy aboard the USS Lexington, the only aircraft carrier museum in the state. Her husband Craig and son Mitchell have a video production company which helped put together a 22-minute film about the Texas Navy. The trio also helped design and install a naval display aboard the Lexington which includes replica cannons and artifacts from the 1840s.
The Lopers spent several weeks down on the coast getting the display ready. A grand opening was held last month. Her next project is a little closer to home: She has been commissioned to paint classic car murals at Adolf Hoepfl Garage on North Shepherd Drive.
Loper is a prolific internationally recognized artist who began her art journey studying from age 11 with Ruth Mogford, an acclaimed artist. Loper continued her art studies at the University of Texas in Austin.
Today Loper’s paintings are in private collections across the United States and have been shown or purchased by commercial entities such as the State Capital of Texas, Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin, the Opera House in Grapevine, Shady Brook Resort, Taos Canyon, New Mex., Point Venture Resort, Lake Travis, St. John’s the Devine Episcopal Church, Houston, and more.
Loper has had numerous one-person shows and has participated in multiple juried artist shows over the years. She was awarded her first Best of Show at the age of 14. Galleries in Houston and New York City currently show her work, which is viewable online at artsy-art.com.
One of her first jobs out of college was illustrating children’s books, which she continues to enjoy, with a recent completion and two in progress.
Large paintings and murals have long been part of Loper’s repertoire and grace the walls of private collectors, museums, and businesses across Texas.
Two of these recent works can be seen aboard Corpus Christi’s National Monument and Museum on the Bay – USS Lexington in “The Lone Star Navy Exhibit” created and donated by the Texas Navy Association.
Loper’s 8’x 7’ mural of Galveston Bay depicting a Baltimore Clipper at dock and another at sea is the backdrop for a diorama housing a rendition of a 19th Century Midshipman and a Sailor working on the dock of what was then headquarters for the first of two Texas Navies.
Moving into the next area of this 1,000 sq. foot exhibition, you will find another Loper mural measuring 17’ x 7’ of a Gulf of Mexico sunset highlighting the 1836 Mexican Brig Warship Bravo. In front of this mural are two replica 12 pounder guns set as if firing through the bulwark of Texas Navy Warship Invincible.
This scene depicts an important victory of the First Texas Navy whereby munitions and food on the merchant ship Pocket, sailing out of New Orleans and destined to resupply Santa Anna’s desperate troops at San Jacinto, were captured and delivered to Sam Houston’s forces the day before the Battle of San Jacinto. Without this Texas Navy victory, the Battle of San Jacinto establishing Texas Independence from Mexico would likely not have been won.
Visit the USS Lexington’s Lone Star Navy Exhibit to view the Loper murals and also experience the featured 22-minute Historical Documentary “How the Texas Navy Saved the Revolution,” a film produced by T Kahunas USA and the Texas Navy Association.
The film is approved for use and available for free download to all 4th and 7th grade Social Studies teachers throughout Texas by signing on to TexasNavy.org and filling out the short usage form under the Teachers Film Request in the main menu.