Artful stroke takes Tacoma scene to market

Picking the color to paint a wall is one thing.

What Marlene Beadle had in mind for a wall at her store was a little more complicated.

The owner of Marlene’s Market & Deli wanted a stroke more of Tacoma. She wanted a view of the Thea Foss waterway with the iconic 11th Street bridge — also known as the Murray Morgan Bridge — to greet customers as they walked into her store at 2951 S. 38th St.

“I wanted to promote Tacoma to the people from Tacoma who come in here all the time,” Beadle said. “We needed something on that spot for people to see and learn more about Tacoma.”

Inspiration came to her years ago when she read an article about Murray Morgan, the late Tacoma historian for whom the city landmark is named.

So last year, after remodeling her store, she knew exactly what to put on a large blank wall separating the cafe from the rest of her store.

Beadle asked a friend and retired art teacher Kathy Martin to do the job.

The two women have worked on projects before, including another giant mural in Beadle’s Federal Way store.

But this time, what the affable store owner had in mind was not exactly in Martin’s palette.

“I thought (this) has a lot of structure, a lot of engineering, very unlike trees and landscaping that I’m used to doing,” Martin recalled.

“But I said I can do it,” she said, sitting on a short stool and proudly pointing to her work. “And here it is.”

After quibbling over style and color, the women decided that a sepia-tinged painting was appropriate.

“It is not as colorful, but it is historical and that is why I did it,” Beadle said.

“I love history,” she added, “and I think Tacoma will like it, too.”

Putting the finishing touches on her work last Friday as customers stopped, gawked and snapped pictures with their phones, Martin seemed pleased.

“It gives you a feel of the bridge and the industrial-ness of the city of Tacoma,” she said.

She ought to know.

The Murray Morgan Bridge, Martin said, was part of her commute for decades.

“I traveled over this bridge for 30 years from Dash Point into Tacoma to teach,” she said.

David Montesino: 253-597-8265