Tearcoat mural is nearly complete

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Muralist Terry Smith was in Turbeville on Monday working to finish the latest Swamp Fox mural on the side of the Dollar General in the small community.

The mural depicts the battle of Tearcoat Swamp in 1780, when patriot Gen. Frances Marion surprised a group of loyalist militia with a midnight attack, taking more than 20 prisoners, some of whom reportedly defected to the side of the revolutionaries. An earlier mural depicting the battle could not be repaired, Smith said.

The artist said he had hoped to finish the mural earlier but had to return home to Florida after working on the mural for nine days. He said it takes about 12 days to complete a mural the size of the Tearcoat Swamp mural.

Smith said the Tearcoat Swamp mural is the 10th or 11th mural he has painted for the Swamp Fox Mural Trail Society and is among more than two dozen murals scattered throughout Clarendon County.

A mural such as Tearcoat, which is 8 feet high by 32 feet long, takes several gallons of paint, Smith said. He uses a paint much like acrylics with ultraviolet protection developed for use in amusement parks.

"It doesn't go on easy," he said.

He said he likes to paint the dark areas first and finish up with the highlights, which he was doing on Monday.

Smith, who turns 76 this week, said the Tearcoat Swamp mural may be the last one he does for the Swamp Fox Trail Society.

"I am slowing down," he said. "I used to be able to paint five a year and do other work as well."