When the white walls of your abode do not fit your style or dreams, Miles Gaehler can bring the mystery of the sea, the lush colors of the tropics or the magic of the "Hundred Acre Wood" indoors.
"Murals are coming into vogue," Gaehler said. "A lot of people want the outside in, whether it is the landscape on the other side of the wall or a dreamscape."
One couple had Gaehler literally transform their home into a Renaissance castle. Plain stucco walls became grey brick and mortar. Standard brown doors changed to hewn wood and faux iron hinges under his skilled brush. And, as his client's castle would not be complete without a dragon, he painted an enormous one on the walls and ceiling of the bedroom with wings unfurled.
Outside of another home, faced in redwood, the artist brought colorful dancers to life.
He painted the dancer's features with simple brush strokes, leaving their skin (the wood) to age naturally in the sun.
A Jacuzzi room featured a tropical scene with a whale cavorting in the sea on one wall and a flamingo against the verdant green of the jungle on another.
Gaehler never gets bored with his profession of 23 years.
"One project is like chocolate ice cream, the next is strawberry," he said.
"I painted the ‘Hundred Acre Wood' on four walls and the ceiling for an 11-year-old child's room," he said. "She had thumbnail sketches and knew exactly where she wanted the branch of a tree for Piglet to swing on to go."
Cartoons, impressionistic, realistic, Gaehler said he can and has painted in all styles.
"When you surround yourself with the beauty of nature, it elevates your psyche to another level," he said.
He most enjoys creating a whole room landscape where he can hide the doors, take into account how shafts of sunlight through an open window affect the mural, and bring the mural into the ceiling.
The triangle from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album cover was the first mural he ever painted. He did it on the wall of his room as a Southern California 16-year-old.
It was around Christmastime and when his dad saw it, he told Miles he should go try to paint some Christmas windows (which he still does.)
The corner grocer was his first customer and he made about $35.
He has taken art classes over the years but, "I did not want teacher to unmold me," he said, so he is largely self-taught.
Twenty-odd years later he is still making his own way.
Gaehler plans to test his mettle painting in Italy, starting late this summer, for the next two or three years.
He visited and was charmed by the country in his twenties.
"The Italians have such a gusto and passion for life and food and music and friendship," Gaehler said.
Although he is saving for the trip, the survival aspect of painting for a living on the square does not daunt him.
"I really thrill for the time my survival instinct kicks in," he said.
Name: Miles Gaehler
Mediums: Murals on walls (indoors and out) and ceilings, glass and mirrors. Ceramic sculpture.
Advice to beginning artists: There is no reason you have to be a starving artist, especially with the Internet. Focus and find your special niche and then the sky is the limit. I think self-employment is the best.
Award most proud: Second Place in a Mr. Good Sense (restaurant) contest for a mural on a window at Christmastime.
Motto: Have brush; will travel.
Why Payson? My parents live in Mesa and they brought me up here for lunch. The area is kind of like a sanctuary and I love to be around nature.
Upcoming project: I hope to apprentice with a company in Italy that makes sculptures and fountains.
Dream: Start a mural company, with other artists who specialize in different styles when I get back from Italy.
Hobbies: Drumming -- I love percussion in all its forms, fishing, hiking and being in nature.
Point of contact: (928) 468-6021