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Moby Dick gets a fresh paint job and a more loving image on Stearns Wharf

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It's not the historic Old Mission, or the landmark Dolphin fountain, but it is one of the most photographed spots in Santa Barbara, and it needs help.

Artist Beth Amine is back with her paints and other supplies to bring the Moby Dick whale back to its luster on the side of the Moby Dick restaurant on Stearns Wharf.

Amine said, "we're going to make him brand new,  and he is a well loved piece of art."

Since 1991,  the painting of Moby Dick has been a fixture on Stearns Wharf.

 Millions of people pass by it every year where it is mounted on the side of the restaurant.

 This is the second version after a 1998 fire took out the 1991 whale.

 But it takes a weather beating with the ocean air, wind and morning sun.

Now with fading colors,  flaking and no touch ups for a long time,  the artist behind it, is bringing the 22 foot whale back to its beauty.


"It needs to be done every year but last year I wasn't here because of all the closures," said Amine. The work will involve some patching,  some filler and patience.

"If you see these areas  everywhere that the paint is missing that has all   peeled off and just eaten away in the last  two years or so," she said.

It will be a tedious process.


"This whole whale was painted with this brush (holding a small tipped brush) That is why I may be here for any number of days," said Amine.


She says the whale's mouth is where people take pictures with their head inside, or arms and in some cases, a leg.

The original Moby Dick story has a deep conflict, but with a sailboat in the eye of this painting,  there's a modern message. "Moby is looking at the ship and we are looking at him going like  let's enjoy this life together. That was my hope that it is our choice to make."

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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