COVINGTON -- When Gov. Nathan Deal sits in his office every day, he can enjoy the artwork of local artist Cindy Murphy.
Murphy was recently commissioned by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to create a piece in celebration of the loggerhead sea turtle, an endangered species. She chose to do a glass tile mosaic that was presented to donors at the annual Weekend for Wildlife fundraiser held at Sea Island's Cloister Resort.
Murphy spent about 150 hours hand-crafting 37 pieces that she had less than a month to complete. She cut, glued and hand-painted each piece of glass and handmade the bases as well.
"We had the snow storm and no one could leave the house. I couldn't leave for four days, which was really a blessing for me. It helped me out. I did nothing but turtles, turtles, turtles," she said.
Deal and his wife, Sandra, were among the recipients. Murphy received a thank- you note from the governor and a photo of the couple with their mosaic.
"He sent me a letter thanking me and said how much he enjoyed the piece and that it's hanging in his office at the Capitol," she said.
This is the third time Murphy has been commissioned by DNR. She has been an artist for 15 years, and in addition to creating mosaics she is an oil painter best known for her pet portraits. She also hand-crafts wind chimes and jewelry.
Murphy has a degree in commercial art, but after moving to Newton County, she took a workshop and fell in love with oil painting.
"It's awesome therapy. It takes you away from the stress and strain of everyday life and you immerse yourself into creating something beautiful that somebody else is going to look at and think it's beautiful. Hopefully, there is as much enjoyment for somebody else to look at as it is for me to make it," she said.
Murphy is a founding member of Southern Heartland Art Gallery on the Square in downtown Covington. A commemorative sea turtle mosaic is on display there along with her other artwork.