"As usual with Dafford, he'll use a combination of old photographs and his imagination," said Bob Huff, president of Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce. "I would say there will be ghost figures of Indian chiefs, frontiersmen, maybe a flatboat or a raft, in the background."
Chase Innes and other young artists employed by Dafford already have painted in the course of the river and outlined the five states it borders.
"Dafford will be painting in various points of scenic interest along both sides of the river - South Point, Louisville (Ky.), Cincinnati, Mound City. Maybe he'll paint the Indian Head Rock in there, too," Huff said, chuckling.
In Steubenville, nearing the Pennsylvania border, many of the downtown building walls resemble giant postcards with murals - some 50 feet wide - painted by nationally-known artists, including some by Dafford.
No murals along the river so far, though, Huff said, measure up to Portsmouth's 2,000 feet of floodwall paintings, done by Dafford over a period of several years.
Huff said Dafford is the only mural artist he knows of who paints in such a three-dimensional way, the viewer has the feeling he can walk or drive right into the picture.
He said he believed Dafford was working in South Point painting Civil War battle scenes that happened in that area, and had not yet submitted a layout for approval by the murals committee.
"He submits a drawing to be approved and then a contract for the work is signed," Huff said.
One of Dafford's assistants working on the floodwall murals honoring local building crafts unions said Friday Dafford was at his home in Louisiana.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.