Sisters bring artistic talents to downtown Middletown businesses

Updated July 12, 2017
Sisters Jennifer Morrell (left) and Audrey Morrell have painted murals and signage at downtown Middletown businesses, including Gracie’s, Spoken Bicycles, Torchlight Pass, Central Pastry and Society. They have several other projects in the works.

For sisters, they’re total opposites: One is creative, the other is technical.

But when they put paint brushes in their hands, something magical appears, and right now, they’ve never been busier providing colorful flair to downtown Middletown businesses.

Jennifer and Audrey Morrell, both Middletown residents, have designed and painted murals for Central Pastry, Society, Spoken Bikes, Torchlight Pass and most recently, Gracie’s.

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Sisters Audrey Morrell (left) and Jennifer Morrell stand by one of their paintings inside Gracie’s restaurant on Central Avenue in Middletown. Photo: NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

In the waiting area of Gracie’s restaurant, they painted a portrait of Nick and Gracie Vitori, whose granddaughter, Amy Vitori, owns Torchlight Pass, a downtown building that also houses a yoga business and hair salon.

The Morrell sisters said they’re proud of the painting and they believe it portrays the former owners of Vitori Market in Mayfield.

“It captures the vibe of this place and honors them and tells their story a little bit,” Audrey Morrell, 37, said of the Vitoris.

“It was challenging,” said Jennifer Morrell, 40, who recently returned to her roots after more than 20 years in Oregon. “We love it.”

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A painting by sisters Jennifer Morrell and Audrey Morrell at Society in Middletown. Photo: NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

After Audrey Morrell and her good friend, Amy Jessee, completed the large Torchlight Pass logo on the outside of the business, the Morrell sisters were approached by numerous businesses about painting murals or logos. They have other projects “in the pipeline,” they said.

“Boom,” Jennifer Morrell said when asked about business. “We are rolling, which is weird because I have been struggling to find work in Oregon.”

The work also has allowed the sisters to make money doing what they love. Nothing like earning a living — or at least some spending money — fulfilling your fantasy.

“It helps us eat,” Audrey Morrell said with a smile while sitting inside Gracie’s.

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Jennifer Morrell also has some of her artwork for sale at variety store Society, 1626 Central Ave. She calls herself an “Art Doctor” because “you tell me what you want to feel and I will try to make that happen”

A mural painted by sisters Jennifer Morrell and Audrey Morrell at Central Pastry in Middletown. Photo: NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The sisters are trying to come up with a catchy business name and want to create a website and Facebook account. But right now, they’re doing what they love.

Audrey Morrell said her sister “breathes creativity” and Jennifer Morrell said her sister is good with computers and fractions.

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“I want to be more like you,” Audrey said.

“I want to be more like you,” her sister replied. “I always think, ‘How would Audrey think of this? Does Audrey think that this would be good?’”

So instead of painting solo, they work as a sister act, and each understands the talents they bring to each project.

“We can’t do it without each other,” Jennifer Morrell said, before adding: “Well, we can but it’s so hard. There are things that I can’t do very well that she does. And vice versa.”

Artwork by sisters Jennifer Morrell and Audrey Morrell can be seen outside the Torchlight Pass building in Middletown. Photo: NICK GRAHAM/STAFF