Sam Donovan, ace billboard painter, is juggling paint brushes and cans on a narrow board that dangles high above a swampy bog.

"You won't believe this, but I'm scared to death of heights," said Donovan, 36, Atlantic City, N.J. He has acquired a reputation for creating portraits many times larger than life.

Donovan's life work is art usually seen at a great distance in a fleeting glance from a car window. Instead of an appreciative museum audience, he can hope to impress only the myriad of passing travelers, such as casino tourists and truckers.

His labors may last only a few days before being covered by the next advertisement. But the affable artist says he doesn't mind.

"I enjoy looking at it for a couple of weeks. If I really like it, I'll deliberately pass it every day on my way to work just to see it," Donovan said.