Monday, January 26, 2015

Bylas Murals

As promised, here's the other "secret project" that I didn't want to write about until it was finished. 

I went with my husband on the WLC student service trip to Arizona (which he led), and I served as "chaperone / art expert / go-for / navigator / etc." Originally the plan was to go to Grenada, but a nasty virus had us switch gears and go to the Apache reservations instead. The group roofed a church and 2 houses, painted, installed hand railings, cleaned, and whatever other jobs came our way. We spent time working at WELS churches and schools in the cities of Bylas and Peridot on the San Carlos Reservation, and later in East Fork, Whiteriver, and Canyon Day on the Fort Apache Reservation.

In particular, I was given the task of painting murals at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Bylas in 2-3 days. 

The pastor had a few ideas of what he'd like to see painted on the walls and sent me some photos of the space ahead of time, but otherwise I had a lot of freedom. I chose to go with one design of Jesus' "I am" statements as opposed to something more complicated like figures and/or a landscape. I needed to keep it simple, since I wasn't doing this alone but with a group of students (of various skill levels) over just a couple of days... so I didn't want to launch into anything too complicated over our short time there.

I was usually given 2 student workers at any given time. (I tried to give all of the girls a turn at painting to spare them from roofing for awhile.) Pictured below, Anna from Kingdom Workers is working with 2 of the girls below on roughly sketching the design, which is projected on the back wall of the church.

Next we did the fun/easy/fast part of painting the painterly swirly background.

Next, slowly sketch in all of the letters. 

And then slowly and carefully paint in all the letters. (Yes, I'm not standing very safely on a ladder here.)

By the end of Day 1 I was happily surprised that we got all of the letters done, which was ahead of my cautious schedule. The backgrounded ended up looking rather wussy once the letters were done, so I knew I'd use the next day to beef it up with brighter colors. 

And all the while I was working with the "I am" mural, I sent a team of 3 more students and another chaperone to work on a smaller mural project. This one was not designed by me. It was the logo for the year at the Peridot school, which they hoped we could paint on the cafeteria wall for them. The three ladies pictured below (plus chaperone) also cranked out this smaller mural all on Day 1. 

Next, Day 2! I had designs ready to go for two slightly smaller "I am" murals for the sides of the church in Bylas. They weren't part of the original list of ideas, but I got permission the evening before to go with it. With the slightly smaller scale, fewer words in the designs, and a plan of action in mind, we set to work to get two more murals done - all in Day 2, if possible!

I got two different ladies to help me with these two murals with "Alpha" on one side and "Shield" on the other.

Once they got to the (above pictured) parts of tracing and painting letters on the "Alpha" mural, I worked on the background of the first mural and added brighter yellows, which helped finish it. 

And I also added brighter yellows to the background of the "Shield" mural before the letters where added (which was a much preferred working order). I added brighter yellows in to the "Alpha" mural when the girls switched places with me to work on painting the "Shield" murals' letters.  

By the end of Day 2 we reached our goal of finishing all three murals! The morning of Day 3 was then simply spent on coating the murals with a clear coat. 

I was glad that we were able to finish the set of three murals, since I felt that the "full set" made the murals more of a part of the space, rather than just a group of words on one paint splotch on the back wall. Later reviews by the congregation were positive, so I was happy to be a part of this project that brightened up the church space. 

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