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Unveiled Mural on Virtues

Over a two-month period, two children from Science & Arts Academy of Des Plaines worked on creating a unique mural on the theme for their current academic year: Virtues. The team at Painting in Partnership conceived this project and facilitated its creative process.
The official unveiling of the mural took place on October 24th, in front of a gymnasium full of hundreds of students, family and friends. Our two artists, Anna and Juliana, had the honor of narrating the meaning of their creation. They were excited and surely up to the task. Everyone enjoyed their heart-felt presentation.
To complete the experience, we asked them to tell us what they learned from this mural painting experience. Mary Helen, one of the moms, came up with a series of insightful questions for them. Here are some extracts:

How was the mural painting experience different from what you expected? Is there any part of the mural creation process that would apply to the theme for the mural?

In some ways, the mural experience was different that we expected: it was a lot harder. We underestimated the surface as far as the size of the painting. A 4”x5″ canvas can hold a lot of rolling hills!

And the bulldog on the path is like the process of the painting in some way. There maybe be an obstacle, but you have to persevere if you want to get to the happy place. You can’t just give up the first time it gets hard or tedious or whatever. You have to be determined, and to create a good mural you have to stick with it and get through the obstacles and the boring parts so you can get to the fun parts and the things that make the mural really good. And we are proud of what we created, and grateful for the help from Mario and Fran and Rita.

So your mural seems to say that being a good person is a choice. Why would anyone choose not to be on the path to light?

We think the mural says that being a good person is a choice. At least that is one way to take it, but it will be different for everyone. What if the world you lived in was so strict that you thought you were bad by those standards, but you were really good by other standards? People need perspective about what good really is.

Why don’t people just take the path to light? Because it takes work!!! Because they don’t realize it is the path to the light and just assume it is a path to deeper darkness. They see the obstacles and don’t know the other side. If they have never seen the light, how do they know what darkness is? If you don’t feel joy, then you don’t know sadness for what it is.

How do people get stuck in the dark and scary part of the mural?

We think people get stuck sometimes because of their own fear or their laziness. They get bored, or anxious, or they ignore their compass. Maybe they get confused about the compass and which arrow points in the right direction. But to move to a better place, they have to find their compass and look at it and let it guide them. This takes determination. The shadow wolf chasing the white rabbit is desperation chasing hope. Desperation tries to catch and swallow hope, but it is not too late for people to choose the path.

Congratulations to our young artists Anna and Juliana for their thoughtfulness and determination. Job well done! I would be remised not to thank their mothers for their engagement with the process and their overall support. Lastly, I want to acknowledge Science and Arts Academy for creating an environment that nurtures creativity and self-expression. Our team at Painting in Partnership is grateful for having been part and witness to this creation. This project was an opportunity to express the true meaning our company’s name.

Categories : Community Painting

Vintage Turret After Color Makeover

Vintage Turret Before Color Makeover

Our client has a late nineteen-century gray stone building in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Last year, she had hired painters to help her do a major color makeover on her turret. As shown in the “before” picture, the bay window was indeed “color-challenged”.

Our client had to let go of her initial painters, as they could not come up with a successful color palette for the project. Frustrated by her first experience, she found out about our company’s historical color expertise and quality of execution. She hired us to bring about a solution to her color design predicament.

Developing the color scheme for the project turned out to be the most challenging part of the project. For half the day, the bay window is in the shade. In the afternoon, it is in the bright sun. Finding colors that looked good in the shade and did not wash out in the sun (or appeared different in bright light) proved to be quite difficult. Arriving at the right colors required a few hours of consultation and actual field-testing the color in different lighting conditions. Achieving the desired result required the concerted efforts of all involved, including the client.

The project also involved extensive preparation of the metal surfaces, as well as some metal fabrication to replace six missing ornamental pieces at the bottom of the panels. Working with the customer until the client is completely satisfied is what we do as a team in our company

Two children from Science & Arts Academy of Des Plaines have been working on creating a unique mural on the theme for their current academic year: Virtues. The team at Painting in Partnership has conceived of this project and is helping facilitate its creative process.

In a first session, the girls were introduced to the history of murals, going back to the cavemen. Then, our Color and Concept Consultant, along with our Muralist, helped facilitate and capture the girl’s vision for living life in the pursuit of virtue development, by putting it in the form of a rough sketch for their mural-to-be. Our muralist then refined the sketch and submitted it for approval by the girls. After incorporating their changes, we then submitted a final sketch for them to color in advance of the first painting session, which will take place later this week. As you can see from the sketch, the girls are well on their way to creating their mural!

Colored Sketch for Mural Painting Project on Virtues

I thought you might be interested in reading about the girls’ thoughts and the meaning behind the different images depicted in their sketch. Here we go:
- In the mural, the path leads from an area of bad traits to an area of good traits, but the traveler will face obstacles along the way.

- The shadow wolf is evil, made of black shadows and deceit chasing the rabbit, trying to catch the white, pure hope and devour it so the world becomes more evil.

- The deer and squirrels are running away from the shadows toward the light.

- The bulldog stands in the middle of the path, saying that you must
want to do this and work to get past me.

- And the gate is mental determination. The gate will only open once you have fully embraced the need for change. Going through the gate is accepting change and moving forward.

- The gate is part of the way down the path because you can make some improvements without admitting that you are in a dark place. But to get all the way there, you need to admit that you need to change.

- The moral compass says you must get past the gate. The compass is your conscience, the drive to get better. It is your guide on the way.

- The sun is not high in the sky, but low on the horizon. It is close to you at sunset. Finally, you have made it here where there is beauty, happiness and color. The sunset is like a sideways rainbow.

- For us, bright color represents happiness. It is hard to be happy in a world of black and white and gray. The colors’ vibrancy is beauty and joy.

- The season of the mural is mostly spring, but it moves from winter to summer as you progress along the path.

The young ladies on this project are not only artists, but are indeed deep thinkers. Cannot wait to get to the painting part!

Categories : Community Painting

For over twenty five years, one of my Spring/Summer hobbies has been the cultivation of Morning Glory flowers. In the process of tending to their needs and those of other varieties of climbing plants, I learned that what allows these plants to grow into their full potential has amazing similarities to what, I believe, people and especially children need for their potential to fully blossom. In this article, I will share how this hobby came about and the principles it taught me about training.

Morning Glory Flower

My wife and I have been married for over twenty five years. We first lived in a condominium that had a large terrace over our two-car garage, which was an ideal spot for growing flowers in the warm months. One of the flower varieties she introduced me to was the Morning Glory. You start it from seed and it quickly shoots out of the ground, grows a couple of leaves and starts to shoot a creeping stem. Imbedded in the DNA of this vine is a compulsion for wrapping itself around anything that will allow it to run away, reach out for the light and blossom into countless flowers, every morning!

However, left up to its own devices, the vine will likely wrap itself around its own parts, choke itself in the process or greatly sub-achieve its true potential by grabbing to things that lead nowhere. Having intuitively understood the plant’s desire to run away and gain strength from the light and warmth of the sun, I started building an architecture of strings, starting at the base of the large wooden planters, shooting upward and then sideways to reach the metal railings around the terrace. Once they reached the railings, the vines had ample opportunity to keep on running. At their peak a total of two dozen vines were producing well over two hundred fifty flowers every morning, to our delight and the delight of neighbors!

Morning Glory and Mandevilla Climbing on Trellis

Then what? What are these principles that I learned? Besides the obvious like good soil, water/sun (a lot of it in the case of morning glories), here we go with the learning:

1- A structure is needed:
Someone has to think through a (teaching/training) structure that respects the constraints of the environment and creates optimum opportunities for growth.

2- Structure by itself is not sufficient:
Structure itself cannot be expected to deliver optimum results. There must be someone to train the young stems to use the structure laid before them. The younger the stem, the more likely it is not to recognize the structure and lose its way. Consistent energy must be invested by the teacher/trainer to help guide the stems along the path.

3- The trainer must stay vigilant as growth accelerates:
As the vine grows and develops its leaves, it gains energy and builds momentum in its growth. Vigilance and continued training by the coach are needed at this stage because of the faster growth.

4- The coach keeps a watchful eye over the maturing plant:
As the vine matures and starts to blossom, the trainer still keeps a watchful eye on the slowing growth process and still makes minor tweaks.

5- The coach must recognize what the plant comes already equipped with:
Like people, climbing plants come equipped with different climbing gear (so to speak). In the plant realm, they are called twining, suction cups, tendrils, curling strings, thorns. For people, they are talents and abilities. A good coach/teacher/trainer knows how to recognize and work with those assets.

I have learned much from tending to my climbing plants. Today our backyard is home to nine different species of climbing plants, including two varieties of Passion Flowers, three Trumpet Vines, Climbing Hydrangea, a rambling rose bush, three Clematis, a Bean Runner, Honeysuckle, Mandevilla and Morning Glory, indeed! I am thankful to my plants for helping me learn some finer points about training and realize that I find coaching and training most rewarding and enjoyable.

Children Creating a Mural on Virtues

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

The road leading to virtues is a life journey, wrought with twists, turns, obstacles and scary choices. They guide us to living joyful, contributing lives, from a “True-North” perspective. Do these words paint images in your your mind? They do for these two youngsters who will be painting a mural on a twenty square foot canvas for their school to enjoy and be inspired by. How did all this happen?

Mural Project – Brainstorming Session

Every year, our Chicago area painting and decorating company participates in a community project as a thank you for all our blessings. These projects have included painting the sets for local theatre companies, the painting of mural scenes on public benches, among many others. This year’s event is special in that it involves working with children in creating a unique piece of art that is expressive of their views on life. The mural project was conceived by our company as a raffle item at a large gala held earlier this year as a fundraising event for Science & Arts Academy of Des Plaines, Illinois. The mom who won the raffle passed up an $8500 Rolex to get the mural project for her daughter and her best friend. That was some inspired mom, with a clear sense of her “True North”!

Hands Holding Compass

Last Saturday, the two moms brought their daughters to the school for their first session with us. The purpose of that meeting was twofold. First, we introduced them to the history of murals going back to the cavemen, with modern examples of how murals meet people’s needs today, taken from our inventory of completed mural projects. The second part was a brainstorming session with Rita, our Color and Concept Consultant (and my wife) and Fran, our Muralist. In their interactions with the girls, they were able to facilitate the articulation of the kids’ vision for their mural. As the girls were speaking about their views on virtues, our muralist was capturing their thoughts with sketches. At the end of the session, we had a rough sketch of the mural, a list of the mural elements and yes: homework!

Below are some of the elements the girls came up with for their mural: two hands holding a compass, winding path, gate, obstacles, storm clouds, rain, lightning, sun, flowers, wolf and animals. They already completed their first post-meeting assignment. They met last week to find inspiration pictures online for their various painted elements. They even found one for the two hands holding a compass! At their next meeting, they will redo the preliminary sketch developed in the first session. Part of their homework assignment also includes their keeping a journal of their discoveries and learning during the mural project. Stay tuned for more updates on their exciting mural painting project!