Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Church Sanctuary Artwork

I was recently given the great privilege of creating a series of artworks to hang in our church sanctuary. I was also afforded a lot of creative freedom. Basically, "You're an artist. We trust you can come up with something." Well, that was a lot of responsibility! But it also gave room for inspiration to grow and develop into the finished pieces. I am grateful for that.

If you follow my blog or if we happen to be friends, you have probably heard me say before that the process of creating art can often become a time of worship for me. I tune everything else out. I crank up my Christian music (a mix of christian rock & praise songs) and as I begin to draw or sculpt or brush paint across the canvas a wonderful thing occurs. All my worries, my "to do lists", and other stuff of the day fade away and are replaced with a new focus. One that is actually in focus.

It feels like surrender.
It feels free.
It feels like communion.
It brings me peace.
It is my very, very happy place.

The panels were 16" wide x 72" tall with 1/2" depth. *If you want to know my secret...we were on a bit of a tight budget so I purchased three sets of decorative room divider screens to use for canvases. They were wrapped with canvas that had a printed design and they were on sale half price at a home decorating store. Could not buy or make a set of 8 canvases this size for a better price. And once I took them all apart, filled holes from the hinges, prepped, primed and painted them they were just what I needed. We wired them for hanging and were good to go.

Here are photos of the whole process.

This is a collection of things we bought for decorating the entry hall, sanctuary and bathrooms of the church building. You can see the panels as they originally were in the background.
 It seems that the use of coral orange and gold along with natural wood accents and metal are going to be a big part of our overall design aesthetic. I really like the combination. BTW: that flower painting with the coral and gold was one I picked up at Hobby Lobby about a year ago on clearance. Been holding on to it in hopes of using it somewhere special. Such a perfect fit with everything else!
 The two wooden plaques are for the boys and girls bathroom walls.

Here you can see the hinges I took from the panels. I bet they come in handy on a future project.
 I moved furniture around in the art studio and tacked up two huge drop cloths and put down painters paper on the floor. I know it's a studio and I should probably be ok with getting paint everywhere but I think I'll preserve the clean walls and floors for just a little while longer.
I painted the sides of each of the panels with gold spray paint before I began.
Ooh, on to the really fun part.
I painted several layers of heavy acrylics flowing across the panels as if they were one piece. I did a lot of dry brushing, blending colors wet on wet and spritzing down colors with water to make paint run down the canvas. Even had some fun splattering paint across canvases...and myself in the process.
 I also used silver spray paint. In some places I spritzed it with water while spray painting to give a uniquely textured watery metallic effect.
Then came the addition of our signature coral orange color. I accented it with a deeper red in some areas to really make it pop.
 And then going really bold I brought in some black.

Here's a close up for you.
 I also knew from the beginning I wanted to apply gold leaf. This is one of my favorite things that I have been experimenting with in my artwork for a while now. There are so many different artworks in my mind that I want to create with gold and silver leaf. I'm glad I got to use it in this one.
 Here is a close up during the application process, before the excess was removed.

Thank you so much Sandy for cutting all of my wording out on your Cricut. Your help allowed me to get this project done and installed in time for Easter weekend!
 This is definitely not the traditional way to use vinyl stencils or lettering but I'm always up for trying out new ways of doing things so here we go. *and I didn't even have any application tape, yikes. If you've ever worked with this stuff you will know what I mean. Thankfully they were not very big. Steady hands and my x-acto blade got it done. See how I did a temporary mask with copy paper and masking tape.
 Then a quick spray with gold or silver and remove the paper and the vinyl.
When I finished with the different names of God on each canvas I completed the application touch ups on the gold leaf and painted on gold mica flecks in various areas as you can see in this photo.

Here are several more close up shots

And finally we hung the artworks in our sanctuary.


The light coming in the windows was often very bright and created glares on the monitors on stage so we put up some black out screens behind the blinds.

 You can really see the difference they make in this photo taken after the first two were done.

It is looking nice with the new chairs but the walls and carpet and chairs are all shades of tan or brown.

Once the artwork is put up it is almost a little bit like having stained glass because of the colors.

My husband and I agree that one of our favorite things about how it came out is the way you see each one differently from different places in the church. From some angles you might see a word very clearly that you wouldn't see at all from a different angle. Hmm....symbolism there?

P.S. I don't have photos but I must add in here.....Denise, the work you did for the children's rooms looks so cheerful and delightfully inspiring for the little ones. Beautiful job!

Believe me, so many other people also worked so hard and have contributed so much more.  I could not list them all because the list would be too long. This is just a small cosmetic thing, but I'm happy to share how it all came together.

I think our entire congregation has taken part in one form or another on serving and doing things for our church family, our building, the services, caring for one another and reaching out to share God's love in so many ways. I am thankful to see and be a part of such a community of believers.

Now, remember all that stuff I showed in my garage at the beginning of this long post.

Ok. Here are the other decorating things we worked on.

We hung the flower artwork in the hallway.

Put up some burlap curtain panels in the boys and girls bathrooms.
 Denise added a wooden button and some pretty ribbon to the girls curtain.

 Painted an accent wall in the girls bathroom a robins egg shade of blue, hung art, added flowers.

 Painted an accent wall in the boys bathroom a toasted toffee color, added sign and greenery.

 Purchased this incredible wood and metal entry table and decorated it.

And there was a table at the back of the sanctuary in front of the sound booth that we built a top for.

This was how it looked originally and it had a glass insert. Nice table but we wanted to create something that will go with the wood we will be bringing into the sanctuary stage design (that exciting project will be next on the list).

The new top is made out of cedar and fits right down over the existing table.

Well, there you have it. That is all of the projects for now. Well, all of the ones Jeremy and I specifically worked on anyway, and that I actually have photos of.

Oh. Almost forgot this one.

Don't have a pic of it hanging on the wall but you can see the blue and orange artwork lying there on the floor. I painted a world map on different size boards and we hung them in a grouping with some spaces between pieces in the hallway on the long wall. The idea is to incorporate information about global missions and the missionaries we support in some way for all to see. That way we can share and see and pray for our missionary friends regularly.

That really is all now.

Super duper long post. Thanks for hanging in there if you read all the way through.
You deserve a prize.
But I don't have any prizes.
Oh well.
:) have a smiley face instead, and have a great day.


Peggy H said...

Awesome! You ladies have done a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere that reflects the Creator. Thank you.

Tiffany said...

Jack, these are beautiful! I'm always blown away by your vision and talent. Xoxo BFFE