Friday, March 6, 2009

presentation is everything

I did a presentation yesterday for the new chapel at John Wesley United Methodist Church.  The new chapel combines what used to be the lobby to the sanctuary and the outdoor vestibule or porte cochere to the lobby.  Consequently, it has 5 large windows where the outdoor part used to be.  The largest one, the window behind where the altar is going to be, is 10’ x 13’.  It was framed in using metal mullions and so is divided into 12 panels.  At their request I did some drawings and a proposal and they are going to submit it for funding.

We are already doing the entry wall along the hall which consists of a pair of doors and the two side walls.  The design for the entry has dogwood trees, one on each end, one in flower and one in leaf, with ferns and sunflowers filling in along the bottom.  The trees and sunflowers have birds and the ferns and violets along the bottom have a variety of wildlife.  

This is not quite the concept of the compositional sketch I first presented to them for which they gave me an art fee to develop at 1/3 full size.  The trees and birds are the same but the original idea for the bottom was wildflowers under the trees and sort of an english cottage garden in the middle sections.  When the configuration of the side wall panels changed, it adversely affected the tree at each far end, so I drew a different tree, one more true to how a dogwood grows, more spread out with multiple trunks and this affected everything else.  And then I just could not make any progress.  I spent about two weeks drawing and erasing stuff.  I finally settled on ferns along the bottom and the only thing blooming in my yard was one lone field sunflower left over from last year.  It made me start thinking about the analogy and the play on words.  Sunflowers follow the sun across the sky and Christians follow the Son throughout their lives.  So that’s how the sunflowers got there.  I also represented the life cycle, the sunrise and sunset so to speak, through the blooms, from bud to seed head.  I like this better than the original idea of a confusing jumble of flowers.  It's more serene and hopeful, comforting even, and that's what they wanted.  They approved the design with one or two minor changes, this bird for that, add a squirrel, so now I am ready to do the full size art work.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    This sounds like it will be a lovely piece. I hope that your "move" is going well. I always enjoy reading your blog

  2. Hi Terrie, glad to have you following along. The move is incremental at best but we are not stressed out about it.


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