After much work sketching, measuring and aligning, I’ve got three of four family members onto the canvas and ready to paint!
This portrait painting is unique in that because it’s a surprise, we had to gather photos of the four family members and put them together to appear as if they had posed together. For the wife and husband, it was easy because we already had a good photo of them together. But for the children, we didn’t have a good recent photo of them with their parents.
So what’d we do? We logged into the Mom’s Facebook account and searched for good photos of her children on their profiles! I found a couple that I thought would work great, so I’ve put my math brain to work in aligning them all together and adjusting the images on the photos to enlarge proportionally onto the canvas.
The deadline for this one is Christmas, so lot’s of work left to do!
Public art is often used to beautify spaces in the public domain and/or to convey a message. Recently, I painted and installed a mural painting to bring light to the situation of nearly 700 students that the Loudoun County Public School system has identified as homeless. There are likely hundreds more children, not in the school system, that are homeless. They sleep in cars, the woods, abandoned warehouses, or “couch surf” among their friends. This is currently taking place in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States!
Mobile Hope is a program of INOVA Loudoun Hospital that was born out of this awareness and serves to meet the basic needs of these children through donations of food, clothing, hygiene products, school supplies, medical care and providing other helpful resources.
The “I’m Here, Loudoun” mural for Mobile Hope is a metaphor for the early difficulty these youth face. It portrays the sequential bloom of the lotus, a flower which grows out of murky darkness to become shining and radiant. Next to the blooming flower is the image of a young child walking next to a supportive adult.
The child’s shirt is a strong red color, symbolizing all of life’s intense emotions, from anger, danger and mourning to strength, love and vitality.
The mural and accompanying poem encompass the often hidden misfortune of homeless children in Loudoun County, yet show that with love and help from others in our community, these children can also grow and thrive.
Being bilingual, I decided to also paint the poem in Spanish, as Loudoun County is home to over 38,000 Latinos, some of whom are also affected by homelessness.
An unopened bud, a hidden soul
Invisible misfortune, does anyone know?
Un capullo cerrado, una alma escondida
¿Hay alguien que sabe de mi invisible agonía?
See my light, see me grow
Out of the dark, a blooming soul
Ve mi lez, veme crecer
De la oscuridad, voy a florecer
Lend me your hand, help me to rise
Clean, pure, beautiful, wise
Si me cuidas bien, seré hermosa y luminosa
Si me das tu cariño, seré un día una gran persona
The “I’m Here, Loudoun” mural is on display at the Mobile Hope location. I hope that it can be a source of awareness and inspiration!