YIA Mentor Artist Laurie Marshall began the collaborative mural process with the students at Grant Grover School (a post-secondary program for students with special needs), by asking the students about what brings them joy and what they love the most on this earth.
A theme emerged from one of the students: We are all different and we all must care for the earth. Ms. Laurie noted their passions and wove them together in a design. They included Mt. Tamalpais, rainbows, the Beatles, dogs, Giant Stadium, the 49’ers, the Golden Gate Bridge, a river.
Students warmed up on their art skills with a few color study activities, working on their favorite shapes, using Angeles Arrien’s Five Simple Shapes that occur throughout culture and history. These shapes will be used around the border of the mural, with each student coloring three or four shapes on paper that we will glue to the board.
To create the mural, students are applying acrylic paint on three eight foot by four foot pieces of masonite, chosen because it is friendly to the environment (no formaldehyde , no trees cut down because its made from left over sawdust). Students painted both the front and back of the masonite to seal it from moisture, used a chalk line and rulers to grid the surface, made a map of the numbers of all three boards, numbered the boards, and used a caulk gun to apply liquid nails for the support structure.
The classroom teachers expressed excitement about the use of math in the process. Some students helped to draw the image on the board with chalk. On Monday, March 7th, they started painting. Wahoo! We lost some of the drawing along the way (where did that river go? How about the dog’s tail?) so we’ll re-draw and keep painting. The school’s hamster, Lucy, just died, so a drawing of her will be included as well.
Next steps… Student’s will learn how to blend colors and add layers of watered down colors to make a rich surface. Ms. Laurie will also help them to develop more complex images on the simple shapes that will be our border.
Stay tuned for more as we will be celebrating the finished mural in downtown San Rafael in late April!!