in which we make art

I should have blogged about this a while ago, because this story is almost two weeks old. But at first, there weren’t any good pictures, and then other things were happening, and then I got busy. But then, two weeks later, something else awesome happened which held distinct parallels with the first awesome thing. So bear with me while we go backwards in time two weeks…

If you’ve ever been to my parents’ house, you will realize that it is a little bit different from most houses. I think the word is unique. Possibly eccentric. Chaotic, maybe, if you’re not one for free expression. But I like unique1. My mother, who handles most of the decor, has a sense of style that manifests itself in wonderful and unconventional ways, like decorating the kitchen with antique liquor bottles, paintings of cookies, baskets of gourds, and a single disc of the Catching Fire audiobook that was stolen out of my father’s car.

My mother encourages this same sort of home furnishing artistry in her children. When I was in high school and asked if I could paint musical theater lyrics on my bedroom door, she and my father helped me take it off its hinges and bought me paint. They even lent me their handprints. So I shouldn’t really have been surprised when a few weeks ago, my mom said, “You know what I’d really like for Mother’s Day? A mural on the back fence.”

This was not a new idea—she has apparently been lobbying for the MT’s art class to come paint her a mural all year, but that wasn’t quite in line with their idea of a good activity. But, after my impressive performance illustrating The Chamber of Secrets, she seemed to have a renewed and unexpected faith in my artistic abilities, and asked me if I’d like to do a mural.

Yes, of course I would, because I am always game for doing weird random things that involve mess and color. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

So I rallied the troops—the MT, and my friends Sondheim, Nevada2, and Pierre and Jean-Claude3. So two Saturdays ago, we donned our artist berets and prepared to create a masterpiece ala the Sistine Chapels4. The theme—children’s literature.

Nevada and I have negative artistic talent. Sondheim peruses it as a hobby. The MT is wildly talented. And as it turns out, so are Pierre and Jean-Claude. I said in passing, “Hey someone should paint Max from Where the Wild Things Are, since that’s my favorite book.” A little while later, I looked over and there was a life-sized Max painted on the fence. Maurice Sendak himself could not have done it better. They also did some spray paint magic that would have put Graffiti Pete5 to shame.

It took several grueling hours, and a lot of paint, but by the evening, our three-panel masterpiece was complete.

There is the amazingly unbelievable “wild rumpus” panel, done by Jean-Claude and Pierre…

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oh look! There’s even Pierre and Jean-Claude themselves! Don’t they look like artists?

The gorgeously beautiful fantasy panel, by Sondheim and the MT…

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And the “good for you” garden panel, by Nevada and I…

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And yes, we are for hire. We’ll paint your fence, any theme you like—all we require is cookies and paint! And for a few extra dollars, Nevada and I won’t even touch a brush.

Then, at the risk of overloading this post, this past weekend, I got to be a part of something equally as cool and artsy. The MT was a featured artists in the Utah Chalk Art Festival and she completed this masterpiece! I had much less to do with this one–I mostly watched and occasionally fetched Dr. Pepper. But I was very proud of the MT and her skills! Between fence painting, chalk art, and the Harry Potter art, it has been an unexpectedly artsy summer.

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  1. The most common comparisons that get drawn to our house are the Weasley house in Harry Potter and an I Spy book.
  2. The old Chicago roommate—remember her?
  3. High school friends. Not their real names.
  4. Which is not the Sixteen Chapels, like I thought it was when I was younger.
  5. Musical theater reference FTW.
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