Mural helps student discover talents
June 12, 2013
By David Hayes
A mural years in the works, that took months to execute, finally got its day of revelation June 5 to the students and staff at the Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie.
Before a throng of the curious in the recreation center’s gym lobby, the two students who helped with its creation pulled back the cover to reveal the composite oil painting — a soaring eagle, flying before the iconic landmarks of Snoqualmie Falls and Mount Si.
Longtime employee Jo Simpson was there when Echo Glen first adopted the eagle as its official mascot. So, she has long talked about doing a mural for the facility, something of which staff and students could be proud.
Patti Berntsen, associate superintendent, told her it had to be good.
“As long as it’s as good as the one on the Darigold in Issaquah,” Berntsen added.
While recruiting professional artists to participate in the project, it turned out everyone already knew each other.
Last Christmastime, Simpson first recruited her friend, professional painter and artist in resident Marsha Lippert. Berntsen recruited the actual artist who painted the Darigold mural, Evan Jones. The Echo Glen collaboration became a happy reunion for the three artists.
“We’d actually taken the same art class together, 20-plus years ago, from Dorris Gene Colvin, herself an accomplished artist,” Jones said. “It was all the more amazing as there were only 12 total in the class. It was really cool to work with them again.”
The next step was choosing a couple of students to be involved. They held a contest, and students were asked to draw an eagle. Doresita, 19, and a 14-year-old youth (who the school asked not to be named) were selected from about 13 entrants.
Doresita, who hopes to someday pursue a career in forensic autopsy or graphic design, said she had always been into drawing, but never had the time to pursue her interest.
When the time came to put pencil to canvas in February, Doresita was paralyzed with fear, suddenly unsure of herself.
“At first, I stood there frozen,” she said.
Soon, the pencil was flying and she couldn’t wait for the next few hours dedicated to the mural project every Wednesday evening.
“It’s amazing how the right brain just kicks in,” Lippert explained.
The other student, who said he’d been drawing since he was 10, had been rediscovering his love of the art more since arriving at Echo Glen. He, too, initially struggled with his assigned task.
“I struggled with the trees, at first,” he said.
But once he visualized them correctly in his head, along with the other iconic elements he and Doresita needed to draw, he embraced his task, almost to a fault.
Jones explained that they only had seven colors to work with, and a green they’d chosen just didn’t work within the overall color scheme. So, when the students’ first draft was finished, the trees had to be blended into the scene by the professional artists.
“He was really proud of those trees, and to be told he can’t have them was like taking a dagger,” Jones said.
In the end, the collaboration of the five artists produced a finished piece that could be admired for years to come by current and future students.
Dr. Don Mead, Echo Glen superintendent, couldn’t heap enough praise on the outcome of the project as he spoke with Jones.
“You’ve helped contribute with the growth of these kids,” Mead said. “You’ve helped them discover their talent inside. Not everybody makes that discovery at home like they do here. Now, they can see this and know they, too, can do this.”
David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.