Mural celebrates energy, light

Published 1:17 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

Local artist Margo Russell said the inspiration for a whimsical mural she’s painting in nursery at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church came from a children’s book.

“I have always loved the illustrations in ‘There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,’ by Simms Taback,” Russell said. “When they asked if I could do a mural, I knew I liked the fun and whimsical flavor of the book.”

She began by drawing a sketch on a paper towel, then larger sketches on paper.

“I knew I wanted the sun to be a big symbol, and I wanted a tree,” she said. “Of course, somewhere in there, that could be the almighty light. The tree could have something to do with, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’ ”

With those focal pieces in place, she filled the design with birds, flowers, snakes, bugs, caterpillars and worms.

“When my children were little, they had books with intricate designs and they had to find goldbug,” she said. “They loved it. I wanted something of the feel of that.”

She has spent part of every day for the past two weeks painting, and isn’t quite done. She said the energy of the painting has come from her high school and college-aged art students who’ve helped her with the painting. They include Eva Kanaley,  Holly Taylor, Brenna Wells, and Aubrey Nall.

“All of these girls are wonderful colorists,” she said. Debbie Grimes also has assisted, as has Mimi Campbell.

It’s a wonderful feeling to see her students’ work, she said.