We love to hear about local artists accomplishing large, creative and colorful painting projects. Recently, two local artists, Megan Davies and Sonny Harlow, were given the opportunity to paint the vestibule of the historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Clay Street, the oldest Episcopalian parish in town. The results were stunning.
A Historic Project
When St. Paul’s contacted Sonny to do this creative work, he knew he would need help, so he contacted his friend and peer Megan Davies. Together, they set to work designing and putting together ideas about how they should paint the walls of this church.
This was not a completely new project to Sonny, though. About twenty years ago, St. Paul’s called him in for the same purpose, except that time it was to paint the sanctuary as it was being remodeled. He recalls going in to paint and sometimes hearing the organist practice as he worked. “It gave me goosebumps,” he remembers.
With this previous work in mind and inspiration from the designs and patterns already present within the church, Sonny and Megan used their collective creativity to imitate what already existed so that it would match. “I was happy that the two phases of projects—while 20 years apart—look like they were completed at the same time,” Megan says. They drew from Episcopalian symbolism and colors: red, orange, yellow and gold mixed with some blue and light green.
A Legacy of Paint
For Sonny and Megan both, the place where they knew to get the paint necessary for the project was James T. Davis. Both artists have fond memories and good experiences working with our paint. Sonny remembers when he moved to Lynchburg and started his painting career, and Mr. James T. Davis himself gave him his first painting account. They remained close friends and peers after that. Megan recalls growing up painting with James T. Davis paint products, as her grandfather was an employee for many years, and she testifies that she has used James T. Davis paint for all of her mural projects. Both Megan and Sonny desired to stay true to their roots, and to them, the results have spoken for themselves.
A Beautiful Experience
Once they got their paint, Megan and Sonny set to work on the vestibule. They painted winding leaf patterns, Episcopalian crosses, fleur-de-lis and other symbols. They painted the ceiling sky-blue and added golden stars. They even drew inspiration from objects within the church, such as chandeliers. To do such intricate work, though, they needed more than just paint brushes. “I cut my own stencils for about half of the designs and the rest was free-hand,” Sonny recalls.
Their favorite part of this project was painting together. Megan and Sonny have a lot of respect for one another as artists and as friends, and they worked well together. In each and every detail, they were able to watch as their color and creativity transformed the space. “My favorite things to paint were the arches because each layer of stencil or color that we added to it changed it completely,” says Megan.
The church congregation got to be a part of the process, too. Since this project was done over the course of about three months, the parishioners were able to watch as this project transformed the space. Megan and Sonny both enjoyed hearing the congregation’s happy reactions to seeing their beloved building’s decor being refreshed.
All in all, Megan and Sonny were pleased with the results of their hard work, and the finished product is definitely one to be proud of. Painting projects like this can be a challenge, but without challenges success, change and growth cannot take place. At James T. Davis, we’re here to help inspire creatives every step of the way, provide the tools they need and watch as they create something beautiful.