In Greenbrier: A masterpiece of faith

Patti began work on her unique contribution to the nursery décor the Monday before that Sunday in June. The work continued three hours a day, five days a week until Aug. 31.

Although she prefers oils, Patti used acrylics this time because they are fast-drying and work better on walls. Sometimes the paint dried too quickly, according to Patti, who says she would sometimes come in to work on a given day and wish she could change details of the previous day’s work.

“It was hard to pick back up on it; I had to use a little more paint,” she said. “I still see details I’d like to change.”
Her husband, Peewee, says she is a perfectionist. “If it hadn’t been for me, she would still be doing it,” he joked. 

Patti says Peewee was a big help with the project. “He even helped me clean brushes sometimes,” she said.
Patti had long been involved with the art at vacation Bible school, according to Lisa Rust, church secretary – “not just painting, but building things.” Another of Patti’s works, an oil of Jesus with the children, hangs on the Children’s Church wall. So asking Patti to paint the mural seemed natural.

“When the nursery committee got together, we didn’t want just a blank wall,” said Verna Higgins, committee chair. Instead, the group wanted something that would engage children and make them comfortable. “We looked at other murals, and we looked on the Internet,” Verna said.

“We all had the same vision before we talked to each other,” said Lisa, also a member of the committee.

That vision included animals and lots of bright colors, but not wanting a Noah’s Ark theme. When the committee talked to Patti, members discovered she shared the vision.

The result is a mural representing the connectedness of God’s world, with animals and plants from around the world depicted – a panda, a kangaroo, koala, and even a tiny caterpillar crawling along the branch of the tree painted on the beam that sticks out into the nursery area.

It took a lot of paint to cover the whole 32-foot wall from floor to ceiling, so cost was an issue until Barbara Brock offered to pay for the supplies. “Bless her heart,” Patti said. “She didn’t know what it was going to cost.” Although she did her best to order up front all the paint she was going to need, Patti had to ask Barbara for more money for supplies twice.

Patti had been thinking about offering to paint a mural in the old church when the congregation decided to step out in faith to build the larger facility its pastor, the Rev. Gaylon King, had been thinking about for at least 15 years. Many people, serving on many committees, had a hand in getting the beautiful facility designed and built. The building is “user friendly,” says the minister, designed that way to enhance the congregation’s evangelism ministry. 

Patti began painting about 25 years ago, but murals are relatively new for her. She has done several. “I’ve always loved art; I’ve drawn for as long as I can remember,” said Patti, who comes from an artistic family.

“The Lord has blessed my family; the Lord has blessed me,” she said. “I couldn’t do anything without His help.”