Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Healing Arts Program: Meditation Art Wall

What does prayer or meditation look like visually. That’s where the brush and the loose arm kind of took over. It wasn’t long before I had finished a watercolor in about a day and a half of what I thought this could look like. Evidently they liked it too as we got the job. In this piece the movement of these bands of color… Some soar, some loop back around, Some lift up forever. I think that’s sort of what prayer is like. In creating this large Gemeaux, David Cano had the first step. That of course is to make the frame… The weld. once he had the frame laid out with the main ribs, or mullions, that went vertically he then broke up the individual pans and laid them on the fin that was on either side of the rib, or the mullion, when all of those were done we took them and we did our measurements of those pans and ordered tempered matte lux glass. When those came in from the tempering plant we would then use silicone and seal them. into the pan. The grid that I had drawn over the water color changed somewhat when David made his frame. So, we couldn’t rely exactly on this. Maggie Long and Ellen took the watercolor using pencils with string and nail stuck into tape in certain areas… They were able to scribe the perfect arch. Then they could transfer the lines of, say, green to yellow-green to yellow with pencil and then they labeled them. When they had finished all that it looked pretty chaotic. When the pans were ready we would put two or three rows of them on one of our long tables and one would look at the base color map and would cut from the sheets. These were basically pure color blocks and it filled the hole 22 x 22 feet with hundreds of pieces of the base map. With those set up Ellen and Maggie and Jennifer and I would then start working on the top pieces. Adding the second and the third layers, all the detail, the iridescents, the diacrylic glass. Something that is common to most jobs we do is we never see the entire piece before its installed. David then he went over there with his guys. They got on the lift and he started putting up the individual vertical pieces which we call mullions, or ribs. Another neat visual for us was to see a hundred and seventy panel stacked up along the wall. They looked like soldiers waiting to go to battle or something and then panel by panel they started going in. It was really exciting to see for the first time the whole piece put together. When patients or their family walk into the meditation room, they see bold color. It’s broken up in such a way that hopefully reminds you of sunrises and sunsets. We don’t need a scripture verse printed on top of a sunset to know that it is inspiring, that I believe amazing part of God’s creation and that’s what I want these bands of color to do as they’re praying to help them soar above this experience of having cancer. I hope this meditation room can get them closer to God in whatever way that is for them.

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