Sunday, January 29, 2017

Field Trip! Mural Artist Gale Hinton

Recently, our school library was magically transformed thanks to our amazing librarian Laurel Aiello and magnificent muralist Gale Hinton
Over a weekend (that's just a matter of days, y'all!), Gale worked tirelessly, climbing up scaffolding and ladders with just paint and imagination as her tools. Gale does little preplanning; no sketching on walls and definitely no projecting of images. She's been doing murals for 50 years (!) and manages to create masterpieces in a matter of hours. When I walked in the library the morning she had started working, she had already created the background of the large mural above the checkout desk. I knew then that I wanted to interview her for my Field Trip! series and I was thrilled when she agreed. 
Isn't she amazing!? 
The selection of books that our librarian pulled for Gale to serve as inspiration. The kids were thrilled to walk in the library and play a game of I Spy looking for the book characters. Gale even has the characters talking to each other which adds another dimension to the mural. 
Gale said she wanted the mural to appear accessible to the students so she had it grow outside of the rectangle border with the ladder coming down from the treehouse and Fancy Nancy dancing on the bookcase. 
 The ladder is so realistic, we've had several kids ask to climb it! 
The speed with which Gale paints is amazing. She began this mural and the one below at 4:30pm and had them both complete by 9 that evening! 
One of my favorite parts of the mural are the quotes that she and Laurel chose. They are so inspiring and empowering for our students. I have yet to tire of reading them and just gazing at all of the beautiful work that Gale did.  
A question I received from my students was why I wasn't painting the mural. As art teachers, our kiddos often see us as the all-encompassing artist. I responded that I am an art teacher, that my skills lie in teaching art. Gale is a professional mural artist, that is her skill which she has cultivated over many years of hard work. There is NO WAY 1. I would get on that scaffolding (and a ladder on top of that, my hands are sweating just thinking about it!) and 2. that I could paint so quickly and with such confidence. What took her days would take me MONTHS and it still wouldn't look nearly as amazing. 
 The beautiful murals were dedicated to Laurel's husband T.J. Aiello. He would have loved seeing the library transformed into such a magical and amazing space. 
 For now, this is my favorite quote painted by Gale...my opinion changes every time I go in the library. 
Thank you so much, Gale, for sitting down with me and the students of JES to chat. AND thank you for sharing your incredible talents on the walls of our school library! 
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2 comments:

  1. Beautiful!! Will she work out of state? Like, erm, Virginia...Williamsburg?

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    1. She most certainly will! She was heading to AZ when she left us :) You can find her on Facebook or through her website :) Tell her I said hello!

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