By Mary Reid Barrow
One continuous line links a cownose ray to a great blue heron, to a leaping dolphin and other local critters on LRNow’s 20th Anniversary tee shirt and also on a new mural in the ViBe Creative District.
The tether gracefully connects the animals intermingling with each other, regardless of species. The thin black line not only ties these familiar critters we all know and love to each other but also, hopefully, to us.
This world of connected wildlife comes from the creative mind of artist Summer Paradiso and her design was the winner in LRNow’s 20thanniversary tee shirt contest last spring and the winner of an opportunity to paint the mural In the ViBe.
“It is all drawn with one line,” Summer said, “to show an overarching connection between all and our impact we have on each other.
“The animals are a reminder that we are not the only living beings in our environment,” she added.
Summer just finished her mural inspired by LRNow’s tee shirt, on a wall of Organic Beginnings Montessori School at 2006 Mediterranean Avenue this week
Come see the finished mural that’s located on Mediterranean between 20th and 21St street this weekend. Visit LRNow at their table between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday at the Art and Eco market across from the Old Beach Farmers Market and purchase a tee shirt!
This latest project of Summer’s began after her baby girl, Autumn, was born last year. Before that, she taught art at Bayside Middle School. Now, she uses nap times and spare time to work as an artist at home.
Blending art and the environment comes naturally, Summer said, because she grew up in Virginia Beach. Her mom led the environmental club at Summer’s school when she was a youngster.
The ray, great blue heron, and dolphin are her favorite animals in the design, she said. She also recalls feeling connected to them since she was little.
“I remember being excited as a kid to spot a heron on a walk,” she said, “and the rush of excitement in a close encounter with a ray or dolphin when out in the kayak!”
Summer said she enjoys working in the ViBe also. She has done other ViBe art projects, such as painting the parking meters, and is excited about supporting the work they do.
The first day Summer began painting her mural last weekend, the public was invited to stop by to spatter paint, mainly in shades of blue, on the wall. She wanted visitors to add their handiwork to the background on which she would paint the critters as the week wore on. She was working from a plan but did not outline the plan on the wall.
“If I try to make it perfect, it will look contrived,” she said. “I always allow for flexibility. I tell my students that too. I don’t like to stay with a plan.”
But the finished design shows a master plan at work. A fox, a seahorse, fish, and tern are all gracefully interwoven with her favorites, the ray, heron, and dolphin, and they are all connected to one another with that thin black line.
And thanks to Summer, the celebration of LRNow’s 20th anniversary, the critters and their connection to Virginia Beach waterways and to all of us will last for years in the ViBe mural.
Find out more about Summer at https://www.summerparadiso.com/shop
Find out more about the ViBe Creative District Mural Festival at: https://vibecreativedistrict.org/mural-festival/
Reach Mary Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org