Group Painting Party for A Modern Corporate Office

Every time I paint an event, at least one person asks me if this is what I do full time. The answer? No… And recently, my two “jobs” collided when a unique opportunity presented itself.  This blog post is a little peek into another part of my world  - my work at Matrix.   

I spend most of my evenings painting, but my days are spent working as a designer at a software development company called Pointe Blank Solutions. We build software for the legal, justice and healthcare industries, and the bulk of our work is a system of enterprise software known as Matrix.  

I love painting events, but I also love the challenge of my work at Matrix - learning new things every day, working with a team of brilliant coworkers, and helping build cutting edge software that makes a real difference in our community. Not to mention, the artist in me 100% appreciates how awesome it is to be designing/creating in a medium that didn’t even exist when I was born.

Most of my work for this company is software design or marketing related, but I’ve also had the chance to work on some fun side projects as well.  For example, we recently moved into a new office that was totally gutted and remodeled specifically for our company.  Being a right-brained thinker among a company of many analytical left-brainers, I was tasked with meeting with furniture vendors, interior designers and contractors to help design the look of our new space.  

Our office building, The Atrium, is located right across the street from Crocker Park, and our company takes up most of the top floor.

We’ve been in our new office for almost 2 years now, and although the space is awesome, the walls definitely needed some art.  My boss thought it would be great if we had artwork hanging on our walls that was actually created by our own people. He asked if I had any available paintings that might look good in the space, but his comment about artwork created by “our own people” gave me an idea…  Why not have a group painting project where everyone could have a part in creating this artwork?!  So last September, I organized a company cookout with a fun and unique team building activity.    

I designed the paintings first in photoshop and drew outlines on four 2x4ft canvases that everyone was able to paint together, just like a giant, group paint by number.  Stylistically, I wanted the paintings to have a modern, techie look, to match the rest of the environment.  I stuck with a mostly geometric subject matter, and included a few elements to reflect our company culture.  

I wasn’t sure how enthusiastic my coworkers would be about painting, but I was pleasantly surprised at the eager participation. It was a pretty laid back activity, giving individuals the chance to either paint just a couple brushstrokes, or as much of the canvas as they felt like.  A few people even ended up painting for most of the cookout, which lasted several hours.  Painting can be such a meditative activity, and I was really happy to see many of my coworkers experiencing some of that “in the zone” kind of joy that results from a good painting session. Added bonus, it was beautiful out that day, so we were able to do this in the parking lot behind our building, while also enjoying the gorgeous weather.

Once the cookout ended, the canvases were almost entirely covered in paint.  I took them back to my studio for completion.  Lucky for me, I’m not the only artist working at Matrix.  One of our client services attorneys, Sara Starrfield, is also a very talented painter.  She helped me put the finishing touches on these four canvases, and we made sure the final pieces were gallery quality. 

I was really happy with the four group paintings, but there are just SO many walls in our office, I wanted more!  Ideas tend to lead to more ideas, and once these four paintings were started, I knew three more paintings were absolutely necessary to complete the project.  Each conference room in our office is named after a famously genius individual who played an important role in the history of Computer Science/Science.  Obviously each room needed a matching portrait of its namesake!  Among these individuals are Grace Hopper (A US Navy admiral who invented the first compiler for a programming language) Alan Turing (The father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence) and Albert Einstein (I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard of this guy.)

Before I got into live event painting, portrait painting was one of my specialties, so it was really fun for me to get back into that.  The amount of unique variety that exists in the human face is just fascinating.  Even more, it amazes me how the emotion and unique energy of a person can shine through a portrait if painted the right way.

The portraits turned out to be a nice compliment to the group paintings, and they all match the space PERFECTLY, thanks to the leftover wall paint we had access to.  It’s wonderful when you know exactly where the artwork will go BEFORE designing/painting it.  This is a luxury I rarely get to experience.  Besides knowing the exact color used to paint the walls, I knew the exact size of the walls intended for the paintings.  From start to finish, I really couldn’t have been happier with the way things turned out.   

I’m so thankful to have had to the chance to organize and execute this fun group project for my company. It was wonderful to see everyone working together to create these paintings that are now proudly on display in our office.  They’re a great addition to the space aesthetically, plus they’re a nice reminder a fun company event, with many more fun times ahead!  Thanks so much to everyone who helped make this happen - All my coworkers who helped paint, especially Sara who not only helped complete the paintings but also helped organize everything, Dawn for all her help organizing the cookout, Wally for doing such an awesome job hanging the finished artwork, and last but not least, thanks to my bosses, Tom and Joe for approving such a project without knowing for certain how it would turn out!