Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Piano Lives On - Class Art Project

As promised I want to share with you the Art Project that we did in a recent Art Class I took. 

Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the original project before we started. It didn't dawn on me that I would want to blog about it. Luckily once we got it primed I realized it would make a great blog post so I did take a picture of it after the class.

I had heard about projects like this where older pianos are painted and left in public places where people are invited to sit and play a tune. One of them is Play Me, I'm Yours. I was so excited to be a part of public art such as this!

My sister Lisa though was devastated! She felt that it was sacrilegious to take a beautiful old piano crafted by someone with love and just paint it, cover the old wood! She wouldn't even take part! She couldn't even watch!

The second week we applied the blue paints in different shades using different textures. I'll admit at this point I was starting to feel like Lisa because I wasn't thrilled with the way it was painted. I expect a bright sky blue and not the dark and light mixture...but I was willing to remain optimistic about it, but just barely. Lisa still couldn't even watch and she vocally was very opposed. She's such an old soul!

Here is a close up of the beautiful hand carved detail of the piano. I could see how Lisa would hate to see this covered up.

The next week our Art Teacher, Marcelo Rodriguez began sketching the almond branches and other artwork that was going to be on the piano.

In this picture you can make out the rough pencil sketching that he was doing on the piano. He had a lot of faith that we, his beginning art students, could make magic out of those lines!

But here's Marcelo and he got the ball rolling by painting the branches on one side and some flowers and then he pretty much let us...his students do the rest!

Is that not gorgeous! It was amazing to watch him mixing the colors on a simple paper plate and have them turn into magic!

Even I got in on the action right away and anyone can tell you I've never thought of myself as having an artistic bone in my body! Here I am painting the almond blossoms themselves!

Here's a closeup of the almond blossom detail. See how they aren't perfect up close but step back a few inches and it just becomes perfection. You'll see in the end result.

While the rest of us continued painting branches and blossoms Marcelo used his artistic skills to complete the bottom and front of the piano.

See his palette is just a simple paper plate using just a few basic colors and Voila! Look what he created in just a few minutes while laying on the floor and the rest of us walking around him!

I didn't think it could be done, I didn't know how we were going to accomplish this project in time, but here it is at the Art Reception last week! And Lisa who was not on-board at the beginning even unknowingly matched her blouse to the was meant to be!

That next week the piano was moved to the Wasco Farmers Market with a sign on it that said "Public Piano - Be A Player" and people were invited to play it! I've put the link on here, but not sure if you will be able to see it since it's a Facebook video, but the lady playing is the manager of the farmers market. 

Isn't this just amazing? The piano has a whole new fresh look and now a whole new generation of piano players and music lovers will be able to share in the joy of this piano...that we painted! I'm in awe!

I can't wait to take beginning painting with Marcelo! If you have a local paint night in your area take it! You will find out how much fun this is, how relaxing and what a great sense of pride and accomplishment art can provide!


  1. Sorry Alicia, I'm with your sister Lisa on this.
    However, let's look at the bright side of it. Since the piano is a public not a personal one, many fingers will be touching it and playing on it. The paint will does make for a practical protection of this wonderful musical instrument.

    The blue painting with the branches and blossoms is beautiful by itself and you look like a real pro painter in the picture.

  2. I know DUTA, there are a lot of people that feel that vintage items should be saved and restored in their original woods with stains and such and not just painted over. Normally I would have felt the same about a vintage dresser or desk, but somehow seeing this old piano lifeless and unloved I knew it just needed a new outfit for people to see how much beauty was still in it and that is just what happened.

    Now hopefully a whole new generation of musicians will enjoy it. Thank you for saying I looked like a real pro. I don't know that I would have had the vision to create something like this on my own, but I'm a pretty good student!

  3. Wow! Absolutely awesome art on that piano. It looks gorgeous.

  4. Impressive!!!
    I feel your sister's pain, but I did get over once I got a chance to experience Pianos On Parade here in Minneapolis! I think this is such a great way to get people involved!

    How neat that you're involved in this great venture!!!

  5. Thank you Parul! I was very surprised and happy that it turned out as well as it did. Marcelo definitely has great talent to see this end result!

  6. Hi Oliva! How sweet of you to include the link! I love those! Can't wait to listen to the videos on my lunch hour! Now I feel even luckier to have been a part of a project like this!

  7. This is so fun! I love the idea of taking an old piece and adding new art to it, and in this case it turned out amazing! What a cool way to breathe new life into an old piano. =)

  8. Jensalittleloopy - Thank you! I'm so happy that there will be a new appreciation and use for something that was just probably sitting there alone in an empty classroom or warehouse! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. What an amazing transformation! I love it! :)

    I wish you a beautiful weekend :)

  10. Optimistic Existentialist - I was really surprised by how well it turned out. I just wish I could play the piano. I took lessons for years and can only manage to play Yankee Doodle Dandy with one finger!

  11. It is wonderful that you participated in that project of turning the old piano into public art! Just think of all the people who will enjoy playing, listening to or just seeing the painted piano. :)

  12. Thank you Diane AZ! I thought that was wonderful as well, that people will continue on playing and enjoying it. I've also been sent links to other pianos and it's amazing the diversity and inspiration from one simple old piano that wasn't even used anymore. Thanks for commenting! :)


Please leave a comment.I would love to know your thoughts!