What if . . . ?

Or, a picture is worth more than a thousand words, especially when words tend to confuse the issue.

At present, our church building is configured with pews attached to the floor and a platform at the front so that the center area is raised with curved stairs across the center front and a wheelchair ramp on the left side.  Not all of the front area is raised, and the grand piano sits on the floor in front of the ramp on the left side. On the right side is another area at floor level occupied by the praise band: guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, occasionally a violin, and vocalists.  Is that clear, or would a picture help?

Church PlatformSome members of the worship committee have been looking at the current configuration and wondering how we could get the grand piano and the praise band on the same side of the sanctuary so that this wonderful piano could be used more.  Because of the way a grand piano opens, the instrument is better on the left side of the platform, but there isn’t room for the rest of the musicians since the wheelchair ramp is there.  So, what if . . .

What if the platform were changed so that the wheelchair ramp was on the right side?  And while we’re at it, could we put the pulpit in the center?  And do away with the curved steps and just build the platform straight across the entire room? What would that look like?  Words tended to confuse the issue, so I was asked to do a sketch:

Church platform idea, watercolor, 6" x 9"
Church platform idea, watercolor, 6″ x 9″

While I was sketching, someone came up and looked over my shoulder.  Not knowing my purpose, he pointed out that I had forgotten the ramp on the left side.  When I pointed out that I had put it on the right side, he commented that it would be an expensive construction project to move it.  My reply, “Not for me! I’m an artist and I can do it for the price of a piece of paper and some paint.”

The committee met and reconsidered their plan, now that a visual aid was available.  They wondered, “What if . . .the ramp were not moved?”  Doing the sketch again, this time in my studio, allowed me to straighten out the lines and strengthen the colors.

Church platform idea #2, watercolor, 6" x 9"
Church platform idea #2, watercolor, 6″ x 9″

When was the last time that a picture made your communication easier?


5 thoughts on “What if . . . ?

  1. It’s so great to see your post! Yes, the ability to draw has helped me many times in Latin America when I cannot convey my thoughts via spanglish. Once my Trooper’s front right wheel ‘broke’ on a 4wd back road. I sketched the awkward tangent of the wheel, locked the trooper and walked to the mechanic’s. He looked at the sketch, laughed, then retrieved a few items and we drove to the trooper. In a few hours I was rolling again.

    Your example is a perfect one for how one can clarify a spacial idea so that others can visualize the concept.

  2. Word pictures could not communicate so quickly what one glance at a picture said about the beauty of your church.

    How ironic that we recently reconsidered the arrangement of our pews, which are designed for a sort of theatre in the round, but only a half circle, and were bought from another church over 50 years ago. “The way we’ve always done it” was in serious question. Out came the graph paper and measuring tapes and amazingly enough, we are considering moving them all! We think we will have more room in the center aisle, which will allow for occasional chairs during overflow times.

    Pictures rule! 😉

  3. Ruth, I don’t know if I’ve ever used my paintings as effectively as you. Bravo! One of my breakthroughs as an artist came when I was told “Don’t be afraid to fail. It only costs you a piece of paper.”

  4. I recently saw an exhibition of Michelangelo drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Several of the works were ‘presentation’ drawings. They were for various chapels and fortifications and were shown to the client. You’re part of a long tradition!

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