Monahans art teacher taking on first mural

Artist and art teacher Mandy Casey is tackling her first mural in her hometown of Monahans and there are several others going up alongside it.

It’s on the side of Delaney’s Flower and Gifts and will include a bright blue background with flowers and hummingbirds. Casey said there is another mural going up in town on the side of the old post office that shows a historic progression.

A mural committee was formed and there were different spots in Monahans where they had discussed adding murals. One of them was the flower shop.

Monahans Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Teresa Burnett said a large mural is being created on the corner of Betty Avenue and Fourth Street at the Ace Hardware building.

“We also have 7-8 more projects to do as soon as the designs are approved. This is primarily a volunteer based project,” Burnett said in an email. “The Mural Committee is a 501 C3 headed up by TLA Private School along with the Beautification Committee of the chamber.”

TLA stands for Transformative Leadership Academy. Lindsey Balderaz, an assistant professor of special education at University of Texas Permian Basin, is the director.

“I love to draw flowers. I’ve always loved flowers. I’ve always loved hummingbirds. My flower thing is just I’ve always loved the fact that no two flowers are the same; even if they’re of the same species. So I’ve always loved to do flowers particularly for that,” Casey said.

And she’s always had an affinity for hummingbirds.

“They’re like a symbol for joy and peace. That’s where my idea came from, so that’s why I offered to do the flower shop,” Casey added.

Mandy Casey looks up at the camera in front of the mural she is creating on the side of Delaney’s Flower and Gifts in Monahans. (Courtesy Photo)

The mural is not yet complete.

“I just started it at spring break, so with me being a teacher I was able to get the majority of the background blocked out and laid down. It’s just more recently (that) I’ve started to … add some of the details to it. Those will probably take me a little while,” Casey said.

As a single mom and full time art teacher at Tatom Elementary in Monahans, she’s busy. She also is the assistant cheer coach for the high school.

She has a son and daughter. Her son plays baseball and her daughter is in one-act play and dancing.

Casey squeezes the mural in when her children are involved in extracurricular activities, as well as fitting it in whenever possible.

Casey is a former student of UTPB Associate Professor of Art Chris Stanley.

“When I reflect on Mandy’s time at UTPB, she was always a focused and driven student. Her talent was on another level. We see this a lot with our students. There is so much artistic talent in our part of the world. Mandy’s daily commute from Monahans to UTPB in order to complete her degree is a testimony to her perseverance. I am honored to work at a school that is willing to work with students from all over our region. As an educator, I see a great future for her and the arts in Monahans,” Stanley said in a text message.

Casey said she tried to pick flowers for the mural that looked like they were growing from the side like a hanging vine, as well as sunflowers that grow straight up.

“… I always incorporate hummingbirds into everything because, like I said, they are an ancient symbol of joy and happiness. They’re also said to bring good luck and positive energy,” Casey said.

“When they said flower shop, I volunteered immediately,” she added.

Casey is using paint you would use on the outside of a building for her mural.

It was an adjustment creating something so large.

“I was really nervous about painting something to that scale. The most I’d done is when I did my painting classes at UTPB with Nancy (Hart). We painted on a four foot by four foot canvas, but that was the biggest I’d ever painted. We do have two people on our committee that are kind of seasoned muralists …,” Casey said.

One referred her to a tutorial on Doodle Grid where you make doodles all over a wall, take a picture of that area, take the image that you’re going to be painting and you basically overlay it over the Doodle Grid, then lower the opacity so that you can see the symbols through the picture.

Then you lay in the background and add the details.

Casey said it’s a longer project than she’s done before.

“But honestly I’m really loving it. I love the tranquility of it. I put my headphones on and I’m in front of this huge picture that I’m trying to recreate for everyone to see, so I’ve really enjoyed doing it,” Casey said.

A few other women helped her block in the blue in the background and the giant sunflowers.

“I’ve gone back and just recently started adding the small details to each flower. I will probably work on the hummingbird last because he has the most detail,” Casey said.