Features Magazine Volume 70, Issue 4

Painting through the pandemic

By Ally Hoogs

Graphic By Emma Cypressi

Mother/daughter duo Mindy and Audrey Ellison started a new uplifting painting project on their garage in Walnut Creek. They made their first appearance on October 11th on an Instagram account, showcasing a painting that they had made in April. This first appearance helped to boost their followers, who were inspired by their uplifting message and creative design. Using Tempera paint, they design and paint positive messages, thanking health workers, giving helpful COVID safety steps, and uplifting phrases about inclusivity. Their work can be found on their Instagram account, @garagedoorwc, where they post new projects and updates.

The duo came up with the idea nine months ago when Mindy Ellison needed a creative outlet to substitute some of the free time she had off work. Her daughter Audrey soon joined, and together they started a weekly garage painting that is now going nine months strong. Audrey added that painting with bright colors brings fun and an interactive way to stay motivated during the stay at home order. 

“I started doing this as an outlet,” Mindy mentioned. “I don’t consider myself an artistic person, but I love doing this [for the community].” 

Over nine months, a small hobby turned into a community-wide project, bringing bright and motivating illustrations to Walnut Creek. Some of their most collaborative projects include a Thanksgiving painting with a local preschool, writing some of the things they are thankful for, even during the pandemic. The Ellison’s have since then created drawings with uplifting words to associate camaraderie with the struggles of the year.

  Mindy and Audrey both agreed that they weren’t expecting the newfound popularity when they first began. Audrey commented, “I love the connections we’ve made with our neighbors and community. We never thought we would grow such a fanbase out of it and meet so many wonderful people.”

The Ellisons hope that their colorful work brings people together and gives a dose of happiness during the pandemic.