Visual Communication: From Artist Imagination to Project Proposal

Seranda Vespermann windows
Seranda Vespermann, stained glass, Methodist LeBonheur Hospital lobby, Germantown, TN, 84″ x 204″. Photo: Gary Kessel

When stained glass artist Seranda Vespermann creates presentation drawings for a potential commission, she relies on a time-honored medium: Prismacolor pencils and black ink on high-quality tracing paper. Her scale drawings capture the luminosity and brilliance of stained glass and have a subtle beauty all their own. “I love the pencils’ colors, and the tight linearity of pen and ink,” she notes. “The result is like a coloring book image, with black lines and strong, solid hues.”

Scale drawing (1/2”=1’). To communicate the brilliant color and translucence of stained glass, Vespermann favors Prismacolor pencils on high-quality tracing paper.

For a major commission at Methodist LeBonheur Hospital, Vespermann began by envisioning herself in the lobby. “I always try to put myself in the place of someone in the space. In this case, that would be someone who is sick, or maybe waiting on someone who’s sick—people who’ve found themselves in a serious situation. I imagined them looking up for inspiration and hope. Since it is a Methodist hospital, my clients were also open to religious symbolism, which was nice.”

Vespermann met with groups of nurses, doctors, and patients’ families before submitting her final proposals. Using Photoshop, she inserted her drawings into the architect’s rendering of the lobby, and she brought along samples of glass to represent the palette and textures. “I especially like to share little chunks of dalles de verre that people can keep,” she says. The final design includes imagery that represents the patients themselves, the power of medical technology, and the healing power of God.

Once a design is approved, a full-scale paper pattern is drawn as a guide for cutting the glass.

“It’s an honor to place a design in a public place,” Vespermann says. “In so doing, I want to bring a sense of joy and inspiration to the viewers. It is my desire that when the hospital’s visitors look up, they will be blessed with a sense of strength and peace.”