Quite missing the mural, having not painted anything on it for a while.  A bit of a gap now in progress, but more to be done over the Summer holidays.  I am very pleased that Keim Mineral Paints Ltd in the UK have kindly donated some charcoal grey Soldalit, which has solved a problem for me, as the Beeck Full Colour black plus white was a very bluey black, and not exactly what I wanted.  I could have fiddled around with it, but it’s all time.

I have decided to coat the mural, when finished, with  another useful product from Keim Mineral Paints “Keim 694” which is a waterbased semi-permanent anti-graffiti coating, based on acryl co-polymers and waxes.  The advantage for me is that it is not solvent based, which I prefer, and also that it may be applied by brush.  It needs two coats. It also comes with with plenty of information with regard to aftercare. The paint is hydro-phobic without a coating,  and though it takes a while to fully petrify, it will indeed go rock hard.  However, as the mural is in a playground, I felt it wise to use the coating on it.

I have to say, I cannot fault the customer service received from Keim Mineral Paints Ltd, and this is very refreshing, having experienced some dreadful customer service earlier on in the process of the mural.  Unfortunately, I understand from several painters in my locality, that is is common for women not to be treated as professionally as they should be by some suppliers in the construction industry.  This was not something I have come across before, and  it was rather a disappointment, and certainly not something I expected.  Keim Mineral Paints have  delivered excellent customer service, and the range of modern silicates, each with their specific applications, is quite amazing. I’m very pleased, and I hasten to add, this is not because of the donated paint… It’s because of the good and sound business policies clearly in place which treat both the big and small customer with the same amount of respect, treat women professionally, and put the customer first.  Any business which wants to grow in this current economic climate needs to take customer service very seriously, and the intelligent ones will do exactly that.

Well, it’s a great advantage to be able to touch type, and to be able to do so very quickly!  However, I need to get on, so next blog entry will be  a while away now.  I understand that one child put on his end of year review form that working on the mural was the highlight of his year.  That’s why painter’s should be in schools engaging with the next generation of artists.  And, our society does need artists, as much as we need air to breath.

 

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Well, I haven’t had an email telling me that “Stem (Sign of Life)” has not been accepted for show at the Cranleigh Arts Centre Open Exhibition 2011, so I am assuming, as instructed to assume, that it is one of the works which will be on show this year.  I am very pleased about this because I didn’t get my painting “Burst Forth/The Promised Land” into the Pallant House Open Art Competition.

I haven’t entered anything into the Cranleigh Arts Centre Open Exhibition before, so it was interesting to have a little look around.  What a lovely building…I do like it when church buildings become art centres!!!!!

This year the competition recieved a record amount of submissions from artists, which is very good news for them, and I  can’t wait to go along and see all the work on show.  I entered “Stem (Sign of Life)” which is a Digital C-Print on Foamex, laminated, and for the exhibition, framed.   I was going to enter both pieces, because Stem is one of two really, but I am a bit short of cash and I felt that if I put both in, as they are quite big, they might not be displayed or both picked anyway.

“Wilt (Sign of Death)” belongs with Stem, but at least I can show it here to you.  The images come originally from a photograph of some paint, so I am rather fond of this pair.  Photographs of paint have always been a bit of a thing for me it seems.  I like the fluidity expressed, but frozen by the camera, and the reduction of the image down to the pure colour,  like a reduction of paint to its most potent aspect, the pigment.  It took some time to arrive at the two images, but I am pleased with the way they relate to eachother.  I also created “Totem” which is a dye-sublimation print from this body of work which started in a very simple way, with some cheap poster paint.

One of a pair, but just this one entered into the Cranleigh Arts Centre Open Exhbition 2011

"Stem (Sign of Life)" Digital C Print on Foamex, laminated, framed by Jenny Meehan

 

This work accompanies "Stem (Sign of Life)" Jenny Meehan

"Wilt (Sign of Death)" Jenny Meehan Digital C-Print on Foamex

 

 

 

 

People are noticing the unique paint quality…How the colours reflect the light, how it bounces off the surface and makes them sing.  It’s interesting to me that people bring this up without me having told them anything about the quartz. It’s very nice to hear the children talking about the colours,  and liking the design, and now the pressure is off a bit timewise, I have more time to talk to them about the paint, the design and the concept.  There will be a competition somewhere near the end of the project, and the children will come up with a title, which is very important as it gives more ownership to them.

 The mural is so formal, so ordered.  All well and good, but it’s not quite fitting for the playground yet!  I have a few more things to do for my part, but with the right brushes (wonderful flat and wide brushes, with tightly packed synthetic fibres are best for this type of paint) it will be done in no time.  I’m limited with other commitments in terms of how often I can come in, but there’s not that much more to do.    It was great to do some more of the painting with the children, and I have to say, I am really impressed with all the children who have worked with me.  I was a bit concerned that they might not use the brushes and paint as is needful, (and with this type of paint it does need to be done in a certain way), but you know, I feel ashamed of my doubts, because I think they have surpassed my expectations, and I only wish I had more painting for them to do.

The paint is great, but it does need to be applied carefully.  Wet/dry lapping shows a distinct mark and so care must be taken to maintain a wet edge across each surface.  It’s worked very well for this mural, as the wall is in the shade, and the weather has been good.  When its windy it can dry the paint rather quick, so it’s not just direct sunlight that one has to be aware of, but I have found with the bubblewrap covering that this is a great help with respect to both wind and rain.  With the mural being basically fairly small areas, it hasn’t been a problem and the coverage is good and pretty even.  What you really cannot do is retouch areas….You get a very distinct mark.  You also need to ensure that the paint is very well mixed, especially if the colour has been adjusted with pigment.  It is more like a stain.  I must say that I look forward to experimentally in a more free manner with the silicate mineral paint, using retouching and overlapping in a creative way.  I think it could be quite interesting.  But for this mural design a nice lap free layer is what was needed.

Once the paint has been applied it does need protection as it takes a good 12 hours to dry and it also needs protection from mechanical abrasion for a couple of weeks because it takes time to fully harden.  This again could be used very creatively: I am thinking of some of my experiments with casein in the past and the scraping and scratching into the surface would be an interesting avenue to go down at some point.  My problem, as ever, is time. I’m only working on the mural about once every couple of weeks.  This drags the whole thing out a bit, but as long as it’s done by the end of the Summer Holidays it will be fine. 

I thought about a hydro-phobic coating for the mural, but I don’t think it’s necessary for this project.  If the mural was very high up, near the sea maybe, then it might be worth considering.  The silicate mineral paint itself is water repellent in nature, and though I was a bit concerned about the possible looseness of pigment in some of the more highly coloured areas, I have found that a gentle brushing with some diluted fixative solves the issue, which is only an issue with a couple. of the much deeper colours anyway.  I used ready mixed full colour silicate mineral paint, so I wasn’t expecting any looseness actually, but it is only a tiny amount.  The mural will later be coated with an anti-graffiti coating made by Keim Mineral Paints Ltd.

It looks pretty grey here!

Trafalgar Junior School Exterior Mural Plan

Keim Mineral Paints Ltd have been very supportive of this project, which is most encouraging to me as it is a labour of love for sure.  I am preparing some educational materials which the Art co-ordinator at the school is going to use.  This  is a process I’m enjoying  very much as it brings me back to my past times as a teacher, though  it is much more enjoyable to just be concerned with a subject I feel passionate about!

I’m going to let the children into the planning process, and also provide some resources on colour theory (Itten).  For me the interest of this project has been a more analytical approach than I normally take with my painting.  Normally the selection of colours is based on emotions and I will be the first to say that I have only just begun to learn about colour.   I hope it will always be this way.  It has been great experience for me  with this project, to rather carefully and methodically balance one colour against another.  It is more design than anything else, but still, it’s good to do things differently from time to time.  I would like to paint a more spontaneous and process driven mural though, and compare the experiences.

I hope that the children will learn to think about colours and tones a bit more in their painting, and also get more of a conscious  awareness of how they interact with eachother.  It’s not the be all and end all of course, I do believe colour should come pretty much from inside the heart, but it does no harm, and it is interesting, to think about and notice certain things.   Looking at a painting like “Composition 1928” by Mondrian is a lot more interesting when you start to think more specifically about formalities!  It isn’t very interesting when you don’t.

I’m just putting some stuff together about different types of paint and how they are made, and also types of pigment.  I would like to do a lot more than I have time to right now.  I need to start sorting out some materials for the Eco Co-ordinator next, so I’m moving onto that this coming week.  We will be painting on Tuesday if the weather is OK, let’s hope so.

It’s all pretty grey right now.

 

 

 

 The colour areas of the mural have come along, and I have had some good weather.  One day of last week was crazy….The sun kept popping in and out, and I not only had short, sharp, showers of rain, but some hailstones too!  This made me very glad to have the bubblewrap protective layer…It also meant that I could carry on painting even in the rain, as it was so light and transparent that it didn’t get in the way at all, and I had plenty of light.  It even took the chill out of the air…All in all, it made quite a cosy working environment!  

I’m going to avoid sharing an image of the design for now….mainly because even when the main linear elements are done, the mural won’t be in it’s final state until the cartoons have reaped their havoc with it!  The image here shows most of the main colour areas.  The remaining area (the ships base) will be carried out during the next stage of painting, with a couple more enthusiastic children to assist with the process.  I will post some images of the children working soon, but consent is needed first before publishing on the internet.

The Mural

The mural design is based loosely on the work of the painter
Piet Mondrian.    Over time, his painting
developed  away from the  representational  becoming increasingly more abstract.  He narrowed down the elements of the image
further and further until in the end he produced   geometric paintings which were comprised of
coloured rectangles intersected and divided by a flat grid of black lines.   Mondrian’s importance in art history lies in
his development of “pure” abstraction.
The mural design shows two sailing ships; one on the left, which heads
straight towards the viewer, and one on the right, which is perpendicular to
it. The ships are arranged like this to symbolise Nelson’s battle tactic for
the battle of Trafalgar; instead of conducting the battle so that his ships
approached the enemy ships face on, (as was the more common, traditional,
approach) he decided to get his ships to approach the enemy ships from a right
angle, perpendicular to the enemy ships. This meant they could break into the
enemy lines, cutting off and overwhelming the enemy centre and rear, before
their vanguard (leading ships) could turn and assist.

Because schools are ever changing, constantly growing and
developing communities, I felt it was important to suggest a sense of process
in the mural and this is  suggested in
the ever increasing oval shapes, which start small from the right hand side,  and get bigger near the front of the ship:  Trafalgar is a place of growth and
development, of each person’s potential having the opportunity to become
realised more fully, and of having the structure and  support needed in order for that to happen.  I have also depicted in light grey an
indication of the underlying grid on which the design was constructed, in order
to suggest the idea of a work in progress.

Some of the children’s cartoons will liven the whole thing up!

An important part of
the project will be educational input with regard to the reasons for and value
of using ecologically friendly paints, and in particular the unique qualities
of silicate mineral paint, which has been developed over the years into a very versatile and exciting paint.  I would like to thank
Keim Mineral Paints Ltd, in particular for their prompt and helpfully delivered technical
support, and the provision of information  and printed and presentation materials , all
of which have been particularly helpful  in enhancing the educational dimension of the
project. The mural will be coated with the Keim anti-graffiti coating, which is just what I was looking for.
I would also like to thank Mike Wye and Associates for technical advice and assistance. Cornish Lime were also helpful in this respect.

Colour areas of the mural in progress

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