Well, it is finished!

John T Freeman selected some of the children’s work and arranged the composition of the cartoons on the mural.  He copied the children’s work closely so it retained the original’s quality, and we agreed to add a cat and a rat to bring a little movement into play.  Keim Contact Grobb was used under the cartoons to bring a little texture to the surface, though at this point the uneven nature of the surface did seem quite a challenge!  (Unfortunately I was not able to get permission for the wall to be rendered, which would have been the ideal scenerio).

Keim Contact Grobb was then coated with Keim Soldalit in a very light grey, and John used the same Keim Soldalit in Charcoal Grey for the linear parts of the cartoons.  I had previously busied myself with the thicker lines, which I opted to give a slightly fuzzy edge to, as it wasn’t workable to try and achieve sharp edges on such a rough wall, and optically, there was very little point in doing that anyway.  The soft edges worked very well with what are radiant, and yet gentle colours. 

 The colours are getting a lot of comments already;  people do seem to pick up on the particular quality of the mineral paint used, even though the surface changed from totally matt to a very slight sheen  after coating with the Keim Anti-Graffiti Coating.  The cartoons are also providing a lot of enjoyment, and the children will be having a competition soon to come up with a name for the mural.  John T Freeman and myself will enjoy looking at those I am sure. 

Some of the children are working on mural and mineral paint related activities at the school with the Art Co-ordinator, who I hope is taking some photographs which I can post up here later on!  Keim were fantastic in providing some very interesting information about Keim mineral paints, the history, and technical information, and I was also able to provide some materials on colour theory and design which should come in handy. Though I worked on this project voluntarily, I have to say, as an experience, it was well worth the effort and I hope to do something similar in the future.

It’s so important that our children learn about different kinds of materials and what the advantages and disadvantages are…I do think that through the project they have been able to experience using natural paint in a very relevant and creative way.  It’s been a great project, and I only wish I had more time available to do more of this kind of thing.  I do have another mural on the horizon,  and it will be very good to use what has been learnt through this one for the next.  I am also making a short video of the whole process to pop up on You Tube.  It hasn’t got anything that isn’t common sense on it, but it might prove helpful to another school who maybe would like to work with mineral silicate paint for an ecologically friendly mural at some time. 

John T Freeman’s website:  www.johntfreeman.co.uk

Jenny Meehan’s website: www.jennymeehan.co.uk

Video of Mural Project:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je8SouQNIs0

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Thankfully with a great team working together, we covered the prepared wall with the Beeck Quartz Filler quite rapidly.  It is quite time consuming, mostly because of the dabbing action needed for such a bumpy surface, but we loved using the paint.

It was Mufti Day when we painted on the bridging primer, and so, as you can see, there is not a uniform in sight.  Just as well really as the paint did tend to go in unexpected places….I have to say, not because the painters were not being sensible, its just the paint seemed to have a life of its own!

I have to say I was very impressed with how quickly those painters who worked with me picked up the way to control the paint…It is quite runny and it’s more like a stain, and so they sure did need to know how to control it!

The decking was very comfortable to sit on, and as you can see, we used rubber gloves to protect our hands and plastic goggles too.  There’s nothing unsafe or toxic about the paint, it’s just very alkaline and I know from experience that it dries out your skin, and can sting, though I didn’t find this much with the paint, it was more just the fixative alone.  In a school setting we have to do things properly though, and the goggles meant that there were no worries with regard to paint splashing in eyes.  However, to be honest, one has to manipulate the paint in such a way that you wouldn’t tend to splash it about anyway.

I started the mural using the Beeck Silicate Mineral paints, and they were fine, but when I got to the linear parts I had discovered Keim Mineral Paints, and most particularly, their Soldalit, which is a third generation sol-silicate paint.  This pain was much easier to handle..a very slight difference in consistency but it made all the difference with the lines.  It was slightly more viscous.  If I were to paint a mural like this again I would just use the Soldalit, as the difference in consistency made it easier to use.

From the Keim website:

“SOL-SILICATE MINERAL PAINTS

Recent developments in mineral silicate paint technology have seen the introduction of sol-silicate mineral paintswhich not only utilise potassium silicate but also silica sol.  Silica binders are ‘colloids’, a term originating from the Greek word for glue –‘kolla’.  These particles have excellent viscosity, meaning they are well absorbed into a surface and once dry the particles firmly bind to the surfaces.  The addition of the silica sol, enhances the already superior adhesion of mineral paints and increases their scope of use to include application onto previously painted surfaces.”

Yes, and an additional bonus, not utilised in this case, as it was silicate on silicate, but something which I will certainly experiment with in different contexts when the mural is done.

Again from the Keim Mineral Paint website:

 

MINERAL APPEARANCE

Mineral Paints have a flat, matt finish, however the crystal structure provides excellent light reflectance which gives a bright, clean apperance.  In addition, through the use of earth oxide pigments, there is no colour fade – proven on buildings which were been decorated over 100 years ago where there is still no visible colour fade and no breakdown of the coating itself.  Keim Paints are inherently resistant to mould and fungal growth due to their high alkalinity, (pH is approximately 12.3), and therefore can provide long term resistance to mould and fungal growth.

 

Edit note:  My old website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk is no longer living, so if you would like to see what I am doing currently, then please follow the link to my new website which is http://www.jamartlondon.com.   www.jamartlondon.com

 

Mixing colours…mixing colours…

Just focusing on areas of colour…thinking about it, literally weighing one colour against another and not thinking about anything else is an unexpectedly pleasurable process.  Gone for now are those little dippy dabs of colour, gone is the random mixing of colours, ad hoc, hit and miss, and the little palette (Though mine has never been small, I prefer to use a large board on a table!)

Now I am looking at flat areas (beautifully flat and singing in the light…the mineral paint surface is matt and almost comforting to look at) and as I experiment with subtle changes in tone and hue, I have the feeling that though this is not the kind of painting I expected to be doing right now…it’s more design really, however, it is doing me a lot of good.  It may not be such an emotionally charged process as most of my smaller paintings, but it’s almost ministering to me in terms of colour experience. 

The Beeck Mineral Paint smells lovely. I’m using the Beeck Beeckosil for the large colour areas of this mural.  This is a specialist paint, and I needed to consult several companies with respect to the correct preparation of substrate and the application, so many thanks to all those people who helped me in this respect.  It’s been an education in itself.  I am also looking into the mineral paint that Keim produce too, and plan to try that out on another mural in the future.  (I might well use Soldalit for the lines on this one). I’m glad I allowed for plenty of time for this project…it’s taking a lot longer to plan than I first expected.  This is mostly to do with getting the colours just right…I can’t faff about when I paint the real thing.  I also need to ensure I don’t waste paint, and I need to know exactly what I am doing in terms of proportions of pigment/toner when I mix up the colours in larger amounts for the mural.  Because the mural is the largest painting I have done so far (approx 1.5 by4 metres) I am probably being more careful than I need to be,  but better that than  the other option of careless (and expensive) mistakes. 

As I experiment with the colours on card in preparation for the mural painting “proper” I find I like this mineral paint better than the casein paint I tried out last year.  The colour does change when drying, but not so dramatically, which does help.  When this exterior mural project is done, I might well continue working with this paint on non flexible appropriately prepared substrates, as well as experimenting with using it on some stone/concrete sculpture.  Experiments started on an exterior wall in November are looking good, and it certainly helps ones confidence when embarking on using a paint one hasn’t used before to do samples and try it out first.  It takes a long time to dry, and even a few weeks to fully harden, but it does indeed harden, and it’s a fine paint.  I love it.

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