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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Well, this Tuesday was another fine day with respect to the weather (unlike today!).   The wall we are painting the mural on is thankfully not exposed to direct sunlight in the mornings, which means we don’t have to worry about the paint drying too quickly. Not really an issue for this layer, but when we do the colours it could be.   On Tuesday, myself and my team of two boys and two girls from Trafalgar  painted the first layer of BEECK Quartz Filler, a bridging primer, over the surface of the wall.  I couldn’t have done it without them, and what a great team they were.  We talked about the paint and the ingredients, and the children loved using the paint.  They loved the smell, which is like toothpaste, and as we were using the bottoms of plastic milk cartons as containers, the paint was then referred to as “milk”.  They even missed some of their playtime and wanted to carry on for the rest of the morning! We had a great time.  Ideally I would have liked the wall to be rendered first, but this was not allowed, and would have cost more money too.  The bridging primer does give some smoothness to the surface, but it’s still quite uneven.  However, having seen several other murals on the net with silicate on brick,  this doesn’t worry me, not for this simple design anyway.

Such was the enthusiastic response that I realise, with hindsight, that the children’s painting shirts were not really sufficient protection, (!!) and I just hope those parents will forgive me for their children coming home with evidence of their painting activities still intact on their clothing.  I think it should come out easily though…there’s no acrylic or anything which would make it hard to get out of clothing.  The children also wore rubber gloves and goggles for protection (I’m not sure the goggles were really that necessary, but they looked rather scientific!)  I’ll post some images up soon.

By the end of the morning the whole area was covered.  Everyone worked really hard and enjoyed the process.  Amazing work!  Over the half term I’ll be marking up some of the design and then some of the children will help me with the colour areas.  The paint takes a good 12 hours to dry enough for a second coat, and it seems to take a couple of weeks to fully harden, (based on samples at home) but there’s no rush.  I’ve worked out the colours, apart from one which I can’t decide on.  I’ll be painting the design on a smaller scale on paper over the half term and post it up here soon.  I’m also thinking about some activities that the children might like to participate in related to colour theory and design, which can be used if required by the school.

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