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

Advertisements have also been really helpful to me with this project, providing prompt, helpful information about products through their website and email, plus their sister company AURO, and demonstrating professionalism through and through, providing  plentiful comprehensive information about the natural paints in their range; and what a range it is!  The AURO product range is a great asset to any interior muralist, and I was almost wishing that this current mural was an interior one, so that I could try out some of these natural paints for myself.  

There are a few other companies I plan to mention, but now I am working on site  (rather a lot of footballs around, but no one has managed to hit me with one yet!) I might be busy for a while.   Once I have got some photographic images sorted out, I’ll be back blogging with more news on how the project is going.  I can only spend around four hours a week on site, due to other commitments and activities, but I made good progress this morning with the preparation of the wall.  Marked out outline, put up protective skirt along the bottom, filled deep cracks and wire brushed the wall.  Scraped off paint from the occasional brick which had some old paint on it.  Applied the fixative.  Didn’t want to stop. Children interested… “Are you a scientist?” “What’s a mural?” “Is that water?”  Unfortunately I was so tight on time today I didn’t have enough time to chat as I would have liked, but I have promised them that next time I come into school I will be able to tell them more about the project.

Some children have been involved in cartooning workshops with John T Freeman.  I spoke to one boy today whose face practically glowed when he told me about it.  That’s why artists work in schools.

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