Near The End Of Term!

July 15, 2011

Just a quick entry today, I have too much on to write much, but I will be painting some lines on the mural next week.  I’ve been working on another exterior mural, only around one metre square in a garden, this time very spontaneous…I wanted to try out another approach with the paint and see if it worked.  It is working well, so I will post some images up later on no doubt.  I dropped off some work to The White Gallery in Dorking, and enjoyed seeing other artists work there at the same time.  The White Gallery is located at 17 St Martin’s Walk, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1UT.  If you are in Dorking, do pop by, there is a nice range of interesting work, and several pleasant places to sit down and enjoy a coffee or whatever nearby.  There are many Surrey artists with work in the gallery, which offers a good price range and work in a variety of different media. 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

Images below inserted at a later date!

mineral paint mural in primary school by artist jenny  meehan

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural

mineral paint mural in twickenham trafalgar junior school

 

silicate mineral paint mural twickenham artist jenny meehan

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then  placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then  placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

 

After a considerable amount of planning and thought, now the mural project for Trafalgar Junior School is more tangibly underway. Both good and bad experiences of customer services with suppliers has been an education in itself, but I am glad to, FINALLY (after some delay), be able to push the work ahead.  John T Freeman delivered some excellent cartooning workshops to groups of children in the school, and I understand that the children who received the benefit of his skill and expertise in the matter are now passing it on to other groups of children too. I must say, the children’s work is amazing, and I can see very distinctly the way in which John’s input has influenced their drawing skills and powers of expression, resulting in work which is lively and original.  John was also interviewed during assembly, and shared with the children many things about his work as an artist, showing some of his work, and also bringing along a few interesting objects to talk about.  Both the assembly and the workshops were thoroughly enjoyed by the children. 

I’m currently working on some educational materials for the project with regard to the ecological issues which are an important part of the whole thing.  Yes, I love the paint, aesthetically it pleases me so much I chose it for that, but not that alone.  It’s a great opportunity for the children to learn about paint as part of their environmental studies, and if I had more time, I would probably do a lot more in this area.  However, for now,  I will put together a few materials,  some samples of different types of paint, ideas, visual resources, that type of thing.  

Some examples of children’s work from the cartooning workshops by John T Freeman:

All the children’s cartooning looks fantastic,  and looking at their work, I want to spend some time talking to them about it, because it all looks very interesting!

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.

Working away on the mural design for a local school playground.  I’ve chosen the colours…broadly…and now comes the fine tuning. This happens naturally as I work out the measurements for mixing up larger quantities of paint.  (It’s a bit different from mixing paints on a small scale!)  I’m mixing small amounts in jars and recording the different proportions of different colours needed to get the tone/hue I am aiming for.  In the process is the opportunity to experiment with more subtle variations of colour, and this is quite an enjoyable activity.  Even slight modulations make a huge difference to the over-all effect. I cannot afford use my normal method of obtaining colours by trial and error (plus a dollop of experience!)as this would waste too much paint.  I am using silicate mineral paint (Beeck) which isn’t cheap, and also I don’t want to waste paint full stop. The whole project is meant to be as ecologically friendly as possible!

I’ll soon have some images and I will keep updates on progress coming.

Information added later, as seen below!

Take a look at Jenny Meehan’s website jamartlondon  to see some of her more recent work!  http://www.jamartlondon.com/

 

Page with the Trafalgar Junior School Mural on: http://www.jamartlondon.com/mineral-paint-mural/4571505927

 

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

 

Image from the very beginning!

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then  placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. And crew of children!

 

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan .. Characters are copies of some of the childrens artwork produced in a drawing workshop tutored by John T Freeman, who then  placed and transferred the drawings onto the mural

trafalgar junior school silicate mineral paint mural by artist Jenny Meehan ..

 

jenny meehan jamartlondon,school mural silicate mineral painting,trafalgar junior school twickenham playground mural project.

Children at Trafalgar Junior School working very hard on the bridging primer application for the mural!

 

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