Now is a time for me to look back on work carried out over the year.  This painting “Break Out/Promised Land” was interesting to paint.  I concentrated on bringing texture and different surfaces into play and it was quite nice to let the textural information inform choices in colour and the direction of the next marks or brushstrokes.  I let the painting grow naturally, so I didn’t have an idea from the outset of how it would develop, but seeing it at the end it rang true.  I have learnt through it, which is my main objective.  It would be nice to do some more of these,  and it is the case that acrylic paint is just the right medium to use for paintings like this.  I always feel slightly disappointed with the colour intensity of acrylic paint, though adding pigment of course is always an option.   I have not painted with an acrylic underpainting and oil on top yet… so maybe this is something I might explore next.

(Note: later sold to a collector)

http://www.jamartlondon.com

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You cannot see the white border around this central part, as it has merged with the website surround.  Quite apt really!

I am hoping very much that my application for the AA2A Artists Access to Art College Scheme which is hosted by Kingston University School Of Fine Art will prove worthwhile.  Today is the deadline.  That could be the beginning, or the end line I suppose for me.

I went to Kingston University many years ago, studying  Literature  and some History too. Wow, it would be great to get into the Library again, amongst other things.  The Printmaking Department looks great. 

I wrote a poem recently.  Haven’t written one for ages, so here it is:

 The hen
 
I feel the structure of her wings – an
oily smell – an apparently disconnected neck.
 
Alive?  Yes… With red, floppy, external tongues…
Clapping a throaty, inner, sound.
 
She struggles to get out the clucks,
out of my hands, and flaps air 
around us.
 
The strained express; We try to fly,
but gravity pushes us down.

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

Rain, Rain,Rain.

I just want to put the final coating of Keim 694 Waterbased semi-permanent anti-graffiticoating ON THE MURAL.  It’s sitting here in front of me, but cannot be used “if rain could fall within 5 to 6 hours”.  The way the last few days have been going, all my expected times and days have melted into the ground and evaporated!  I haven’t even seen the mural since John last came in to finish the cartoons, so I haven’t even seen it finished yet!  Hopefully one day next week….

Once I have coated the mural with the anti-graffiticoating, I will be working on a presentation on the whole process for the school.  And then the work really will be finished.  I have to say a really big thank you to Keim Mineral Paints again for their part in the project, which in the end turned out to be very significant, because I found their silica-sol paint “Soldalit” of great use for the linear parts of the painting, and John used this for the cartoons too.   I now intend to continue to use Soldalit for other exterior murals I paint, as the colour range is fantastic, and though I like to mix up my own colours, (as I did for the colour areas of the Trafalgar Mural, using the Beeck Full Colour mineral paints), it does save a lot of time if the colours are already mixed.

I’ve learnt a lot from this project….

1.  I love and hate the weather, but it’s kind of nice to be subject to it.

2. Some companies have great customer service, and others need to improve.  However great, you can only build on the foundations below you.  That means, every little person matters.

3.When you paint murals on party walls, it can take a long time and a lot of effort to get permission to do so, but if you use a porus silicate mineral paint, there is no good reason for refusal, as the wall can “breath”, so no damp issues arise.

4. Don’t assume anything

5. Children are worth working with.  My thanks to the lovely children who painted with me, and to all those wonderful artists who produced such amazing cartoons under the expert and sensitive guidance of John T Freeman.  If the mural was bigger, all the cartoons would be in the mural…every single one.

6. It will ALWAYS take longer than you think, and extensive preparation, including research, is always worth it.

7.  The composition has to be right.  If it’s not, don’t bother.

8.  Silicate Mineral Paint offers the best colour quality possible, far superior to acrylic paint in terms of its ability to reflect light.   Having spent hours looking at the difference, I have no doubt in my mind about this matter. It’s beautiful.  It is more demanding to use, but it’s worth it. And Keim Soldalit, their sol-silicate paint is much easier to use than the Beeck.

9. Take the rough with the smooth…In this case, quite literally.  The wall surface was rough!  Painting straight lines on such a surface doesn’t make much sense, but as they say, “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and nothing’s impossible.

10. Give generously, receive generously.

It might seem a bit early to put this down, but as the rain is stopping me from going any further, I might as well do this now.  I would like in the future to put together something on practical techniques for mural painting with silicate mineral paints to help others who might consider using this type of paint for exterior or interior murals, but to be honest, I have so much happening right now I cannot see myself being able to do this for sometime.

The Keim website is worth a look.  https://www.keim.com/en-gb/keim-library/the-mineral-principle/

They have been stellar in their customer service, and helped immensely.  I’m very grateful.

I now have work to sort out for exhibition at the Rose Theatre in October, Gallery 63 in September, The CornerHOUSE in December and later on Leatherhead theatre in May 2012, which is great, but means the mural work has to stop for a while.  I am working on a mural in a garden, just a simple grey and white one  .I would like to do another exterior mural at the school later next year.  I’m also in the process of applying for the Artists Access to University Scheme, at Kingston University in order to develop my practice.  That should be enough for now,  plus running the house, and all that domestic bliss!

By way of a little deviation, some images of other things I have been creating!

 

 

 

I can’t resist the odd photograph now and again.

Pencil sketch done at West Dean College during last stay recently

Another part of the journey….

 

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 however, have  delivered excellent customer service, and the range of modern silicates, each with their specific applications, is quite amazing.  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 that I am singing their praises.  I really appreciated it.  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.

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.

 

Thinking about air and the environment, take a look at the Keim website, and paint your buildings with mineral paint!

https://www.keimpaintshop.co.uk/

 

https://www.keim.com/en-gb/

 

Text quoted from the Keim Mineral Paint website:

“All KEIM Mineral Paints are generically similar and are based on a mineral silicate paint system that was first granted a royal patent in 1878.

This comprises a liquid potassium silicate paint binder with natural earth oxide pigments and natural mineral fillers, such as feldspar. Mineral silicate paints penetrate the mineral substrate onto which they are applied, such as renders and concrete, forming a permanent, long lasting chemical crystalline bond with the substrate.

KEIM Mineral Paints contain neither solvents nor any petro-chemical derivatives, are inherently non-combustible, and do not give off any toxic gases.”

Also:

“SOL-SILICATE MINERAL PAINTS
Recent developments in mineral silicate paint technology have seen the introduction of sol-silicate mineral paints which 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.

And the bit I enjoy immensely, in relation to my own painting!

“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. “

The finish is heavenly and it is very noticeable how light reflective the paint is.   I may prove pretty resistant to mould and fungal growth myself if I keep forgetting to wear gloves when I am painting though!

keim soldalit sol silicate paint hand mixing up colours for use in fine art abstract paintings by jenny meehan

keim soldalit sol silicate paint hand mixing up colours for use in fine art abstract paintings by jenny meehan

Image was added in 2018 when reviewing post.

I have been working with the Keim paint for several years 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

 

Artist?  Female?  Small Budget?

For some companies, this spells bad news, not worth bothering with, etc.  I’ll resist the temptation to name and shame, it doesn’t appeal to me.  Still fuming, and keen to let off steam, I’ve decided though to focus on the positive.  In this economic climate, good customer service is important and when it’s good it’s worth shouting about.  So buying supplies for the mural project has been an education in itself in some ways, and I’d like to take this opportunity to pass on some recommendations for anyone who might be thinking of buying natural or mineral based paints.  Thankfully I have more positives to report than negatives.   So I’ll start with Mike Wye and Associates.

Helpful, prompt, great range of products and excellent information.   Keen to help, interested, understanding the value of a school mural project with ecologically friendly paint,  demonstrating good customer service and a friendly and helpful manner.  Much appreciated.

See:   http://www.mikewye.co.uk/

It’s convinced me that next time I decorate I need to change my paint!  Trouble is I’m so busy right now that decorating my own house doesn’t come into it.  It’ very important for companies to be female friendly I think, and also to give prompt responses to enquiries and such like, and my experiences with this company have been very positive indeed.

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.

Well, How fortunate I am to live so near to The White Hart Pub in Chessington. I would not have said that in the past, as we seemed to get a lot of vomit, broken glass, noise (and even on one occasion someone walking over the top of our car in the middle of the night!).  I have always like the building itself though.  So there is some sadness over its disappearance.  While I write this, there is now only a very little part of it left. However, my proximity to the building has been a good advantage in my attempts to record some of the process of its demolition.

The processes involved in conserving paintings have been of great interest to me of late, but like any human being, (starting maybe from the first tower we build with our wooden bricks) the process of destroying what we have created has always had its own appeal!  Though I only started taking photographs of The White Hart last Friday, it is amazing how quickly the building has been taken down.  It’s been down with an amazing amount of care and skill, and I can’t pretend to be anything other than impressed.  While I wish I had started taking images right at the beginning of the process, I do have other images taken just recently after it closed down, and these include images before it was vandalised, so I am pleased about that.  I plan to work on the images over a period of time and hopefully exhibit them at some point.

While I am focusing on my painting over the next year, it seems that the appeal of the camera for me is now as a means of recording the present, (hopefully for future generations to be able to access).  I have also enjoyed the visual combination which exists in a damaged building…the presence of structure alongside brokenness.

I will be posting images of  The White Hart Pub in Chessington gradually, (over the next couple of months)  both on a dedicated page on my website and also on my Flickr stream.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/54075937@N08/with/5010967191/

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