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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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.

 

 

 

Today the children are having  John T Freeman, into school.  He’ll be interviewed during assembly and the children will learn about his work as an artist and why he does what he does.  John will also be doing some workshops with the children on cartooning…I can’t wait to see their work!  I’ll post some images up shortly.  The children’s work will be used by John in the latter stages of the mural painting.  John will be adapting and composing their images which will populate the mural, and bring some life to it.   Some of the children will also be doing some activities  which centre around ecological considerations…Basically exploring the question “Why Are We Using Natural Paint?”  The children involved in the painting will also learn more about paint and painting from me, about pigments, colours, types of paint, whatever they are interested in.

I’m currently still making decisions about colours, but most of the planning work is done now.  Here’s some images of the project so far….

Using the computer and a grid for constructing templates

Mural Planning Using A Computer To Assist

 
 
Materials, Equipment, and A Messy Studio - Jenny Meehan

Using natural paints for this mural has basically converted me!

 
 
Experimenting with Different Tones and Colour Combinations at the Design Stage

A balancing act of colour in progress

 

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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