Thankfully with a great team working together, we covered the prepared wall with the Beeck Quartz Filler quite rapidly.  It is quite time consuming, mostly because of the dabbing action needed for such a bumpy surface, but we loved using the paint.

It was Mufti Day when we painted on the bridging primer, and so, as you can see, there is not a uniform in sight.  Just as well really as the paint did tend to go in unexpected places….I have to say, not because the painters were not being sensible, its just the paint seemed to have a life of its own!

I have to say I was very impressed with how quickly those painters who worked with me picked up the way to control the paint…It is quite runny and it’s more like a stain, and so they sure did need to know how to control it!

The decking was very comfortable to sit on, and as you can see, we used rubber gloves to protect our hands and plastic goggles too.  There’s nothing unsafe or toxic about the paint, it’s just very alkaline and I know from experience that it dries out your skin, and can sting, though I didn’t find this much with the paint, it was more just the fixative alone.  In a school setting we have to do things properly though, and the goggles meant that there were no worries with regard to paint splashing in eyes.  However, to be honest, one has to manipulate the paint in such a way that you wouldn’t tend to splash it about anyway.

I started the mural using the Beeck Silicate Mineral paints, and they were fine, but when I got to the linear parts I had discovered Keim Mineral Paints, and most particularly, their Soldalit, which is a third generation sol-silicate paint.  This pain was much easier to handle..a very slight difference in consistency but it made all the difference with the lines.  It was slightly more viscous.  If I were to paint a mural like this again I would just use the Soldalit, as the difference in consistency made it easier to use.

From the Keim website:

“SOL-SILICATE MINERAL PAINTS

Recent developments in mineral silicate paint technology have seen the introduction of sol-silicate mineral paintswhich 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.”

Yes, and an additional bonus, not utilised in this case, as it was silicate on silicate, but something which I will certainly experiment with in different contexts when the mural is done.

Again from the Keim Mineral Paint website:

 

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.

 

Edit note:  My old website http://www.jennymeehan.co.uk is no longer living, so if you would like to see what I am doing currently, then please follow the link to my new website which is http://www.jamartlondon.com.   www.jamartlondon.com

 

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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.

The colder weather always puts me in a writing, or rather, typing mood.  It keeps my hands warm  in what is a very cold office.  First on my list today is my visit to the Guardian Private View of The Turner Prize.  It was not an emotive experience for me, and while I can enjoy the experiences I experienced last night, I am not stunned, not impressed, not motivated in any strong direction. I don’t like plastic wine glasses at all, but the wine was nice.  I had good company, and it was fun, we laughed a lot.  Shame the rest of the gallery was not open, I would have enjoyed it more.

I do like the painting of Dexter Dalwood, I like what he is doing in it, I like the collage effect, I like the size, but  I find the surface of the painting uninteresting and want the surface to offer me more…the flatness does not appeal to me.  There was some of his painting in the books at the gallery which I thought were better than some on display, and I would have liked to see them up on the wall.  I don’t think all the work on show was his strongest work, but I am sure there are many reasons (that  I am blissfully ignorant of) as to what exactly was selected.  So, in summary, I did enjoy the work of Dexter Dalwood…give me a painting any day, with a bit of a pictorial element, some visual variety, some evidence of imagination, and a nice big size, that can be hung on the wall.  That’s what I go for.

I take a look  from time to time,  at the prints of Ivon Hitchens paintings in my much loved “Ivon Hitchens” by Peter Khoroche, and almost cry. Now, them, even though only delivered to me through printing ink on flat paper, and small in size too, I do find emotive.  If I sound like an incurable romantic, then it may be that this is what I am.  And in the “real” world,  I’m looking…looking at clouds and buildings, pigments in the direct sunlight, the types of pigments used for painting walls, how they change, how they relate, and they are coming closer to me I hope, almost like the air I breathe. I’m not painting right now, but I am forming many images in my mind as I concentrate on seeing and perceiving more of the light and colour and shape and form around me. With all my recent studies on the formal aspects of painting, I still find myself looking to nature, and I think there is a wonder there, that I could easily miss if I spent too much time with my own work.

One thing irked me at the Turner Prize Exhibition, and that, I must confess, did come from a little jealousy, but of a very practical nature.  Simply…How great it would be to be able to paint on a sizable canvas, rather than the small scale substrates I normally use.  All my paintings have to be stored in an already very full house.  We must work with what we have.  At least I experienced no other jealousy about any other aspect of the Turner Prize Exhibition.  Oh, there was the room, the space, of course.  That is a great space.  Room.  Room to fill.  I wish I had that.  Nothing else though.

Ah well,   I had my painting big moment.

NOTE:  Inserted later….you tube video of the mural painted for Trafalgar Junior School in Twickenham…

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