Gladiator Mural (Part 4) at Rowlatts Hill Primary Academy

April 18

The final stage of the ‘Gladiator’ corridor at Rowlatts Hill, a grass carpet has now been laid to bring the project to a conclusion. It is the final piece of the jigsaw, the cherry on the Bakewell tart, the penalty save in added-on time. The before and after pics show a significant transformation. Well done Matt Hassall, and thank you. You’re an absolute star. It really looks terrific!

Gladiator (Part 4) – The Floor

Rowlatts Hill Primary Academy, Balderstone Close, Leicester LE5 4ES

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The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project – Second Half

March ’18

Three weeks since my last post and now a well earned short break, so a short progress report. Colour is being applied to the walls. A muted palette though, my intention is to maintain the light atmosphere of the room and not to cause the walls to ‘close in’. In fact the tones used for the images are influenced by some images which Principal Ben Erskine produced for the school a couple of years ago. It feels quite a long time since he showed me how he had retouched some B&W photographs using the school colours, but the designs I produced for the appearance of these figures was a direct result of remembering that demonstration.

In contrast to the the ‘Invincible’ mural the walls I am currently painting are not portraits of anyone in particular, they are simply representations of Sporting Activities. Having said that, it was intentional that the Rugby player would bear a resemblance to Vice Principal Rhys Maddox.

The Story So Far:

23.3.18      Day 25

It’s been a particularly demanding project so far. There’s always a lot of mental activity with planning how to paint such large figures in order that they might become convincing, the need to adapt while working alongside the lessons taking place in the hall, as well as being faced with the wall of sound hitting the eardrums as enthusiastic voices encourage their team mates, but also the sheer physical effort required to tackle a project of this scale. My relationship with my very tall stepladder has been intimate indeed.

However when I return all will be different. Today I entered a Brave New World when I received delivery of a new hydraulic powered platform. This really was the day when Christmas arrived early!

 

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project – Second Half

February ’18

Following my Half-Time sojourn with the ‘Simply The Best’ mural project at King’s Cliffe Endowed Primary School, I have returned to Fulbridge Academy to begin the Second Half of the Sports Hall mural. The First Half, at the smaller end, which I referred to in earlier blogs as ‘Invincible’, involved painting the portraits of a collection of sporting heroes. The emphasis for this larger end will be sporting activities, although one of the walls will have a theme of sporting personalities from Peterborough.

Since my last visit some alterations have been made to the hall and some design modifications requested. The large projection screen has been removed and replaced with two computer monitors and some additional names have been added to the list for the Peterborough wall. Also, the Looney Tune Land characters from the Warner Brothers film ‘Space Jam’, which were previously included to reflect the name of the room, are now not required. As a consequence three of my previous designs for the 4 walls needed to be updated.

New Designs for Main Hall:

Sporting Activities: Netball / Cricket / High Jump / Football / Swimming / Running / Javelin / Discus / Wheelchair athletics / Roller Blading / Hammer Throw / Archery / Long Jump / Tennis / Gymnastics / Field Hockey / Rugby / Basketball

Peterborough Wall Figures: Louis Smith Gymnastics / Walter Cornelius Strongman /  David Bentley, Luke Steele Football / James Ferrara Ice Hockey / Geoff Capes Athletics / Paul Barber Field Hockey / Ajaz Akhtar Cricket / Brian Brinkley Swimming / James Fox Rowing

Peterborough Wall Logos: Peterborough Panthers Speedway / Peterborough United Football / Peterborough Phantoms Ice Hockey / City of Peterborough Hockey Club / Peterborough Town Cricket Club / Peterborough Lions RFC / Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club

As mentioned previously in my first ‘Invincible’ blog, it’s a big job, so I will not be presenting a detailed report, instead I will post an occasionally updated photo diary again – this one might take me a long time to complete. I just hope I have the ability to fulfil what I’ve set myself to achieve, as well as the stamina. Having said that, the cups of tea Asma delivers to me on a regular basis is definitely a terrific body booster!

The Story So Far:

26.2.18      Day 9

 

 

King’s Cliffe Endowed Primary School ‘Heroes’

– The Movie

King’s Cliffe Endowed Primary School, King’s Forest, King’s Cliffe, Peterborough, PE8 6XS

 

King’s Cliffe Endowed Primary School ‘Heroes’

8.12.17 – 18.1.18

I always feel a little anxious when embarking on a new project, even when I’ve worked at that place before, know the surroundings and the people there. Despite having painted several ‘Bigger Pictures’ in recent years I’m still haunted by the same insecurities. I feel a great sense of responsibility when producing a permanent painting on such a large scale and continually question my ability to be able to deliver what I’ve set myself to achieve.

They’re only the same concerns other painters probably have as well, but this time I would be working in an unfamiliar location too. Not only that, in a brand new building in pristine condition, Kings Cliffe Endowed Primary School had only opened its doors for the first time the previous year. Headteacher Mrs Lynda Bowyer was therefore taking a big risk inviting me in and letting me loose with my pots of emulsion paint on her immaculate walls and spotless carpets.

We’d first discussed the project last May. I was still working with the Gladiator mural at Rowlatts Hill School in Leicester at the time, but it was near to completion and we had arranged to meet one evening as I passed through the village of King’s Cliffe on my way home. As I entered the school and walked into the entrance / waiting area a long white wall greeted me. In my mind’s eye it had ‘Paint Me!’ written all over it. Lynda had seen examples of my ‘Bigger Picture’ projects on my website and not surprisingly considered this wall a prime candidate for transformation. A few weeks after our conversation an email arrived in my Inbox with a list of names that the children of the school considered to be a source of inspiration, and I began the task of converting them into a design. I’d hoped to have the painting completed before the summer term ended however events in my personal life scuppered this plan.

The King’s Cliffe Endowed Primary School Heroes List:

FirefighterMary AnningJ K RowlingRoald DahlMartin Luther KingMo FarahIsaac NewtonQueen Elizabeth IICharles DarwinDavid AttenboroughMohandas GandhiAmelia EarhartWilliam ShakespeareHans Christian AndersenMarie CuriePolice Officer

At our next meeting at the beginning of September I presented Lynda with a design. Albeit only a scribbled pencil drawing, my proposal was made clearer by showing her more detailed images of each personality on my laptop.

During our first meeting Lynda mentioned that she’d seen the ‘Fulbridge Champions’ mural on my website and asked if this painting could have a similar appearance. In the follow up email which contained the list of names for inclusion she also asked if four of the ‘Heroes’, the scientists Marie Curie, Mary Anning, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, could be given some prominence, as they were also the names of the school houses.

As with style of the ‘Fulbridge Champions’ mural, a graphic, solid painted monochrome design was pieced together, but there the similarity ends as this time there would be the addition of a second colour in order to focus more attention upon the scientists. My palette once again was influenced by photography. I’ve always felt that B&W images have a timeless quality, likewise those that are sepia toned. I therefore decided to work with black, white and two grey tones with sepia toning for the lead figures, a colour which would also compliment the red fabric of the entrance corridor furniture.

I divided the composition into quarters to site the four prominent characters. Mary Anning was placed to the far left as I was unable to find many illustrations of her appearance and my choice of pose was restricted. I selected the earlier of two painted portraits from the Sedgwick Museum standing in front of the Golden Cap outcrop with her dog Tray, and felt it best suited this position. A 1925 photograph found of Marie Curie at work in her laboratory is almost a mirror image compliment to Mary Anning’s pose, I therefore placed her to the far right on the opposite side of the composition.

I’d decided that the scientists would be the largest elements of the design however I included the Queen on a similar scale at its centre, her profile taken from the new 12 sided £1 coin which entered circulation in 2017. She is flanked by the remaining scientists, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Both have appeared in previous mural projects so it was important for me to select different images. This time I used a portrait of Isaac Newton painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1689, and a playful but meaningful image of Darwin with his finger to his lips, which appears to suggest he wants us to keep something secret.

The Firefighter and Police Officer figures were to act as bookends to the piece, but the remaining personalities were located where I felt images found of them looked best, although many permutations were tried until I felt satisfied with the arrangement. Rather than grouping all of the authors together I placed them in pairs, and I thought David Attenborough should be alongside Charles Darwin’s shoulder. I wanted figures on the left of centre to be generally facing to the right, and those on the right hand side to be generally facing to the left. Finally, the school motto – Growing a Love for Learning – was placed in a low position just above seat height at the centre.

To actually identify a date to begin painting however was a little more difficult. Earlier in the year I had agreed to return to the Fulbridge Academy at the beginning of their Autumn term and had already embarked on my second ‘Sistine Chapel’ project there. My first Fulbridge ‘Sistine Chapel’ was a makeover of the very white walls of the Charles Swift Wing, but this one was even larger. It was a major remodeling of their Sports Hall and likely to take a full year to complete. Nevertheless, Fulbridge were very understanding of my situation and worked with me to resolve my dilemma and so I divided the project into two parts. I made arrangements to take a short break after I’d completed the first, and at the beginning of December I transferred my mural painting kit to King’s Cliffe.

I began painting on 8th December and came to a conclusion on 18th January. My estimate was that the project might take 15 days to complete, the actual count was 17.

Witnessing the transformation of the wall from start to finish is an eye opener for both children and staff. I feel it’s important for all to see the many stages a painting progresses through, the consistent effort it demands and the hours required in order to achieve a successful end. I would like to think that if the children can see the determination and constancy I put into my practise every day, that my example might also influence them to work in a similar fashion with their approach to any subject on their weekly timetable too.

I always find it interesting to answer questions posed by children at break and lunchtimes, and am intrigued by some of the observations and comments that are made. I exercise some control over the painting through having designed it first but the scale obviously changes things as work begins on the wall and I must continually adapt and improvise accordingly in order find a solution.

I’m fascinated when someone points out an unintended ingredient though and my lovely other half Henri has made sense of spontaneous and involuntary marks within many of my paintings for years. She can often identify shapes that were purely accidental.

However with this painting I was particularly impressed by the observations of young Nancy, who had noticed that the detailed reflection in the eye of David Attenborough suggested I’d painted the shape of a man sitting on a branch. Well fancy that. She’s absolutely right, and I didn’t even know!

(Finally, a big thank you to Miss Knight for helping me complete the very tricky underarm shadow of Mr Newton – your brushwork was excellent!)

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project

– First Half

1.12.17      Day 46

Back Wall No.4 completed!

 

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project

– First Half

24.11.17      Day 41

Back Wall No.3 completed!

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project

– First Half

15.11.17      Day 38

Back Wall No.2 completed!

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project

– First Half

20.10.17      Day 26

Back Wall No.1 completed!

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project

– First Half

6.10.17      Day 16

The back walls are starting to take shape, however some modification of the design has been necessary. Two noticeboards have been removed as well as an old electrical fuse box, which has caused not only an adjustment of the original design but also given the opportunity for the inclusion of more athletes.

Design for Back Walls (Version 2)

Figures that previously appeared on Wall 4 have now been moved to the centre of Wall 2, the new design for Wall 4 presenting a double portrait of Formula 1 Motor Racing champion Lewis Hamilton, first in a seated pose and also driving his car.

However, as the design was transferred to the wall and the painting stage developed, further modifications were made. I felt the small unfilled spaces between figures on my design sheet appeared much too large and empty on the wall itself. More sporting personalities were therefore added to the collection; cyclist Chris Froome, athletes Caster Semenya and Mo Farah, netball player Serena Guthrie and boxer Anthony Joshua.

3 Parts Dirt! 10cc Abba AC/DC Achille-Etna Michallon Alberto Giacometti Albrecht Durer Alice in Wonderland Amsterdam Andrew Wyeth Andy Warhol Arctic Monkeys Atomic Rooster Banksy Beatles Benjamin Marshall Bernard Cribbins Black Black Sunday Blondie Bob & Marcia Bob Marley Boxing Brushes app. Caesar Cambridge Camille Corot Cancer Canned Heat Castle Caverstede Early Years Centre 'Bigger Picture' Chalk Pastel Charcoal Charles R. Knight Charlie Small Christo Claude Monet Coldplay Corinne Bailey Rae Coventry Creative Partnerships Crete Daniel Lambert Darren Fraser David Bomberg Deacon's School Dennis Creffield Diego Velάzquez Discovery Primary School Django Reinhardt Dogsthorpe Academy Drawing Edgar Degas Edvard Munch Egypt Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun Elton John en plein air Epping Forest Eurythmics Evolve magazine Exhibition Fitzwilliam Museum Floella Benjamin Foo Fighters Forest Schools Francesco Guardi Frank Auerbach Fred Astaire Frida Kahlo Fulbridge School Garage Door Gary Moore Gene Wilder Gentle Giant George Bellows Georges Braque Georgio de Chirico Gerry Rafferty Gian Lorenzo Bernini Gingerbread Man Giovanni Bellini Gladiator Glasgow Boys Glenn Frey Gnarls Barkley Greece Gruffalo Haiku Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Hercules Brabazon Brabazon Ian Anderson Impressionism iPad Iron Curtain Jacob van Ruisdael Jacques Brel James Abbott McNeill Whistler Jamiroquai Jazz Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Jean-Francois Millet Jethro Tull JMW Turner Johannes Vermeer John Constable John Lennon Johnny Kidd & the Pirates Juan Sánchez Cotán Jurassic Way Killer Shrimp King's Cliffe Primary Kit Downes Quintet KT Tunstall Lanchester Polytechnic Landscape Landscape painting Lascaux Laurel Barbieri Leningrad Lenny Kravitz Len Tabner Leonardo da Vinci Lewis Carroll Little Red Riding Hood Loch Craignish Lonnie Donegan Lynyrd Skynyrd Mad Hatter Madness Manfred Mann's Earth Band March Hare Marvin Gaye Media Media Archive for Central England Michael Jackson MichelAngelo Modest Mussorgsky Mosaic Moscow Mural Muse Music National Gallery Newark Hill Primary Nickel Creek Nick Ward Nina Simone Oasis Obsidian Art Gallery Owl Painting Panda Panorama Paul Cezanne Paul Gauguin Peterborough Peter Paul Rubens Picasso Pirates Pleurisy Pneumonia Portrait Procul Harem Queen Radio 3 Essential Classics Rafael Alberti Rainforest Ray Charles Red Hot Chili Peppers Rembrandt van Rijn Rene Magritte River Nene Roald Dahl Rock Music Rod Campbell Rodrigo y Gabriela Rod Stewart Rogier van der Weyden Rolling Stones Romans Rome Rowlatts Hill Primary School Royal Academy Roy Clark Russia Salvator Rosa Sarah Walker Scotland Seascape Self Portrait Sistine Chapel Small Faces Steppenwolf Stereophonics Talking Heads The Automatic The BFG The Crooked House Himley The Editors The Jam The Killers The Moody Blues The Red Deltas The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Thin Lizzy Thomas Faed Tina Turner Titchmarsh School Titian Tom Jones Totem Pole Trompe l'oeil Tuscany USSR Venice Vienna Vincent Van Gogh Volcanic Voyager Academy Warmington School We Are Scientists William Hogarth William Law Primary School Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club YouTube

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