‘Vivaldi’ Mural at St. Brendan’s Primary, Corby

Feb – March 20

Once upon a time…….

A new location, St. Brendan’s Primary in Corby, and a school with a musical reputation. Therefore when Headteacher Leanne Brydon invited me to design a painting with a collection of children’s book characters in four sections for their ‘Mini Hall’, the Red Priest came to mind immediately so I suggested illustrating a season for each wall. The working title for the project therefore became ‘Vivaldi’ from the very beginning. I considered calling it ‘Frankie Valli’, but somehow felt that didn’t work so well.

Leanne provided me with a list of 25 characters and I almost managed to include them all, Thomas the Tank Engine being the one that missed out. Rather than painting a simple procession of figures I created compositions of them within a landscape setting, which offered the opportunity to introduce and investigate images of various styles from differing eras of art history.

There’s always a story behind a picture, and of the person who produced it, and much to learn. For example on the Autumn wall I purposely selected the ‘Tree of Life‘ section of the Palais Stoclet frieze by Gustav Klimt. On the one hand I wanted to suggest a link to the world of decorative arts and surface design rather than another figurative representation of a natural form, but it wasn’t only that, there’s an important current affairs narrative to explore too. Klimt died in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic which swept across Europe and the world, which was one of the deadliest in human history. Bearing in mind the trauma of the current Coronavirus outbreak which has now brought this project to a halt, its selection as a comparison was well founded.

This project began with a presentation to a whole school assembly in which I introduced myself and a brief outline of the wall paintings at Altamira, Lascaux and the Sistine Chapel ceiling, as well as the designs I’d proposed for the walls of the Mini-Hall. During the course of the last 23 days I’ve also spent time meeting with several groups of classes and individual children.

However, despite working for the last week in an empty school and being so close to completion, the current government physical distancing advice has forced me to a halt, so unlike previous project overviews, this one is different as the painting is still unfinished. I’m very disappointed but don’t want to be irresponsible, and in any case I must be careful. Although I don’t want to admit it, my recent medical history places me very close to the vulnerable category, an experience which was the subject of a previous blog.

To coin a cricketing metaphor, I’ve decided to pull up the stumps. This blog therefore is only a latest summary of the scorecard as I’m now back in the pavilion. It’s not a declaration, simply a break in play. When conditions allow my innings will continue. It’s very frustrating and I’d like to be able to blame it on the light-meters, or the sort of rain you don’t get wet in, but it’s a tad more serious than that.

Hopefully, once the umpires are back out and considered conditions to have improved, the heavy roller will be ordered and play will resume. Till then, I’m having to take an early tea and dive into a Victoria sponge.

The story so far………

THE FOUR SEASONS:

SUMMER Book Characters & Paintings

Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs  (Author: Ian Whybrow Illustrator: Adrian Reynolds)

Wheatfield with Crows 1890  (Vincent Van Gogh)

Winnie-the-Pooh & Piglet  (Author: AA Milne Illustrator: EH Shepard)

The Tiger Who Came to Tea  (Author & Illustrator: Judith Kerr)

Noon – Rest from Work (after Millet) 1890  (Vincent Van Gogh)

Pippi Longstocking  (Author: Astrid Lindgren Illustrator: Ingrid Vang Nyman)

The Cat in the Hat  (Author & Illustrator: Theodor Seuss Geisel)

 

AUTUMN Book Characters & Paintings

Elmer  (Author & Illustrator: David McKee)

Tree of Life 1905  (Gustav Klimt)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Author & Illustrator: Eric Carle)

Peter Pan  (Author: J M Barrie Illustrator: Bob Brackman)

Ejiri in the Suruga province 1830-32  (Katsushka Hokusai)

Mog the Forgetful Cat  (Author & Illustrator: Judith Kerr)

Cruella de Vil (Author: Dodie Smith Illustrator: Marc Davis)

Paddington Bear (Author: Michael Bond Illustrator: RW Alley)

Plop – The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark (Author: Jill Tomlinson Illustrator: Paul Howard)

Biff, Chip, Kipper & Friends (Author: Roderick Hunt Illustrator: Alex Brychta)

 

WINTER Book Characters & Paintings

The Gruffalo  (Author: Julia Donaldson Illustrator: Axel Scheffler)

Hunters In The Snow 1565  (Pieter Bruegel the Elder)

The Big Bad Wolf  (Aesop)

Three Little Pigs  (Fable)

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland  (Author: Lewis Carroll Illustrator: John Tenniel)

Burglar Bill  (Author & Illustrator: Janet & Allan Ahlberg)

Winter Landscape 1811  (Caspar David Friedrich)

#111 Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill, Meguro 1857  (Ando Hiroshige)

 

St. Brendan’s Primary School, Beanfield Avenue, Corby NN18 OAZ