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Titchmarsh Primary School Library – the ‘BFG’ & Roald Dahl Storybook Murals


Since the beginning of December I have been painting the largest mural of my career at the Fulbridge Academy, which I have affectionately referred to as my ‘Sistine Chapel’ project. When Executive Head Josie Milton asked me last November if I would work with both Warmington and Titchmarsh Primary Schools “in March” to lead some drawing workshops and to produce a mural for the Titchmarsh School library, never in my wildest dreams did I think that the Fulbridge project wouldn’t be finished by the time that date came around.

Therefore, in order to fulfill my promise to Josie, I have taken a 3 week sabbatical from the ‘Sistine Chapel’ and I will return there later this week. I have changed place and scale from one extreme to the other, the contrast couldn’t be more different. At Fulbridge I’ve spent 10 weeks clambering up and down scaffolding working in a space that, despite its appearance, would be better described as a ‘break out area’ than corridor whereas the intimate surroundings of the library corridor at Titchmarsh is another world completely. It’s cosy. Very cosy.

I’ve always received a warm welcome at Titchmarsh and it’s felt good to be working there again. At the end of last week I spent a day filling walls in the library area with pencil scribbles and during the last 3 days have been applying paint.

One side of the library corridor now features a large BFG, a small Sophie by his side, surrounded by 9 compadres from Giant Country and all the characters were designed by children during the drawing workshops. The walls facing it, designed by myself, comprise of a variety of well known individuals from other Roald Dahl stories.

A library area which last week had some ordinary and plain coloured walls at its entrance, now has a very colourful, exciting and stimulating atmosphere. Hopefully the paintings will encourage the reading of some magical and imaginative stories too!

Titchmarsh Primary School Library – the ‘BFG’ & Roald Dahl Storybook Murals


I’ve altered my ‘song title = blog title’ habit this time and decided to include the group to whom the track belongs as well, the combination of the two couldn’t be more apt.

During my teenage years it was my good fortune to be surrounded by some terrific music and my soundtrack of choice tended to lean heavily toward the progressive rock idiom. Therefore, considering this entry is a reflection of two mural painting projects, the first based upon the book ‘The BFG’ by Roald Dahl and the second an interpretation of other stories by the same author, what better choice could I have than to remind the world of the lesser known but nevertheless wonderful Gentle Giant. Vivid memories of reading bedtime stories to my daughter Maria many years ago were obviously also dancing around in my head  – and what great memories they are – so I had the perfect track title to use too.

Earlier this week I presented drawing workshops to children at both Warmington and Titchmarsh Primary Schools, details of which can be found by clicking the appropriate school, and a selection of the drawings produced were to form the basis of a mural for the Titchmarsh School library.

Library Mural DesignDuring the last couple of days I made a selection of the drawings I felt would work well within the context of a mural inspired by ‘The BFG’ book and developed a design using Adobe Photoshop to present to Executive Head Josie Milton. Following our discussion of the proposed design I made a few alterations and today began the process of transferring it to the wall.

The second painting, located on the opposite wall, was a late request as a mural project and so appeared as an improvised composition during the second part of the day. Josie asked if I would produce a companion piece to the main project which would reflect a selection of other familiar Roald Dahl stories, so I have chosen to include James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits and The Witches.

‘The BFG’ Image making workshops at Titchmarsh Primary School


Yesterday Warmington, today Titchmarsh. The location may have changed but the activity was identical, and I presented the same introduction and drawing exercises. Not exactly a Groundhog Day, but I definitely recognised some similarities.

Therefore, rather make a similar entry here, I would suggest a perusal of yesterday’s ‘Funny Face’ blog for an outline of the activity which was presented to children again today.

TitchYr1&2PortraitsOutcomes had a familiar ring too. The Yr 3&4 group and the Yr 1&2 group produced some very successful drawings, both with the introductory exercise of a disciplined and well proportioned portrait as well as with the more expressive and exaggerated representation requested for illustrations of the cast of characters from ‘The BFG’ book.

I now have the very difficult job of making a selection from the drawings produced during the last two days in order to design a composition for the painting of a mural in the Titchmarsh School library. With so many good drawings to choose from, I know that making a shortlist is not going to be an easy task at all.

I thought Gnarls Barkley was the perfect choice to add to my Blog Title Soundtracks page. The title is not only a perfect description of many of the portraits the children have produced today but also of the Titchmarsh Primary School welcome I’ve received too!

The Portraits:

The BFG cast:

‘The BFG’ Image making workshops at Warmington School


A different musical choice to add to my Blog Title Soundtracks page, but perhaps not a surprise to anyone who knows me either. I’ve always admired Fred Astaire, he was a class act.

The song title selection however couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s been another day of drawing workshops at Warmington School leading a group of year 3&4 children this morning, followed by a group from years 1&2 this afternoon, and once again some very successful pieces of work have been produced.

Both groups definitely had their listening ears on. I began each session with a short talk as an introduction to portrait painting and they appeared to enjoy the images presented to them of work by Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Graham Sutherland and William Dobell before moving into the arena of caricature, discussing works by Honoré Daumier, Max Beerbohm, Gerald Scarfe, Marco Calcinaro, Sebastian Krüger and Patrick Strogulski. Feeling suitably inspired, we then settled down to some practical work.

The first exercise was to produce a portrait drawing, loosely based upon a measurement system devised by Da Vinci, to analyse the proportions of the human head. Using pencil on an A4 sheet of paper this was a very disciplined exercise which demanded a high level of concentration as drawings were constructed upon a carefully drawn grid.

However this was simply the appetiser for the main course as the next drawing was about to prove. As a complete contrast to the preliminary exercise, the emphasis now was to allow distortion of features to become a priority in order to produce an illustration of a character from a book by Roald Dahl.

First I read some passages from ‘The BFG’ which described the main cast members; Sophie – a young girl who is “kidsnatched” from her bedroom at the orphanage where she lives; The BFG himself – a kind, gentle giant who can be found every night blowing good dreams through the bedroom windows of sleeping children; and the nine scary giants in Giant Country who are about twice as tall and wide as the BFG, and a lot more horrible – The Bonecruncher, The Fleshlumpeater, The Bloodbottler, The Childchewer, The Meatdripper, The Gizzardgulper, The Maidmasher, The Manhugger and The Butcher Boy.

Chalk pastel was used for this exercise and my intention is now to select the most successful drawings and incorporate them into a mural which will be painted in the library at Titchmarsh School later in the week. As can be seen from the examples below, I have several very worthy contenders to choose from………..


3 Parts Dirt! 10cc Abba AC/DC Achille-Etna Michallon Ajaz Akhtar Alberto Giacometti Albrecht Durer Alice in Wonderland Amsterdam Andrew Wyeth Andy Warhol Antonio Vivaldi Arctic Monkeys Art History 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 Children's Books Christo Claude Monet Coldplay Corinne Bailey Rae Coventry Creative Partnerships Crete Cricket Daniel Lambert Darren Fraser David Bomberg David Bowie Deacon's School Dennis Creffield Diego Velάzquez Discovery Primary School Django Reinhardt Dogsthorpe Academy Drawing Dr Strangely Strange Edgar Degas Edvard Munch Egypt Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun Elton John Elvis Costello en plein air Epping Forest Europe Eurythmics Evolve magazine Exhibition Fitzwilliam Museum Floella Benjamin Foo Fighters Football Forest Schools Fosse Mead Primary 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 Gustav Klimt Haiku Hands Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Hercules Brabazon Brabazon Hiroshige Hokusai 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 Joe Cocker Johannes Vermeer John Constable John Lennon Johnny Kidd & the Pirates Juan Sánchez Cotán Jurassic Way Killer Shrimp King's Cliffe Endowed Primary School 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 Luke Steele Lynyrd Skynyrd Mad Hatter Madness Manfred Mann's Earth Band March Hare Marvin Gaye Meadowside Primary School 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 Pieter Bruegel the Elder 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 Sheryl Crow Sistine Chapel Small Faces Sport St. Brendan's Primary School Steppenwolf Stereophonics Talking Heads Terry Jacks 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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