Cheltenham Art

Andy Lloyd's Murals 5

 

Longlevens Junior School Year 3 Bus Mural 2014

Longlevens Junior School asked me back to create a new mural in the winter of 2013-14.  One of the Year 3 teachers had managed to acquire some bus seats. The idea was to make a reading area comprising of the bus seats set onto a small platform.  I was asked to paint part of the outside of a bus on a pre-existing wooden panel, and also a large mural of the interior of a bus to complement the existing windows in the room, and to wrap around the seating area and beyond. 

The bus windows that I would paint onto the walls would offer the opportunity to create over a dozen 'destinations', which the school suggested should be scenes from various books. 

I suggested that I paint a foggy, misted-up effect on the windows, and that the parts of the misted windows that had been wiped clear could reveal the scenes from famous books, as well as some movies.  This was a pretty big project, but the quick installation of the bus seats provided an immediate and very dramatic effect in the room, lending itself to this creative project.

Perhaps surprisingly, the substantial painting of the bus itself did not take too long to create, although given the size of the work there were plenty of "Can you see what it is, yet?" moments.  But after a while it took shape, and the bus windows amalgamated reasonably well with those of the actual room windows. 

Unfortunately, the photos of the overall bus did not come out well, but I hope to get the opportunity to re-photograph the entire scene soon.  The image to the left gives the impression of the completed 'back of the bus'.  One of the first scenes I painted was of the Harry Potter 'Knight Bus'  following behind along the road.

 

You can see the general layout of the bus mural as things started to take shape in the following two images.  (It was necessary to align two of the seats back-to-front to prevent the children from falling forward onto the tables):

 

Here are some further images of some of the scenes from famous books and films, which the children had great fun guessing and naming:

 

It was  this series of scenes that took the most time to create.  Each scene took about an hour to 90 minutes to draw freehand and colour in using acrylics.   But it was worth it - the kids loved them!  Here are some more.  Can you guess all of the films and books that these are from? (The answers are shown below)

So, the scenes were from 'Where the Wild Things Are', The Faraway Tree, The Gruffalo, The Secret Garden, Harry Potter (Knight Bus and also the Whomping Tree), Charlotte's Web, Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars, Sleeping Beauty, Narnia, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Incredible Mr Fox and (not yet shown here) Peter Pan.

 

I hope to post up some more images before long showing the completed bus.


The Linden Trees

As the first of several murals for Linden Primary School in Gloucester, I was commissioned to paint a life-size Linden tree on the wall in their main hall in April 2015.  There was a suitable space in the hall to accommodate a tree that was about 18' high, and 15' across - a not inconsiderable undertaking, requiring a scaffolding platform to work from.  Because of the size of the painting, there was the additional danger that a dark green tree would suck a lot of light out of the room, particularly in the winter.  Therefore, we agreed that the tree would have a watermark effect to it, rather than a more realistic range of traditional greens.  The hope was that the tree would blend in to the hall and, despite its size, remain in the background.

The Linden Tree - work in progress

Artist Andy Lloyd with the completed arboreal mural

What made this particularly challenging for me was that I'm not great with heights!  Producing a mural of this size also requires a fair bit of forethought - It would be difficult to mix colours in situ, for instance, transporting pots of paint and containers up the scaffolding.  Instead, I mixed the paints (acrylic colours into standard matt emulsion) into jam jars and painted from a fairly limited range of colours when up high.  On the floor level, I was able to extend the range of colours a bit, and create a more realistic field of grass along with the tree trunk, in order to produce some depth and contrast to the mural.  The overall effect is very striking, not least because of the size of the piece.  It fits well within the space, and provides an iconic motif for the Linden School hall without becoming overly dominant.

The Linden Tree is a fairly distinctive tree, having a roughly conical shape and a thin trunk.  This part of Gloucester had a fair few of them at one time.  It was good to be able to put one back! 

As it turned out, the school asked me to return to paint another three murals.  The first (above) is to act as a backdrop for a wooden sculpture of a tree, to be created by another artist, the combination of which will act as a dramatic centrepiece in the main entrance hallway of the school.  A typical rural scene from Gloucestershire was created using various sources for inspiration.  The mural is approximately 11' long x 7.5' high, and the wooden tree, once installed, should dominate the centre of the painting.

The second two Linden Tree murals are not on the same grand scale as the one in the main hall.  Each marks an entry point into the upper and lower halves of the school.  Although I used the same tree as inspiration for the painting, I decided to markedly change the backgrounds and the colours schemes of the trees themselves, for a bit of variety.  Each mural is approximately 4' wide x 7' high:


Nursery Murals in Gloucester

Here's a delightful nursery mural I painted for an expectant couple awaiting their first child.  The mural is based upon a watercolour illustration by Anita Jeram, which appears in a popular children's book featuring Little Nutbrown Hare, written by Sam McBratney.  The book is entitled "Guess How Much I Love You".  The mural is about 1.5m across, and is painted in acrylic.  I've tried to reproduce the feel of the original illustration, recreating some of the watercolour effects using acrylics.  Obviously, it cannot be a perfect representation, as the medium is different, and this is painted onto a wall rather than paper.  But hopefully it provides a fine tribute to this beautiful illustration, and will bring a lot of joy to the new-born baby when s/he arrives.

 

I painted a second mural in Brockworth, onto a nursery wall  belonging to a little 1 month old lad.  The mural is based upon artwork featured on the cover of 'Lost and Found' by Oliver Jeffers:

 


 

Dinglewell Infants School Murals

The corridors in the reception area at Dinglewell Primary School in Hucclecote, Gloucester needed a bit of cheering up.  The initial suggestion by staff was for a forest scene along the two main corridors.   The central corridor was complicated by numerous doors, a reception area window, utility boxes, and the like.  It was clear that this corridor area didn't lend itself readily to being converted into a woodland scene - although the adjoining one had plenty of scope for a vista of open countryside though some foreground trees.  So, I suggested instead that I try to surround all the main doors with separate painted buildings, and throw in some ornamental trees where space allowed.

 

This approach helped with the light, too.  The area is heavily dependent upon artificial lighting, and too many dark trunks or branches would have robbed the area of much-needed light.  The buildings took on a slightly Italian feel to them, in contrast to the landscapes along the second corridor, one of which took on a distinctly alpine look. 

The central feature was a tall tree-house, accessible via wooden blocks which enjoyed a fairly reasonable 3-dimensional effect.  From the long tree branch hangs a central swing over a field of poppies.  Thequality of the  photos of this space are hampered by the nature of the thin corridor itself:

The Tree-house

An Alpine glade

The Alpine glade opposite the tree-house featured a classic white picket fence in the foreground.  A gate opened through to a path into a glade of trees, home to some wildlife.  These features helped to create a great deal of perspective.  The precision of the fencing in the foreground also contrasted strongly with the misty, de-focused landscape beyond, producing what I think is a pretty pleasing overall effect:

 

 

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