Andy Lloyd's School Murals
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. 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.
The Linden Tree - work in progress
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.
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
Tredworth Infant and Nursery Academy
I was commissioned to renovate an existing mural in the school hall at Tredworth Infants School. This beautiful mural had been in the hall for a while. As well as being painted, it had some clay/ceramic leaves fixed to a papier-mache tree. These parts were gradually deteriorating, and I was asked to remove the leaves, and paint them onto the mural and tree directly. the tree also needed some work to renovate it.
While I was at it, could I add some figures from popular children's books into the meadows? The idea of a storybook became a central feature, to appear directly out of the central tree. I undertook the work, and brought some colourful characters into the mural. I tried to keep the original feel of the work intact, whilst recognising that the rather bright colours of the meadow were bound to camouflage the characters added in. I was very pleased to assist with keeping this mural alive and well. What a fabulous piece!
Originals paintings are available from me directly.
Prints and a range of art-themed paraphernalia can be obtained from Fine Art America.