Wednesday, 25 April 2012

25/4/12 Mural project

Extramural chats over tea - retirement home
Today I returned with another stack of colour images trawled from the Internet after hours of varying search terms and finding all kinds of unexpected loveliness. It's amazing to think I used to do all this sort of image research from books alone.
I was honing down the style of drawing and painting after our conversation last week based on the landscape pictures I showed them. They had given me good feed back on what they thought was too ugly, too rich, too abstract, too busy, too dark, too naïve etc. as well as good colour, good clear lines, beautiful fragility, cheerful blossom, from which I had gathered an idea about style as well as a better idea about content.
In my search I found an amazing archive of seed packets from 19th century American seed producers like "Childs" and Burpees" on
They were beautifully illustrated with the brightest colours imaginable, and included some flowers I haven't seen for years like these gloxinias...
Everyone loved these pictures but then put them on the too bright pile when they came across the coloured drawings by Charles Renee Mackintosh, these were unanimously liked for their clarity and delicacy...
Today's unanimous favourite image (below) was a plate from a C16th Italian manuscript at Ickworth House. The small pictures of birds by some of these artists were well appreciated too as long as the ones we included in the mural were life sized and not smaller.
Images rejected because of colour or style were by William Morris, Elizabeth Blackadder, William de Morgan and a few random pictures of pomegranates.

The good news today was that the residents have voted to spend money on the materials from their own funds and the council have agreed to match it.

I ended the morning just sitting and listening to a lot of laughing about the very basic nature of some childhood toilets, the surreptitious gathering of veg from allotments to make pies for brothers lunches and new plans to get a group together to make bunting for the 3rd June. If any one reading this has any material in red or white and or blue, and long lengths of cloth tape, please let me know because they are in need of it in the next few weeks.

My next task is to have a good long chat with the volunteers about design and execution based on the images that have been selected by the group I've been talking with. I know there are two volunteers with exactly the right skills to lead the next part, and several more with good drawing and painting skills; I just hope they have the time.

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