Did you know that badgers have different rooms for living in, maternity/nursery and storage!!? Well – they do! I learned this when I was in the library of Ludwell Primary School…. looking for animal pictures …..!

Also – most amazing – Jays can store up to 7 acorns in their throats …. so they don’t have to keep going back to get another …. its kind of time and motion! 

There can’t be many people on the planet who has not had their lives impacted by the dreaded …. and many many of us have had other chaos creating events as well….

I met the new Head when I went to see my grandchildren in a carol concert! She had just vacated her office to make way for a school library ….. and the room needed some …. ‘brightening up!’ 

Here is the wall …… on the first day … the actual extent of the mural was not decided ….. and I was so excited about starting I just went for it! I used cheap water based paint initially – I think with PVA added or emulsion that I had left over to get a sort of ‘key’ onto the wall…. Its probably very bad but I didn’t even wash the wall or anything – just impatient to get started! I knew I wanted an oak tree semi in the foreground …. Oak trees are just so amazing …. I have learned /learnt a lot from reading ‘Wilding’ by Isabella Tree – I do heartily recommend! She was going to come and talk at Shaftesbury Arts Centre last month – but as with so many other things …. that has been postponed…

Here is the underpainting in acrylic …..horrid stuff in my view, but cheap enough to ‘splurge away’ (technical term!) whilst I was working things out. I understand most people work it out small scale to begin with …… I have never been able to do that…. Same with cooking and knitting and life generally – I do sort of go for it – and see if it works, later!!!!! With painting it usually works…. And with cooking too, and knitting….. not so good with driving or spelling …? 

I remember that originally I had in mind a beautiful early autumn palette … all those warm rich browns ochres yellows mauves pinks……..I 

With the sharp contrast of darks and cold…. And wild rich grey skies….. Also what a SMALL palette I had …. Very soon I brought my usual large piece of melamine on a trusty trolly to work from. (if you ever have any old WHITE melamine, like from old kitchens …. plse think of me?)

It changed from autumn to spring……. And the river changes direction later on too….

I didn’t plan it …. I just knew I wanted it to be about WILDLIFE…..I wanted to enchant the children … The names of the four classes at the school were WRENS ROBINS HAWKS and OWLS … so I had to create a habitat for them….. the dark bit at the bottom was too difficult to paint – I had ideas about putting an actual fence on the wall … and all sorts of other things…… finally I had the idea of painting this bottom bit on canvas, in my studio at home and, when it was dry – sticking it to the wall ….. I did and it worked very well….

Above – the finished mural … approx 2m x 5m.

If you would be interested to visit the school to see the mural please get in touch with me.

I shall be open during Dorset Art Weeks 2021 – by appointment only. There will be a catalogue online and my new website will be available soon. There are many other new pictures and new directions and well as my familiar Dorset landscapes and flowerbeds!

Doing the mural inspired a slew of other small wildlife paintings (for grandchildren … though their parents like them too and make particular requests, like the blue and great tit (pictured)) Reproductions of these will soon be available through the website.

Lastly – I have been approached by OPERATION FUTURE HOPE

REWILDING BEFORE ITS TOO LATE …. To get reproductions of the mural into Dorset schools – discussions with possible sponsors are just beginning…. If you would like to help with the cost of printing because I m not charging for the art work for State Schools… once again please let me know.