Cheltenham Art

Andy Lloyd's Dinglewell Infants School Murals

 

The Alpine Forest and Village 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:

 


The Aquarium Mural

 

In 2018, Dinglewell Infants School commissioned me to create an undersea mural in a long corridor within the main part of the school.  Looking at the 30' long space, I could immediately see the potential to create an underwater aquarium:  the corridor was thin, and free of natural light.  It had a number of support columns jutting out of the walls along its length which would lend themselves to the structure of an aquarium.  Finally, a structural feature of the area were a pair of horizontal batons for coats pegs which, again, could be incorporated into the framework of a walkthrough aquarium.  The school seemed happy with idea and I took about 5 days to redecorate the corridor and then paint the mural over its walls and ceiling:

Left-hand side mural

Right-hand side mural

Because of the lack of natural light in this area, the lights in the ceiling create the feeling of light from the sky above the sea.  The area needed a lot of bright colour for this mural to become vibrant and exciting.  Coral reefs were interspersed with sea-life of all varieties - turtles, sharks, fish, whales, starfish.

I also wanted to include a human element, too, as well as a story.  A female diver swims up to the front of the mural, taking centre-stage.  She seems to spot the a long-lost treasure chest encrusted into the rock below a sunken galleon that the diver's colleague is filming.  Above the two, sharks circle menacingly in the diffuse surface light.

The Diver

The Dolphins

Elsewhere, a deep-sea diver trundles through a murky field of seaweed, heading towards a vibrant forest of kelp opposite.  Near to the main all, two playful dolphins seem to beckon the schoolchildren to explore the corridor and its spectacular array of flora and fauna.  they might even want to hang their coats up.

 

Finally, a vast shipwreck spreads over one wall, like the remaining ribcage of a monstrous whale.  Through its ancient timbers swim shoals of fish, a beluga whale and a dead-eyed shark.  Entwined within the timbers is an array of sea plants.  To make the timbers stand out, I incorporated bronze and silver fluorescent paints, which helped with many of the fish, too.

The resulting mural seemed to work well as an ensemble of undersea themes.  I even had a bit of paint left over for my hall-way, but this time without the fish...  You can see the entire mural in the following video:

 

 

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