Dinglewell Infant School Murals
The Alpine Forest and Village Murals
The corridors in the reception area at Dinglewell Infant 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. The quality of the photos of this space are hampered by the nature of the thin corridor itself:
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 Infant 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.
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.
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...
Gloucester Map Mural
I was invited back in 2022 to paint a mural in the main hall of Dinglewell Infant School. This painting would be at the front of the hall and needed to speak to the values of the school and the area that it serves. We decided to plan a set of local scenes built around a map of Gloucester. Painted during the summer holiday in 2022, this was the result:
The locations of the landmark buildings and scenes sit roughly in the right part of the city, or heading in the right direction if out of town. The border and colours were chosen to go with the colour scheme in the school and the other displays in the hall, including a rather wonderful wall mosaic.
Above can be seen the most famous view of Gloucester Cathedral, set above the nearby Beatrix Potter museum and to the west of Kingsholm rugby stadium.
To the south of this quarter are the historic docks, Robert Raikes House (and statue in Gloucester Park). the remarkable new bus station and the Bell Tower at the Cross in the centre of the city.
The River Severn brushes up against the town, seen here looking towards the docks. To the left is a scene from the Forest of Dean, on the other side of the river.
This scene of Robinswood Hill encapsulates a lot of the character of the area, with the suburbs of the city washing up against the surrounding hills.
Originals paintings are available from me directly.
Prints and a range of art-themed paraphernalia can be obtained from Fine Art America.