What is a mural?

Last Wednesday I visited Dalry Primary School during their Creative Week to help to make a mural. First the teacher asked the class what they thought a mural was (something I didn’t think about the pupils not knowing). We decided that it was a big piece of art that the public could see in their everyday environment; but this mural is for the pupils, teachers and parents to enjoy in the Dalry School plaground. Using black poster paint for outlines and bright colours for rendering, we created iconic images inspired by life at Dalry school. I used examples of Paul Klee’s work which are bold and abstract, in which Klee placed unruly blocks of colour under a maze of black lines.

Paul Klee (1938) Rich Harbour. Kunstmuseum Basel, Photo: Martin P Bühler

Sometimes you can spot a recognisable shape, like this dog that I sketched from one example I looked at:

A sketch I made in my notebook to explain to myself how Klee used blocks of colour beneath line drawings (2015) Katie Forrester

The children designed images based on things like their school logo, the chickens kept in the yard and sports equipment. A lot of the children said that they liked maths so there were a lot of numbers and mathematical symbols mixed between tennis rackets, eyes of Horus and the chicken coop. The black drawings were then painted with red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple poster paint. I tried to stress that we’d just use block colours to get the children to think abstractly and creatively about the colours that they could use instead of mixed hues like brown. The children were going through a realist stage though and brown was mixed for the rabbit’s fur despite my admonishment!

A picture of the tissue-paper-leaves-in-the-breeze incident (2015) Katie Forreser, wax crayon and black ink brush pen.

I also made wheat paste so that we could collage coloured tissue paper squares onto the board. All of this painting took place outside and there was a great and terrible moment when the bowl of coloured tissue paper squares flew off down the playground in the freshening summer breeze. I heard a tinkle of paint brushes hit the playground tarmac and turned to see the thirty or so artists running at full pelt, screaming and jumping to catch the fluttering pastel coloured leaves. This was worrying, as they were totally distracted and excited but also having a whale of a time, which was awesome to see. It took a while for the children to calm down and one teacher took some of the unsettled ones inside. Ah, well. The mural was finished enough. I went back on Friday to finish off the last of the coloured painting with a smaller group of children and it came together and looks like a mural! I’ll post a photo when it is varnished and put up over the summer.



Klee, Paul (1938) A detail from Rich Harbour Kunstmuseum Basel. Photograph by:Martin  P Bühler [online] http://london-letter.com/2013/11/18/klees-harmony-of-line-and-colour/

A dog from my notebook (2015) Katie Forrester

The Tissue Paper Incident (2015) Katie Forrester


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