I am now able to reveal the project that I have been working on over the last month : )
I was delighted when our Primary school Headmaster, Mr Bob White asked if I would be interested in working on a commission for him, as his very special Retirement gift to the school after his 24 years there.
To be honest, I didn't have to think hard before answering, with a big "Yes." I felt very honoured to be asked indeed. I have known Bob for over 8 years, as both my daughters have been at his school, my youngest is still there. I am also extremely lucky to be working in the same school, running Art Clubs, so Ive been fortunate to get to know Bob fairly well, and see his relationship with the school, the children and the community of Lindfield.
So my initial task was to come up with something that I could present as a rough to him, a general feel for a painting. His main requirements were that the artwork should be for the children, to say thank you, and to represent all the areas of the school that were particularly important to him. This included the yr 6 trip to the Isle of Wight, the drama production, his favourite book to read to the pupils, and his great love of football and cricket. It was also very important to him to represent the village and the community as a whole.
Being part of that community myself I already had a warm feel and great fondness for the place, and also asked children (without giving the secret away,) for some words that they felt summed up Mr White.
"Happy, Supportive, Kind, Leader, Wise," were a few!
So a couple of ideas that I had, (shown below,) one being the circle format, of an on-going community, an on-going role, and the village common and pond as a very central point with the school logo of the swan.
The other idea was more about the focus of the pupils and their achievements and personalities.
In the end, Bob felt that capturing the school AND the community was the look he wanted to go with, and so the work began!
We decide that the piece needed to create an impact, and therefore it needed to be a substantial size, as it will probably be displayed in the new school entrance once he leaves.
The rough was then worked into a neat design, almost mathematically planning out how each area balanced out the next. Eventually the rough was approved, a once a big smile appeared on his face, I knew that we were there! So the next step was to scanned the work in, and then enlarge it. It then needed to be printed out onto 6 sheets of A4, which were very carefully jigsawed together. The challenge was to then convert the image via a light-box onto the extra heavyweight watercolour board, ready for the final piece of Artwork to begin!
It was exciting day by day seeing the artwork gradually come to life, as each detail was added in. I wanted to keep the style fresh and playful, as the focus was on the children and about a celebration of his time there, rather than a goodbye.
And then after many hours, it was finally complete!
I work with a very good framing company, who I knew would produce me a bespoke frame to display the work in, and I think this really set it off well, and gives it the right feel to work well in the new part of the school building.
Once again, many thanks to Bob for asking me to work on something so important to him, it was a real pleasure.
And so all there is left to say now, is Farewell and the very best of luck Mr White.