Monumental Mural

Here's another story I was unable to post about while being blogless. 

Wildground Infants is a local school who I've been in to before to share my New Forest Friends children's books. The headteacher spoke to me about the possibility of brightening up the hall with a small mural, but when I arrived to take a look I felt  the enormous horizontal space running across the width of the room was crying out to be filled. However, I was concerned about the amount of time such a large work would take, and the subsequent cost to the school, so I suggested we could approach it differently by getting the children involved.

Schools are encouraged to be active within the community and make their children aware of the wider community around them, so the headteacher was keen to have an aspect of this within the work, so we settled on a panoramic scene of the Waterside, the stretch of land to the left of Southampton Water that stretches from the Solent, past Fawley refinery and the New Forest up to Totton. We decided to cheat slightly and move Southampton to the western side too. The plan was that I would then come in for a day and, class by class, get the children to work on a self-portrait and on different aspects of the scene (trees, buildings, animals, etc) then I'd collate it all, scan them, and build the montage in Photoshop.

The result was the largest Photoshop file I've ever-created with a staggering amount of layers across a gigantic canvas. Everything on it is created by the children at Wildground Infants - all I had to do was arrange it. The finished panorama was run out in four sections and mounted just before Christmas, and it looks great. There are all sorts on there, from horse-riders to the Isle of Wight ferry, Hythe pier to the Bargate in Southampton, and New Forest deer to the Titanic Museum. Every child that created a self portrait is featured across the width of the scene too.

It's not possible for me to show all the picture here simply because it's so large, but below is a snippet. Even this doesn't do it justice as it doesn't really show off the detail of the children's drawings. At this size you can just about make out the road with cars, the pig fields just north of Lepe, the refinery, and the start of Hythe, but there's a lot more going on, especially on the children's portraits themselves. 

It was a lot of work, but a great result that the children loved, and it will be part of everyday life at Wildground Infants for years to come.

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