Resident Artist – Primary School Project, Poppy Mural 2014/15

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Last November 2014 it was 100 years since the Great War, around this time I was asked if I could create a large Poppy Mural for the local Primary School so they could get the children involved in remembering and learning about the significance of this piece of history.

The mural was an ongoing project, of which took us into the beginning of 2015, I have now got around to writing about it as it has now been officially opened and the ribbon cut (my myself!)

I thoroughly enjoyed working on such a large scale project, it reminded me how Liza J design first came about; as large scale mural work was always my passion before I came up with an economic way of sharing my work through the postal system to customers! It was also very rewarding working with the children throughout the whole school years doing art and watching them taking great care over their poppy art.

Official opening ceremony of the Poppy Mural at the local Primary School 

May 22nd 2015- photo provided by the school.

Pictured – the children who helped paint the mural. Some of the school children wore their Brownies and Scouts uniforms and during the ceremony read a passage from "We Shall Keep the Faith" to reflect on why the school mural was created.

























The Project

Leading up to the 100 year anniversary, children within their classes were asked to paint a picture of a poppy or scene to depict the Great War. With over 400 pupils, there was a lot of pictures to look through when I initially visited the school! After browsing through all the pictures, I was given the task of selecting those that I felt could be inspiration for a large wall mural, approximately 8-10 pictures were chosen from each class.

After looking at the children's work, and given only one specified request (to paint the local church on the mural) and three large boards to fit into the designated space; an idea started to form!

Example of the poppy paintings, left -Reception Class (age 5), right -Year 4 (age 9)

Some of the children had painted scenes rather than individual poppies; this gave inspiration for the backgrounds of the three large canvas boards; so three different styles of children's work were copied and painted by myself onto the boards. It soon became apparent looking at the three styles that there was a darker scene, a mild scene and a brighter more cheerful scene; I used this idea as the initial concept when choosing what individual poppy paintings would suit onto each board.

The church and memorial stone that was required and given in the brief I painted onto the 'dark' board. Then gradually I looked through the individual poppy paintings and chose those that I felt would be better placed onto each board, for example some children had painted darker poppy's using black outline and gold centres, these suited the dark board. After choosing a few poppy paintings for each board at a time and roughly sketching the outline of them into position onto the board, those children who's poppy's had been picked were gathered from their classrooms and invited to re-paint their poppy straight onto the large board.


Children painting their poppy's onto the large scenes – images taken from school website.


The development of each board and what it represents

The project commenced late November 2014 and took several sessions to complete during the term time until the Christmas break. I returned in January 2015 in between working on customer orders to complete a forth board.

Board One – Darkness of the War



Board Two – Transition of the War. Remembering, calmer days ahead



Board Three – The War is over. Remembering, brighter days ahead



Board Four – School Commemoration Plaque. Artists own design

The final board contained the words supplied in the brief to commemorate the mural. As I hadn't painted one poppy onto the large mural I decided to write the words around my own poppy design.

Personalised Poppy Canvas, Hand Painted ©2014 Liza J design

I thought the children within the school throughout the years took such care and pride in painting their own poppy's onto the large scale piece and hopefully (after a final varnish) the mural will stand pride of place within the school grounds for many years!

Liza Cole,

Founder and Designer, Liza J design 

July 2015

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