Over the summer another teacher and I were commissioned to paint murals at West Noble Primary.Â The school, formerly known as Ligonier Elementary, was becoming a K-1 building as part of the plan to realign the elementary schools in our corporation.Â The principal wanted all the old dog-themed murals replaced with Little Chargers.Â So Carol and I set out to transform the school before the end of summer.Â Carol is quite an illustrator and had already come up with a Little Chargers logo last school year.Â It is a cartoon of a boy and a girl in knight armor holding lightning bolts… so that was where we started.
We didn’t have a lot of direction from the boss other than “Little Chargers” and something about the Giving Tree.Â Carol started by painting the Little Chargers from the logo just inside the main entrance.Â I took the Giving Tree and started work in the reading corner, a corner of the hallway with a table used for small groups.Â The concept was pretty simple.Â I took the cover of the Giving Tree and added some knight armor and a quote suggested by the boss.
Our next order of business was the cafeteria.Â After some thought and discussion Carol came up with the idea of turning the whole thing into a castle/courtyard.Â Of course, this meant repainting the walls a light tan color to simulate castle walls.Â This little idea probably added a week to our project but we decided it would be worth it.Â My wife, being nine months pregnant might not have had the same exact thought…
I decided to work on murals around the lunch window first.Â I added two banners which weren’t too complex and then painted “Little Charger Cafe” above the window.Â This was a lot more complex because I tried to make it look like it was carved into the bricks.Â It took a lot of time but I think it turned out pretty well.
Carol painted a series of murals on one of the long walls that gave the impression of looking out the castle windows.Â I was responsible for the other long wall and I came up with an idea for a market scene.Â I painted a barrel of apples, a bread and vegetable stand and a cart full of watermelon.Â I really like the way the stand came out but I wish I would have had more time to add some more texture or details in some areas.
In one of the corners, by the doors that students enter the cafeteria for lunch, I painted a barrel with two stick-horses and a shelf with some knight helmets.Â Like a medieval coat rack?Â This was at least partially Carol’s idea.Â I think the cafeteria was our best project just for the sheer magnitude of it.Â We also had to work around piles of desks, chairs and other items since it was one of the staging areas for the big move.Â Then we also had to scramble to get it finished so Tim could clean the floor on schedule.
After spending so much time on the cafeteria, we didn’t have a lot of time or effort left for the gym and we both decided that we would scale back a little.Â Repainting the floor was originally part of the plan but (luckily?) Tim said it couldn’t be done, at least in our window of time.Â So there is still a giant dog in the middle of the court with paw prints all over the place.Â Maybe next summer?Â Carol, though great at cartoon characters, wasn’t too confident about making Little Chargers playing sports like the boss had requested.Â So I sketched out some sports characters that were highly influenced by some that I found on the internet.Â I got the football player finished just in time for my wife to have the baby.
Due to some complications my wife needed me by her side instead of finishing murals for a few weeks.Â Even when school started she needed help so I missed some time.Â I didn’t finish the baseball and basketball player until sometime in November when I stayed after school for a few nights.
Originally I was just going to paint the characters but Carol’s kids on the opposite wall had some ground to stand on so I added some grass for the football player, dirt for the baseball player and a slightly reflective court for the basketball player.Â Now they are definitely not floating in the air.
So… Pretty big project, pretty good results.Â I learned a lot and it was nice to do some drawing and painting again.Â I scanned my sketches into the computer and then used the mobile projector to trace the picture up on the wall.Â The painting went a little slower than we anticipated.Â First of all, the walls are far from smooth.Â Second, most of the paint we used needed at least two coats to look good.Â Third, these were the largest paintings that either Carol or I had ever done.Â We both might have burnt out a little at some point but I’m glad I got to do it.