Stair Poetry Mural

Stair poetry mural

In sliver light, an August moon…

This stair mural is created using Nature Paint from the Greenshop and poetry written for the house by Rob Clucas-Tomlinson. The poem will continue around the house and later, in the garden too.
The painting is based on a honeysuckle design. It took about a week from design to completion.

In silver light, an August moon
On tip-toes
Courts the curved green hills.


Painting By Numbers – A Portrait of Stroud

Painting By Numbers - A Portrait of Stroud

350+ contributors, 100 paint numbers, 20 pigments, 3 media, all ages, three newspaper articles, one Mould TV interview, one workshop, one sponsor, one festival, one grant and one sale by auction. A Portrait of Stroud.

I’d like to thank the 350+ people who took the time to contribute to the Painting By Numbers project at Unit 56 as part of the SVA Site Festival in May.

This collaborative artwork was based on a design that used a satellite image of the Stroud Valleys. While many people guessed it represented some kind of map or terrain, only one person had guessed precisely what the image was based on.

With so many people of all ages participating in bringing the artwork to life, there was a lot of evolution from the original design and it looked much more like an abstract painting at the end. Several contributors added creative touches, deliberately or by accident, from ghosts to sheep, Pollock-style sprays, text, polka dots, and determined yet chaotic toddler’s splashes.

The 100 numbered paint colours were hand-mixed for each session using natural paint pigments and a clay paint base, donated by The Greenshop and served up in compostable Vegware pots. Support from Stroud Arts Festival covered other expenses and a workshop with myself and Rebecca Ashdown on traditional painting techniques.

The local papers took an interest and the fabulous Mould TV gang shot a YouTube interview with the artist.

I am delighted that the Equine Eye Clinic in Wotton-Under-Edge bought the painting in a silent auction, for TomatoJack Arts in Berkeley, so contributors will be able to view the painting in the gallery there. 30% of the sale price was donated to the nominated charity, which is the Julian Trust Night Shelter in Bristol.

This was a truly collaborative art project and with so much support from the people and organisations in the area I reckon it warrants the title ‘A Portrait of Stroud‘.

Articles, photos and film about this project are on the way. In the meantime here’s a little gallery:

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‘A Riot of Flowers’ – Mural Painting in Normandy

Over the course of four days, a collaboration for a mural painting for a bathroom in a 17th century Manoir, developed from the brief: ‘I picture a Riot of Flowers’. Working with Isabella Palin, the main bathroom was given some extra life.

This is how it was done.

1. A blank wall is presented. A discussion about what is expected throws up the phrase ‘a riot of flowers’ and time is spent in the room getting a feeling for the space.

a blank wall

A blank wall

2. A mood board is created – Pinterest comes in very handy at this stage! Ideas are thrown around.

3. Colour notes are collected using paint charts and paint samples. A group of compatible colours are chosen.


Preparing a colour palette.

A local paint merchant was very good in making up small pots of colour-matched samples – we selected the circled colours as the core palette.

4. Studies of flora around the garden and surrounding areas are made.

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5. Designs are created and mocked up in cut out shapes. These are attached to the wall with masking tape and moved about until the positions are agreed to be satisfactory.


6. Once the composition is agreed, a light chalk is used to mark in the main positions. Cutouts are rubbed in the back with chalk dust and used as transfers to mark the design onto the wall. Designs for smaller elements are made on paper and transferred in the same way by drawing over them onto the wall, the chalk on the back leaving the marks for painting in.

7. Paint!

painting a mural

Keep going until its done!

Finished work

We can go back and add more details later but its finished enough for now.

mural detail

Silver skipper butterfly

A Happy Ending

I never feel happy with the work I do, but this message was reassuring:

Every time we go into the bathroom we are awestruck! The wall is so beautiful, cannot imagine how we lived with it all bare before… The final touches, the little butterfly and the rosebuds are delicious. A huge thank you – it couldn’t be more successful.

Painting By Numbers: A Work in Progress

Painting By Numbers in action at the Site Festival

Painting By Numbers in action

Painting By Numbers is underway at Unit 56 on the Stroud High Street, as part of the Site Festival.

Some stats:

  • about 100 people have taken part so far
  • there are 100 numbers
  • there are probably about 400 spaces with numbers in on the pattern
  • its about half painted
  • estimated age range of participants is 18 months – 80 yrs old
  • I’m using 20 La Tienda pigments donated by The Greenshop in mediums of Auro emulsion or Earthborn Wall glaze, to create more colours.

As well as the painting itself being open for action on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I am running a free workshop with Rebecca Ashdown – sponsored by the Stroud Arts Festival, on 20th May. There will also be a closing party, when we see how the painting looks when it is finished.

Most people are responding very positively and even the woman who said I had been ‘unfriendly…didn’t smile’ had seemed to enjoy the actual painting process. Lots of people have enjoyed it and said ‘I haven’t done this for years’ – ‘Great idea’ – ‘Can my two year old do it?’ (the answer is Yes, by the way) – and a few have stayed to discuss the deeper layers of this project. One man gave me a delicious punnet of strawberries which came in very nicely as it is thirsty work sitting in the gallery all day. Quite a few wonder ‘what it is of’ and most guess ‘some kind of map’.

I was also interviewed by Mould TV and photographed for the Citizen newspapers. The interview is online:

Painting By Numbers

Painting By Numbers coming soon to a town near you.

Painting By Numbers – coming soon to a town near you.

The SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace) run an art festival in Stroud every year, in May, called ‘Site Festival‘.

It is a magical time for an artist when the whole town seems to transform itself on the opening night (this year, on 4th May) into an art Paradise: people dressed up trotting from one art preview in an empty shop to another, enjoying performance pieces and peculiar displays of all kinds in the normally rather depressing little unused high street vacant lots. It’s like the artists took over town and its Good. That is the world I’d like to live in, and not the one we’ve got. But at least we get a chance to taste it for a night.

Anyway this year I was very excited that SVA responded to my Painting By Numbers proposal which had been sitting in a notebook sulking for three years, so I will be in the ex-Curry’s shop hosting this project in May. Here is the Official Blurb for the project:

Love it or hate it, Painting by Numbers – those little Art kits that allow you to safely create your own masterpiece are universally recognised if not always celebrated.

In the prosperous postwar America of the 1950s, painting by numbers was promoted as an educative use of the “new leisure”. It also claimed to represent the American democratic ideal that anyone should be able to do anything, including paint. Hence the slogan ‘Every Man a Rembrandt’.
– Alexander Chancellor, Guardian 2003

Come and see what happens when Stroud is presented with Painting By Numbers. With grateful thanks to the lovely people at The Greenshop and on Freecycle for natural paint supplies.

While I have been donated the paint supplies the project still requires lots more materials including paint pots, brushes, cleaning materials and some large boards so if you are feeling generous or have some stuff you can offer do get in touch!