In January I was asked to do 2 murals for Eureka in Kent. I was honoured to be asked since I knew the owners wanted to revamp the place in lockdown ready for opening this summer. We talked about various ideas and settled on two. One mural was to be 8 feet by 5 feet, the other 12 feet by 6 feet. Both of them were on walls in the main clubhouse and to be above the booth seating, and they were the only decoration on the walls. I knew they had to look right during the day in daylight, and also during the nights in artificial lighting. And also mostly viewed from 20 feet away, so that involved a lot of thinking of getting the look right. I came up with some ideas and the owners Stuart and Carrie were happy with them. I showed them the working paintings and they were delighted with them, which meant I could start painting the walls.
I decided to do the smaller mural first as it was easiest. I drew a grid on the wall, copied the drawing from my working drawing on to it, and when I was happy it was right I started painting, using artists acrylic paints. I had to keep standing back from the painting to make sure it looked right, from ten feet away, as much as up close.
This particular painting was basically in three parts, the left hand side depicting the parties, the bottom right the swimming pool, and the top right the socialising. Eureka is a unique place in that members can be naked, or clothed, and its fine, its their choice. Its also a very friendly and welcoming place, and the owners wanted that depicted in the images. I painted the party aspect first as it was almost abstract in the light effect from the disco lights, and the people in silhouette against it. And I wanted one of the disco lights to have a spectrum of light in it to pick up the rainbow harmony. I then painted the pool as I adore painting sunlight on turquoise water, and when I was happy with that, I painted the people socialising on a large rainbow towel to portray all were welcome there. And because I like hiding images in my paintings, I purposely hid some in the trees in the background, and I know viewers are going to see things in my paintings that I haven’t planned, because people always do!!! I love that!!
When I was finished I stood back and viewed the painting from across the room and knew that it had the wow factor that I was looking for, and that it looked good as you walked in the door, or stood ten feet away, sat 20 feet away or sat up close to it. It was exactly as I wanted it to look!
So, then I could start the second mural. And again I gridded up the wall and copied the image from my working drawing onto the wall. It took three days! As there were more things in it as well as it being so much bigger than the first.
When it was done, I could then start painting it. Since this one was over two booths, I had to move around a lot more. I did the sky first, as it was the easier bit, and loved the way I got heat and movement in the sun itself. Then I painted the background trees, and again hid images within them. I painted the cabins, and swimming pool, the walls around the swimming pool, and the steps up to it next, the raised circular base, the large conifer and the palm tree, and then the grass as that joined up all the picture, it took ages to get the grass to look natural, with differing tones, and daisies and buttercups in it. There are also bluebells, snowdrops, and daffodils to show all the flowers during the seasons there, as well as the bright summer colour flowers by the pool steps.
The word “eureka” on the steps was difficult to do too to get the diagonal rainbow colours within it to match the Eureka logo. I painted the white sunbeds, and the black musical notes showing how important music is to Eureka. And the firepit with four phallic poles at the corners, and I added 2 rounded logs at the base of each to exaggerate the maleness of them!!
So that was the background, and just left the difficult stuff..the birds, animals, and people!
I did the woodpecker, the tawny owl, blackbird, robin, sparrows, and thrush, then the 2 grey squirrels, the fox, and the badger.
Then the rainbow towels, which I loved doing, as I adore rainbow colours!
And then the people, so many of them, so diverse, male, and female, old and young, slim and rotund, black and white and all the colours inbetween, gay and straight, some sunbathing, some drinking, some chatting, playing guitar, doing yoga, playing ball in the pool, dancing with flowers in their hair, even playing naked “Twister”!
Because it was important to Stuart and Carrie that the image should be fun, and playful, and show the diversity of Eureka, the wildlife, the socialising, the beautiful grounds, and facilities.
This image is certainly full of artistic licence, but anyone seeing it will understand what is available there. Someone who knows the place will recognise it, someone going for the first time, will recognise what it has to offer…..
It took me 158 and a half hours to PAINT the murals. That’s not counting the working drawings, and working paintings beforehand, nor the photos I had to search through to find the source images I needed for it. There are hundreds of hours of work gone into these murals.
They are the largest piece of artwork I’ve created. And I truly loved doing them!
Carrie said just as I finished the last painting “I knew you would be perfect for doing this!” and I was touched at her knowing that. I adore these paintings. I adored doing them for Eureka. I love the way Stuart and Carrie the owners, have trusted in my ability to do them for them as they revamp their business to welcome the sort of members they want there. Sociable and accepting, naked or not, friendly, and fun.
The smaller mural (8 feet x 5 feet) is called “Eureka, party, pool, people”, the larger mural (12 feet x 6 feet) is called “Eureka, Carries vision”…which do you like best……………?