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Creating an understory

Feb 12, 2019 | School, Visual Arts

This month, our artist profile is focussing on an entire group of young painters. Graduating Year 6 students of Montville Primary School worked with local professional artist, Judith Sinnamon, to create a rainforest mural to gift to their school and student community.

 What was once the cream-coloured expanse of an old Education Queensland demountable classroom outer wall, has now become a thriving ecosystem of students’ creativity.

 Judith explained, “The whole school had earlier in the year worked with Eric Anderson and Dianna O’Connor to establish the rainforest understory beneath the magnificent Moreton Bay figs in the school grounds. When it was suggested by the Year 5/6 teacher, Leigh Carter, that the Year 6’s might like to create a mural on their classroom wall that backed onto this emerging rainforest, the ideas started to brew and evolve.”

 Teacher aid and school permaculture teacher, Maryanne O’Flynne, contacted Bunnings Community Liaison Officer Sue Hart and, before you could blink, Bunnings and Taubmans had not only offered to supply all the paint necessary for a mural, but were there to prepare the surface with a base colour. 

 “The upper story of rainforest species towering above the classroom was photographed,” said Judith.

 “A dark green-black base was prepared and the image of these rainforest species including flame trees, palms and bunyas were projected and traced across the wall. 

 “Students then assisted the process of cutting in the light blue sky around the tree silhouettes.” 

 Judith continued, “After adding some touches of the magnificent flame tree in full bloom and some green highlights on palm fronds and bunya trees, the students had then to think about what species of animals lived within the school grounds and rainforests of the Blackall Range.”

 Each student then carefully painted their chosen animal or insect into the foliage of their rainforest mural, from scrub turkeys and tawny frogmouths to possums and birdwing butterflies – even tiny ants. 

 “The painting became a ‘Where’s Wally’, where passing preppies and other students stopped to delightedly scan the surface to spot all of the hidden species.”

 This mural will be a work-in-progress handed over by the 2018 Year 6 students to the rest of the school community to complete. 

 “Over the next year or so the understory of the rainforest will be painted in and each of the students will have the opportunity to add their chosen native animal, insect or bird. While they do this, the understory of the rainforest planted by them, will continue to grow and attract the animals, insects and birds of the Blackall Range.”

 Thanks must be given to Bunnings Maroochydore and Taubmans, also JC Hire and local builder, Rod Nash, for providing scaffolding free of charge and Maryanne O’Flynn and Claire Green for generously giving their time.

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