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Where it all began!

In 2009, I collaborated with a good friend in the huge project of painting murals surrounding the small pool at 1leisure's The Heights Leisure Centre. This was the first time I had painted anything on this scale and was so excited by the new challenge! I had always loved painting on bigger canvases and I couldn't wait to get my teeth into this commission.

Under the sea mural

We began drafting out which characters we wanted to include to meet the interests of a variety of ages that use the small pool, from the tinies at Aquababes to toddlers and older children. Not only did we plan out 4 separate scenes to make up the back wall, we added various characters around the pillars so wherever you were swimming there was a character! The entrance gate to the small pool was perfect to paint the penguins of Madagascar, stacked on top of each other with the rest of the Madagascar favourites on the pillars looking into the pool. This was where we began, making sure each image filled the space to make the biggest impact. They were a success and were already starting to get some amazing feedback!

Madagascar Penguins entrance

The paint we used for this particular project was extremely high quality, moisture resistant paint so there would be no peeling, fading or blurring. 8 years on and it still looks as good as it did then!

The back wall was split into 4 sections with different themes - one wall for younger children featuring Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and characters from In the Night Garden. The second was an under water theme including Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid and Spongebob. Moving on to the third wall we started with a safari plain, adding in The Lion King, Ice Age, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Finishing up, we thought Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank and Bob the Builder would be a popular choice.

Leisure Centre small pool mural

We were amazed with the finished result and how much of a difference it made to the area. The wall is bright and a real stand out as it can be seen from the poolside viewing gallery and cafe as soon as you walk in! Not only did it benefit the customer's experience of using the pool, it also benefited the business encouraging more people to swim there.

I loved painting this and I knew this the kind of artwork I needed to be doing. Following the completion of this, I ventured out on my own and have since completed many murals and worked with some great customers... long may it continue!

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