Last Friday I put my paintbrushes down after a solid two months of sculpture painting for public art trails. After the year we’ve had it was an absolute dream! I’ve been working sculpture painting commissions back to back. I am knackered but as a mural artist I wouldn’t have it any other way! So today I’m going to share with you a little bit about the trails where you can find my work on display this year.
The first trail to launch this Summer is the Moor Otters trail this Friday. My Sir David Ottenborough design has already been revealed. Inspired by the great man himself and the lifelong love of learning about the animal kingdom that he inspires. This sculpture was painted back in March 2020 so the trail has been a long time coming. He’ll be on display in Dartmoor at the pannier market in Tavistock from May 28th 2021.
Cows About Cambridge
Now this sculpture has been under wraps the longest. I finished painting my cambridge Cow in November 2019. Although I do know where this one will be displayed I suspect it’s top secret currently but you can find out this Summer. The Cambridge Cows will be raising money for the charity Break and their work with young people. They will be displayed around the beautiful green belt city, inspired by the cows that roam free there. I’ve also teamed up with Thameslink and Mind to paint a second mini sculpture for the trail too.
Bears of Sheffield
As a Sheffield Based artist I am absolutely buzzing to have a sculpture in this trail! Last time there was a trail in Sheffield was before I knew anything about Wild in Art and the amazing trails they run. To work along other talented local illustrators from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and beyond has been a dream. The sculpture itself is a familiar design based on the bronze one that lives in the bear pit in the Botanical Gardens. The trail is raising money for Sheffield Childrens’ Hospital. I am very excited that I’ll be able to see my bright bold design stand out on my local streets soon.
Worcester’s Big Parade
This design is still under wraps but I will say that this design is going to look right at home in the monochromatic tudor architecture that the city is famous for. The elephant I have painted is sponsored by Worcester News and certainly bound to make an impact. Seeing this particular design hit the streets of such a beautiful historic city is going to make my spooky little heart very happy this summer.
Big Trunk Trail Luton
The first of my double trouble parades is the Big Trunk Trail. I’ll have 2 colourful elephants hitting the streets there this year. That’s 3 elephant sculptures total that I’ve painted these last 2 months. They couldn’t all look more different though!
Stockport’s Giant Leap
These frog sculptures were bursting with character before they ever had a lick of paint! The designs are secret but I will say that they are bursting with charm. I’ve painted two sculptures for this trail and it always amazes me how different the same sculpture can look with a different paint job.
So that’s a whopping 9 sculptures I’ve painted to be on display this summer around the UK. I can’t wait to share with you what I’ll be working on next. Keep an eye on my social media for the full sculpture design reveals and auction details later on in the year.
During lockdown 2020 I was writing twice weekly blogs on my mural art, sculpture painting & illustration work. I was happy to be busy as an illustrator and mural artist. Although I did have a backlog of news to share about exciting sculpture trails, collaborations and street art commissions. I had been hired to create a number of painted artworks in Sheffield, Yorkshire and across the UK and I wanted to tell you all about it. A weekly blog meant that there was too much to share so I doubled my post output.
However this meant twice the work writing and in August 2020 I became an artist full time. I had to step up my game as a business woman and as opportunities began to arise again after a truly tumultuous year, the blog writing took a backseat.
Mural Art Opportunities During the Pandemic
It’s been such a relief to be so busy. In these last few months I have been working flat out, mainly on painting sculptures for a number of public art sculpture trails across the UK. This is a huge difference from 2020. Although I found some notable local painting projects to work on including the Bears of Sheffield sculpture trail and the Whirlow Hall Farm chicken shed mural this was a drastic decrease in painting projects for me. My online shop took precedence as did my digital illustration commission work. I am proud that I was able to pivot my business to refocus on these areas to survive the pandemic, but oh boy did I miss painting!
Unfortunately, with public spaces quieter than ever, events cancelled and a surge in people working from home, who had any incentive to commission a mural painting?
2021 So far
In the first 4 months of 2021 I’ve already been commissioned to paint more than twice what I was commissioned in 2020. A huge part of this has been sculpture trails. This follows Wild in Art and many other trails having postponed projects scheduled for 2020 until Summer 2021. This means that I will have 9 sculptures on display this Summer and I have already run my own recycled monsters sculpture trail in collaboration with Art Waves Bridlington and had a painted bird sculpture displayed in the town too.
I am optimistic that the Summer will bring some more mural painting opportunities. However this time I’ll make sure not to neglect my blog quite so much too.
If you are interested in following my progress and seeing where all my artworks will be on display in 2021 remember to check out my blog next week when I cover them all or visit my instagram account @sianellisartist
I was asked to create a mural for the Sheffield Farm to welcome school children visiting on educational trips. Luckily for me bright, bold, quirky and playful are totally my style and all very appealing to kids so it felt the perfect project to be my first large public painted piece. I would love it if more schools or businesses in Sheffield commissioned me to do mural work like this. It’s big and messy and makes me feel like a kid again!
The base layer was black paint. I started with a very basic pencil layer to indicate composition. Next I painted the piece with emulsion paint using a digital drawing I had created as a guide. I found it important to step back every now again and check the proportions of my work. This is a necessary step in big pictures, the bigger they are the more difficult it is to control distortion.
It took several layers of white before the piece started to look anything other than a bit of a mess. It’s important never to get disheartened if your piece looks bad at the beginning because they most often do! The benefit to the emulsion was that it dries pretty quickly so I could continously work on the piece. For the most part whilst waiting for a section to dry I could work on another, and by the time I’d finished the original section would be pretty much ready to start on again.
To finish the piece I used posca markers. These pens are like magic and work on pretty much anything. They aren’t the cheapest but there is no comparison between official Posca pens and other more inexpensive products masquerading as similar to Poscas. Nothing I have found has come close (although please comment on this post if you wish to challenge me on this!)
If you want to know anything more about the process, leave me a comment or get in touch!