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A Sustainable Landscape Mural By Kate-Beth March

Posted by Sarah on

When Kate-Beth got in touch with us in September 2020, she had completed work on a garden mural, we were blown away! The mural has been personally designed by Kate-Beth and hand painted. We had to find out more about the project and the products she used for the mural. It’s based on scenery in Kent, from wildlife and farm landscapes. Completing the work as sustainably as she could, Kate-Beth used recycled paint, tester pots and dried pigments to achieve the finished piece.

Hi Kate, how did you get into Gardening and painting landscape murals?

My mother is a fantastic gardener, she has inspired me to become a gardener myself, I can be enthusiastic about my love of plants every day.

I was brought up in a very rural environment, my parents grew all their own fruit and vegetables, and we had an orchard which was very wild. I started by identifying wildflowers, insects, and birds as a child from books and have built up my knowledge all my life as my number one interest is in nature. Nature is my inspiration and never fails to inspire me - as simple as that!

It’s quite a big mural and a lot of work has gone into it, Is It something you’ve done before?

I have a Fine Art Degree, I graduated from Staffordshire University in 1999 and haven't done any painting since. Although I’ve never done a mural before, I was enthusiastic about the new challenge ahead. I enjoyed researching the different sustainable brands that I wanted to use, and the plan started coming together.

What gave you the inspiration for the lovely wildlife image?

The scene in the mural is based on Kent scenery that I see every day. I have also worked on farms though out my life, the landscape is loosely based on the farm that I work at now. The farm is a hop, apple, wheat, and linseed growing farm. I see a lot of the creatures in the mural in my own wildlife friendly garden, in other people's gardens, in surrounding meadows, woods and the beach, I always keep my eyes peeled!

How did you find Celtic Sustainables, is being sustainable important to you and your client?

I heard about Celtic Sustainables through my partner who is an eco-builder and uses eco-friendly alternatives in his work.
I only do wildlife friendly gardening, no mow etc, so John (my client's) garden is full of birds and insects and is quite wild, he is on the same page as myself in his approach to gardening. When I suggested eco paints he was fully on board and paying a bit more for them as opposed to non-eco-friendly products.

It was very important to me to use as many eco-friendly products as possible which is my aim with everything I consume. It also would seem ironic to be painting scenes of wildlife with newly brought toxic products! I was also able to cycle to and from the mural which helped to keep my carbon footprint down.

How did you prepare the wall before painting?

I prepared the wall, by scrubbing off the lichen with a wire brush and some power washing. It was hard work and very boring! That took a couple of days to complete. I made sure the wall was completely dry before painting and there was no flaking paint or crumbling masonry before painting. Once the lichen had been removed overall the wall was in good shape, ready for painting!

What products did you use? (any tips on how to use them?)

I mixed the Coloured Earth Pigments (I had 12 different pigments in total) with a white masonry emulsion paint. I used masonry paints which we had left over from other jobs which helped with the cost of the overall work and meant we didn’t need to buy more paint than was necessary. I had lots of different colours in jam jars which I mixed to make specific colours for the detailed work on 2 or 3 palettes. This was a fun part to mix the unique colours and gave me the freedom to have many different shades.

I had to do a lot of colour mixing! My only tip would be to mix a small amount of pigment each time and make it into a small putty before adding more paint or pigment, it helps the pigment to mix and disperse properly, and remember to have fun experimenting!

Eico have really vibrant colours, is that why you chose the alterior matt emulsion colours?

I was first drawn to eico alterior masonry paints because they are super hardwearing and have an excellent selection of colours. They are water based and are made with geothermal energy- perfect for the job in hand. I used eico primary colours- Miro, Haapsalu and Bus Stop, I used these as they are bright and could highlight a lot of the details.

Graphenstone’s grafclean exterior paint is super hard wearing, and have beautiful colours, how did you find using them?

Graphestone paint was lovely, thick and went a long way especially when watering them down a little bit! I used colours Nakajima and Olive, lovely strong pigments with a great depth of colour. I loved that the paints are a natural raw mineral based paint with no toxic fumes and very low VOC, a very sustainable choice for the mural. The paints are also resistant to mould and mildew helping the mural to look great for many years! The paint is also soluble, containing no solvents or toxins.

How did you find mixing the pigments, and was it the end result you were hoping for?

Mixing the pigments with the paint was fairly easy once I had the jam jar system set up. And experimenting with the pigments was a lot of fun and very experimental.

The client and I were thrilled with the result and definitely what we were hoping for.
The pigments certainly suited the scene as they gave a much nicer, natural coloured result in John's wildlife garden.

How has the mural weathered?

The mural has weathered very well so far, and my customer enjoys seeing it in his garden.

Are you hoping to do more murals in the future?

I may do more murals in the future; it was very rewarding. I enjoyed experimenting with different materials and getting stuck in. I’d definitely do another mural if the right one came up.

All photos are owned by Kate-Beth March, all rights reserved. Kindly used with permission.