Holy mural larger than life

FORMER Canberra-turned-Dubbo artist Michael Winters is working his way along a 15-metre mural he has designed and is painting for Rosary Primary School, at Watson in the ACT.

The mural will be completed in large transportable panels and has been commissioned as part of the school's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Widely recognised for his public murals in Canberra, the artist was approached by the school and asked if he would be interested in designing and painting the large piece.

He said he was keen to do the artwork and was given a folder of old photographs taken across the years at the school, to draw inspiration from.

His brief was to also include Saint Dominic as the school was run by Dominican nuns up until the early 1980s.

"I had to have references to the nuns and their role in the school and I had to work out a way to talk about time," he said.

"I came up with the idea of pages blowing in the wind throughout the mural.

"I've got aspects of the 80s in black and white while the more contemporary pages, like the computer world and IT, are in colour.

"Environmental awareness and 'treading lightly upon God's earth' was also a consideration and represented by including nature in the background behind the pages."

The trees at the top of the mural morph through the seasonal changes in the background and illustrate time passing, while rotary beads wind their way throughout the image, connecting it all.

Mr Winters works initially from a scale drawing called a "cartoon." The cartoon is the blueprint for the mural, but is flexible regarding changes.

As he painted the artist built on ideas in the cartoon and evolved his theme more precisely.

Blank panels have been left in the mural to allow the school's students to add their own art after the hand-over.

"They wanted the kids to have some involvement, so I've left two pages aside and when I go to Canberra next month to do some teaching, I'm going to see what the kids come up with.

"When the final design for the mural was presented to the school, a collective, 'How on earth did you ever think of that?' was the response,"he said.

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