In March 2020, I was approached by the owner of the Great Oak Cafe, Scott Ottewill, with the initial idea to paint a mural to say thank you to the NHS. My gallery, ‘Art by Osian’, was closed due to lock-down. This was a perfect opportunity for me to honour and give thanks to all our essential workers, who are going above and beyond at this time. It’s all about them.
I began painting the mural on April 15th and completed it on June 2nd. In all, it took 127 hours to paint from start to finish. As it progressed I kept referring to it as The Big Thank You mural.
The Big Thank You mural measures 17.5ft x 8ft. It is situated inside the community garden belonging to Compton’s Yard Trust. The work features well-known landmarks and various individuals local to the Llanidloes area. The main emphasis pays tribute to all essential workers including the local postie who went on his rounds as spiderman.
Thank you, essential workers!
I have attempted to represent all parts of lockdown life, not just in Llanidloes but nationwide – from the farmers continuing to work in the fields providing our food, the bin men, retailers and posties dressing up, the emergency services on the frontline, the soldiers building hospitals and testing stations and of course Captain Tom, but also back in time to John Wesley preaching at the stone by the market hall, to the places we treasure & dearly miss visiting like Clywedog Dam.
I kept Scott and the cafe staff up to date with the progress of The Big Thank You by posting regular time-lapse video clips to the staff messaging group. They really looked forward to watching the scene unfold and appreciating each new detail I added.
“I certainly didn’t expect the detailed masterpiece that is now the centrepiece of our special café garden. I sincerely hope many people will be able to come and sit in the garden of the GOC and admire this incredibly beautiful piece of art, once lockdown is over” Scott Ottewill
It has been a joy for me to paint this mural. I have included certain things that only locals would get. It’s bold and colourful with defined lines. It is like a gigantic colouring book with juxtaposed angles of perspective! My favourite character has to be Vicky the dinosaur, who brought a huge smile to all our faces during lock-down.
Co-managers of the Great Oak Cafe Gail Bell and Robert Plumbley said, “The mural depicts everything that our community is about and enhances the beautiful gardens for all our customers to enjoy for years to come”.
I was approached by a local school teacher. She wanted to base one of her online art lessons on The Big Thank You Mural. We decided on doing a video with a voiceover. And so here it is. I do hope you enjoy watching it as I walk you through the process from start to finish.