Pupils at a Northumberland primary school inspired a famous artist to bring their school to life in a special painting.
The work by Rozanne Bell was unveiled at Abbeyfields School in Morpeth to the delight of youngsters and teachers - seven months after Year One children studied the Zimbabwean artist during art week.
Word of the children’s enthusiasm for Bell’s colourful creations found its way to the artist, through Morpeth’s Tallantyre Gallery which displays some of her pieces.
And in return for their interest, the 52-year-old painted their school with the aid of photographs and letters sent by the children.
Year One teacher Leila Halliford said: “As part of art week each year group was asked to choose an artist to study and Year One chose Rozanne Bell because a number of children already knew about her through the Tallantyre.
“Our work included creating artwork with different media, choosing paintings to discuss, visiting the local gallery and creating a collage of fabrics relating to one of her paintings which was displayed at the gallery too.
“The children absolutely loved the week. We had no idea they would be so motivated so that was pleasing enough, but to hear that an acclaimed international artist would do a painting for us was just remarkable. We were overwhelmed and the children could not contain their excitement.”
The painting is a metre in length and depicts the school building in the background, with pupils playing in front alongside flowers and trees next to a sign which describes Abbeyfields as ‘The Happy School’.
Mrs Halliford said: “I think the Year One pupils, who are now in Year Two, were unaware of how special it was for an artist to be giving us this painting, but the older children were certainly a little jealous.”
Headteacher Sandra Ford paid tribute to Mrs Halliford, along with art subject leader Allison Charlton, Year One team members Lauren Jones and Sam Young, and the Tallantyre Gallery, for helping during art week and beyond.
She added: “What I have been most touched by is the representation of the school in the painting. It is vibrant, bright, colourful and full of life, and we feel it is a really true reflection.”
Bell, whose work is sold and exhibited across the globe, told the Journal: “I was so touched that the children chose me to do their art project on.
“I am a great fan of children’s art - it is so pure and free of the confines of reality. I have a passion for naive art and as a naive artist I try not to be bound by too many rules and like my work to have a huge element of child like fun!
“It would be wonderful if more children could take art into adulthood as it is a great healer and an incredible companion one can have for life.”