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The Bigger Picture at the Eden Project

An intriguing message arrived requesting help with a secret art event at the Eden Project. Sunday evening finds a small team of us unpacking and preparing 450 small canvases ready for painting. A few hours and finger blisters later I’m wondering what I’ve let myself in for!

At Eden we prep 450 table settings of paint, brushes and water. Just 6 squirts of acrylic, 450 times, took over an hour to get ready, at a speed of 10 seconds per palette, or 1.67 seconds per squirt, not as easy as it sounds!

Table settings of paintbrushes, water and wipes ready for the secret art event in Eden’s canteen.

The Eden Project was closed to the public while 450 staff and volunteers undertook this amazing team building exercise. Each participant was given a different template to create and we ran around making sure everyone had enough paint, giving colour mix advice and checking lines and colours were as accurate as possible.

Every painter produced a unique piece of artwork, with nuances of personality, but these smaller templates were each part of a master one, so when each numbered canvas was dropped into position we could all see the final image emerge. Every canvas became a vibrant part of a greater exciting whole. It was a remarkable moment seeing this special work of art come alive.

This stunning 200 square foot artwork, created from 450 individual canvases, now has pride of place at the entrance to the Eden Mediterranean Biome.


Each and every one of us is a special vibrant part of a wonderful whole.

While we live our own lives, without seeing the other parts, it can be difficult to see the overall beautiful picture. But it’s there.

Some of the participants at the Eden event felt unsure about their canvas, but once it was in place in the whole image, their part in it became exciting and special. Alive. It transformed their view of their own part in a wider, bigger picture. Even for us helpers, we each felt part of this wonderful creation.

The image itself is an exciting one for Eden as they are growing internationally. The picture includes the iconic St Austell Biomes we all know and love, plus six other Eden projects across the world in China, New Zealand, Australia, United Arab Emirates, USA and Northern Ireland.

Artist and architect of The Bigger Picture, Jeanni Grant-Nelson, with Eden chief executive, Gordon Seabright, and the completed picture.
The Bigger Picture, now on display at the Eden Project

And the creator, architect and co-ordinator of this fantastic event? Jeanni Grant-Nelson, my art tutor.

Jeanni is a wonderful artist and her very special gift is her incredible passion for teaching art. She can teach anyone how to do art. She taught me how to see.

You can find out more about Jeanni’s art and coaching, at and

Or follow her on facebook or twitter

Watch the video of The Bigger Picture being created below:

For more information, see

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