Santa Barbara I Madonnari Festival, May 2013
We were greatly honored to be chosen as the feature artists for the 27th I Madonnari Festival in Santa Barbara, our fourteenth year at the festival. The feature painting at I Madonnari is located at the base of the steps rising to the Mission Santa Barbara sanctuary, so the Mission asks that the feature painting be of a religious subject. This year, they also asked that the painting include images of California mission founder Father Junipero Serra (in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth) and Father Virgil Cordano, a well-loved priest at Mission Santa Barbara who passed away five years ago. We also added images of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The painting was inspired by Andrea Mantegna's ceiling in the Camera degli Sposi, painted at the Ducal Palace in Mantua in the early 1470s. We tried to imagine what the oculus (round ceiling opening) could look like from above the room, and extrapolated from there.
We got into town on Tuesday. Before we began, we stopped to take a few photos of the lovely expanse of newly refinished asphalt that awaited our chalks.
Then Cheryl threw caution to the wind.
The caution tape was used to protect our pattern from bike and foot traffic, as we were working by ourselves in the big parking lot.
We started again early on Wednesday, with the intention of getting a good half day's work into the painting (we were more concerned about finishing early than late). Cheryl began work on Father Virgil (l) and Father Serra (r), while Wayne began painting pothos leaves that draped over the edge of the oculus.
We had photos of Father Virgil to work from, and used Wayne's father as a body double to create the pose we wanted. Father Serra, we decided, had a surprising resemblance to Wayne's brother David (except the tonsure).
Wayne and our painting in front of the Mission. We had chosen to use Ionic columns in our painting and were happy to discover that the mission has them, too.
On Thursday, our dear friend Alice came up to add her special touch to Boo Boo the spaniel (one of our heavenly creatures looking down through the oculus). Since she was painting a spaniel, we called her our Spaniard.
We included an "easter egg" (a hidden bit of humor) in the painting.
Our Saint Francis stand-in--a gardening friend of Cheryl's--held his hand up for a Western Meadowlark (original photo by Chris Knight).
Our neighbor Tammy filled in as Saint Clare (much to the amusement of her entire family). We live in Santa Clara, and St. Clare was a compatriot of St. Francis, so there was a certain sense to including her.
Our models from last year, Megan and Jack, helped us out by painting butterflies in the clouds.
We generally try to work on opposite sides of the painting, but sometimes we still end up working in close quarters.
By the end of Saturday, Wayne had finished all the pothos plants, Cheryl had the four Franciscans painted (along with St. Francis' faithful golden retriever, Charlie), and we were starting to fill in the center.
As with the rest of our models, we based our heavenly creatures on friends and family (and one passer-by). Here, Cheryl paints our friend Karla as an angel.
Another easter egg can be seen in this photo. The bird is based on a photo by Craig Houdeshell.
Father Larry is the associate pastor at the mission. He blessed the chalk for the festival using sage and an eagle feather, noting that holy water and chalk don't mix well. Then he went around and smudged every painting in the square...and our chocolate chip cookies!
Cheryl in front of the painting.
On Sunday, Megan and Jack helped us with the painting again.
Sunday night--almost done! We needed to finish by Monday at noon.
Two of our angels: Bryce and his mom Karla. Bryce was born in Santa Barbara, as was his brother Kai. They came to visit us at the festival on Monday.
The final touch: we added the faint tracery of wings to the angels using the same technique we use for our patterns--we pounced the wing pattern in white on top of the painting. In this case, we decided that was all we needed to do.
Bryce and Karla with wings. All of the wing patterns came from photos by Craig Houdeshell.
Finished! And in plenty of time.
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