San Rafael Youth In Arts Festival, June 2010

This year's theme for Youth In Arts was Bella Terra, so we decided to revisit the subject of the very first street painting we worked on: a green man. The green man, or foliate head, is a drawing or sculpture of a man either peering from the midst of leaves or with a face (or sometimes body) made out of leaves. It seems to be a pagan image, but is often found carved in churches in Europe (especially Britain). Similar faces can be found in other cultures as well.

We wanted to do more than just show a simple green man face, though. So when we found a beautiful clay green man mask online, that became a starting point for a photo collage which includes the mask, the face of an Afghan shepherd inside the mask (original photo by Steve McCurry), the face of a laughing Brussells bartender (original photo by Dominique Beyens), the clothing from an online African clothing retailer, and bits and pieces provided by Cheryl (mostly the hands). Cheryl painted the bartender (who we're thinking of as Mother Earth or Gaia) and Wayne painted the green man mask in her hands. It didn't exactly turn out green, though, so we ended up with an autumnal feel to the painting.

the pounced square ready for chalk
We had a little trouble getting our pounced image transferred--first the wind kicked up, so we had to scramble to keep the paper rolls from flying across the squares, then we managed to lay out the first strip too low on the square and we had to redo it after we got the second one down. Eventually we had our image ready to color.

Wayne starts work on the Afghan shepherd eyes.

Afghan shepherd face
The Afghan shepherd is ready to be leaved.

Cheryl at work on the Mother Earth face
Cheryl at work on the Mother Earth face.

Top half of laughing face
Cheryl paints the laughing bartender's face.

Cheryl at work
It was hot, and working with black pastels made everything hotter. Every so often, our gloves would get a pinhole in a finger and squirt! Out would come a splash of sweat onto our painting. It dried instantly.

Green man with leafy nose
At this point, we started joking about the poor guy's allergies.

The square with the faces painted (mostly)
By noon on Saturday, Wayne had gotten the face with the first two leaves done, and Cheryl had gotten most of the bartender's face finished.

The square on Saturday afternoon
Saturday afternoon: the bartender's face is done, and more of the leaves are in. Cheryl has started working on the hands.

The full square on Saturday afternoon
The view from the base of the square.

Saturday evening status
When we quit for the day on Saturday, we had the inside six leaves done on the mask and the hands and face done on the Gaia figure.

Sunday morning with Cheryl
Sunday morning: Cheryl starts work on the neck and clothing. The jacket is made in a mudprint pattern, by the way.

Wayne leafs out
Wayne leafs and leafs again (what a releaf!).

Sunday noon
Cheryl continues her progress down the jacket.

Cheryl at noon on Sunday
Sunday noon--the jacket is taking shape.

View from the top of the square
The view from the top--suddenly the leaves leap like flames.

Lira helps with the background
Wayne's uncle's grandniece Lira helped us on the background.

Wayne and Lira stencil leaves
She also helped us stencil leaves onto the background.

Wayne signs the painting
Wayne signs the completed painting.

Closeup of the face
Closeup of the completed Gaia face.

Closeup of the mask
Closeup of the completed green man mask.

Finished painting
The finished painting.

Wayne and Cheryl with the finished painting
Cheryl and Wayne pose with the completed painting.

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