Palo Alto Festival of the Arts, August 2010

For our eighth year in Palo Alto, we decided to surprise our friend JD with a portrait. JD is a firefighter with a serious photography hobby, and one of his specialties is taking photos of street paintings. Over the twelve years he's photographed street painting festivals, he's become friends with a lot of us due to his generosity, colorful personality and equally colorful apparel. We've thought for a few years now that he would make a great street painting subject, and this summer we had our opportunity. We worked with JD's wife to get a good photo of him, then combined it with a photo of Wayne posing as a street painter painting JD. As a bonus, we honored JD's standard photography clothes by creating a t-shirt starring the newest superhero: The Cameraman (based on a photo of JD himself). Wayne posed in the shirt so that it could be part of the painting, and we both wore our shirts on Sunday.

T-shirt with the Cameraman superhero image on it
The Cameraman t-shirt

To say that JD was surprised was an understatement. Then he learned of the extent of the conspiracy--that his wife was in on it, and that we'd made shirts for not only Wayne to pose in, but also for a number of his other street painter friends (including several that weren't at Palo Alto). We think he's forgiven us now, but we weren't sure for a while! It was all in good fun, and by Sunday afternoon JD was posing with the painting and even signed the finished piece with us.

Wayne paints the camera lens
Wayne focuses on the lens at first.

Painting of Wayne's face
Cheryl starts by painting Wayne's face.

The full square at Saturday lunchtime
Saturday lunchtime status.

Cheryl paints JDs face dressed in a thick hooded sweatshirt
The other excitement on Saturday was the unusually strong wind all day. It was very frustrating to put down chalk only to see it blow away immediately. Wayne joked that we were seeing people flying small dogs as kites and that we'd have to tie down some of the smaller street painters to keep them from being blown away. Cheryl just borrowed a heavy sweatshirt and shivered.

Photo by Baranduin Briggs of JD with Cheryl and Wayne
JD came by for the first time at around 3:30. Cheryl was working on his face at the time when she heard him rant, "You cheaters! That's cheating!" Hi JD--we're happy to see you, too! Surprise! [photo by Baranduin Briggs, used with permission]

Cheryl gets windblown while painting JD
Cheryl looks a little windblown.

Closeup of JD with his camera lens
Closeup of JD's face with his camera lens. Several Nikon fans had fun identifying the lens from the painting.

Wayne twists to ease his back
By the end of the afternoon, our backs were starting to give out. Wayne pulled out a variation of a yoga twist to unkink his spine. The painted Wayne was out of luck--he was stuck in that uncomfortable position for two days.

The whole square at the end of the Saturday
Here's the painting status at the end of Saturday. Still to come: the camera body and handle, Wayne's other arm and legs, and JD's hand and jacket. Oh, and a technicolor background courtesy of our neighbor Sean.

Closeup of painted Wayne Saturday night
Wayne's still missing some parts.

Wayne with Cameraman graphic on shirt
First thing Sunday morning, we did a second pounce of some detail areas--the t-shirt graphic and the hat weave--and repounced the areas of the painting where the original pounce had been scoured away. Then Wayne painted in the Cameraman t-shirt graphic. At this point, he matched his painting except for his jeans (he was asked why he didn't wear shorts, and Cheryl was asked why she wasn't in the painting too).

Cheryl paints Wayne's limbs
Meanwhile, Cheryl got to work adding Wayne's legs.

Wayne poses with his painted counterpart
Wayne had fun posing with himself.

Cheryl works on JDs hand
Cheryl works on JD's hand while Wayne and Sean prepare to work on the background.

Cheryl smiles while painting JD's hand
Cheryl shows off her Cameraman t-shirt.

Wayne draws in his shadow
After the background was complete as far as possible, Wayne traced the shadow edge so that Sean could paint around it.

Sean paints shadow Wayne paints camera Cheryl paints jacket letters
While Sean filled in a charcoal gray tone around the shadow, Wayne tried to make sense of the camera straps and handles and Cheryl began painting the letters on JD's jacket.

Cheryl smiles for camera

Sean and Wayne share a seat
Sean and Wayne share a seat to work on the shadow.

Sean and Wayne paint Wayne's shadow
Sean and Wayne paint Wayne's shadow under the gaze of Sean's mom Tammy.

JD watches the painting
JD watches the painting in his own Cameraman shirt.

JD and Wayne pose with the almost finished painting
JD and Wayne pose with the almost-finished painting.

Last step: a second pounce of the jacket graphics
Cheryl's mom Lois helps Wayne and Cheryl with the last step: a second pounce on the jacket to add the superhero graphics on it. We chose not to paint in the pounced graphics, but to leave them just as a stenciled pounce.

Wayne signs the completed painting
Wayne signs the completed painting.

JD signs the completed painting
JD signs the completed painting.

JD grins after signing the painting
JD flashes his characteristic grin.

The finished painting
The finished painting (showing Wayne's figure popping up over the JD painting).

The painters pose with JD and Sharyn
JD and Sharyn Namneth pose with Cheryl and Wayne in a gathering of the t-shirts.

JD photographs the square from his ladder
JD in his natural environment--up a ladder with a camera.

Closeup of JD's face
Closeup of JD's face.

The painting from the ladder
The finished painting from the ladder. Here Wayne looks distorted but it's a better view of JD since we didn't stretch his image at all. The photograph of JD was from last winter's Maverick's surf contest, when JD got to go out on a boat to photograph the contest.

Cheryl grins with chalk on her face
"Who, me? Would I do something like this?"

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