Sarasota International Chalk Festival, October 30-31 2010

Sarasota was a high point for us this year. It was our first street painting festival outside California, and the first time we flew in to a festival. The organizers brought in a lot of painters from around the country and around the globe: one of the three feature artists was Edgar Mueller from Germany, five artists came from Italy, another came from the Netherlands, and there were at least 15 of us Californians painting the streets (including another one of the feature artists--Tracy Lee Stum--and most of her crew). We had a chance to meet a lot of artists from Florida and the East Coast, too. Flying to the festival meant we had to consider every ounce of chalk we took, so we didn't try to take our usual 80 lb. assortment of colors, and we built new lightweight seats to use.

The theme of the festival was Halloween, so we asked four of the neighbor kids (ages 2, 3, 4 and 5) if they would pose for us in their costumes. Ava and Giana from across the street came in their crayon outfits, and Jesse and Natalie from down the street were the Frog Prince and Frog Princess, respectively. We photographed the kids on a rainy Sunday while they ran around our living room (which resulted in a lot of very cute, very blurry photos). From those photos we put together a painting that could be interactive with the passersby--people could pose with the painting so that they looked like they were handing out candy to the kids.

Cheryl checks our supplies on Saturday before dawn
We got started early on Saturday--and soon realized that because Sarasota is near the western edge of the Eastern time zone, the sun rises and sets later in the day. At 7:00 AM, the sun wasn't up yet, but we weren't the only street painters ready to go that early.

Wayne poses with the pounced image
Once we had the painting outlines pounced, Wayne posed to see if the illusion worked.

Wayne demonstrates the best way to view the painting
We've learned that there are two good ways to make a 3D painting "pop" or look like it's standing up: one is to view it in a camera lens, and the other is to do what Wayne's doing here...sort of. Cupping your fingers around an eye like you have a telescope is the necessary part (make sure you keep that eye open and the other one shut, not vice versa). Raising one leg, putting a hand behind your head and humming Yankee Doodle are better tests of one's gullibility.

Wayne paints Giana's yellow hat
We started with Giana (age 2) because she was the best kid for people to pose with.

Cheryl paints Giana's face
Giana looks absorbed in what's in her pumpkin bag, but in reality, she wouldn't keep her hat on until her mom handed over her iPhone. We swapped out the iPhone in Photoshop, mostly because it just looked like a black rectangle. She looked like a little businessman checking her email (albeit while dressed as a yellow crayon).

Jesse eyes the camera
Jesse was next, and we soon found that his eyes would follow you.

Cheryl paints Jesse's face
This image gives some sense of scale. Jesse's face was at least 2 feet tall.

Wayne crouches next to the Frog Prince
The Frog Painter meets the Frog Prince.

Wayne smiles while painting Jesse's costume
Note the lovely ears Wayne made for our hats as our Halloween costumes.

The Frog Prince and Frog Princess
Headshots of the Frog siblings.

Wayne paints Natalie's tiara
Wayne starts to work on Natalie's fluffy tiara.

Cheryl paints Jesse's hand
At the end of the Saturday, with the light fading, Cheryl paints Jesse's hand (it got touched up again Sunday morning when the light was better).

Ava's eyes
Sunday morning: Ava has a hat and is starting to get a face.

A dragonfly lands by Natalie's portrait
We had a visitor check out the painting very closely.

View of the painting from the side
A view from the side showing Ava's five-foot-tall hat.

Ladybug Cheryl works on Ava
Cheryl dressed as a ladybug for Sunday (spots provided by Alice). The antennae made for interesting shadows on the painting.

Jermiah and Nathanael pose
Our sponsors Jermiah and Nathanael pose with the painting.

Cheryl and Alice spread their arms wide in exhaltation
Ta da! Finished!

Closeup of Giana
Closeup of Giana.

Closeup of Jesse
Closeup of Jesse (Let me introduce his Frogness).

Closeup of Natalie
Closeup of Natalie (Sweet little princess).

Closeup of Ava
Closeup of Ava. I love how all four kids have different expressions.

A bystander gives candy to Giana
A bystander demonstrates the painting's interactivity by giving candy to Giana.

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

The painting from the top
The view from the top--all strrrrrretched out!

Jesse peeks through the crowd
Jesse appears to peek at you through the crowd.

Natalie and Ava closeup
Closeup of Natalie and Ava.

Completed painting from the best picture spot
The painting pops!

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