Thursday, June 16, 2011

A long, drawn out trip... (pt. 2)

I've been meaning to do this post forever, and other things kept coming up. It's more on the personal side of things since it was a vacation...or, excuse me, holiday, but there was a bit of sketching involved, as well as a visit with an old friend.

Last month I went on a much anticipated trip to England. By "much anticipated" I mean saving/planning/looking forward to it since my last trip to England. It was an amazing experience, especially since it was the first trip I've ever taken completely by myself. I got my fill of great museums (and concerts) in London, and plenty of relaxing nature walks (and pints) in Cambridge. I had originally planned to sketch more, but after the first day I realized I was on vacation, so that went out the window.

Sketches from the Natural History Museum.

 As some followers may recall from my last trip, one of the absolute highlights was getting to visit my favorite illustrator/hero at his home studio. I'm very happy to say that I got to do it again.

Getting to visit Gerald again was absolutely wonderful. He's still the amazingly nice person I met in Savannah three years ago, and still working in the business and loving what he does. An added bonus of the visit was the fact that, while I was in town I attended one of Roger Waters' Wall shows, so we got to have a chat about how far the show has come since it was originally done in the 80's. I also got to show him some of my more current work, as well as talk about what I've been up to since I last saw him, including some of the difficulties of freelancing. His response is something that will stick with me for a long time: "It's very difficult to be an artist...but we're very lucky to be artists." That is one of the things have I have always loved about Gerald; every time I have seen him I have never felt a separation between professional and novice, famous and not. He has always treated me as a fellow artist.

As always, England was wonderful and beautiful, and I'm already saving up for my next trip. Until then I'll be fondly dreaming of her green fields and fish and chips while completing my 2012 Sketchbook Project submission.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Denver Chalk Art Festival

Hello, everyone! I know it's been a while since I've posted any work, due mostly to my day job, as well as my much anticipated holiday to the UK (which I will post on later). I'm hoping to turn that around, and I'll start with my most recent venture, which was strictly for fun.

This weekend I helped participate in the Denver Chalk Art Festival downtown in Larimer Square. I helped lead a team of teens from Gold Crown Enrichment, where I volunteer as an art mentor; after the teachers over there learned I had participated in SCAD's Sidewalk Arts Festival, they figured I would be a good source of information on chalk art. I hadn't done the Denver festival before, and it is set up a bit differently than SCAD's competition, although most of the differences are for the better. The pros are you aren't limited to the chalk they give you; you either purchase extra pastel packs in addition to the one box they provide you with, or bring your own. They also feed you (their sponsors were Snooze, Qdoba, Panera Bread, and Mellow Mushroom), as well as provide free parking for participants. The festival spans two days, so you're also not as strapped for time. We could have easily finished our design on the first day, but instead decided to break it up, so we spent the mornings working on the art, and then left in the afternoon (when it started getting hot). The only real downside to the event is that you are not allowed to cover your artwork, even if it starts raining. Fortunately we had two days of full sun, so this was never an issue.

I worked with the kids for a couple of weeks on brainstorming and sketching out a design, which you had to submit with the submission form. The kids quickly came up with the idea of doing a piece on Conservation vs. Consumption.

Sketching the first morning. Unlike the "professional artists" that were situated directly on Larimer Square, we were on 14th street, so we were drawing directly on asphalt. I was worried we wouldn't be able to paint over the spray paint on the street, but after many a layer of chalk we succeeded. Our location also worked out for the better as the day went on as we were next to a sidewalk with a tree for shade.

"Painting" with chalk to lay down color, much like underpainting with oils.

The was about where we stopped on Day 1.

Start of Day 2. The guys in the front put in a fantastic city skyline.

Val (in the back with the red shirt) put in the amazing swirl detail in both the trees and in the smoke around the nuclear power plant.

All done!

Happy, accomplished artists.

I was very happy to be a part of the festival this year, especially since I got to help out a great, talented group of kids. They are already talking about trying to get two teams together for next year.