Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chalk Dust

After the four-hour grueling ChalkFest time on my hands and knees last Saturday, I'm feeling more confident with the art medium. Not necessarily sidewalk chalk, but art pastels. I have almost an entire box left of artist's pastels, and I think I might create some pieces to hang in our stairwell. Big, bold, playful. Now I just have to pick a subject matter. I have four boards to decorate.

So ChalkFest. That was fun. Sponsored by Wausau Area Events, coordinated by the Center for the Visual Arts, it's a huge, family-friendly event that takes place on our "400 Block." This is a city-block size piece of property, a green oasis among the buildings of our downtown, with sidewalks surrounding the green space and cutting diagonal slashes to make an "X." For ChalkFest, the sidewalks are measured off and marked, and each artist is given a piece of sidewalk to decorate.

Oh my goodness, the beautiful art created that day (and the next day). It was fabulous to be a part of it. The biggest compliment was for a passer-by to click a picture of what I was doing, and it happened a pleasingly amount of times while I was there.

During the Citizen Wausau board meeting a few weeks ago when we were discussing the block we had purchased at the upcoming ChalkFest, the silence after asking if anyone knew any artists was uncomfortable and telling. "If you don't mind a childlike effort, I'll do it."

I can't freehand. I can't draw from memory. But as I've explained before... I can copy like a champ.

Once Chris and I laid out a grid and the rays element and started some circles with a compass, the rest was relatively easy. The impact of the graphic I copied (a square version of our site's masthead without the text) was in its geometry, the bold contrasting circles that became clouds and trees depending on the color and placement, the rays that became sky and grass, the blocky buildings that easily call into mind the recognizable buildings of our downtown skyline. Without needing much detail work, I was able to create a work of art that was striking and impressive looking. But it only took me four hours. Many artists better than I, with more detailed plans, took all day and the next morning.

Will I do it again? Hell yeah. I think I'll practice over the winter with the medium, and I'll choose a piece of art to imitate with more detail, and I'll knock everyone's socks off.

It was so much fun and so rewarding to do this bit of PR for Citizen Wausau, but it was even more enjoyable to meet some of the people that I have just known virtually through the site. We are a crazy cool group of people, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Nana Update. The surgeon was able to sew up her face and the laceration on her conjunctiva, but he wasn't able to reattach the muscle to her eyeball. He's never seen a cut so deep. He called a colleague who he considers to be one of the best eye surgeons in the country, and that doctor has seen one so deep. The odds that it can be reattached are slim, but we are putting our hope in the next surgery. I found the fated sunglasses in the bike trailer last night, tossed there after the accident. They were bent, but intact. It is anyone's guess how that thick plastic was able to do so much damage. Thank you for your healing thoughts and prayers.