Another year has come and gone and I find myself with a little case of post festival blues after completing my 12th year at the Santa Barbara I Madonnari Street Painting Festival. The festival celebrated 23 years this past weekend and the public support could not have been better. In the wake of the terrible fires that have decimated much of the local community, Santa Barbara came out in force to support this unique event.
Blessed with incredible weather and working conditions, the artists put in stellar performances, creating amazing masterful works in chalk on the Mission parking plaza. Boasting live entertainment, great food (loved the friend calamari) and a chalking area for the kids, festival attendance was high on all 3 days.
My good friend Sharyn (who I actually met through a local motorcycling club) and I were invited to work together on a painting sponsored this year by Moto Paradiso / Vespa Santa Barbara. We created a 12′ x 12′ reproduction of Mexican artist Jesus Helguera‘s work ‘El Flechador del Sol‘ (The Sun Archer). Reminiscent of Maxfield Parrish’s work, Helguera is best known for the illustrated nationalistic calendar’s he created in Mexico in the mid 20th century, portraying an idealized image of the more prosaic reality of Mexican life. Every man was a hero, and every woman a beauty, sometimes depicted with Arian features. His romantic approach to the figure gave his paintings the heroic impact that eventually made him famous.
Sharyn and I had worked successfully together on other paintings in the past so I knew we would create a fairly authentic rendition of this work. We began on the Friday before the festival with our drawing lay-out, then continued to the color application for the next 3 days. We finished by Sunday at 3:30pm and the result was very satisfying – lots of lavenders, blues, ochres and golds, filling out billowing clouds, rippling fabric and chiseled musculature. A very dramatic painting to say the least. The crowds really enjoyed it and the sponsor loved it.
Thanks again to Kathy Koury & her team at the Children’s Creative Project, who makes all this wonderment possible; and to all of the artists who participated this year. Bravo!