I’ve just returned from the San Luis Obispo I Madonnari Festival in central California. I’ve participated in this event 3 of the last 4 years and each experience has been a real pleasure.
Our hosts were the American Institute of Architects, Central Coast Chapter, and the Children’s Creative Project, which happens to be the organization spear-headed by Santa Barbara’s Kathy Koury, the individual responsible for bringing street painting to the US over 22 years ago.
I arrived with my fellow street painting friend, Sharyn Namnath, on Friday afternoon and we spent a few hours getting our drawings down on the pavement in preparation for Saturday’s Festival opening. My assigned square size was 10′ x 10′ but I ended up making it a 10′ x 12′ to better accommodate my drawing. After we completed our line drawings we attended the artist’s reception at the SLO Children’s Museum, which was very cool in that all of the ‘plastic’ cutlery, plates and cups used at the reception were compost-able! I loved that – talk about Eco- conscious! The AIA there does a great job of working towards innovation in sustainability – we can all thank them for their noble efforts.
I guess I should regress a bit to let you know that some of the lucky artists, myself included, were lodging at the famed Madonna Inn. Pink is the predominant color – icon Angeline from LA would love it. The interior can only be described as an over-stimulating fantasy – I’ve never seen anything like, and doubt I ever will. Often described as the most tasteless place to stay in America, it is something to behold if you are into kitsch on any level. I do have to speak highly of the staff and service – outstanding – and the fact that the Madonna Inn was a festival sponsor makes them shine in my book. The biggest delight was procurring one of their famed cakes for our Saturday street painting dinner party at the famed Rose House. I highly recommend the Pink Champagne cake – probably the best cake I have had in years. See below:
The weather proved cooperative and all of the artists got down to serious work on Saturday and Sunday. The surface was a bit rough but nothing too problematic. Rough surfaces tend to make you go through a lot of chalk and minimize fine detail, but as you can see from our drawings we were able to manage fairly well. Here are images of my painting – Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, by John Singer Sargent. I love Sargent’s brush work in his oils and I am always enticed to bring some of that painterly work to my chalk pieces. This is the second Sargent I have created – the other was a Spanish dancer piece that you can view on my Traditional portfolio pages, here on my website. (Special thanks to Randy and Kip Dettmer for sponsoring my square this year.)
Here are some of my friends’ paintings: Blair Looker, Alice Crittenden and Cecelia Linayao. Everyone did an amazing job – Bravo!
As you can see, we had a wide variety of painting styles and subject matter at this event. Many high school and Cal Poly students participate each year and they always create interesting and imaginative paintings. Congratulations to all who participated this year.
Some final shots of friends – Annie Hefferman, Cecelia and Becka Looker – at work and finished!