As a digital illustrator, I don't usually get my hands dirty when creating art. However, this year I participated in Art Along the Rogue, a local art and music festival held in Grants Pass, Oregon. Local artists are called to apply and join the dozens of talented individuals who share in fun of painting directly on the street. Most artists use chalk to make their art, but acrylic paint is also allowed. I chose to use the pastel chalk.
This wasn't my first year as a chalk artist. I had my first go around in 2016 during last year's Art Along the Rogue. Looking back, it was quite obvious that I had no idea what I was doing. All I had to use was my single box of chalk (provided to me by the event), a bottle of water, and a photo of the piece I was going to recreate.
Two hours into it and I was ready to call it quits. I was unhappy with the quality of the art and my knees, palms, and fingers were aching. I thought to myself, "this isn't anything like drawing on my Wacom Mobilestudio. I can't crtl+z or zoom out". The designated space measured 8' x 8' and I was using the grid technique to break up my image into smaller sections, drawing one square at a time.
Despite my temporary low self esteem, I was stubborn and kept on drawing. By the time I was halfway through, I was able to see the woods instead of just the trees. Whatever imperfections I saw up close blended together and looked pretty decent at a distance. This motivated me to keep going and by the end of the two days, I was done and happy with the result. The theme for 2016 was "Legends", so I decided to make my art referencing the CW Series "DC's Legends of Tomorrow".
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
The theme for this year's show was "Let's Face It". Every artist was free to interpret the theme however they wished. It could be as simple as a portrait or perhaps something more abstract such as overcoming a challenge. I love superheroes, so I decided to illustrate a female Green Arrow, modeled after my ex-wife, Shiloh Silveira. Not only is her face the focal point, but I also wanted her expression to show a bold attitude as if she was saying "I can face this!"
I was better prepared this year. I brought my own chalk so I didn't run out of important colors (something I learned the hard way last year). I also purchased some quality knee pads and finger-less gloves to keep my palms from being scrapped on the road. In addition to having more equipment, including an MP3 player to help pass the time, I also had plenty of emotional support from my family, friends, and even the friendly strangers enjoying the show. There were compliments all around!
There is still a lot to be learned when it comes to chalk art, but overall it was a great experience. I am interested in doing this year after year, if able. If you are ever in the Grants Pass area during the first weekend of October, please consider stopping by or better yet, join me and make some Art Along the Rogue!
Female Green Arrow modeled by Shiloh Silveira