My Reminiscences of events, old and new, and travels, far and near
Friday, December 2, 2016
Marietta Chalktoberfest 2016 - part two, and more ...
The Thanksgiving holidays delayed my writing the second part of this post. We spent over a week in Tennessee with our daughter's family and the grand-children. The weather was mild and sunny as we drove to and back from Brentwood, Tennessee. I was surprised at the amount of color still left on the foliage. I drove through the Chattahoochee National Forest, away from the main freeways. As we drove past Cloudland Canyon State Park, in the upper elevation, it seemed that the red, yellow and gold colors were still prominent. The bronze of the oak and beech trees and the red of the sourwood and sumac trees provided a magic canopy of warm hues to the highway. The highway is GA 136 in northwest Georgia, going from Resada through Villanow and LaFayette, to Trenton and then into Tennessee.
The bad drought kept the colors on hold I think. It was not easy taking photos though because the highway is narrow, very curvy with thousand-foot deep canyons, and the dense woodland by the roadside hide the view. As we drove up high in the hills we could see smoke in the distance. It has kept so dry around the South that there have been numerous wild fires. Another reason is that parts of the forests are dying from absorbing pollution. When we left Greater Atlanta we could smell the smoke in the air - and see a smoky haze, too.
When we returned home, a couple of days ago, I went in the front and back yards to take pictures (tree foliage shown in heading collage.) It had not been cold and some of our annual planters were still looking good. Some black walnuts were lying among the dead leaves and in just a minute or two I gathered a basket full of them. Usually the squirrels eat them, but if they did they still left many nuts. I am not sure what to do with them, as I know it is quite difficult to remove their outer shell. The leaves are not falling from the trees very much and the whole yard has a golden glow. Our cat Cody is happy napping though and does not look outside. On Wednesday (Nov. 29) if finally rained; the first day in many weeks. I hope it gave some relief and stopped some of the raging fires in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in Tennessee. It is such a tragedy.
Now I need to finish my post on the chalk festival in Marietta that took place on October 8 and 9, 2016. You can see part one of my post here. The theme this year was "Old Masters." The chalk drawing in the heading collage was done by Craig Thomas from Cape Girardeau, MO; below is a close up. Naomi Haverland of Denver, Colorado, drew the Jan Van Heck painting. Naomi has won 5 awards at the Denver chalk festivals.
There was so much talent there. It must be quite tiring to draw like this, working mostly on your hands and knees. Please click on collages twice to enlarge.
Sean McCann from Minnesota made his drawing on a large standing board.
Graham Curtis of Petersburg, Pennsylvania, drew "The Deity enthroned." He began painting 16 years ago on a whim. He says "The nature of this art form is delightful... The temporary nature of the art, the comradery of the artists at street painting events is unique and a very rewarding experience."
There was a large crowd around the drawings. It was fun to people watch, too. Most spectators were taking pictures with their cell phones rather than with cameras. Many were drinking and eating in outside cafes around the square, or near Zion Baptist Church (founded in 1866 by former slaves) or on top of the Strand Theatre - "Have a Brew with a View" ... looking at all the drawings from above. By looking at the drawings from below, on the ground, the rest of the view was mostly of people's feet ...
The name of each artist was on the pavement, next to the chalk drawing and the artist's sponsor. Most often there was also a picture of the original artwork. There was a little metal pot where people could place their ticket to show their vote for the drawing of the "People's Choice Award." Below, in center of collage is The Bitter Draught of Adriaen Brouwer, Flemish 1640, drawn by Kevin Powell of Marietta. In the bottom of the collage is the tag showing that the artist is from Mexico - Margarita Botella Morales from Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Being up, away from the chalk drawings is a better view point to take pictures, but since I was close to the ground I usually took several pictures - from the left, the right, and in the center to decide which was the best camera angle. Here is an example below. This is the drawing of Willie Zen, of Long Beach, California, titled Boys Eating Grapes and Melon, 1645 from Bartolome Esteban Murillo, a Spanish Baroque painter, 1617-1682. (Do not forget to click twice on the collage.)
I would also place my camera above my head, to provide some added height, and aim at the drawing. But then, it is a half hazard way and it is easy to cut some of the drawing off as shown below in the bottom two photos, or to show my shadow, as seen in Zuleika Hodges' drawing of The Girl with a Pearl Earring from Johanness Vermeer, Dutch 1632-1675.
To avoid the drawing to look distorted and a bit weird in a photo is to take the photo from a ladder. Fortunately, this year again, I found myself next to the professional photographer who takes pictures on his ladder. He graciously agreed to use my camera for a couple of pictures and took them on top of his ladder. Below is the chalk art drawing by artist Chris Carlston of Denver, Colorado, who was sponsored by the Mazloom Law Firm. You can easily tell the difference between the photos taken from the ladder and mine which are the two photos at the bottom of the collage.
The photographer is Craig C. Houdeshell. His biography says that "He was born in Ohio and his education was in engineering, but he also has formal education in music and art. Building on these disparate educations, Craig approaches photography with the practiced detail you would expect from an engineer and with the heart of an artist." He has attended many chalk festivals including the one in Venice, Florida, another one in Sarasota (see Jay Schwartz' Skeleton Mona Lisa below) and Clearwater Beach (see Matt McAllister green masked man.) He has also received several prizes for his photography (see his beautiful pre-dawn sky photo below.) You can see more on his web site here. (Photos courtesy Craig C. Houdeshell.)
While looking down at the drawings and seeing many sets of feet I photographed about 28 dogs among all the sneakers, boots, flip-flops, sandals, etc. Having two cats at home and no dog, I was pleased to catch so many dogs, at least with my camera.
As we ended our circle promenade around the Marietta square we walked by the public chalk competition. This non-professional chalk competition had been divided into Youth, Teen, School and Adult groups.
We had enjoyed our afternoon enormously. What a treat to look at such superb artwork. All these fabulous artists spent many hours crouched on their chalk drawings and it would all fade away - ephemeral splendor. It did not rain for weeks after the festival so vehicles drove over colorful roads around the Marietta square for a while. What a wonderful giant canvas this had been. I found out that Cuong Nguyen's Pavonia won the People's Choice Award.
Cuong Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, is a passionate and gifted artist. His rendition of Lord Frederick Leighton's Pavonia is outstanding and sensitive. The colors in his drawings are quite smooth and soft - the face looks lifelike and exquisite. The award was well deserved.