I’ve never understood why they pick the first week in October for Pastels on the Plaza. We inevitably have our first rain that week. While I’m sure some bureaucrat somewhere thought this would be a good way to make sure all of that unsightly artwork didn’t stick around, it also makes for a tense morning wondering if if we’re going to spend the whole morning sitting in a puddle getting rained on. Even a couple weeks earlier would be much better. This year our first big rain arrived the evening of the event, so if you didn’t show up to the event itself, you missed it.
This year my mom came to help me, which was awesome. I like to get the creative work mostly done before I arrive. There’s enough chaos to think about on the plaza without having to come up with a plan too. We did this sketch of a bug’s eye view of a house sparrow and flowers. I like to have a central subject for some crowd appeal, and come up with a design that works well with both the pastel colors and the rough sidewalk. I was working for Genevieve Schmidt, a local landscaper. This one went quick and easy. Maybe next year I’ll have to challenge myself again.
I was sitting by Leah Vaughn, working for local jewelry company Holly Yashi. I like the fancy flowers and the way the two unblended background colors went together. The colors didn’t come through completely in the photo. The best weather for photographing the event is bright overcast. We had alternating sun and shade all morning, and then sun for the end of the event.
Casey Vaughn did the square for Pizza Gago. Bricks and walls are always a good choice. They work well with the chalk pastel pigments and the roughness of the sidewalk.
Susan Devine did this for the Morris Graves Foundation, and I think it’s her best one yet. All of the companies in the event are donating the money for the square to North Coast Children’s services, and the artists are donating their time. Combine it with live music and a farmer’s market, and you have a great event.
This one for Primal Decor was actually my favorite this year. Their artist always does an exceptional job. It isn’t complete in this picture, but when I came back later, it had been dulled down by the wind. As an artist, sometimes it’s just some little thing that catches my eye. There were other squares that arguably came out better in some overall sense, but there is something in the colors and textures on the face that I found really enviable. I’m going to have to spend a few minutes watching them work one of these years.
This still life for Ramones Bakery also impressed me. She was working wet, with brushes. It’s a common method, but not one I’ve employed unless it’s already raining. I tend to just make mud. It does make for a smooth and vibrant result though. I was most impressed with the gold border on the plate. I think a bit more black in the background would have brought things up a notch.
Erin, Jill, and Cat have been making my list for a while now with their excellent work for Humboldt Area Foundation.
And below are some others that caught my eye this year. You can click any of the pictures in this post to see a larger image.