Pastels on the Plaza 2012. What a beautiful morning in Arcata California. Around here, a sunburn is a mark that you have just returned from distant lands with “summer” and “shadows”. Well. believe it or not Arcatians, I got a pretty good sunburn despite two layers of sunscreen. It was worth it. I’m displaying my results (above) large and proud this year. I drew our cat Tamir in our apple tree for Genevieve Schmidt and her awesome gardening blog and landscaping service. It took nearly six hours and measures 3′ x 3′. I’m going to have it printed on canvas and hang it in the living room.
We were surrounded by farmer’s market booths selling fresh local produce, bands, street performers, and crowds of people coming to enjoy the event. I met several old friends I haven’t seen in a decade, and I was in good company. There’s nothing like sitting yourself down in the midst of famous local artists and designers to up the pressure to perform. They set the bar high.
Sitting to one side of me was Leah Vaughn, representing Holly Yashi Jewelry, who have recently opened their own store at their studio. A great place to shop for jewelry or other gifts. I think this image would make an awesome postcard. This pastel was twice the size of mine, and I have no idea how she managed to get it all done by herself. A side note on this for anyone planning on participating in the event; They kicked us out at 3:00, so if you think your concept may take more than seven hours, either rethink it, or get a helper.
Beside her was her husband Casey Vaughn, representing Plaza. This is his first year doing a three foot square, rather than the double size. I think the extra time per foot really allowed him to show off his skills. One of the top looks of the day in my opinion.
To my other side was Susan Devine, representing Barbara Rips with this picture of a dragon on the Trinidad lighthouse. You don’t have to be a business to support the event. North Coast Children’s Services takes charitable donations and we artists donate our time in the name of donors. Everyone wins. And the kids loved this one. Susan was fond of telling them that if they wanted to see the dragon, they had to get to the lighthouse really early in the morning.
This is a great pairing of the Wildlife Care Center with award winning artist Linda Parkinson. These two really are perfectly suited.
Duane Flatmo, larger than life as always, for a guy who is used to paintings that take up whole buildings, this must seem easy. I spoke with him briefly. It seems he is still touring with his giant fire breathing octopus contraption. Go check it out.
This one was the most vibrant and eye catching hing I saw all day, and beautifully done by these two artists. My only criticism is in the decision making process. If you are going to have one pumpkin spilling out of the square, don’t chop off the one next to it at the edge, and if you are going to sign it, either work it in and make it look nice, or keep it outside the bounds of the picture. There is just no way to crop this to make it look right.
I took a break to stretch my legs and go see what Jerry Lee Wallace was up to. I’ve been a fan of his work since before I started doing the event myself. He has the most distinctive style, with his obelisk-like people and vibrant landscapes. This is a portrait of a guy who is “outstanding in his field”. I love the reflections and the shadow going up the tall grass. The donor was Humboldt Family Services.
And lastly, a couple of honorable mentions. B&B always cracks me up with their poop-to-rainbows attitude. And I like this one by Ca Redwood Co. I don’t get it, but I like it.
Each year, I improvise a few new techniques, with varying success. This year I brought a chunk of neoprene, with the hope that I could use it as a dry paintbrush. It was remarkably effective, and held up unexpectedly well. It allowed me to blend the pastel I had already applied, so I ended up using less, and having less dust. In total I used less than eight pieces of pastel.
Please feel free to post your thoughts or experiences with the event, and I hope to see you all there next year, same place, same time.