Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Around the World Mandala Project

   Ever since I went to the International Chalk Art Festival in Sarasota, Florida I became connected to street painters from all over the world. I even met real Italian "Madonnaris" (which means, essentially, professional street painters from Italy). It's big deal in the world of chalk art because it's a very old art form in Italy and to become a Madonnari you must be invited to participate in festivals there.

Gary Palmer with his mandala in Venice, Florida

  Anyway since I've returned my new friend,Gary Palmer, has invited me to participate in a event call the Around the World Mandala Project. Where street artists from all over the world simultaneously create large-scale public artworks in the form of mandalas in their home cities as a symbol of intentions of peace between peoples.

So now this is happening on Saturday, December 16th. Chloe will be back from college and has agreed to help me that day . This is great because she is the master of the mandala, she draws them incredibly well.

Here's my color sketch of what we'll be doing....

I have a lizard in the design because we're representing Phoenix. These are the other artists and their locations:

Vero Gonzalez in Monterrey, Mexico
Gary Palmer,Jessica Blumenthal and Ava Kasrabod in Venice Beach, California
Limnesh Augustine and Jincy Babu in Manama, Bahrain
Nathalie Berthon in Nice, France
Floya Jam in Toulon, France
Tim Ritter in Orlando, Florida

I'm looking forward to seeing all these amazing mandalas!!

In other news, Phoebe has secured a caricature job next week (her first!). She's been hired to draw the attendees at the Middle School Winter Formal. I'm really proud of her. Caricature is tough to do.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cirque De Soleil and more on the horizon

Our time in Las Vegas was short. We spent our day milling around the Tahiti Village resort. Using the hot tub and running to the mall nearby for warmer clothes (Las Vegas is much colder than we thought it'd be!)

This is from a walkway in the resort, which had a lazy river, a pool and two fancy hot tubs.

At sunset we took the shuttle to the strip to get over to Treasure Island for Mystére, a Cirque de Soleil production.

It wasn't hard to find so we were early. We hung around taking photos.

The girls outside the theater.

Mike and I before the show.

The gift shop was impressive. This statue was near the ceiling.

In fact these statues were all around.

They're pretty amazing. 

         Finally we went in, and the show itself was astonishing! The things these performers do are hard to even believe. In this day and age of special effects it's easy to be jaded, but the feats the artists were doing became all too real two thirds of the way through the show when a trampoline artist was injured. The show stopped and he was taken offstage by medics. The rest of the show had an edge to it as we watched and became very intense. Anyway after the final act they announced that the man who was injured was responding well to treatment. I hope he can perform again soon.
        That night we slept for 4 hours and then hit the road at 4am so Mike and I could both be home to teach our final classes before Thanksgiving.

While we were in Vegas I was notified that Mike and I have been invited to another artist residency in Southern Iceland! We had to postpone until the summer of 2019, but I so hope we can make it!  We're so excited!

  Today we head into the mountains to see family for the holiday. To all my friends here in the United States:

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Vegas in 2 Days

The fabulous news is that Chloe's back! She's home from Missouri for Thanksgiving which is awesome since we haven't seen her since August. We took a photo of the three girls at the airport and it's so great to see them all together again!

The next morning was a bit of a run around as we got things ready to go. It was Phoebe's 16th birthday and we were headed to Las Vegas!!

We drove over the mountains and through the desert and I discovered that Las Vegas is sooo much colder than Phoenix right now!! Unfortunately, Chloe was the only one with proper outerwear, as Missouri is pretty cold as well at the moment.

After the long drive we didn't really go out last night, but Phoebe did open her gift in the hotel room. Big plans today though! Cirque De Soleil awaits. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More from Florida

We are in Venice Florida, which has a population that seems to consist of people over 68. All day long people call me young lady. I feel like I'm 18 again!(except the legal drinking). Anyway the uber driver I rode with called the area "God's Waiting Room".

Probably the most confusing thing for me was that I flew east from Arizona for 4 and a half hours, yet people kept referring to Sarasota as being on the "west coast". By that they meant the western coast of Florida, but when they said it I would always give them a blank stare for several seconds before I understood. For me the west coast is always California (or Oregon or Washington, but not Florida!)

On the second day I walked across to the Winn Dixie from the hotel, which I thought was a kid's book and movie, but turns out it's also a supermarket. (Naomi was rolling her eyes at me, she actually read the book.) Anyway I saw this interesting bird hanging out in a ditch by the market.

We missed our ride again that morning so we had a late start on day 2

Saturday was super sunny, making up for the previous day's overcast skies.

It was so hot I forgot to pay attention to staying hydrated and got pretty dizzy.

I spent an extra long time in the artist tent at lunch to recuperate.

This is when I stopped for lunch, some people didn't though.

Soon I was back at it. The crowds on Saturday were crazy.

That day I finished!

Circling Fish through a fisheye!!

The next day I went back to help my new friend Mythica with her piece, since I'd finished early.

Mythica Von Gryffin's painting

Hers is a mural that memorializes "Tico", a chalk artist that passed away. It works with 3D glasses!!

Now I'm back in Phoenix. It was quite an adventure to connect with artists from all over the world and create art side by side with them. I do hope to see them all at the next festival!!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Chalk Art in Florida

So here we are on Florida's west coast. By "we" I mean Naomi and I. We arrived late at night on Thursday after flying next to a man who never spoke a single word to me sniffing every 2 seconds from Phoenix to Tampa. It was a full flight, but it arrived on time and once we got to the airport we were joined by a crowd of other artists who'd also just arrived from all over the world. All of us squeezed into a 15 seat van provided by The Sarasota International Chalk Art Festival.

An hour later, close to midnight, Naomi and I found ourselves wandering down an outside hall searching for our hotel room. A large white lizard was scurrying along the wall, running in a panic in the other direction. As exhausted as we were, it took ages to get to sleep.

Naomi waiting for our ride
                        The next morning we managed to get a ride and get set up in our space.

This is the view from our spot.

The festival takes place at the Venice airport on the landing strip.

By lunch we'd made some good progress.

When I looked around it seemed as if everyone had made good progress as well.

The artists at this event are some of the best chalk artists in the world so there was a lot to see.

This wall mural is being created by a muralist who huge murals in Chicago and NY.

This is where we stopped on Friday. That night we met all the artists for dinner by the beach and a bonfire event, but boy were my knees and hands aching.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Halloween and a chalk festival

Last week Mike went to Stan Lee's LA Comic Con. He was gone for 4 days which was a drag.

Anyway, I've been so busy with masks that Halloween just suddenly happened! Here's Phoebe on her way out that night. She's wearing her Lava girl costume that she whipped together in an impressive 2 hours before a party using scissors and a glue gun. It lights up!

Naomi was Fantastic Mr. Fox

Here she is with her friend Harmony.

The scariest part of Halloween was my doctor's appointment which was all about cancer screenings and getting genetically tested for the breast cancer gene (there's a family history).

This is my painting "Circling Fish" that I'll be recreating in chalk with my assistant, Naomi, on a 12'x12' space.   On Thursday Naomi and I are flying to Tampa, Florida. We're guest artists at the Sarasota Chalk art Festival and will be staying next to the beach with artists from all over the world! Very excited!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Launching paper lanterns in the desert with 8000 people

Saturday was much anticipated for us. We were going to the Lantern Festival! Even my kids were excited (as teenagers they are generally against getting excited about things).

Mike by the food trucks

After driving an hour out to the desert (Casa Grande, AZ) we waiting in long lines, to get some food.
Outside food was strictly prohibited, they check bags and took it, but vegetarian options were very slim.

People decorating lanterns while waiting for sunset
We waited for sunset on an abandoned stage out of the crowd. Many people decorated and wrote on their lanterns, so we did too.

These are the folded lanterns they gave us at the entrance. Even though I'd never done this kind of thing before I was very careful not to rip or tear the paper as I carried them around. I had a bad feeling about it.

After eating and gathering our things we moved into the crowd by the performance stage and the fire pits. Naomi was very happy that we all received our own "Lantern Festival" lighters at the entrance. We also received s'mores kits which I let everyone else have mine, dinner wasn't sitting well for me.

People all around us started getting their lanterns out and inflated on the cue of the host/singer on stage and they launched one test lantern for the fire marshall to watch the winds. 

This is Naomi getting her lantern out (I hate that it's blurry).

Naomi stood there holding her lit lantern as long as she could waiting for the rest of the crowd to catch up, but then it just wanted to go!

This is Phoebe, holding it while it fills with hot air. She wrote all her personal goals on her lantern.

Mike and Phoebe holding their lanterns.

Phoebe's is almost ready to go!

And my favorite picture is Phoebe launching her lantern. There's such and intensity when you let it go. It has to be ready or it drifts side ways and many flaming lanterns drifted into other people hitting them unaware in the back of the head. No one I saw ever got hurt they'd just grab the flaming thing and push it up trying to help it launch. I was right about holes. Lanterns with holes had a lot of trouble flying.

Mike took this shot of my lantern after take off. On the side I wrote "A Magical Journey", a wish I had for myself and for the lantern.

Once the stress of launching our own lanterns was passed, it was so enchanting to watch the crowd and the sky.

Some people right next to us launching theirs.

From the very beginning of the launch.

It's amazing how these lanterns are a metaphor for life. They all start out neat folded and identical. Each person takes one and write hopes and wishes on the side. Some are treated well, carefully carried till launch and some are neglected with little rips and no writing. At launch they a set a flame and fill up rising like in in life. The ripped ones struggle and with extra help launch, while a few with big holes never get very high. As they fly they go higher and higher till they burn up and reach the end of all they will do.

It took over an hour for all the lanterns to launch. The sky was full of lights for quite a while, but you could see the gray shells of lantern shaped ash drift onto the telephone lines nearby.

As the evening stretched on I realized that I had more than an upset tummy and started making runs to the port a johns (no fun in the dark). 

While Phoebe and I made our way over to the port a johns . Mike and Naomi waited. Naomi saw a stray lantern struggling so she walked over to try and launch it but it wouldn't go. Then she turned around and couldn't find Mike. It was dark and very smokey.  I came back to Mike standing alone and we were both confused. Then Phoebe finally showed up she also had gotten lost in the smoke. Eventually I spotted Naomi and we left the smoke and dust behind. It was a pretty magical night.

"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut


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