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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Via Arte Italian Chalk Paintings in Bakersfield

The Marketplace in Bakersfield Fountain
I woke up to happy, smile-inducing sunshine and a beautiful day!  It was a good sign that my day trip to the Via Arte Italian Chalk Paintings in Bakersfield would be a good one!  But, that didn't last long!    ;-)      I took my leisure getting ready to take off for the day and thought I'd treat myself to a grande decaf mocha to sip and a croissant for breakfast to munch on along the way.  Everything was going well, not too much traffic, I got on the road at a fairly decent time, but I hadn't gone more than 20 miles when disaster struck!  Welllll, ok, fortunately, it wasn't a major disaster, but it did cause me to turn around and head back home.

You see, that grande decaf mocha's cup collapsed at the top and the lid popped off and coffee shot up and out of the cup and ended up all over - on my arm and in my lap.  But, it could have been worse!  Somehow, it didn't end up all over the car!  I didn't want to be walking around all day with sticky coffee residue and coffee stains all over my arm and the sky blue dress I was wearing, so I turned around and went home to change and rinse out the dress so I didn't have permanent stains all over it!

When I got back on the freeway about an hour later than my first departure, traffic was a little heavier, but still not too bad for a weekend in LA.  Then, after I got past down town LA and started heading up the grade it suddenly slowed to a crawl.  As I got further along I discovered what the problem was.  Some poor guy's car had stalled in the middle lane.  I felt bad for him, sitting there unable to get out of the way.  But, once past that it was smooth sailing all the rest of the way to Bakersfield.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was very excited to see what kind of work I would find there.  There was a special section for children and a lot of their work was really nice.  I would have liked to have gotten a picture of one little girl who was standing very proudly next to her work, but decided instead of posting her picture on the web, I decided it would be best to just snap a pic of her work.  Here are a few of the pics of the children's areas and their work.  Look for the pink and green picture signed by the proud Brandy G 9 years old.  Most of their squares were about 12"-24" squares.

The kids sections.  Lots of very nice work here!  Good job, kids!

Speaking of kids, Claydoh the Clown was on site creating magic balloons for the kids, from swords to hearts to angel wings, he twisted balloons into all kinds of shapes in just seconds!  He put smiles on a lot of young faces!

It's Claydoh! 
I got a couple of pics where I tried to capture a sense of the number of works on display!  There were actually a couple more rows for which I did not get snaps!  Most of these spots were 4' by 6', so there was a lot of ground to cover in just a couple of days!

I took so many pictures of all the artwork I can't begin to share them all here, but I would like to start with some of those that won.  It must have been tough being the judge for this competition, there were a lot of very nice pieces.  There were several that I thought should have won something, but it seems there just weren't enough categories to go around.      :-)      I'll share some of those here a little further down!  Later in the day, the shadows from the trees and the umbrellas the artists were using to try to keep from baking in the heat fell across portions of the artwork, making them a bit difficult to photograph and see, so I apologize for some of these that are a bit hard to see.  (The copyright notice is, of course, only for the photo, not for the artwork itself!)

One gentleman had brought a step stool with him to get a better shot of the work.  I must keep that in mind for the next time!  I tried to hold my camera up as high as I could and still try to get a good shot, but unfortunately, it was very difficult, if not impossible at times, to see exactly what I was getting in the frame.

At one point a couple of ladies crouched down to walk in front of me and then turned around and apologized, they said they didn't know I was trying to get a picture, they just though I was standing there with my arms held above my head.  What? ? ?  Really? ? ?  I know this is So. Cal. and people think we are pretty strange out here sometimes, but really?   Really you just thought someone would stand around with their arms held up over their head to view artwork on the sidewalk in front of them? ? ?  Yeah, I always find I can see better with both of my arms held high in the air . . .  Anyway, many of the pics got a bit of the artwork cut off here and there, but I'm hoping you'll be able to get a good idea of the stuff that was there!

3rd Place - Original Work - Heros

2nd Place - Original Work - La Muerta

1st Place - Original Work - 6 squares of Bakersfield locals

3rd Place - Reproduction - A Pilgrim's Progress - Norman Rockwell

2nd Place - Reproduction - Salvador Dali

1st Place - Reproduction - Snow White's Sonata - Mia

Visiting Artist Award - Snails

I really liked the ones selected for awards, but there were so many more that were really good.  Here are some of my favorites (Unfortunately, I did not get the names of the works or the artists who created/recreated them!).

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean

I believe this is Judith beheading Holofernes by Artemisi Gentiles.  
A little gruesome, but I thought very well executed!  No pun intended!

King Kong

I loved the way they made the pavement look like a lake.  The blue was so beautiful!

M.C. Escher's Water Drop

I tried to get a photo of the entire work, but it came out
better when I just tried to isolate parts of it.

Here is a little video of some of the others! Music: Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano by Quadro Nuevo from Putumayo World Music's Italian Cafe'.  It may take a little while to load!  I hope it will be worth the wait for you!

The trip home was a long one because of all the traffic coming back into the LA area from all the weekend jaunts out of the city, so it was pretty slow going.  It's the thing I dread most about taking weekend trips.  (my cousin on her cute little 9 Acre Farm should be very glad her town, population 24, does not have anywhere near the traffic to contend with that we have here!  :-)

But, I am very happy I made this trip!  It was definitely worth it!  Next year, I would love to spend more time there.  Apparently, some of the artists get started Friday night and are still finishing up when the awards are announced.  I would love to be there from the beginning to see how they get their work set up.  It looks like most of them have a team to work on the painting and they start with a grid overlaid on the picture they are working from.  Then they put a grid on the pavement to keep things proportioned correctly.  Sometimes I saw three or more people working on one painting at the same time.  I heard a few of them mention it was very grueling, hot work and hard on the old back!

It appears I now have another project I want to try to tackle!  I may end up with a very colorful driveway one of these days!      ;-)

Well, that's enough for now!  Maybe I'll see you at the Kinetic Sculpture Race in a couple of weeks!  Unless, of course, we meet up at the Festa Italiana in Riverside next weekend first!

Arrivederci!  For now, anyway!

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