Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's fun about being an Artist?

Plein air painting on the sidewalk!

Happy Spring!
 Jaime Howard
SCAD Sidewalk Arts 2012 

News bulletin: Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's Spring, so it's time for the annual Savannah College of Art and Design Sidewalk Arts Festival, part of Alumni Weekend here in the charming city of Savannah, Georgia.

Later today I’ll be competing against hundreds of sidewalk chalk artists. Forsyth Park will be jammed with thousands of onlookers young and old, kids and dogs, watching as SCAD students and alumni squat on the cement and attempt to create something memorable with the most fragile and temporary of mediums – chalk.

SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival 2011
My piece of the sidewalk

The first year I entered the contest it rained. Guess what happens to chalk when it gets rained on? You guessed it – about 75% of the drawings were washed into the storm drains, mine included.

Last year rain wasn’t predicted. The weather was perfect and we picked a spot in the shade. After 3 hours of squatting on the sidewalk in a rainbow of chalk dust, fish were swimming on the sidewalk, my clothes were as colorful as my drawing and my hands were sore from blending colors into the rough cement. 

It was a day pretty close to perfection. As an added bonus, my drawing took 2nd place in the Alumni division complete with a generous cash prize.

News update: Sunday April 29, 2012: 

Today was another perfect day in the park with fellow artists and hordes of art lovers as well. My image was strategically selected to portray a happy day in Spring and my helper, Bonnie and I had a ball trying to perfect it.

Grating the chalk to make paint
Painting is so much easier

Remembering the experience of rubbing the skin off my palms last year, I decided to make paint. A kitchen grater, a stick of chalk and some water are all it takes to make chalk paint. With a house painting brush as the applicator, my palms were saved. 

We had a blast - there's something about the combination of being outside, working as fast as I can with a group of friendly and like-minded people that makes me happy. Now that I think about it, these are the same reasons, I'm a plein air painter. 

Let's just let loose and have some fun with art. This is what I hope I'm teaching my students along with techniques of painting and drawing.

I'd like to hear your story of the most fun you ever had in the process of making art. When was it? Where were you? Were you alone or with someone else? What did you create? 

                           Go on, get out there and have some fun!


  1. Jaime,

    Love this post! Your sidewalk pieces are so fun and charming. Great idea about making it into paint.



    1. Thanks, Kristina! I learned how to make the paint from watching my competition!

  2. Hi Jaime,
    I agree with Kristina! Your colorful sidewalk chalk paintings make me smile - such good energy and vibrant colors. I like your description of letting loose and having fun - something that translates to both your writing and your art.
    Hugs from Port Townsend,

    1. Thank you, Frances. I'm happy that you also find value in having some fun! Life gets too serious sometimes, doesn't it?


  3. I love the painting of the girl, especially her highlights in the hair.
    I can't wait to go up there with you next year!

    Love, Sophia

    1. Thanks, sweetie - I can't wait to take you with me!

      Love, Jaime

  4. I don't think I've ever been to a sidewalk art festival - and it looks like it is so much fun! Love what you did!!!! I may have to make a pilgrimage down to Savannah (from Atlanta) next year to see it. I'm not aware of one in Atlanta, maybe SCAD will start one here!

    1. Hi Vickie,

      I looked around the SCAD website to see if there's a chalk competition in Atlanta and couldn't find any reference to it, so come on down to Savannah next spring on Alumni weekend. It's so much fun!

      SCAD Savannah also holds a sand art contest (castles, wind sculptures, etc.) on the beach at Tybee Island around the same time each year.

      Thanks for visiting,