luna 2

Chalk Festival 2014 greeted me with more than the usual amount of nerves. I learned on Thursday morning before the festival that they had not received my application that I sent in on March 15. I talked to Michael Reiger, the director of the festival, and he said to show up Saturday morning at 8:00. They usually have a few empty squares and no-shows, and will give them to whoever shows up first.

This year I was more prepared than I was in any previous year.  I had chosen Luna by Pre-Rafaelite Charles Edward Halle. This is the color pencil drawing that I thought I sent in with my applicatioon.

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I had gridded the picture, and made a large (18×24) pencil drawing a couple of weeks before. I had spent Tuesday that week getting ready, buying extra colors of large pastel sticks I needed for Luna. I  found some clear square pencil boxes to divide up my colors at Office Max on clearance two for a dollar. On Thursday when I got the news that my application was never recieved, I kind of went into a funk. I thought it would be an easier weekend not participating. I would get some needed rest. I could hang out with Felix. I wouldn’t be sore and recovering for several days.

But the more I tried to talk myself into it being ok, the more anxious I got. I added some pastel to the pencil drawing I had done previously.


I hated it, and thought that maybe I should do a different image. One that I knew and felt good about.  I thought about Woman With a Pearl, by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and at midnight Thursday night, I scanned from the book I have it in, and prepared to go to Office Depot the next day and print it, laminate it, and put a grid on it.

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I knew this other image very well, and was sure would be able to easily transfer it to pavement. I had done it a few years ago, when I first saw the Chalk Art Festival in Denver, and thought I would like to participate. I had worked for a couple of weeks perfecting it and liked it very much. Though my copy is a bit pale, I could correct it when I got it onto the street.  But, I still felt anxious, and nauseous and couldn’t sleep. I had lots of chalk in oranges, reds, yellows for Luna, and not so many in the browns and greens that Lady with a Pearl has. My stomach turned, and I couldn’t get the song “Richie and Reuben” by Fountains of Wayne out of my brain. I had heard it earlier in the week, and it had become an ear worm.

It seems that changing course had made me feel worse, so I decided to go back to the original plan, square or no square. I also decided that on Friday I would take Phoebe to Playful Pooch for the day, so I could concentrate the whole day perfecting Luna without puppy interruptions.  I spent Friday working on the drawing, and gathering up all of my needed materials. I was ready to go, square or no square on Saturday morning at 7:30.

Howard and I arrived, ready to go, at 8:00, Found Michael, and he said that it might be a couple of hours before he would know if I had a spot. I was about ready to just say, forget it, and go home. But we had bought breakfast on the way, so we sat and ate our breakfast. We walked a bit, watching artists and vendors setting up. We walked over to The Market on Larimer St, so Howard could get some coffee. I decided to continue looking around. As I walked out of the Market, I saw Michael. He pointed at me and said “Paris, I have a square for you, follow me!” I was giddy, and rushed after him. He took me to the Artists tent and gave me square F-18, and the sponsor’s name Kurowski Development. The wait was thirty minutes, not two hours. Howard walked up to the artist tent as I was leaving with my packet of goodies. Relieved and happy, we were in!

We got to the square, on 14th st near the intersection with Lawerence, and got busy measuring and drawing the grid.  This is my least favorite part, but extremely important if you want a good drawing. Howard got started printing the sponsor’s name above my square, which is also pretty important, since they shell out $300 to have their name above a square. It is should to be the first thing we put down in chalk. He looked up the company, and tried to approximate their logo. He is better with printing than I am, and I was anxious to get drawing. About an hour later, a guy came up to us and said, “you’re in my square” I assured him that I was definitely just given that square. Hopefully he got another one, or just had the wrong number. I did not see him again.

I carefully transferred the image to the grid, and started on the background.

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Eleven hours and several kind visitors later, I had the entire head and shoulders of Luna finished. I went home sore and extremely tired, but happy. Had a late dinner and went to bed early.

This is what I got done on Saturday:


Sunday morning, I headed back at 8:00 and picked up where I left off. Sunday is a shorter day. I worked in shade and very hot sun till about 2:30 when I finished. Judging starts at 3:00. Lots more friends visited Sunday afternoon, and I felt pretty special and loved.


I’m happy with the results. I couldn’t have done it without Howard, and his quiet patience and support. He was great, getting stuff for me, helping drag all of my stuff downtown. Finding parking so I could work, and generally being great.


Thanks to all who came by.  Including:

Roxanne Des and Felix Barker

Debra Rathbun

Lyssa, Peter, Katie, Peter & Thomas Krumholz and visiting family members from out of town here for Katie’s graduation

Pat Moore

Sister Mckenzie and Sister Liao

Larry and Roberta Valdez and their granddaughter Caitlin

Margo Waite & her kids, Jessica, Emily & Maxwell Jaynes

Janet Zamboni

Rhoda Levy

Erin & Eric Worth & kids

Marisha, Taylor Brynley and Mason Menlove & their neighbors

Bonnie Mustoe

Candace and Matt Jones and their baby

And those who came by when I was away from my square:

Terri & Isabel Grange

Carol Bellinger

And all who watched from afar on Facebook

See more pics of the festival here:  http://www.denverchalkart.org/ It usually takes a couple of weeks before the pics are on the website. But I have included some on my FB page https://www.facebook.com/heathermcleanparis

Here is also a video of stills:  My work shows up around 3:34. http://youtu.be/j50uR6zi5Q8

And here is another:  This is actually a video I’m at 10:13 http://youtu.be/DY_oib-flv0

And another one  – this one is short.